A Night At A Screening (or Forgetting What Non-Screenings Are Like)

Last week I got an invitation through Women In Film to attend a screening of “Neighbors 2”. I had seen the first movie and I thought that the second one would be fun to check out. I wasn’t planning on going to the movies to see the movie (I try not to spend money on movies unless they are really the type of movie that needs to be seen on a big screen), so I was pretty excited for the invite to the screening!

The different screenings I get invited to all have their own personalities. The SAG-AFTRA Film Society screenings are pretty much always at the DGA theater and they are the type of screenings that you have to show up early for to make sure you can get in to the theater. There is no food or drink allowed inside of the theater and pretty much everyone stays until the end of the credits (it’s actually in the rules that you are supposed to stay until then). Most of the SAG Awards screenings are like this too. You go to a screening house and line up to get in. They are private events so they are almost always actors.

Women In Film doesn’t always do screening like that. Sometimes they are private events, but they also sometimes are with other organizations too. When I saw “The Theory Of Everything”, that was the fanciest screening I’ve been to. And when I went to see “Miss You Already” it was a screening with other groups, but somehow it ended up being more like a private screening with the crew and a couple of other people (I was one of the random other people there).

I’m aware that I’m probably spoiled with the screenings. Not only does it allow me to see more movies than most people go out to see, but the environment that I see the movies in is very different from what it’s like at a normal movie theater. Most of the time, nobody is allowed to eat or drink so I don’t have to worry about weird smells (I once sat next to someone in a movie theater who ate a tuna sandwich during the movie and the smell was pretty overbearing) or the noise of people eating. Also, at screenings it’s extremely rare to see a cell phone out. Not only are the people at the screening usually too into the movie to look at their phone, but since some screenings are advance screenings you can be kicked out if security sees the light of a cell phone during the movie (security will be standing all around the theater just watching for that cell phone glow). Seeing movies in screenings has fortunately become my norm and I’m so grateful for that. So when I see a screening that isn’t what I expect, it throws me off.

The screening for “Neighbors 2” was held at a movie theater at The Grove, and when my friend and I lined up to go inside we noticed that it appeared that the screening was not just Women In Film but a couple of different groups attending the movie. We got our tickets and got some popcorn (we had gotten dinner at The Grove before the screening) and walking into the theater.

Screening

As soon as we walked inside, I was shocked about how crowded the theater was. We had gotten inside about an hour before the screening and a lot of the seats were already taken (or saved by people putting their coats or purses on them). Also, at the front of the theater there was a DJ, a step and repeat, and a bunch of people there. Turns out, this screening was also sponsored by a local radio station (I think they might have given away tickets to the screening as well). Before the movie started, there was very loud music from the DJ and people climbing over seats to get to the front to play some games to try to win a free poster or frisbee.

Once the movie started, there were a couple of people talking around us and eating loudly (we may have been guilty of eating loudly too since we had popcorn). And I saw a couple of people trying to secretly text or check their phones during the movie even though we had been warned that if you were caught with a phone on that you would be kicked out. I really wanted to shush the people who wouldn’t stop talking during the movie, but I tried to ignore it and enjoy watching it. But this was all a reminder of how spoiled I have gotten with the screenings I’ve been to.

The crowd and the noise didn’t ruin the movie for me at all, but it was a bit distracting. Overall, I enjoyed “Neighbors 2”, but I wished they had focused more on the parents instead of the college students (I definitely identify more with the parents). It was pretty funny and I think my friend and I both had a pretty good time at the movie.

Pushing Myself (or So Many Hills!)

This past week of workouts seemed to all be strength days (or at least partially strength days). I know that Orangetheory mixes things up, but I really did hit the strength days only! Strength days are days where you are supposed to be heavier on the weights on the floor and during cardio you do inclines. Since power walkers always do inclines for push paces and all-outs, strength days are days I try to push my inclines higher (like you are supposed to) and I always seem to struggle with that. So I’m guessing somehow I needed this week of strength workouts to test myself to my limits!

Monday was not just a strength day, but we didn’t switch between blocks so I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes straight. I managed to do my hills at between 6-10% even though I know I was supposed to do some at 12 and 15%. I used to be able to do those inclines without any issues, and it does make me sad that I’m still not back to where I used to be (and there’s a chance I might never be able to do those higher inclines again). When we don’t switch between blocks, my body is pretty exhausted by the end of the cardio. So by the end of things, I was doing my base, push, and all-out paces at the same incline and just bumping up the speed .1 mph for each of them. I was supposed to up my inclines, but I just wasn’t able to do it.

On the floor, it was very legs focused. We had lots of lunges and squats which are getting better for me. My lunges are still difficult with balance issues, but my form is significantly better. And my squats are much easier and I’m getting closer and closer to being able to use heavier weights while doing them. The only problem I’m having is that my arms aren’t strong enough to hold those weights. I’m struggling a bit with my grasp with the 25 pound weights and that’s with using workout gloves. I’m not sure how to strengthen my arms, wrists, and hands to be ready to hold heavier weights so I’m open to any suggestions.

On Wednesday, it was an endurance, strength, and power day that also happened to be a run/row day. But it still felt like strength only because during the run/row we were doing all inclines. All the rows were 250 meters and I managed to get faster each time I did the row (which is not normal for me). My best row was 250 meters in 57.4 seconds, which isn’t that bad at all! I’m pretty happy I got that row done in under a minute at the end of the cardio block! For the treadmill, we had progressively increasing inclines but decreasing distances. I did .4 miles at 6% incline and 3.5 mph, .2 miles at 8% incline and 3.6 mph, and .1 miles at 10% incline and 3.7 mph. The fact that I’m doing 10% inclines is good because for a long time the highest I could go was 8%. I’m really trying to focus on that improvement versus the improvement I would still need to make to be back to where I was almost a year ago.

On the floor on Wednesday, it was a lot of arm work. I was doing my chest flys at 20 pounds (chest flys are harder than chest presses which I can do at 25 pounds). For my squats I was holding a 25 pound weight and was able to use that same weight for my triceps work too. We also had some planks and pop jacks, and both of those I was able to do on my toes (versus my knees).

Friday was another all strength day. There were 6 blocks total (3 on cardio and 3 on floor) but we did do a switch in the middle. We did 2 short cardio blocks first, then switched to do 2 short floor blocks. Then we went back to do the long cardio block (11 minutes long) and the finished with the long floor block. I was so happy for the switch because it did give my hips and legs some time to rest before the long block. For one of the short cardio blocks, we worked our way down the hill. I started at 10% incline and every 30 seconds we went down 1%. I did that entire thing at 3.5 mph and it didn’t feel too fast for me at any of the inclines. On the long 11 minute block, we worked our way up the hill and my inclines ranged from 6-10% incline. For the last all-out I really wanted to see if I could go higher than 10%, but I was too tired to try it in the end and I’m sure it’s for the best since I don’t want to try a high incline when I’m tired (and my walking form is sloppy).

For the floor on Friday we did all abs for one of the short blocks and while I could do most of the ab work, there was one thing that was about moving our legs that my hips just weren’t going to do. So I did some basic crunches during that time. For the other blocks, they seemed to focus on arms again. We did a couple of rows on the straps and then did chest presses and bicep curls (I did both at 20 pounds instead of 25 because I was dealing with some weird pain on my chest from sleeping weirdly).

Even though this was a 3 workout week, I think I pushed myself pretty hard during all 3 workouts. I pushed myself for some heavier weights when possible, pushed myself for faster rows, and pushed myself for higher inclines. I know that soon I’ll be at whatever the next level is for me in my workouts, but with all the hard work I’ve been putting in it’s tough not to be a little impatient and want to see that improvement now.

Hoping To Fix My Computer (or Can The New MacBook Pros Please Come Out Soon?)

This is totally not the post I was planning on writing for today. I’ll write about what I was going to write about next week, but today’s post is all about my computer frustrations.

My laptop is my life. I run multiple jobs off of it, I run my blog off of it, and I do most of my online work on it. It’s really that important to me and I need it to work the way it should work. I understand I do a ton of multi-tasking (when I’m working I must have about a dozen windows open), but it should work just fine. But my laptop is also 6 years old. That’s not a horribly old laptop, but when you do as much work on it as I do every year counts. I try to stretch the lifespan of my technology as long as I can, but there are limits.

Over a year ago, I ran out of storage on my laptop. The new models have a baseline of twice the storage I have now, so clearly I don’t have that much space on my computer. I’ve gotten rid of as much as I can (all my old blog posts that are freelance articles are deleted and no movies are actually stored on my laptop), but I’m still down to less than 10GB of storage left. I’ve tried to find more and more to delete, but I’m pretty limited in what I can get rid of and still be able to work.

I also can’t upgrade my operating system because of the lack of storage, so not everything is running as smoothly as it should. My computer can be very slow and laggy at times, especially while I working. It’s so annoying to always have to tell customers on the phone that they have to hold while a website loads on my computer.

Obviously, the clear answer to my problems is to get a new laptop. And that’s totally my plan. I have enough money for a new one (thanks to all the money I saved for my taxes that I didn’t end up needing) and I pretty much know exactly what I’m going to get. I want another MacBook Pro and I’ll be upgrading the storage and memory (which will be quadruple what I have now) so the new laptop lasts me at least another 6 years.

The only problem is that the most recent MacBook Pro was released about a year ago. They are no longer current machines and a new one is supposed to be released really soon. But really soon is a pretty open-ended phrase. I thought they would be released before the holidays last year. Then I thought they’d be released in April. Now the rumor is they will be released in June.

I don’t know how much longer I can wait on getting a new laptop. My current one with no storage is getting to the point where it isn’t very functional for me. It would be a perfect machine for someone who doesn’t have several thousand photos that they keep on it. And I’m hoping a friend will buy the old machine from me when I get the new one because it really is a great laptop for someone who doesn’t have the same storage needs as me.

But for now, I’m dealing with a pretty glitchy set up. And last night, because somehow 4,000 of my photos disappeared, I spent my night watching my computer restore itself to an old backup in the hopes that whatever happened will be fixed.

Computer Restore

I will probably be jumping for joy the day the new MacBook Pros are announced and will be ordering one the second I’m able to. I can’t wait to be impressed by how much better a new computer will be for me!

Hanging Out With Unite For Strength (or Talking About The Union)

Remember how the other day I blogged about skipping a couple of actor events? I definitely made up for it over this past weekend! Not only did I have the Netflix event on Saturday, there was a fun get together with fellow actors who also were part of the Unite For Strength slate when we had the SAG-AFTRA elections last summer!

Technically after the SAG-AFTRA convention my work as a delegate was done. I can try to join different committees and I can be as involved in various events as I’d like (just like any other SAG-AFTRA member), but there are no other responsibilities as a delegate other than to represent my fellow actors at the convention and to vote on different things at the convention with their best interest in mind.

Since my delegate work was done, I’m so glad that this gathering was organized for us to see each other again and to discuss recent or upcoming union issues. It was held at the house of one of the actors who ran on the Unite For Strength slate and it was pretty casual. There was a ton of food (I feel bad that I didn’t bring anything with me) and it almost felt more like a reunion than anything else. Most of the people there were people I hadn’t seen since the convention because I have not been as active in the union as I was hoping to be so far.

We’ve had a lot of things happening in SAG-AFTRA lately. One of the biggest, and saddest, things that has happened since the convention was the passing of Ken Howard who was the SAG-AFTRA President. It was a big blow to all actors when Ken passed away. He was an amazing advocate for actors and he was one actors who helped to get the merger of the unions to happen. I know that we all miss him and while we know that the new president, Gabrielle Carteris, will do an amazing job we all wish that he was able to complete the term he was elected into.

On a happier note, the union is celebrating the very recent passing of the new commercials contract. This contract will give us raises in our work and will also help to protect us as actors in the new landscape of commercials. Since there are digital commercials (like what you see on YouTube or Hulu) plus ads through social media (like twitter and Facebook), we need to have policies in place for those and this new contract is getting that started. The new contact was passed by over 92% of those who voted, but we are all a little saddened that only 13% of those who could vote did so. We were trying to share ideas of how to encourage our fellow actors to vote because I feel like more actors should be voting on major issues like new contracts.

Along with the commercial contract, we also were discussing the Best In The Biz campaign that SAG-AFTRA has to help organize commercials to get them organized as union contracts. When I was non-union, there were quite a few non-union commercials, but now it seems like non-union commercials are a bigger percentage of commercials than ever. Non-union commercials can pay actors whatever they want and don’t have to follow the same rules as far as how long they can run the commercials or residuals.

I did a non-union commercial back in 2007, and it’s actually still running now. When I did that commercial, I made $500 for the day (which I was so happy about) and didn’t think about it. But since it was non-union, I haven’t gotten any residuals for the 9 years it has run so far and I have no idea how long they will continue to run it. And while it’s on the air, it’s considered a conflict for any products that might be a competitor. I didn’t realize what I had done when I did that commercial, but that’s why I’m so passionate about getting commercials organized to be union and not non-union. I don’t want to see other actors get into deals like I had and aren’t making what is fair for that job. Major multi-million dollar corporations are doing non-union commercials and there is no reason for them to not be union.

There is also currently a campaign to get Spanish-language jobs to be union so those actors get the same pay and benefits as the actors who work on English-language jobs. I don’t know too much about this situation, but I agree that all actors should be equal under contracts. You shouldn’t be paid less (or not get eligibility for union benefits like health insurance and pension) because a show is in Spanish and not English within the same studio system.

The last thing I got to hear about was the new opportunities that there are for union actors to volunteer within the MOVE (Members Organizing Volunteer Efforts) program. I have signed up to be a part of MOVE and I do get the emails about the various events. So far, they have been when I couldn’t attend. But I’m really hoping to be able to join something soon. Just this past weekend, they helped the post office sort donations that were given during the Stamp-Out Hunger drive where people in LA left canned goods in a paper bag for their postal carrier to take. I wanted to help, but I had the Netflix event at lunchtime and then I had to go straight from that to a babysitting job. But they have other programs like the Senior Buddies and attending various charity walks that I think I might be able to do at some point this year.

I’m hoping that we can have another hangout like this in the near future. It’s a great way for me to stay informed about what is happening in SAG-AFTRA and then I can share that knowledge with others. There’s always a ton happening in the union (and we get a lot of emails every day), so I know that people might miss things from time to time. I want to continue to be a leader for others within the union and to help promote events and issues that I think other actors need to be aware of or to take action upon.

Netflix Luncheon (or Rebels and Rule Breakers)

Through both SAG-AFTRA and WIF I got email invites for an event that Netflix was hosting this past weekend that featured the women of Netflix shows. The event was a luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire hotel and since the luncheon technically didn’t start until noon, I figured I should accept the invite because my work shift would be ending at 11am that day (I don’t miss work to attend events so I do miss out on a bunch).

There was free valet for attendees at the hotel, but it was so packed that it almost took me 30 minutes to get into the valet area and get out of my car! Fortunately, the pre-reception was still going on when I arrived so I checked in at the front, got my table number, and headed inside the room where the event was.

Netflix Event Beverly Wilshire

I had never been inside the Beverly Wilshire before, so I was so impressed by the space and the set up in the room. There was a bar for drinks, but I ended up spending my time before the luncheon started looking for friends of mine. Fortunately, since there were invites from a couple of different organizations I ended up knowing quite a few people there. Most of them were people I knew from the SAG-AFTRA convention because they were there representing the union at the luncheon.

At noon we were instructed to go to our tables and sit down so the presentation and lunch could start. At each of our seats, we had a card that on one side had the people who would be speaking and on the other side the menu of the lunch.

Netflix Speakers Neflix Menu

I knew who would be there speaking ahead of time because it was on the invite for the event, but I was still so excited to hear everyone speak. The panel was done in 2 segments and each woman there shared a bit of her story and a bit about how she feels about being a rebel. Being a rebel in the entertainment industry can mean so many things, and each of them had such a wonderful viewpoint. I loved hearing about how women are afraid not to be polite so they don’t try for things or ask things that might be a bit bold. While women shouldn’t worry about always being polite, there’s no need to not be gracious. Being polite and gracious are different things, and I never thought about that.

I’ve always been scared to not be polite, so this was really hitting home for me. I know I’ve been paid less than my co-workers because I didn’t want to see rude or pushy to ask for a raise. I’ve been treated badly at day jobs because I didn’t want to make a fuss and tell HR that I’m being harassed. I’ve tolerated guys saying pretty bad things to be because I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t being nice because I’ve heard far too many stories of women being shot or attacked by men after they reject them (because to some men, rejection is rude and women shouldn’t do it).

I had already been making strides to being more bold in the past. More recently, I’ve been very outspoken about friends that I’ve wanted to work on projects with. The short film I’ll be starring in soon is because on a phone call with my friend Christopher I said that I was mad that he and I hadn’t worked on a project yet. He said he didn’t have anything that fit me, but next thing I knew our short film was written and now we are in pre-production. I’m going to be in another short film this year because when a friend mentioned that they were working on getting it to pre-production I asked what part there is for me. That isn’t the nicest way to ask, but it was effective and I’ll be playing a small part in that film now.

This entire luncheon was so empowering and really got me thinking about how I need to work on finding the balance between being polite (which is what I’ve been told I have to be) and being pushy (which is what I need to be to help further my career). I don’t have the answer on what that balance should be, but honestly I hadn’t been working hard enough in the past on this to make it work for me. I’m so inspired by what all these women said at this luncheon. I know that if I make a couple of small changes in how I interact with others (and how I network) that it can be a huge impact in the auditions I’m getting and the parts that are being offered to me.

The panel part of the luncheon was only about an hour or so long and after it was done we all were told to head back up to where the pre-reception was for desserts and drinks. I was able to find more of my friends at that point and I think all of us were equally inspired by what we heard (both men and women were at the event and I only heard very positive things from everyone).

We know that diversity is more than just women, but getting more women filmmakers and having women’s stories told in film and tv is important. Just this week, a pilot for a new tv show was rejected because it skewed too female. That’s is horrible. I’ve never heard of a pilot being rejected because it was too male. There’s also all the hatred that I don’t understand toward the all-female “Ghostbusters” movie. Some people don’t think that women need to look up to other women or are complaining that men have nobody to relate to in that movie (there are male characters and if they have to watch an all-male cast they can watch the original movie). And some people think that while women will watch shows about men, men won’t watch them about women. This has been proven wrong by movies like “Bridesmaids” that have been big successes.

These are all attitudes that need to change in order for more women to be writing projects, directing projects, and playing characters that are no just the girlfriend or the pretty one to look at. I feel like this change has started, but there are so many voices speaking negatively regarding gender diversity in film and tv (who want to keep it male centric) and I hope that those people will see that putting more women in front or behind the camera will not diminish men but will in fact create more projects that everyone can be in.

 

Very Belated New Years Cheesecake (or A Birthday Twin Dinner)

My birthday twin Joanna and I really do try our best to have our 2 traditions each year. We always do our birthday dinner at Truxton’s together and we have also done a dinner at the Cheesecake Factory around New Years for the past few years. Joanna and I are both busy people, and somehow this year we missed our New Years hangout.

So Joanna and I were finally able to schedule a dinner this past week at the Cheesecake Factory. Because of where we were both working earlier in the day, we went to the one in Sherman Oaks instead of the one at the Grove that we normally go to. But that actually worked out well because my friend Kelly was our server!

Joanna’s been doing some pretty awesome stuff. She just went on a trip to Paris where her parents have a 1/8th share of an apartment. So they invited her to join them and she had an amazing trip! She’s also going to be an aunt soon so we were talking about that.

She wanted to hear all about the Kickstarter for the short film and the short film itself. We both had some crazy actor and audition stories and those are always fun to share as well! It’s just nice that even if we only see each other a couple of times a year, we always pick back up where we left off. And with social media, it does feel like we’ve been in touch more recently than our birthdays last year.

I’ve been working hard at eating better, but obviously I knew that going to the Cheesecake Factory that I would have to be ok with not making all the best choices. I’m glad they have a skinny menu where everything is closer to a reasonable calorie count (600 instead of over 2000 for a meal). I actually really like their skinny salads and since those are about 600 calories it wasn’t the worst choice possible. Joanna got spring rolls and we both were feeling like we had at least tried to eat properly before we indulged in cheesecake.

I think we have both agreed that the red velvet cheesecake is one of the most amazing things out there. It’s a total calorie bomb, but totally worth having it once a year. We have done a couple of other cheesecakes too, but since we’ve had a couple of bad tasting ones we don’t usually stray too far from what we normally order.

But this time we tried to find something new and we asked Kelly for her help. She told us some of the cheesecakes that she likes and that she notices a ton of people order, and we ended up deciding on getting the banana cheesecake and the red velvet one.

Before we split them so we each got half, I got a picture of our insane desserts (since I totally forgot to get a picture of my salad before I dug into it).

Cheesecake

Since we each get half of each piece, it’s still the same as eating one giant piece of cheesecake. We both made a good dent in our pieces, but neither of us could finish. It think that the banana one was a good choice to go with the red velvet since the red velvet is so heavy and the banana one reminded us both of a banana creme pie. We have thought about skipping real food and only getting cheesecake, but I think that I really don’t need that much cheesecake and at least I was filled up on a salad instead of a dessert.

After we were done at dinner, Joanna had a coupon for DSW and was going to check out what shoes they had on clearance. I decided to tag along and tried to help her find some really cute shoes. She ended up with some adorable blue suede flats that I’m thinking I might want to try to find in my size too!

After shoe shopping, we were both super full from dinner and knew it was time to say goodbye. It was awesome getting to hang out with Joanna for the evening and since our birthdays aren’t that far from now, I know I’ll get to see her again soon. We’ve said for a while that we want to add a fun fall and spring adventure so we get together more than twice a year. But I’m still just so happy that I’ve got these traditions with her and that even if we are very belated in doing them, we both love these hangouts!

A Shorter Workout Week (or Trying To Go All Out)

This week I did 3 workouts. Since I’ve had a couple of 4 workout weeks back to back (and the Dri-Tri), I was happy to go a bit easier this week. My body was definitely feeling the 4 workout weeks, but even though I was in a bit more pain than usual this past week I didn’t take it too easy.

Monday’s workout was a power day that didn’t switch sides between blocks. I would have really liked to have switched between blocks because doing the 30 minutes straight on the treadmill isn’t the easiest thing for me, but I did the best that I could. We had short push to all out segments (that’s basically what cardio is like on power days). I really wanted to do well on the push to all out segments because these shorter ones are the times that I can try to bump up the speed, but my body wasn’t having it. In fact, I had to do some of the segments slower than normal (basically not increasing the speed for the all outs like I normally do).

While the cardio segment was a bit weaker than normal, I did some great work on the floor. For my pullovers, I was able to use 25 pounds and actually felt like I might have been able to do it with the 30 pound weight. But since the 30 pound weights aren’t kept over by the weight benches, I didn’t think to grab it to try it. But if I’m feeling this strong this week, I’m going to see about grabbing some of the bigger weights. My chest work was done with 20 pounds and my row work was done with 20 pounds until my arms got too tired and I downgraded to 15 pounds. And we did have some sprint rows of 200 meters, but that wasn’t a big deal to me since we had done 2000 meters at the Dri-Tri.

Wednesday was a fun day. It was an endurance run/row day. I didn’t get that far down the chart for the run/row, so I pretty much was doing .25 miles on the treadmill (at 6%) followed by 500 meter rows and then .2 miles on the treadmill followed by 400 meter rows. I think I did the first treadmill distance twice and the first row distance once (and the opposite for the second round). The rows were a bit longer than I usually like, but again I was trying to compare the distance to what I was doing at the Dri-Tri so I wasn’t feeling too bad. On the floor, we had some really long blocks. One of the toughest things we had to do was during one block between every move we had to do walk out push ups. You start standing up, then you walk your hands out until you are in a plank, then do a pushup, and finally walk your hands back to get back to the start. Those are not easy and my shoulders get really tired, but I didn’t give up and even did my push ups on my toes instead of my knees. We ended our floor block doing 3 minutes of abs using a medicine ball (I was using a 10 pound one).

After class on Wednesday, I took a quick photo with my friends Dani (who took class with me) and Polly (who was taking the next class).

Triple Buddy Challenge

The three of us are doing the triple buddy challenge that Orangetheory is doing right now (it actually ends on Wednesday this week). We aren’t going to win the challenge, but I still wanted to get a team picture. My two partners have pushed me to do more workouts than I was planning on doing and I worked extra hard because of them. Even though we aren’t going to win, I’m so proud of all of us and I hope there is another challenge coming up that we can be a team for again!

Friday’s workout was a Friday the 13th theme. It started out with a trick. Normally if you are warming up on the treadmill, you start with cardio. But after the warm up, all the treadmills were brought over to the floor and the rowers got on the treadmills. There were 8 blocks total (4 on the floor and 4 on cardio), but we switched after doing 2 blocks on each thing (so we did 2 on floor, 2 on cardio, 2 on floor, and finished with 2 on cardio). I really don’t like starting on the floor, but I tried my best and was just happy that we were switching so I wasn’t going to end my workout with 30 minutes straight on the treadmill.

On the floor, we did a lot of plank work (I’m starting to get back to being on my toes and not having my calf hurt too much), arms, and using the TRX straps to do rows. But we had an entire block dedicated to work on the Bosu. We did Bosu burpees and Bosu pushups (one hand on the floor and the other on the Bosu) back and forth for about 5 minutes. That block was crazy and I was so tired after we completed it! On the treadmill, 2 of the blocks were a run/row that included 13 in it. So we had 1:30 minute row, 1:30 all out on the treadmill at 13%, and 130 meter rows. The run/row was pretty short so my hips weren’t hurting too much. The rest of the treadmill was a lot of push to all outs with a bit of walking recovery. Despite the fact that I started on the floor, since the treadmill time was pretty limited my hips didn’t start to hurt until the last 5 minutes on the treadmill. I’m pretty grateful for that because I know that it can be a lot worse than that and my power walking can suffer when I hurt.

I could have added a 4th workout this past week, but I’m glad that I’m taking the time to recover and get ready for the week. I’m not sure if this week I’ll do 4 workouts or not, but I’ve got a really busy week and I know that the stronger I am the better I can get through my week!

Cast and Crew Read Through (or We Get To Make A Movie!)

First of all, thank you to everyone who reads this blog who donated to the Kickstarter for “Single Parent Date Night”! I’m overwhelmed by how many of you wanted to help us and how you’ve all supported us in this campaign (and how you all tolerated the million posts we all made about it). I’m so happy that we made it to our goal and we get to make this film happen!

But if you are reading this on Friday (the day I post it), we still have some time left in the campaign and can use every dollar we get. The $2200 we asked for (which will be less than that after the Kickstarter fees are taken out) is the bare minimum we need to make the movie. We’d love to have any extra money so we can use it for any emergency costs that come up and to submit this film to film festivals when it’s completed. So if you can donate any amount (seriously, $1 is so helpful!), please do so before the campaign ends! And if you are reading this after the campaign ended but still want to help, contact me and I can see what else we can arrange.

Beyond the Kickstarter, we’ve been working on getting this movie ready to be made! Our director and producer (both of whom rock!) have been working on getting the film crewed up. It was tough to do that before we knew we’d reach our Kickstarter goal, but things are starting to come together. We are looking at an early June shoot date and I can’t wait to be filming this!

I had a meeting this week with the director, producer, and my co-star/writer of the film. This was the first time we had all been together since shooting our Kickstarter video and I’m glad we were able to all be together again. We had to discuss some Kickstarter stuff, but that was just a little part of the meeting. The real reason for the meeting was to do the first official cast and crew read through of the movie!

Read Through

Christopher (the writer and my co-star) and I have met to do a read through before, but that was also a slightly different version of the script. We also had done that read through before we got our director and producer involved so it had been a while ago. So it was great to get together to read the script out loud and for our director and producer to hear it spoke for the first time.

Fortunately, everything went really smoothly. The script doesn’t need to have many changes made to it so we are pretty set with how it is right now. And by saying the script out loud, Christopher and I were able to work on the rhythm of the script and to work on where the comedy is in it versus the serious moments. And our director asked Christopher and I some really great questions about our characters and I really had to think about some of the answers. I’m definitely realizing now that I haven’t done enough script work on the script and I’m going to focus on that for the next week or so.

I think that we read through the script maybe 4 or 5 times (it’s easy to do with a short film and while sitting at a table instead of going from location to location) and I think that we are really off to a good start to this production. I know that things will keep going smoother as we rehearse more and once we start performing at the locations instead of at a table (some of the comedy will come from the locations), but I just feel really good about this already. Christopher and I really work well together (which is lucky since this is the first project we’ve ever worked on together and we didn’t audition to see how we worked as a pair), and I think that even if the part hadn’t been written for me that this is a part that I would have gotten from an audition. It really fits me well and I think it showcases me nicely as a comedic actor.

I think I might have forgotten how much I love working on a project that is more than just showing up on the day and doing something really quickly. I miss the prep work and rehearsals that larger projects have. While I love any job I get and am grateful for every single one, this is such a different experience than booking a job after a very quick audition and not working with the cast and crew until when you arrive on set (and a lot of time that time on set is extremely limited). But now, I get to spend a lot of time with the script and we have rehearsal time to figure out how to make this film the best it can possibly be.

The next steps for us will first be to get the Kickstarter done (which will be at 5pm today) and then get those funds as well as the personal funds we are using together to finalize our budget and hire our crew. Things will be happening pretty quickly between now and the shoot date, but I really couldn’t be more excited about it all! This is exactly what I want to do with my life and I’m lucky enough that a friend wrote a script for us so I could live my dream (even if it’s only for a little bit).

Thank you again all so much for supporting our Kickstarter and I can’t wait to blog about each step of the way of making this movie! I hope that you enjoy following this process as much as I love being a part of it!

Missing Out On Some Fun (or Flexible Time Management)

This week has been a pretty crazy busy week for me. I’ve been very busy with the day jobs, including learning how to do a new task for my research job. I now have 4 extra hours a week plus a new aspect of my job that takes up 50% of my hours. I’ve done some phone training, but we’ve also had a bunch of technical issues and it’s required so many phone calls and emails back and forth (I’m so grateful that my boss is chill about all this).

I’m very happy to have the new tasks and the additional hours because the extra money helps and I want to make sure that this day job continues beyond when my contract ends in October. But learning new things and trying to balance the hours split between the two jobs for one job has been a bit much. I’m finally starting to get into a good groove with the new work and things are much more normal, but that definitely affected the beginning of my week.

And the beginning of this week was supposed to be pretty packed with social events. But because of the stress I was dealing with from the job, I had to make the decision not to go to them.

I’m not too happy about missing the events. Both of them were actor events. And I know I’m been slacking a bit with my acting career lately. I need to make more of an effort to make my career a priority. But that’s not easy when the money-making jobs need to happen too. I thought I had figured out a good balance, but all the technical issues really made me have to reorganize my time and figure out what things had to be sacrificed. And sadly, the free acting related things had to be sacrificed over the money-making jobs.

Time management isn’t usually my weakness, but I’ve realized that flexible time management is. I get my schedule set for the week (or day), but I don’t allow for issues to come up. I have to get from one thing to another really quickly at times, and if there is a delay it can affect multiple things at once. The delay isn’t usually traffic (I typically give myself double the time I’m expecting it to take to get somewhere), but something in my life that stops me in my tracks and requires my attention before I can move on. Sometimes, these things aren’t avoidable like health issues (panic or gallbladder attacks can easily ruin an entire day). But I need to be aware of other issues that might need extra time and to build that into my day at some point.

I am glad I stayed home to work on the things I had to do, but I can’t help but feel that there may have been another way for me to deal with them and still make it to the events that I want to go to. I’ve been looking at my upcoming calendar and the fun events I have planned. I want to make sure that I can add in some flexible time in there to help make sure that I can do whatever needs to be done without missing out on the events.

I think the reason why this has never really been an issue for me before is that I’ve never been as busy as I’ve been lately. I miss the days where I only had 1 day job and that was it. It was super easy to schedule around that because my hours were pretty set and nothing would change. While my box office job hours don’t change (unless they need me to cover for someone or I have to make up hours), my research hours can be at any time. I try to do them around the same time as the box office job, but sometimes they have to be done late at night. I try to keep things as stable as possible, but life happens and since my job isn’t restricted to certain hours I can’t say that if I miss work at a certain time that I get to skip it. I have to find the time to make it up.

I can’t go back in time to fix the scheduling issues so that I could attend the events that I wanted to go to. All I can do is learn from the mistakes that I made (or the issues that I experienced) and try to make things better for me for the future. Hopefully, I can find a great way to balance out life and work and I can make acting events a priority in my life again.

Helping A Friend With Their LA Bucket List (or Hot Dogs, Tar Pits, and Ocean Views)

My blogger buddy Lyndsay is leaving LA soon. She and her boyfriend are moving to Las Vegas at the end of the month and while I’m excited for them, I’m sad she’s leaving the area. Although, I’ll admit that while Lyndsay and I only live about a mile apart, we rarely get to see each other in person. So when I found out that she is leaving, I knew we had to hang out.

So this past Sunday we decided to go on an adventure to help her experience some awesome LA stuff before she moves away. She didn’t have a ton of ideas of places that she wanted to go to (we worked on that while we were hanging out on Sunday), but she did have a few restaurants on her list. And one of those restaurants was Pink’s Hot Dogs. I hadn’t been there for a while, so I was excited to go with her!

The line at Pink’s wasn’t too horrible, but it was still about 45 minutes before we got to order. Lyndsay got a bacon chili dog and I got the Lord of the Rings dog. I get the Lord of the Rings dog every time because it’s so awesome! It’s a hot dog with BBQ sauce and onion rings. Definitely not the best thing to eat, but as a super occasional treat it’s not too bad. We also got some chili fries to split between us.

Pink's Hot Dogs

My hot dog was just as delicious as it was the last time I had it (which was several years ago) and the fries were good, but I was pretty full from the hot dog so we didn’t eat a ton of them. And I think that Lyndsay agreed that even though we had to wait in line, the wait was worth it because the hot dog was so awesome!

After we were done with our hot dogs, we were trying to think of where we should go next. Both of us were lacking in money, so we were trying to think of free things around where we were that were fun to go to and Lyndsay hadn’t seen yet. We finally realized that we were right by the La Brea Tar Pits, and since Lyndsay had never been there we went right over.

We didn’t go into the museum there (they were closing as we arrived plus that costs money), but we walked around the tar pits.

Tar Pits

It was looking more watery than like tar, but it was still a landmark for Lyndsay to see and a check off of the LA bucket list that she was creating as we were going on our adventure!

After the tar pits, we were stuck again for what to do next. It seemed like everything we were thinking of cost money. But after a couple of minutes we decided to take a drive up to the Bird Streets.

If you aren’t too familiar with LA, the Bird Streets are the streets in the Hollywood Hills above the Sunset Strip with some of the most amazing city and ocean views. Homes there are pretty expensive (when we searched online out of curiously, the range was $12-25 million) but they are pretty cool to check out. We knew we wouldn’t get to go into any of the houses there, but we figured we’d drive up to the one that was for sale for $25 million and see what the view was like from the street.

The drive up there was pretty fun. We were checking out cool looking houses on the way and saw some really fun new houses that were being built (it seems like people who spend $12 million might consider it a tear down, which is insane). The $25 million house was at the top of the hills at a dead-end street, but as soon as we turned around to face going back down the hill, we were not disappointed by the view.

Bird Streets

Even though it was an overcast day, we still had an ocean view. And when we looked the other direction, we could see downtown LA. Obviously the house is ridiculously expensive, but that view is really a million dollar view. I had never really explored the Bird Streets before, so going on this drive was a new adventure for me as well. And it was totally worth it.

Our final adventure was going out of the Hollywood Hills and into the hills right next to them. My great-grandparents (my mom’s grandparents) had a house over there and a couple of years ago I was able to go inside the house with my mom to see what it looked like. My mom talked to the guy who owned the house then, and he was happy to let us in to see what it looked like at that point. My mom loved it because so much of the house still looked the same as it did when her grandparents owned it. We had taken some pictures and said goodbye to the owner.

This time, it looks like someone else owns the house. We did a bit of research and it is now a rental house that rents for a lot of money. We actually saw people walking in and out of the house, but I didn’t want to bother them (plus it seemed weird to do that), so I just took a picture of the outside so I could text it to my mom.

Great-Grandparent's House

After that stop, it was getting a bit late and I knew I had to get home. So Lyndsay and I headed back to our part of town and we said goodbye. She’s got a bit more time in LA before she leaves and I promised to help her check off a few more things on her list, so hopefully I’ll have another blog post soon with another of our adventures!