Category Archives: Acting

Vulture Festival (or TV Writers and A Sing-A-Long)

This past weekend was the Vulture Festival in LA. This was the first year that the event was held in LA and I was invited to come check it out! Vulture Festival is a weekend-long pop-culture event with panels featuring actors, writers, directors, and other people involved in film and TV. I was super excited to check this out and even more excited that I was invited to be press coverage there!

It still makes me a bit giddy to get a press pass for something and this time it allowed me to attend different panels. There weren’t reserved seats for press, so I tried to get there early for the panels I was attending. But because this happened on what ended up being a crazy busy weekend for me, I could only attend 2 panels (one on each day).

The panel I attended on Saturday was with Damon Lindelof (the creator/writer of Lost, The Leftovers, and lots of other amazing shows) and Mike Schur (the creator/writer of The Good Place, Parks and Recreation, and other hit shows).

This panel ended up being pretty incredible. While they both talked about their shows and they had a really great working relationship together, I really appreciated how they discussed the state of the industry. They discussed all the various sexual harassment issues happening now and they both acknowledged that they were a part of the problem. It takes a really good person to admit that you have done things that now looking back could be sexual harassment and that the other person involved might have felt like they couldn’t say anything because the person saying it was someone in power.

They also discussed how one way to stop the power issues that cause sexual harassment is to have more diversity in the writers room and in powerful positions. If it is a boys’ club, there is a risk of that mentality becoming something that isn’t positive. But if women are viewed as equals in the industry, this problem hopefully will decrease.

But there was a lot of funny stuff discussed too. Mike Schur talked about how Damon Lindelof helped him when he was creating The Good Place. And they both talked about how series finales of shows can cause lots of debate. While I haven’t watched a lot of their shows, I was inspired leaving this panel to watch more of them because I want to support creators/writers who really are good people and want to make this industry a more accepting and supportive environment.

And on Sunday, I got to go to the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Sing-A-Long panel.

I knew this one was going to be packed, so I got there early to get a good seat. I lucked out by getting a seat on the end of the second row. This panel included actors, writers, choreographers, producers, and creators of the show. They talked about a lot of things about having a musical comedy on tv like how sometimes the songs are finished the night before the actor has to record them. They also discussed how the show has taken a more serious turn but that there is still comedy in those darker moments.

And throughout the entire panel, they had sing-a-longs with different songs of the show. Most of the time, the actor that sang it in the show sang it at the panel too. But a lot of people in the audience sang too (I didn’t since my singing voice is horrible). But to me, I loved watching how much everyone who wasn’t singing loved seeing their co-stars and co-workers singing their hearts out and having fun.

It’s so clear that everyone on this show has a blast working on it and they know how lucky they are to be a part of something so special. I can only hope to get to be a part of something like this one day.

And one of the coolest things that happened at the panel was that they premiered a song that will be coming up on the show. It was the first time it had been shown and most of the actors hadn’t seen the final cut either. Everyone on stage and in the audience was laughing so hard and I can’t wait for this episode to air (I believe it is the next episode).

I really wish that I had been able to attend more panels over the weekend. I heard amazing things about so many other panels but the schedule just wasn’t going to work for me. But now I know to be on the lookout for when the Vulture Festival will be back in LA because I want to save the entire weekend for it! It was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt and I wish I had more time to explore there. I had only been there once or twice before and I wanted to check out more. There was also an event after each panel at the pool that I had to skip out on because of needing to get back home.

But even though my time at the Vulture Festival was limited, I had a great time and left feeling very inspired and creative. That’s exactly how I want to feel every day!

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Final Union Working Meeting For 2017 (or A Commercial Roundtable)

I’ve been so lucky to get to be a part of Union Working for a while now. Their meetings are always so inspiring and I’ve learned so much from attending. I’ve made some awesome friends and I’ve been getting more and more involved with the union, which has been a goal of mine for a while. I know that there is much more that I can do, but I’m taking steps in the right direction.

The meetings for Union Working are about every 6 weeks and the meeting this past week was the last one for this year. It seems like a lot of things are winding down because of the holidays but I know that it will be back in the new year. But since this was the last meeting for the year, the group did one of the best meetings they’ve ever had as a 2017 finale.

Usually the meetings have a guest speaker who answers questions from the group about what is happening in the entertainment industry. A lot of the focus is on what is happening with commercials but other things come up too. But for this meeting there was a roundtable discussion. So instead of just one guest there were multiple guests. And the questions were asked to everyone so we could see how different people in the industry have different answers and they got to learn from each other as well.

In the roundtable we had staff from SAG-AFTRA (even though the group is not officially affiliated with the union we do have staff members who have spoken before), casting directors, agents, actors, and even the creator of one of the online submission services that is used for submitting actors for auditions. It was a really great variety in the panel and I was impressed by who they were able to get.

There were a lot of topics that we’ve heard about before, but it’s always great to hear someone else’s perspective. And to listen to the people on the panel debate amongst each other was interesting. Sometimes they helped to form ideas as a group that could help actors together. Or they learned why one idea or another wouldn’t work based on what we as actors have access too. And some of them weren’t aware of all the limits or abilities of the union so I’m glad that information was able to be shared with them.

The idea of this meeting wasn’t necessarily to walk away with actionable steps but to leave with ideas that we can use toward working on things for the future. I was more inspired than ever to keep working hard for my union and to keep trying to bring more people to Union Working meetings. When they start again in the new year, I want to try to get one friend to each meeting I go to. These meetings are great for members of the union but they are also great for those who aren’t members yet. There are many things I wish I had known when I wasn’t union. I probably would have been much smarter about my career and I probably would have joined the union sooner. But now that I’m in, I want to see all professional actors as union members so we can continue to strengthen the union.

There was a hangout at a bar after the meeting was over, but I needed to get home to get some work done and go to sleep. Last week was a bit of a rough week for me with sleeping due to the nausea issue so I really was making an effort to try to get to bed sooner than normal. I missed the social aspect of going to the meetings, but I know that leaving was the best thing for me and that I’ll have plenty more opportunities to go to bar hangouts when the meetings start up again next year.

Even though this is the end of the Union Working meetings for the year, it’s not the end of my involvement with them for the year. I was asked if I’d help out with some work that the group is doing and I’m pretty excited about that. I don’t have all the details about what I’m doing, but I’m just happy to be involved. That’s all I’ve wanted to do and it was an opportunity that presented itself to me and I’m taking advantage of it.

I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of this group. I’ve been able to do so much this year with them and I can’t wait to see what next year will bring for the group and for my involvement with them.

Enjoying The Gala (or Having An Awesome Friend Date)

I’ve already written about the SAG-AFTRA Convention, but I left out the gala. To me, the convention and the gala almost seem like separate events. Part of this could be because the gala is a ticketed event so not everyone who is at the convention goes. But to me it was a no-brainer that I’d be going to the gala again because I had such an amazing time the first time!

When you buy your tickets for the gala, you have the choice to get 1 ticket or 2. Last time, I got 1 because I really didn’t want to stress about finding someone to go with me and I was already overwhelmed about everything. But this time, I decided to be hopeful about what has been happening with my online dating adventures and got 2 tickets. And I did try to ask someone who I’ve gone out with a few times if he wanted to go with me, but that really didn’t work out.

So with my extra ticket, I decided that I should make it a really fun friend date! And fortunately my friend Ben was happy to come with me! Ben is also a delegate so he was already at the convention. And he and I have been saying that we were overdue for a hangout so this was the perfect opportunity for us to catch up!

Last time, the gala was at WB studios so I had to drive over from the convention. But this time, it was at Universal Studios and there was a shuttle from the Sheraton Universal to the gate so it was much easier to get to. And the union staff arranged for LA delegates who didn’t have time to go home to change to have a meeting room to use as a changing area. It made things super easy for us and I was ready to go right when the shuttles started.

When Ben and I got there, we lined up to check in and ran into a bunch of friends. And as soon as we passed the metal detectors the first thing we saw was the red carpet. I figured we should do photos while we still all looked really nice so we lined up for photos and the interviews they were doing.

At the end of the red carpet was the open bar. I enjoyed water while my friends got drinks. Even though I invited Ben to be my date for the night, I figured we both be off on our own (which would have been totally fine with me), but we ended up sticking together. It was awesome getting to hang out so much and we seemed to be pretty lucky with things. We went inside to the lobby of the Globe Theater (where the dinner was going to be) to check things out and the doors to the theater opened up right when we were at the doors! So we went inside and managed to get a table in the front and center of the room behind a reserved table.

At our table we had some friends that we knew as well as some new friends we just met. It was so nice having a fun night out where we weren’t worried about the politics of the union and just got to have fun. At the gala, they give out awards and things were split up a bit. We had some awards and then there was a break to go to the buffet for dinner. The food was really good (I think it was better than last time) and there was also a dessert buffet. And after we ate, the awards continued.

It was so fun watching the union honor those who have done awesome things. And having friends at my table was fun because we could chat to each other about the weird and cool things we were observing. And once the awards were done, it was time for dancing. But I was so tired that I decided against dancing. But I wanted to make sure I got some pictures with people while we were all dressed up and fancy!

Ben was leaving around the same time so we headed out together. And then we realized that we never took advantage of the photo booth setup that was near the red carpet. There was no line there so we were able to do a photo with each of the backgrounds they had for the green screen set up. And I think we were both feeling a bit crazy and tired so the photos are pretty weird even for me.

But they were awesome and I’m so glad we took an extra minute to do that before getting the shuttle back to the hotel. And once we got back there, I said goodnight to Ben (who had a meeting for convention that night super late) and I headed home to try to get some sleep before having to get up super early the next morning.

I had an amazing time at the gala. The gala on its own is already great, but getting to hang out with an awesome friend makes things so much better! And like I said in yesterday’s post, I’m already waiting for the next one in 2 years. I know I will be going to the gala again because it is one of the highlights for me for convention weekend.

It’s Convention Time (or I’ve Been Waiting 2 Years For This!)

This past weekend was the SAG-AFTRA National Convention. I was attending as a second term delegate and it was just as amazing as it was the first time. I honestly had been waiting for convention to happen again as soon as the last one was done and I am now already anxious for the next one in 2 more years!

Since this time I knew what the convention was going to be like, I was much more prepared for things. I planned out my schedule a bit better so I wouldn’t feel as overwhelmed and exhausted, but since I was battling a cold it was still a bit tough on me mentally and physically. But it was totally worth it.

Convention started on Thursday night with a cocktail party to meet my fellow delegates. Last time, I was feeling a bit nervous and stuck with mainly talking to the delegates I already knew. I also felt like I had arrived late so I was feeling a bit scattered. So this time I got there early so I wouldn’t be late and had time to get checked in for the convention to get all my things before the party started.

While at the party, I did talk to a lot of my friends who are delegates, but I did make an effort to meet new people too. I got to talk to a bunch of people from New York, Portland, and New Orleans and many of them were first time delegates. The best advice I could give to them that it was going to be so overwhelming but they would be wanting more when everything was done. Some of the smaller locals don’t have slates to help prepare new delegates for the convention like LA does, so I tried to do my part. I also found out over the few days of convention that some first time delegates found my blog post from 2 years ago to learn about what convention would be like. So if you are reading this 2 years from now to get ready for the 2019 convention, hi!

I didn’t stay out too late because I knew the next morning was going to be an early morning. I was going to work my day job from convention again and I was going to start 2 hours early to make up for any time that I was going to miss to vote. That meant getting up at 6am to be out the door by 6:45 to deal with rush hour traffic. It was a very early morning, but it worked out ok since I was able to get logged into work right on time and I got a great seat for the convention in the LA section!

I also spent a bit of time that morning checking out the expo since I missed that the last time. Most of the organizations weren’t set up that early on the first day, but there was a “Words of Wisdom” wall we could sign and since the convention hadn’t started yet I got to be the 3rd person to sign it.

I wrote on the bottom “Don’t forget to smile!”. I knew that it would be getting filled up throughout the convention, so I’m glad I got to sign it before a lot of the space was taken.

Once convention started, things moved pretty quickly. We had to do the elections for the various vice presidents which included the executive VP as well as the geographical and categorical ones. Fortunately, most of that time was spent in the main convention room as Los Angeles and the actor categories are the biggest one. And they made some changes to the voting this year so it was significantly faster. I thought I’d have to be away from work for maybe 20 minutes when it ended up being less than 5!

And after those elections, we moved on to the resolutions. This would take part of all 3 days of the convention and is pretty important. This is where we vote as representatives for other members on various issues. I take this seriously and spent time before convention reviewing all the information and seeking answers to questions that I had. And since I had my computer with me, I was able to text others that were there that know more than me if I had questions.

At the end of the first day, I then had to get ready for the gala. But that is going to be a post for tomorrow. But I was out pretty late that night and had another super early morning for day 2. And again, I had to work from the convention, but my work shift was only 3 hours instead of 7 so that was much better. And we had more resolution voting and then we had what so many of us considered one of the highlights of the convention: the food truck lunch!

I didn’t take any photos of lunch, but trust me, it was delicious! And it was a bit of a longer lunch break so I had some time to wander around before the next part of the convention started. I took advantage of the photo set up with the giant SAG-AFTRA card.

And I saw my friend Robert who was there volunteering as a member ambassador! He also ran as a delegate but wasn’t elected. But it made me so happy to see that he is still being super involved in the union and of course we had to take a photo together too!

I also had some time to check out the expo again and see what was set up there. I got some information on various union affiliated organizations and got some fun swag too. And while I was there, our National Executive Director David White was adding his words of wisdom to the wall. He is one of the most inspiring speakers at the convention and at any union event he’s at and I had to get a picture with him.

Day 2 ended with finishing as many resolutions as we could and then there was a film screening we could go to. I ended up skipping the screening because I was really tired, but I heard it was amazing and I’m a bit sad I didn’t go.

Day 3 was the last day of convention and started a bit later than the other days. I also didn’t have to work my day job so that was nice. While we had breakfast provided every morning, the last morning is the nicest breakfast and I was able to eat outside with some of my fellow delegates. It was a mix of people I already knew, people I met for the first time earlier in the convention, and people I was meeting for the first time at breakfast. We had an amazing conversation that really was what being at convention is all about. We learned about each other’s concerns about the industry and what we all want for the future. It’s just so inspiring and I love getting to be a part of that.

The last day was a mix of finishing the resolutions as well as some speeches. We got to hear the reports from the president, vice president, and secretary-treasurer. Those speeches had some really inspiring moments. One of my favorites was when Vice President Rebecca Damon used a “Hamilton” quote. She said how this convention room is the room where it happens. And she is so right and I feel so lucky that I am inside that room.

Once the convention was adjourned, all the LA delegates had to stay so we could take a photo. Since I’m one of the shorter delegates, I was up in the front again.

And then technically it was all over. I couldn’t believe that it was done. It felt like it was so fast and even though I was ready to sleep for 27 days in a row, I wanted more! But I wasn’t ready to leave because I wanted to make sure I got lots of photos with my friends there. Everyone at convention is someone who is inspiring, creative, and just awesome.

Officially, my time as a delegate is done. But there are lots of opportunities for me to stay involved and I’ve already been working on those. And before I know it, it will be election time again and I’ll be running for delegate again. Being involved in union service was not something I considered before my first term as a delegate, but now that I’m involved I don’t want to stop. I know that this second term is still only the beginning of my union service career and I can’t wait to see what is next for me!

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Another Goal Setting Session (or A Quarterly Check In)

The podcast I work for has started to do quarterly check ins/goal setting workshops, and we just had our 3rd quarter check in this past weekend. I hosted it again at my house (even though it means I have to clean it also means I don’t have to worry about getting somewhere) and we had a really great group at the workshop.

A lot of what we did this time was the same as last time, but that’s not a bad thing since we aren’t in the same place now as we were 3 months ago. We started with just chatting together and getting to know each other before we moved on to the more serious work. But since most of us didn’t know each other, getting to chat a bit helped to make us all comfortable since this can be very personal work and we didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable sharing.

The first thing we did was the 4 Tendencies quiz by Gretchen Rubin. This was the same quiz that we did last time and I had the same results that I had the first time. I wasn’t surprised since I was pretty strong in what tendencies I fit into the first time, but it was still cool to take it again to see what happened. And I believe that nobody else in the group had done this quiz before so it was fun watching them discover what each thing meant and what tendencies they fit into.

After that, we worked on our personal reviews of the past 3 months. This was broken down into multiple sections. First, we wrote down what didn’t work. I had a bunch of things to put in that section, but I realized that there was a theme when I was writing. So many things that didn’t work had to do with me not feeling like I deserve something or am worthy of something or that I was letting someone else set the rules and guidelines for the situation. Some of this was related to dating and some of this was related to work. But so many thing fit into those descriptions and I hadn’t realized that until I was writing it down.

Next we wrote down what is important to us right now in life. This was more varied for me than what didn’t work. I had things like being more open and honest, working on union work and my acting career, strengthening my relationships with friends and family, and working on my fitness.

The next section was a two-parter. First, we wrote down what we want. For me, that included having success in my acting career, living within my means, having healthy and happy relationships, and getting into recovery for my eating disorder. The second part was what we wanted to live through ourselves. I want generosity, helpfulness, and being of service to come through me. I know that those are all pretty similar, but I feel like when I can help that I am at my strongest so I want to do that as often as I can.

The final section was what is next for us for the next 3 months to bring us to the end of the year. And mine fell into the ideas that I had written in the previous sections. I want to stop tolerating mediocrity in myself and in others. I don’t want to give up control to others because that doesn’t do anyone any good to just go along with things. I want to be more active in multiple aspects of my life. And I want to work on living a full life and not to forget to have a life outside of the routine I’m already in.

After we went through those sections, everyone had the opportunity to share and everyone did share. All of us are working through very different things, but that didn’t mean we didn’t learn from each other. I was taking notes as everyone else was talking and I got some great ideas that I know I want to use for myself. And after we reviewed what we had written, we all worked on some action steps to take to make sure we work on what we had written. For me, the action steps all boiled down to one main idea: stop taking crap from people and when I want to be involved in something that I should not worry about it and go for it. Obviously that is easier said than done, but it has given me something to think about.

We ended the workshop with some visualization and discussion of affirmations. Even though I use a daily affirmation app, I got some ideas for affirmations that are more specific to me and I’m looking into how to create some sort of affirmation alert for myself that randomizes which one I see. I won’t have time to work on that for a little bit, but hopefully I can do it during this last quarter of the year.

Even though I’m pretty big on goal setting for myself, having these workshops is so amazing and I always learn so much from them. I learn more about myself and what I’m thinking about situations. And I learn how I want to change things and create real action steps that I can take to accomplish them. It’s very empowering and I’m already looking forward to the workshop we have for the first quarter of 2018!

Another Business Brunch (or A Delayed Mentoring Circle Meeting)

It’s been a little while since the last brunch for my Women In Film mentoring group. We were supposed to meet in August and had a date set for it, but all of us ended up being busy. Then we scheduled for September and again at the last minute we had to reschedule. But we were finally able to find a date that about half of us could meet this past weekend so we finally had our brunch meeting.

I actually parked right next to one of the other women from the group, so we walked over to the restaurant together. And while we were walking, we were both saying how happy we were that we were finally having this meeting. I think everyone in the group feels the same way I do with that these meetings are awesome. And we have all become friends so while it is a business thing, it’s still a social thing too.

There were 4 of us at the brunch this time and again I felt like I had nothing to tell everyone. Of course, I did have the union election to update everyone on and I was happy to share that I won my delegate seat. And since I had friends who ran and didn’t win a seat, I’m aware more this year than I was before about how lucky I am to be elected. It’s not a guarantee and I do appreciate my fellow union members voting me in. But I think I am extra appreciative this time when I know how much other people wanted to be elected who didn’t get it.

I also had a bit of a health update for everyone with having my next MRI scheduled. It’s coming up next month and then after that I’ll have the meeting with my surgeon. Everyone in my group wants to know what’s happening with me and I promised to tell them all as soon as I knew anything. I know they are all concerned about me and they are all hopeful that I will have news that the tumors shrank and not that I will need surgery.

It’s tough to be ok with such a limited update, but I know why things are this way. I still had to work to get back into things after thinking I was going to need surgery. I spent a lot of the summer working on my personal life and not my professional life. And the election took up a lot of my time as well. But I think that things are getting closer to normal now so I’m hoping that when we meet again that I will have a more substantial update.

But for me, I get so much more out of hearing what everyone else has to say. I love to hear how everyone else is succeeding in their career and it always inspires me. Even though we are all at different levels of our careers, seeing how people have progressed over the few years we have been meeting. One member of our group has been talking about a play that she wanted to try to get produced in New York since pretty much we started meeting. We’ve been loving her updates over the years and this time she announced that she has producers interested in helping her put the show on either on Broadway or in an off-Broadway theater! That’s amazing!

Hearing the other journeys gives me hope that being persistent and always working will pay off for me eventually. I know that an overnight success story isn’t reality (they say overnight success takes 10 years), but it can be tough trying to be patient. But knowing how others have made huge leaps over time keeps me motivated and makes me feel like I am doing the right thing. Even if my updates for the group are minor, there is always forward progress in my life and I do need to focus on that.

But besides the inspiration that I get from everyone else, I’m always just incredibly grateful for these brunches because of the friendships that I’ve formed out of this group. I know I say this almost every time I write about our meetings, but every time I meet with the group I feel even more grateful. It’s not easy to make new friends as an adult and even harder to make friends in the entertainment industry without one person worried that the other is trying to be friends for some other motive. But with this group, we are all in it to support each other and to get support when needed. Having such a pure and honest friendship is rare and special. And I’m always reminded how lucky I am each brunch we have.

Another Night Of Union Working (or Back To Back Union Events)

I’ve said several times that I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to get involved in the union and this week has been the perfect opportunity. I had the local board meeting/SAG-AFTRA Convention orientation one day and the next day was a meeting of the Union Working group!

I’m so glad that I’ve joined the Union Working group. It’s great having another opportunity to hang out with awesome people and to get to meet more like-minded people. But I’ve learned so much in my time in the group. There are things that the union has restrictions on doing because of our constitution or because of how certain things are handled in the entertainment industry. But as a non-partisan and not officially SAG-AFTRA group, Union Working doesn’t have those same restrictions. We can talk to people without having to worry about the official procedures or making sure that lawyers are there. So we are talking to people more freely and that allows us to know what the issues are and how we can fix them.

Each meeting has a focus and a guest, and this meeting was a bit different. The overall focus of the group right now is how to get commercials to be union more often (which is a big focus of SAG-AFTRA too). So this meeting had a lot of general overview of the issue of commercials being non-union, what is currently being done to work on this, and what we are going to be focusing on next. We learned about the process of what happens when a commercial tries to go from non-union to union and what we can do to help make that happen more often.

We had a couple of guests that spoke at this meeting including the Los Angeles local president of SAG-AFTRA, the chairperson of the commercial committee for the union, and a staff member from SAG-AFTRA who discussed members of the union who take non-union jobs. When you are a member of our union, you can’t work non-union work (or work off the card). And if you are found out, you have to face the disciplinary committee and can possibly be removed from the union. It’s a serious issue and it is not taken lightly by anyone.

It was great hearing the perspectives of different people on these issues. While most of us agree on things, each person has their own story of how things affected them or things they’ve experienced or witnessed. For me, I did a non-union commercial before I joined SAG-AFTRA. At the time, the payment I got for it seemed awesome. But I had no clue that the commercial would still be airing 10 years later. If this was a union project, I would have gotten residuals and payments as they continued to run it. But since it was non-union, I got the payment as a buyout and the commercial can run in perpetuity. While I don’t regret doing it, I learned a lot from it and want to share my experience with other actors so they can understand what can happen if they chose to do a non-union commercial with a buyout.

There were a few debates about things during the meeting, but even in the disagreements everyone was pretty much coming together. Compared to how us vs. them the election season was, having these types of debates was nice. Everyone won’t always agree on things, but disagreeing doesn’t always have to mean arguing. And I think that everyone learned things from others while at that meeting and we all have a lot to think about now.

The meeting was about 2 hours and then we had to leave because the space that we use had to close. But I know that we probably could have kept going for another hour or two because everyone is so passionate about making the union the best it can be and the strongest we can make it. Fortunately, many people at the meeting are also elected delegates so we can continue working hard at this when we are at the convention in 2 weeks. And because I’m a part of this group, I know that all the work I do at the convention will continue after because I will be bringing that knowledge to the meetings and continuing to educate myself.

I’m so lucky that I have friends who told me about the Union Working group because it is one of the greatest things I’ve done for my acting career lately. I’ve said I wanted to be more involved and I was presented a great way on how to do that. And I know that this group is going to continue to grow and make some amazing things happen for the union. I’m just so lucky that I will get to be a part of that.

Observing The Local Board Meeting (or The Beginning Of My Second Term As A Delegate)

After being elected as a SAG-AFTRA delegate, there’s only a short period of time before the National Convention. So it seems like every day I get more information and more emails and it can feel a bit overwhelming. Fortunately for me, this is my second time doing this so I feel much more prepared than I did 2 years ago. I’ve been trying to stay on top of emails and getting registered for things as they come up. But when all delegates were invited to observe the local board meeting which would include information on the convention after, I RSVPed right away.

I did this same thing 2 years ago but at that time I felt a bit uncertain about everything. I wasn’t sure if I was doing all that I needed to do and was nervous that I was already behind on things. This time, I went into the meeting knowing that I’m already registered for the convention, I know what dates it will be, where it will be, and ready to have the convention here because I know how much I loved it last time.

There was a dinner before the meeting, but I had a dentist appointment before and didn’t know if I’d feel up for having dinner (the dentist was fine and so normal that I’m not blogging about it). When I arrived at SAG-AFTRA, most people were still eating dinner so I headed to the boardroom to get a seat on the observer side. I was able to check in pretty quickly and got my name tag which made me feel pretty official.

The first part of the meeting was the official local board meeting. Since I am not a member of the local board, I was only there as an observer and wasn’t able to participate in much. But I still was able to learn a lot about things like the local committees, upcoming events, and what issues are of concern to the board. There were a few things being debated and many people had questions so it was interesting to be able to sit back and watch. It also made me hopeful that in the future I can observe more local board meetings because it is a great way to get informed on issues and be more involved.

After the board meeting was done, there was a quick break and then we got started on the discussion about the convention. It was almost like a mini-orientation on what to expect and what the schedule would be like. It was also a bit interactive with some fun quiz questions we could answer on our phones and the results would be up on the screen. Of course, we all had fun with those and answered with silly responses just to be entertaining.

It seems like the convention will be very similar to what it was like 2 years ago. We will be voting the same way we did before but we will have more amendments to our union constitution to vote on than last time. So as soon as those amendments are announced I’m going to take some time to take a good look at them all. I do take this seriously and I want to represent the LA actors to best of my ability.

This orientation is really the only time we have to officially get ready for the convention. Fortunately, I have many friends who are elected to higher positions in the union that I can go to if I have questions about things before the convention starts. And I do have the advantage this year of knowing what I’m in for and what I do need to prepare for. Last time, there were some things I over prepared for and some things I under prepared for. And because I will also be working my day job while at the convention (the benefits of working day jobs from my computer), I do need to be prepared.

It’s so crazy to think that in 2 weeks the convention will be starting, but I’m so excited. I’ve been looking forward to this since the convention ended 2 years ago and I can’t believe it’s already here again! I know that the next 2 weeks will fly by and soon I’ll be saying that I can’t wait for the next convention in 2 more years!

Audition Prep (or Taking My Career Seriously)

I’ve felt a bit out of the acting game lately. Doing all the work with SAGAFTRA does help, but it’s not the same as auditioning and working. Unfortunately, I don’t control when I get auditions or work so I have to just be grateful for when I get those opportunities.

Last week, I got an email from a casting director that I know socially but have never had the chance to audition for. They had a script with a character that they thought I’d be right for and they wanted to know if I was interested in auditioning. This was the first time this happened to me and it was really exciting! I wanted to say yes right away, but I also wanted to make sure I read the script. I did, I loved it, and I told them that I would love to audition! So it was set up through my agents and I got my scene to prepare for the audition.

I’m lucky with the auditions I normally get. They rarely are 1 or 2 line parts that are actually tougher to audition for because you can’t do too much. I get bigger auditions that have pages of dialogue to work with. When I have those bigger auditions, I have started to use an audition coach. As much as I know I can work on the audition on my own, it’s so much better to have some feedback.

But I’ve never used a coach for the smaller auditions. But for this audition, I really wanted to be as prepared as possible and to take things seriously. I need to make sure I maximize each audition chance I get, and this time I felt a little extra pressure because I know this casting director as a friend but he doesn’t really know me as an actor. Plus, since I was asked if I wanted an audition versus just getting an audition made it feel extra special and like I needed to be the best I could be.

I’ve got a few audition coaches that I know and that I’ve worked with before. So I sent out some emails to see who was available and could help me out. And I’m so lucky that Marci Liroff was able to help me! I’ve auditioned for Marci a couple of times in the past and I also took her audition bootcamp class a few years ago. So she knows my abilities as an actor and I know that I work well with her when she’s coaching me and guiding me into working a script.

I went to meet with her this Monday and it was exactly what I needed to do to get ready for my audition. I was apologizing for asking for coaching on such a small part (the audition scene is only about 6 lines), but she reassured me that it is totally fine and actually it is good to get coaching on auditions of any size. That made me feel so much better. I didn’t want to feel like I needed the help, but that I was using the help to improve what I can already do. And that was the sense that I was getting from Marci when I was meeting with her.

We started out with doing the scene simply and built it up from there. I had made a strong character choice but as we worked on it we realized that it wasn’t the right choice. Those are the sort of things you can only find out if you are working with a coach or someone else. You don’t get the same reactions if you are working on your own because you need someone to bounce things off of. We also practiced in what is closer to an audition setting with me walking in so I could get the flow of things down.

I had walked into the coaching session feeling like I had made a strong character choice but wasn’t feeling too certain about things. After working on the script with Marci for less than an hour, I felt super confident about how I was interpreting things and that I could feel that way in the audition room too. It’s amazing how powerful audition coaching can be and how it really does change how I felt before going into the audition.

I really think that I need to do coaching for my auditions from now on no matter how big or small the part is. Getting to work on the script is good, but just spending some time working is even better. The time I was working with Marci felt like being in class (it pretty much is like a private acting class) and it did make me happy getting to do that. It’s not free to get coaching, but it’s not outrageously expensive either. And if this is what I do as an acting class type thing, it’s cheaper for audition coaching than an ongoing class. I would like to be in class again one day, but right now the timing isn’t right.

But besides how getting audition coaching makes me feel, it’s also a sign of looking at my auditions more seriously. I take my career seriously, but if I’m being honest with myself I probably could have been taking it more seriously before. I don’t think that getting coaching before auditions I’ve had in the past would have necessarily changed anything, but I’ll never know. But from now on, I’m going to take each audition as seriously as I would for a series regular during pilot season and hopefully I can do coaching before as many of them as possible.

Another Day On The Lot (or Going Solo For The Podcast)

I wrote about how recently the podcast I work for started working on our 300th episode. It’s still so amazing to me that we are going to be releasing our 300th episode before this year is done. It feels like we were just doing episode 100 and 200!

Even though our 300th isn’t going to be until November or December, we started producing it early because it is a big episode that will involve multiple days of work. Typically, our episodes are pretty simple interviews that take about an hour or so and we edit them into 2 or 3 episodes. The interview time is minimal while post-production time is a bit more. But with this episode, we are doing multiple days of interviews and production plus we know that post-production will take even longer. So we wanted to get a head start.

We had an amazing day working on it previously, but we knew going into that day that we would be coming back to the studio the next week to continue working on it. But what we didn’t know at the time was that both of the hosts would end up being unavailable to return due to scheduling issues. We didn’t want to lose the day, so the hosts suggested that I go to do the interviews on my own.

I’ve worked on the podcast for a long time, but my voice has only been on the podcast a handful of times. Mainly it’s if you can hear me in the background during an interview. I’ve never conducted an interview on my own and I’ve never done any of the work outside of pitching potential guests on my own. But I knew how important this day was to our production schedule so I knew I had to do it. I was incredibly nervous about what I would do, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I can’t share too much about what happened that day because we are still keeping things a surprise, but the main thing I got to do was be on set while there was some filming happening. I’ve been on set plenty of times as an actor, but I’ve never been on set when I wasn’t acting. Being an observer is totally different because you can focus on so much else happening on set. I was able to watch the writers and director work together while things were being shot and could listen to the discussion they had between takes. This was something that actors don’t get to see that often so it was totally a special treat for me.

Between filming, I was able to do a little bit of interview work. I’ve sat in on dozens of interviews and I know kind of how they go. But I felt very unprepared and that was totally my fault. I didn’t prepare in questions in advance but instead used what I observed that day to inspire what I wanted to ask. I’m sure that the interviews were fine, but I felt pretty disappointed in the lack of things I was able to discuss. But I know that the hosts are just so grateful that I was there to do the work because it needed to be done.

I was at the studio for several hours before the day for the cast and crew wrapped up. While I was waiting for an actor to walk me back to my car (we wanted to chat some more), I was able to wait in a trailer that wasn’t being used that day. It was so unbearably hot and they didn’t want me to have to wait in the sun.

While in the trailer, I just sat back and reflected on the day. I was proud of myself for doing the interviews, even if they weren’t as good as they probably would have been if the hosts were doing them. I got to learn so much while on set that I know I can use as an actor the next time I book a job. And I got to think about what it would be like if this was my life instead of a life that I was observing.

There is no question in my mind that acting is what I am meant to do. Even being an observer on set made me so incredibly happy. There is a sense of calmness and joy I get while on set that I don’t get anywhere else. And if I could experience that everyday, I would be so happy. That’s exactly how I want to feel all the time. I know that being happy and working as an actor won’t cure everything for me, but to feel like that in just one aspect of my life would be a dream.

I know that we are already talking about having more days at the studio for production of our 300th episode. Knowing that makes me so happy because that means I’ll get to have more days where I get to feel like I did that day. I just hope that the hosts will be able to come with me the next time so that we can all work together and I don’t have to be alone.