After an incredible night watching the incomparable Andrea Gibson and Megan Falley do their thing downtown St. Louis, my focus became clear. I am focusing all my energy on making writing my profession instead of just my passion. Truly, this has been a dream-in-progress for several years with me sending out feelers to the best writers I know for review and feedback. Their excitement and advice, plus the absolute feeling of belonging brought clarity.
Writing has always been the way I process the world, process my emotions, but I never considered it a possible future for myself until I took these major steps:
1. I made writing a practice, an organized habit.
2. I began submitting my work to professional publications (more information on that can be found here).
3. Performance is just as important as ever. Poetry events are not easy to find, but they are out there. I am finding them and starting to speak my words to crowds.
As dates and important announcements arrive, I will keep you guys posted!
I know, I know. You've heard enough about this project. Well, no. You have not. Not until you've heard it from the mouth of 15-year-old writer/director Gabe Sheets.
He is just as poised and passionate and calm while being interviewed as he was in every rehearsal and each day on set. I am truly lucky to have worked on this project, and you'll be seeing many more updates as the journey continues!
More info and updates at:
or follow on social media with #fuguemovie2018
I have never had a "look". I spent a brief period of time wearing 50s-inspired garb, but I soon realized I wasn't carrying it off in an adorable Zooey Deschanel way. It was more--red lipstick on the teeth sort of venture.
I was okay with it for the most part. No one really cared. I live in the Midwest where anything other than jeans and a t-shirt is considered dressy.
Truthfully, I thought my lack of style was an asset in my acting career. I can step in and be anything that the director and crew wanted me to be. I brought my interpretation to the voice, mannerisms and motivations of the character, but the actually look didn't matter to me a single bit.
Still, running a business and showing up for auditions, I wanted there to be something that was me. That felt like me.
It took some terrifying soul-searching, but I realized I never delved into my look because I was thoroughly and completely convinced that no one would like what I felt most comfortable in. At the heart of it all, I was sure no one would like me.
Here's something great, I found it. I found my style.
It feels ridiculous to be so excited and maybe no one else cares, but it feels pretty great. I feel better than I ever have, my closet actually looks like only one person keep their clothes there.
And I realized something else--
It takes courage to perform. There's honesty and vulnerability that needs to pour out when acting. Now I just have to carry that honesty, that vulnerability over into my off-stage life.
Be brave. Be yourself, and break legs!
When I began acting, I never thought in a million years that I would be able to be on a set like Fugue. I never thought I would work with talent that challenged me and a director and crew that pushed me to my physical and performance limits while being loving, supportive, and encouraging the whole way.
When we wrapped on Wednesday, I thought
"Well, that's it. That will never happen again."
Beautiful locations, stunningly talented cast and crew members...it was the most I could ever hope for.
Instead of making me terribly, desperately sad, it made me hungry. I want to work with people like this every day for the rest of my life. I want to be surrounded with drive and passion and creativity every single day.
I was expecting a little post-production depression to hit the next day, but I didn't really have time for it since I went directly into filming a dark comedy--Popcorn Landfill. It was an overnight shoot in a part of St. Louis that had me a little on-edge. I hadn't gone to a single rehearsal with the cast or crew and had no idea what to expect.
But then it was wonderful. The cast was dynamic and the director/writer Joel and his right hand Maranda were getting beautiful shots and great performances. It was incredible!
I am still riding the high of the last ten days.
Pickup shots from my first feature length Tuesday Night and Wednesday Morning, Fugue, and Popcorn Landfill. Ahhhh.
What a life.
Check out the photos below and be sure to like and share the Facebook pages and follow along online!
Thanks for tuning in and as always, break legs!
My life has taken me to incredible places, working on amazing projects with really talented people. Fugue, the independent film I have been filming since Saturday, is one of the most talent-rich, challenging sets I have ever been on.
Every single person is giving every single ounce of blood and sweat imaginable. I feel challenged physically and acting-wise, I'm being pushed to a whole new level that I didn't know was possible.
Check out just two of the beautiful locations we filmed at around St. Louis.
More details to come on story line and my experience on set and behind the scenes!
Last night I headed out the door at 7:30 for a last minute pick-up shot. The feature-length that earned me my first-ever IMDb credit is nearly done, and I was happy to be back onset for a project I've loved since I read the script many months ago. (Cue ridiculously-happy, behind-the-scenes gif).
In a weird twist, being back in front of the camera wasn't the best part of the night.
A friend from college messaged me to ask if I was maybe in an SSM commercial. Alarm bells, trumpets, and a few happy squeals ran through my head. Finally, finally the ad that we filmed in February(?) has been released!
I'm officially in a television commercial!
I didn't think I would ever care if people recognized me or the work I did. I make movies, collect a check, and go on about my way thrilled to be a working actress.
But if I'm being honest, it was one of the coolest moments of my professional career.
Recognition is not my goal, but man...it was cool.
Today I am not going to talk about the struggles of balancing a schedule or quality time or support groups (which all have their much needed place and time). Today, I'm going to talk about something that's a little taboo in the working mom circle: What happens when you really love what you do?
Don't get me wrong, I miss my kids, and working full-time has required a significant change for my family, but...
Wait. If I said how much I hate working and how awful it is to be away from my kids and my home all day, no one would think twice. But I love my job, so I feel like it's necessary to qualify and explain and justify what I do.
On filming days, I cannot wait to get in the car and head to set. The night before a writing session, I can hardly sleep because ideas are rushing through my head constantly. It's an adrenaline rush to audition and incredibly fulfilling to perform, and I love what I do.
Why do I feel guilty about not feeling guilty? How messed up is that?
We condition ourselves to think that any kind of work has to be awful and miserable, that we should be counting the hours until we are released to go home, but what happens when you are counting the hours until you can go sit at your desk? What then?
Does it mean I love my children less? No. Fight me.
Does it mean I should never have had kids? No. Fight me.
I just really love what I do, and even if I didn't, I really love having things like a home and electricity. So for me, going to work is always, always a good thing. I'm exhausted by the pressure to feel bad.
Maybe I'll get to a place where I can approach being a working mom with the same attitude I approach character development. (Read Here).
I'd love to hear if any of you working parents have the same 'I should feel guilty' guilt. Leave a comment below.
Thanks for tuning in.
Best wishes and break legs in whatever field you happen to love.
When it rains, it pours seems to be true of both the good things and the bad things in my life. Whenever things are bad, they are really bad. Car-broken-down, job-on-the-fritz, arguing-with-the-gods bad.
Similarly, when things are good, they are excellent. Film-two-movies-in-one-week, write-with-abandon, earn-a-directors-credit good.
This week is a little strange because it has been both. At the same time. My brain really does not know what to do.
I'm trying to focus on the good. I'm trying to learn my lines and remember my blocking; keep my head down and do some excellent work for my father and just keep going.
It's working so far.
To be honest, I just want to be on set somewhere, on a stage where I can lose myself and heal. Saturday cannot come fast enough. My most selfish use of art and creativity is using it to center and heal myself. I don't do it intentionally most of the time, but it still happens. I still walk off stage better, happier, and more me. Every single time.
So, that's what I'll keep doing. I'm going to smile and work and act and heal. It will be my umbrella against all the negative things pouring down.
Break legs and find your umbrella.
I am a Type A personality. I operate well in traditional classroom settings and enjoy checklists and due dates. Structure is important to me, and I like knowing if I am doing things 'right'.
Honestly, it's a nightmare most of the time. My default setting is "achieve," which means I'm pretty great at setting a schedule and acing exams, but terrible at managing unexpected situations.
Odd that I'd choose a creative field, right?
Well, for me acting is one of the only times in my life when the unexpected doesn't cause me stress. Acting for me is meditative. I don't think about the lines that are supposed to be coming at me. I only think about what is. I am able to live in that moment and respond in that moment and it is a singular experience for me.
Still, I find it hard not to question my audition performances. Worry creeps in. Did I give them what they wanted? Could they see the research I put in? Could they tell that those pauses were intentional?
It isn't insecurity.
I choose every pause, every breath, every nervous twitch with care, and I walk in with an interpretation of a character based on a few pages. Still, I worry that it's 'wrong'.
Then one day a writer/director told me something I tend to live by in all my auditions now. He said something along the lines of: "I'm meeting with you again because I have it narrowed to you and one other girl. Her delivery is honestly what I pictured when I wrote this, but there is something you are bringing that is making it really hard to decide."
The choices I had made, the delivery I had practiced and run with was nothing like what the director had been looking for. In fact, he'd already found that girl, the one who met the picture in his head, but the character I had created appealed to him enough to consider changing his own mental image.
As an actor, I'd never felt more powerful.
I didn't walk away with that role (although I am in the movie), but I walked away with a completely new take on what my job truly is.
I encourage you to own your interpretation. Here's the truth, you might be absolutely wrong. You might not give them what they are looking for in that moment, but your responsibility is to the character you see in the work. That dedication will shine through and opportunities will come.
Be bold and break legs!
Since moving into acting full-time, I've taken more careful stock of the shows and movies that I love. I have spent the last year analyzing, trying to find a common thread between the shows and actors that captivate me. The most common theme comes from actors who convey more with their facial expressions than with their words.
I'm working my way through AMC's The Walking Dead again, and in re-watching the show, I feel strongly that Jon Bernthal's performance as Shane was severely overlooked. Granted, he's the "bad guy" riding the fence, losing love, betraying friends, etc. and that story got a lot of attention, but Bernthal himself pulled off some of the best non-verbal acting I have ever seen and no one talks about it.
Several times, during season two, I find myself reaching excitedly for the remote to skip back and watch a look or reaction like the one pictured above. By dipping his head, lowering his voice, changing his gaze, Bernthal clearly convey's that Shane is not just angry, he's dangerous. It's brilliant.
My favorite moment of the season, intensified by beautiful direction and framing is so underrated that I could not find an image on the internet at all. Check out Season Two "Pretty Much Dead Already". When Bernthal shoots the zombie being restrained by Hershel, every single person in the frame is acting with intensity that has nothing to do with words.
In fact, Bernthal's face isn't even in the frame that I watched three times in a row. It's just his body. But he delivers the headshot with such authority, his shoulders square, without breaking stance, that his presence is still the strongest on the screen. It's just so badass, and not a word is spoken.
This is the common theme and the level of acting I aspire to.
I want to take people's breath away without saying a word.
Charlie Hunnam is another actor who floors me with what he can say without words. Yes, he's beautiful, and Jackson Teller was well-scripted, but my favorite moments in Sons of Anarchy are the moments Hunnam is allowed time and space to react. "Balm" (an incredibly difficult episode to watch, fair warning) is one of my favorites because we watch Hunnam (as Jax) goes from shocked-to the broken son-to the outlaw. And he never says a word.
As actors, we focus so much on the words, and great words can get you pretty far. A dynamic monologue can do a lot of the work, but more than anything, this is the skill I work on in the mirror. Not just what I am saying, but what I am conveying.
Pay attention to the moments that make you want to hit rewind, and good luck out there.
*Note: I am not an affiliate for IMDb or Amazon Video. I just believe in crediting work and watching entertainment legally.*