I'm not going to lie, I never saw myself moving backstage or behind the camera. Being on stage, out front, in the lights was not only thrilling, it was easier. When you're talent, no one expects you to do anything but show up, know your stuff, deliver, and go home.
Crew is another universe.
I saw the directors, producers and behind-the-sceners around me working themselves ten times as hard without any of the acknowledgement, and decided it wasn't for me.
Producers have to fight with everything from scheduling to billing to neurotic creative people, and it just didn't feel the same as nailing a performance.
Or, that's what I assumed.
Come to find out, being on set is my real high. It's what I do and love best. No matter the role or responsibility I have. However that is accomplished, I am just as giddy and proud of what we create. Knowing I'm genuinely helping translate ideas, or that I make editing go more smoothly, carries the same pride and thrill for me as being applauded onstage.
So, I encourage you to try new things. Learn. Be a sponge on set. You never know what opportunities might come of it. You never know what you might become from it.
A quick thought for today: Do what inspires you.
I have always felt insecure about the pictures I take. I'm used to being in front of the camera, or writing away in some self-made cave, and photography always seemed to escape me. I'm no professional, but something clicked for me in the last few days and now I feel pretty confident in the direction I'm heading in with my visuals.
Somehow I thought that I needed to post what people expected to see instead of just posting what inspired me, what moved me. My daughter turned 4 and I realized how stupid that is.
My family inspires me. They are the reason I make it from day to day, the reason I take risks and work myself to exhaustion and reflecting that in pictures changed the game.
Even if you think social media doesn't matter or photo albums are outdated or a monologue isn't "trendy," do what inspires you. It will show.
Good luck, and do what inspires you.
I never know what to do or say in light of tragedy. Is it self-serving to say anything at all? Especially when something happens abroad, should I remain silent and let people grieve and be grateful it didn't hit closer to home? I'm still not sure, but I am a writer, and writing is how I process. The following poem is what came to me.
More than anything
That our hearts will become numb to atrocity
Will see the world
Through eyes blackened by blood and rubble
And we will not blink
No religion or agenda
No creed or credo is honored when life is taken
Become our religion
So that we may first, and above all else
And be safe.
And be kind.
More than anything
That our hearts are numb and in numbness we lose
One of the greatest compliments a director can give is saying you 'take notes' well. Basically, as an actor, it means you are able to listen to what a director is asking and deliver a new interpretation. Sometimes directors do this because they are looking for something specific and want to know if you can nail it. Sometimes, they are not sure what they are looking for until they hear it, but most of the time, directors are just wanting to see if you will listen without throwing attitude.
Taking notes is something I have always done well. I am a student at heart. Besides, half of what I love about my job is the challenge of learning something new all the time, and I know if it was my script, I would want someone to listen to me.
I learned something about myself and the creative process through the years, though. When I take on a character, I take on their story. I become responsible for their voice, their presence and I become their advocate. Most of the time, I agree with the growth and evolution of a character, but twice I have had to stand up for the person I am portraying.
Ignoring my natural tendency to just give the director/producer what they are asking for, I decided to take a stand in these situations. In both cases, I only stood my ground because additions to the script fundamentally changed who my character was or what her purpose was in the greater scope of the project.
I truly believe this passionate belief is central to what makes me a positive person to work with. Not only do I care about my performance, I care about the story and the person I am portraying.
Now, let's be clear, I didn't argue with anyone in either situation. I never raised my voice. Instead, I stated my opinion including why I disagreed with the addition and what it changed in my character. These simple statements, presented to the writer/director showed my dedication to the character and the storyline and in both cases, my approach allowed the bosses to give my point-of-view some consideration.
I left the final decision where it should be--in the director's hands, and I moved forward in both cases with as much passion as I had the day before even though only one director sided with me.
When you take on a character and spend time developing a performance, it's okay to stand up for the art you have created (an important lesson I learned from the incredible theater director Brittanie Gunn with Tesseract Theatre Company).
So I say: Treat people with respect, take notes, and act not just with passion, but also with thoughtful care for the story you've been handed.
Good luck out there!
Today is my birthday and instead of my normal routine, which basically involves acting like a fat, lazy cat all day, I am heading off to rehearsal.
I LOVE my birthday. In high school, I drove my friends crazy with a birthday countdown that started January 21st every. single. year. I cannot remember a single year where my birthday wasn't about me, and becoming a mom made the experience even more rare and special. My life, my career goals, my self-care routines, all of it is centered on my children, my family. So, honestly, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about giving up the one day a year where everyone is okay doing what I want.
However, the last year has changed almost everything in my life, and it looks like birthday traditions are now on that list. Fortunately, everything has changed in completely amazing ways that I never could have imagined. One short film lead to another. Signing with one agency lead to commercial gigs and signing with a management company. One amazing, challenging, time-consuming, exhausting, exhilarating thing lead to the next.
So today, instead of feeling angst-y about giving up a long-standing tradition and several hours away from my kiddos on a weekend, I am able to just be excited. This film is the first time I've gotten to play a detective. It's the first time I'm getting to use one of my bullet-point resume skills in a film. (Yay!) I'll earn my second IMDb credit, and even better, I'll stretch myself to my physical limits with an extended foot-chase scene.
Keeping in mind that every good, creative thing has lead to good, creative things and that the last year has brought more inner peace and financial stability than ever before, I'm ready to throw myself into this production, give a killer performance and come home all set-jazzed and ready for the next challenge.
Now it's time to run lines.
Thanks for tuning in.
Update: The amazing writer/director and Executive Producer of the film I was rehearsing for got me a cake! I didn't know they even knew it was my birthday. It was an incredibly sweet gesture that made for a wonderful end to a very fulfilling, productive rehearsal. Prop guns, blocking, and chocolate!