Category Archives: Acting

Brunch Celebration (or Everyone Has Awesome News)

I had my WIF mentee brunch this past weekend and it was awesome. I always look forward to our brunch meetings and I know that I’m so lucky that my group has been able to maintain these hangouts as long as we have. So many of my other friends have not continued meeting with their groups after the official year ended (just like my first group), so I know we have a special group when almost all of us are continuing to be dedicated to the group.

As usual, we met at Rush St. for brunch. Almost all of us live so close to Culver City, so it’s pretty convenient. I was originally planning on walking over, but we have a heat wave right now and I didn’t want to be super sweaty so I drove. It does make me feel a bit silly driving when it’s so close, but I also knew that walking in that heat wouldn’t be good for me. But it is nice that it was only like 5 minutes in my car to get there so I didn’t have to hurry over.

It’s been tough for us to find a time that all of us can meet, so we go with when the most of us can make it. This time, 4 of us could be there (we were missing 3). We got one of the booths we normally get and we tried to figure out our food quickly so we could order. I got an omelet, which is what I usually have. They are really good omelets and I love the tater tots that come with it!

And for this meeting, everyone seemed to have some pretty amazing news! My news is all stuff that I’ve talked about on here. Mainly that I didn’t need to have surgery (our last brunch was before I would have had surgery) and how I’ve been really busy trying to get back to normal life. Everyone totally understood how it might take some time for me to get back to usual and that right now is a bit of a slow time for auditions. It’s nice that they get it so that I don’t have to explain my lack of news to them. But obviously not needing surgery was huge news to share!

Another member of the group is working on getting investors for a play she wrote. It’s got a really great chance to be on Broadway and we are all so happy for her. She had meetings in New York since our last meeting and she was sharing all the amazing feedback that she got. I really hope that her show gets the investors she needs because she has been working so hard on this script for so long!

But what I think was the most excited news at our brunch was one of the women in the group announcing her engagement! I’ve met her fiancée before and I’m so happy for her! Of course, we all wanted to know all the details of the proposal and what she’s started to plan for the wedding. And I told her I wanted to go wedding dress shopping with her (I have so much fun helping friends find their wedding dress). I think that she and I are going to go shopping soon so that will be really fun!

So much of our brunch was social talk and not about our careers. But that’s how it almost always is now and that’s one of the things I love so much about our brunch meetings. When we started our meetings, it felt so much more official and I was nervous I wouldn’t have enough to share with everyone. I would feel pressure to figure out what I could say and I didn’t want to bring too much of my personal life in since nobody else was doing that. But now, our meetings are more about just supporting each other in any part of our lives that we want. We support each other through crazy stuff and fun stuff and it’s all equally important to everyone.

I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to do more stuff so I can share it with the group, but I’m glad that nobody seemed to mind that my update wasn’t that much acting related stuff. And hopefully when we have our next meeting in August I’ll have way more fun stuff to share and everyone else will just keep on having amazing news in their lives too!

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Gospel According To First Squad (or Enjoying A Play Reading)

I am so fortunate that I get to go to a lot of shows in LA. Most of them are with my season tickets to Pantages, but there are a few random shows I buy tickets for. But it’s a rare treat when I get to see a show that a friend is in. Even though I have a ton of actor friends, most of us work in film and tv. I watch them on tv or see them when I go to the movies, but it’s not the same as seeing someone in a live show. But this past weekend, I had the treat of getting to see some friends in a show!

The show was “Gospel According To First Squad” and the hosts of the podcast I work for, Trevor and AJ, were in it. This was a reading of the play, but I had seen this play performed previously. When I saw it before, it was actually the first time that I had met Trevor and AJ in person. I had been listening to the podcast (before I worked for it) and they mentioned doing the show. I got tickets, loved the show, finally met the guys, and soon after that they brought me on as the production coordinator! So it was pretty fun to get to see the show again.

The reading was held at the Kirk Douglas Theater which is pretty close to my house. Since it was a reading with general seating, I got there early because I wasn’t sure what the seating situation would be like. But it ended up being held in the rehearsal space in the theater so it was a nice intimate venue. I found some of the other people who work for the podcast and we all decided to sit together. And since it was a small venue, Trevor and AJ were able to see us all there supporting them right before the show started.

“Gospel According To First Squad” is about the war in Iraq and it’s a pretty serious play. But even though it’s a serious show, there are some fun comedic moments. Some of the cast from when I saw the show years ago were in this reading and some of the cast were new. But it was still such a powerful performance even with all the actors just standing and reading instead of acting it out fully like I had seen before.

Of the group that I was sitting with, I think I was the only one who had seen the show before. Since it had been years since I had seen the show, it felt new to me too. But I do enjoy getting to revisit shows (or books or movies) that I’ve seen before. I always seem to pick up on new things or view it a new way when I’m experiencing it again. There were some moments that shocked me the first time I saw it that didn’t shock me this time, but it was still powerful and I’m so glad that I was able to see the show again. And since it was a reading, it was recorded so others will be able to enjoy it in the future!

After the show was done, there was time to hang out with everyone. I’ve had the chance to see AJ a bit recently because he has been at a few SAG-AFTRA events with me. But it had been a while since I had seen Trevor so it was great to get to catch up in person. If you listen to Inside Acting, you hear them call me out from time to time. It’s usually when they aren’t sure about something and they figure I will know. I’m known for texting them when I’m listening to the podcast (I’m not there when they record the bookends to our interviews) with corrections and stuff. I think they get a bit of a kick out of me doing that and it’s almost a joke between us all now.

I joke online that these guys cause me so much trouble and frustration, but the truth is I love them both so much. Because of them and the podcast, I’ve gotten to do great things and be a part of something that I truly feel passionate about. I’m so grateful that I’ve been the production coordinator for as long as I have been and I can’t wait to see what the future of the podcast brings for us. We’ve got some really great things in the works (including our 300th episode this fall!) and being able to support Trevor and AJ in any way I can makes me so happy. It’s nice that I got the watch them perform because I know it’s something they both love and I hope that I get more opportunities to do so in the future.

Another Netflix Night (or A Comedy Panel)

Recently I wrote about going to the Gilmore Girls panel that Netflix had put on. That was an awesome night and I had so much fun there. I knew that Netflix was doing an entire series of events, but I figured that going to that one was the one chance I was going to have. But last week, I got an email from the SAG-AFTRA Film Society letting me know that I could RSVP for another one!

This time, I was invited to a panel of comedy shows on Netflix. This panel included Alan Yang from “Master of None”, Bill Burr from “F Is For Family”, Chelsea Handler from “Chelsea”, Judd Apatow from “Love”, Marta Kauffman from “Grace and Frankie”, and Victor Fresco from “Santa Clarita Diet”. Even though I don’t watch all these shows (although they have been on my list for a while), I was so excited to go and hear what they had to say!

I had the option to bring a guest with me, but unfortunately none of my friends could make it. I used to attend events like this alone all the time, but I’ve gotten used to having someone with me. But I was solo for the night and that was ok. I was able to get in line pretty early so I figured I’d be able to get a great seat. I wasn’t worried about seeing all the Netflix stuff in the space since I had seen it the time before, so once I got inside I immediately headed to the panel area.

So many of the seats were reserved so it was pretty limited seating. But I found what seemed to be a pretty great seat and was happy to just sit and wait for the panel to start.

Since I was alone, I spent the time waiting for the panel reading and working on my phone. They did have food and drinks like last time, but I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t get anything. But it seemed like the snacks were different and they had some sort of fried chicken thing instead of the hamburgers they had at the other panel.

When it was closer to the time that the panel was going to start, people started to come sit down. I’m lucky I got a seat because it felt like about half the room ended up standing in the back the entire time. But because I was sitting and the seats were on a flat surface, I ended up not really having a view of the stage. The guy in front of me was pretty tall and most of the time I was just staring at the back of his head.

But it’s ok that I couldn’t see anything since I just wanted to listen to the stories that the panel had to share. It’s always so inspiring to hear people talk about projects that they have worked on and what the challenges were that they had to overcome. It makes me feel that I’m doing the right stuff when I hear others who have had the same struggles that I have had too. And I love hearing about how working on a streaming network like Netflix is different from a broadcast or cable network. Streaming is still a newish thing but it’s nice to learn about the common things most shows on streaming networks face.

The entire panel was about an hour-long, but I wished it could have been longer. There were so many people up there and I wished they could have had more time to speak. But it was a nice sample of learning more about each of them and it got me feeling like I need to watch more of those shows on Netflix soon. I’m behind on Netflix shows, but since summer is usually quiet for most tv shows I follow I know that I will be catching up soon enough.

Once the panel was done, I decided to wander around the various setups for the Netflix shows to see if anything was different. Most of the stuff was the same, but some were moved around to different areas of the space so it felt new. And of course, I had to stop by my favorite thing from last time: the bubble wall!

It was a different color this time (last time was more blue) so of course I did a mini-photo shoot in there! I don’t know why I love that bubble wall so much, but it just makes me happy!

It was feeling a bit crowded in the space and it was a bit awkward hanging out in there so I decided to head back home. I know that I should be ok at events like that alone, but it’s not as fun when I don’t have someone enjoying all the cool stuff with me. Hopefully if I get invited to more Netflix events I’ll be able to bring another plus one with me.

But even with not really doing much else beyond sitting and listening to the panel, I have to say that this was another amazing night. I love getting to be a part of events like this and it motivates me more and more each time I get to see people who have had success like I dream of having one day.

Union Working (or Connecting With My Fellow Actors)

As I’ve said the past few weeks, I’ve been making a big effort to be more involved with the acting community. I feel a new motivation to do so and I’m so glad that there have been several opportunities for me to do so. The past few weeks have had at least one event a week for me to attend. I know that this won’t be like this forever, but I’m taking advantage of it right now. And this week, I had the chance to attend my first Union Working meeting.

Union Working is a group that was organized to help strengthen unions, both entertainment based and other, because right now it seems like unions are being attacked. In the current political climate, there are people who want to weaken unions and feel like unions aren’t benefitting workers. I disagree with that because I know that being a member of SAG-AFTRA benefits me as an actor and protects me against so many things. I think that some people have forgotten that unions are the reason we have minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, and time off like weekends. So I want to help the effort to remind people that unions are great and that we need to support them.

This meeting was a mix of a panel and information. First was the panel where there were two session directors (who help run auditions for actors) talking about their experience with union versus non-union work. They had some great information from the other side of the table about how sometimes commercials can be turned union when originally they were non-union. And they said some examples of things that we as actors can do to help them and to help bring more commercials back to being union.

Going off of the idea about turning commercials union, we had someone else discuss the SAG-AFTRA Best in the Biz effort. This was all about why union commercials benefit actors and why actors should think twice about working non-union. Some union actors will work off the card hoping that nobody will catch them working non-union, but we learned that people are getting caught and are going in front of a disciplinary panel where they face penalties or expulsion from the union. I knew that it was wrong to work off the card (and I never would do that), but I didn’t realize how often people are caught doing so and how harsh the penalties for doing so are.

There was also discussion about the commercial contract and the negotiation that will be happening in a few years. It seems far off, but negotiations will be here before we know it and the members of Union Working want us to all be as educated as possible about the current contract and the changes that we’d like to see in the next contract. They actually had copies of the contract (and most recent changes from the last negotiation) and I was able to grab a copy to bring home with me. This will be my reading for a while because I do want to understand this contract and hopefully in the future will have the opportunity to do the same with the theatrical contract.

There were other things discussed in the meeting that I don’t think can be made public just yet, but a lot of it was how to help keep the union strong to benefit us all. There was also some discussion about the upcoming election and the deadlines that have been set for each step to be a part of the election. The first step, which is to file a petition to run, is coming up soon. The petitions are available next week and they are due in June. So nothing has to happen super fast, but I will probably be filing as soon as I can get it done just so I don’t forget or miss the deadline. I know some of the people who were at the meeting also are running, but maybe more people were inspired after hearing more about it.

While this wasn’t an official union event (we met at the union, but we are not affiliated with SAG-AFTRA directly), it was filled with amazing union actors who are so educated on multiple issues that are affecting us as union members and actors. As I have gone to each event lately I’ve been more and more inspired to be like those I’m meeting. I want to get more educated, I want to be more involved, and I want to make sure that the benefits that I’m getting now as a union member are still available to others in the future. I think that attending this Union Working meeting was a great step for me to take to continue my involvement as an actor and I am already looking forward to attending the next meeting!

A Night Of Stand Up (or Just Having Fun With My Friends)

I’ve got several friends who perform stand up. Unfortunately, more often than not those shows are on evenings that I can’t go. Either I’m working or the show is really late at night when I need to be up very early the next morning. It’s been years since I’ve been able to attend a friend’s stand up show.

So when my friend Marie invited me to her stand up show, I was sad that originally I couldn’t attend due to having other plans. But my other plans got cancelled so I could go! I immediately bought a ticket online since they were cheaper that way and let Marie know that I’d be there! I don’t think I’ve seen her perform at a venue for at least 5 years (it may actually be closer to 10 years) so I was so happy I could be there. And she mentioned that she would be working on new material and I was excited to support her as she was doing that.

The show was at The Open Space, which isn’t too far from my house but I had never been there before. I left early because I wanted to find some parking and lucked out to find a meter just down the block from the venue. I paid my meter and headed over to meet up with Marie, Chris, and whoever else was there already!

When I got inside, everyone in there was a part of the usual group of friends I see at the parties that Marie and Chris throw. It was still early, but it was nice to have a fun catch up time with my friends and to be excited to see people perform. I didn’t realize it when I got my ticket, but I had 3 friends performing that night plus a couple of comedians that I didn’t know. So it was going to be a fun and full stand up night. And of course, I had to get a selfie with Marie before the show started.

Right before the show started, the room started to fill up a bit more. But it stayed a pretty intimate show and I think that was pretty great. Most of the comedians were testing out new material and having a small and supportive room is perfect for doing that.

It’s been so long since I’ve seen Marie perform live, but she’s so amazing at it! She does a great mix of regular stand up plus songs that she’s made up. And this time she didn’t disappoint! She did some really funny bits about the warnings in birth control pills that made me laugh and then made me think if my tumors are listed in those warnings (I looked it up the next day and it actually is mentioned in the packet insert with all the other warnings!).

And Marie had a new song that was all about Chris. It was pretty funny listening to her sing about him when I was sitting right next to him. And everything was cheering so loudly for her when her act was done!

Another friend of mine who performed is a trans woman who was doing her first act since transitioning. She was so funny and had some really great jokes about her transition and her life now. And she also had a song in her act! This one was a rap about the 10 commandments and I was laughing the entire time. I told her afterwards how much I loved her act and I was surprised it was her first one since transitioning she was so polished and had some really smart jokes.

And I enjoyed the comedians who I didn’t know too. Some of them had some jokes I didn’t love, but overall they were pretty great. During one person’s act, there was a woman sitting right in the front who was a friend of another performer. She arrived just in time to see her friend and was sitting there when the next performer started. She was on her phone texting during the act and the comedian was pretty funny calling her out on it. I’m sure that he felt pretty annoyed that she was on her phone (I was feeling annoyed for him), but I think that he handled the situation well and in a super funny way!

The entire show was a little more than an hour long and I really wished that it was longer! It was such a fun night out with friends (again, helping me get back to feeling normal) and I’m so glad that my schedule worked out so I was able to go! I love supporting my friends in their creative adventures and I don’t get to do it often enough. So I have to take advantage of each opportunity I get like this that fits into my schedule.

Another “Gilmore Girls” Adventure (or Netflix FYSee)

I’ve talked about being a big “Gilmore Girls” fan on here before. It’s a show that I loved when it was on the air (my mom and I watched together) and I still love when I see repeats on tv. And when “Gilmore Girls” came back to have a new season on Netflix, there were a bunch of events related to the show that happened in LA. I didn’t make it to all of them, but I did attend the pop up event at UCLA a little while back.

Right now, tv shows are starting to prepare their award season campaigns. They are usually called FYC events (FYC means For Your Consideration). But Netflix is doing something extra called FYSee that is open to people who aren’t necessarily those in charge of nominating shows. They are a combination of a screening, panel with cast members, and an amazing space that has lots of stuff to check out. I got invited to attend the “Gilmore Girls” FYSee event through a couple of organizations I’m a part of and I RSVPed immediately! And my friend Elisa (who is a part of my Pantages group) is a huge fan too and she was super excited to get to go too!

This event was held in a huge space that had different areas dedicated to different Netflix shows.

I think my favorite section was the giant bubble wall (I believe that it was a part of the “Luke Cage” set up). They were the perfect place to take some awesome photos and I think I might have gotten a bit obsessed with how fun it was in there!

The space for the panel was on one end of the space and when we walked in we immediately saw a little set up similar to Luke’s Diner that had some of the things I saw at the UCLA event.

And on the other side was a giant candy bar! Everything was in individual servings and Elisa and I both took a few things to try. Both of us agreed that the pretzels were the best snack.

We went to claim seats in the panel area and while we headed over there we saw a waiter bringing around little sliders to eat. I wasn’t expecting food at this event (there was also a bar) so I was pleasantly surprised by the food options and this was a pretty filling dinner.

Because we went quickly to claim seats, we were in the front row on the side of the stage. I laughed because it reminded me about how we have our Pantages seats toward the front but off to the side.

We had gotten there a bit early so there was a bit of time to wait. But we used that time to enjoy our food, catch up, and just enjoy being at a fun event. And when things were getting started they played a pretty funny clip from one of the episodes of the newest season before the panel started.

The panel was Lauren Graham (who played Lorelei) and the moderator was Mae Whitman who starred with Lauren Graham in “Parenthood” and also had a small part in the new season of “Gilmore Girls”. The panel started with Mae Whitman asking Lauren Graham a bunch of really great questions about coming back to a show after many years away and how the production worked. And then the Q&A was open to the audience.

I’ve attended a lot of Q&A events where the audience can ask questions and sometimes they can get a bit ridiculous. But this audience was really great and had some nice and insightful questions to ask that I was interested in hearing the answers for (instead of asking questions like how they can get a job on that show).

After the panel was done, there was about an hour before the screening started. I was originally planning on trying to stay for the screening, but I’ve already seen all the new episodes at home since they are on Netflix. And it was getting a bit late for me so I was tired. Elisa was feeling the same way I was so we took time to go around all the various installations for the Netflix shows and have some more of the amazing pretzels!

I loved how much fun this event was. I know I’m so lucky that they opened it up to people who aren’t necessarily those who are nominating shows and I really appreciated how they made this a fun mix between a formal event to nominate shows and a fan event. It was a great opportunity to learn more about a show that I love and to make me want more episodes! I have no clue if Netflix will be doing another season, but if they do I hope that there are more “Gilmore Girls” events for me to go to!

More Actor Stuff (New Media and Screenings)

In my plan to get back to normal life (which has been a huge focus for me lately), I’m doing so many actor events! I’ve said before that I’ve realized that I should have been doing these more often before, but now I seem to be making up for lost time. It would be amazing if I could do one good actor event a week (and screenings don’t always count since that is just going to a movie) and it seems like that is the trend that I’ve been doing these past few weeks!

One thing that I did recently that is actor related is renewing my membership with the SAG-AFTRA Film Society. I love the Film Society and think it’s one of the best deals out there for union actors! It’s $120 to join and you get so many movies each month. The season starts in June and I think I’ll almost make my money back in the first two weekends alone. There will be 3 movies that I’m going to see then and each time I will be bringing a plus one. 2 of those movies are in 3D (which cost at least $20 each here in LA). So between going to those 3 movies, I’ll be getting at least $100 in value and that’s just the beginning of the season!

I know that I get lots of screening invites during awards season, but this is nice to have as well. A lot of the movies we get at Film Society are the big blockbusters that usually aren’t nominated for SAG Awards so I wouldn’t get to see it as an award screening. And I know that if I didn’t have this membership, I wouldn’t see nearly as many movies as I do because they are so expensive!

Normally, Film Society memberships fill up so quickly and there is a wait list pretty soon after signups go live on the website. But I found out this week that there is still room for new members now and I wanted to make sure I shared this awesome opportunity for those of you in LA who are union actors! Seriously, sign up because I know you won’t regret it!

But besides signing up for Film Society, I also went to the SAG-AFTRA offices this week for an amazing event. I got to attend the New Media Contract Informational Session.

For those of you not familiar with what new media means, that’s pretty much any project that is distributed through the internet. That includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, podcasts (this was a new one for me to learn about!), and any other online video streaming services that we watch videos on these days. For the high budget new media (like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu), there is a different contract that I’m not aware of. This meeting was specifically about the low-budget projects. More specifically, the projects that we as members want to make and need to have under a union contract.

For union actors, we can only work on union projects. And that includes the videos that are put up online. And since I really do hope that I will be creating my own content one day, I wanted to make sure I was as educated on this contract as possible! The beginning of the meeting was with some of the staff who work for the union in the new media department sharing some basic information and some of the ideas that they are working on to make things better and easier for us in the future.

And then the floor was opened up to everyone to ask whatever questions they may have. I got up to ask a question because I was just a bit confused about one element of the contract (I blame my confusion on having worked 2 day jobs earlier that day). But so many other members got up and asked some really amazing questions that I wouldn’t have even thought about. I took so many notes while at the meeting and I’ve already been emailing back and forth with some of the staff at SAG-AFTRA getting some things in order that I finally understand.

These informational sessions will hopefully happen more often now. I think the staff saw how valuable this was for us as members and they were able to understand the concerns and confusion that many of us have with this particular contract. They were so open to listening to what we had to say and took lots of notes on what they know they need to work on next. As long as the next event like this is an evening that I can attend, I know I will be there. And I think that all actors should attend, whether or not they plan on creating their own work.

I know I’ve said this so many times lately, but I’ve just gotten so inspired by attending more and more actor events. I’m so glad that I’m putting this as a priority in my life and I have a feeling that it’s just going to add so much more to my life by being more involved with acting. And one of the next things coming up will be the elections and that means that it’s almost convention time again!

“Unapologetic” (or Being A Documentary Subject)

Sometimes, I feel like fate guides me to go places because I am really meant to be there for some other reason. And this is a story of fate directing me that I’m so proud of.

Not too long ago, I attend a SAG-AFTRA panel on diversity. Originally, there was no way I could attend that panel because I would have either still been in the hospital after surgery or just home from the hospital. And even without having surgery, that was during the time that my parents were in town so I was sure I’d be busy with them that evening. But I ended up having the evening free and was able to attend and I loved it!

Everyone on the panel was incredible and I got to meet many of them at the reception after the panel. And one of the panelists that I got to talk to more than others was Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez, who is a stunt performer. I knew after listening to her on the panel that I wanted to see about getting her on the Inside Acting Podcast, so I pitched her at the reception. After talking to her about the podcast I gave her my card. I only had my personal/acting/blogging card but since that has all my contact information on it I always seem to give it out. And when I did, Michelle noticed the name of this blog on the card.

She immediately told me about an amazing documentary that she’s producing called “Unapologetic”. And as soon as she sent me the synopsis, I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of this!

“Unapologetic”: Why apologize for a body frame that doesn’t fit in a very narrow measurement of subjective definitions of beauty? In this documentary we will explore the opinions, struggles, and accomplishments of numerous women that not only broke the mold, but also opened the door for other women to feel empowered in their own natural beauty.

I was so honored that Michelle and her producing partner, Sarah, asked me to be interviewed for this project! I would have loved to help out in any way but to be one of the subjects was so much more than I expected. Of course, I immediately said yes and this past weekend I was interviewed for “Unapologetic”.

When I arrived, Michelle was still doing her own interview so I got to listen to her story and get an idea of the questions that were going to be asked of me when I was in front of the camera.

When it was my turn, I got miked up and ready to go. Most of the questions were pretty easy for me to answer and are things that I talk about on here (body image, my eating disorder, my fitness journey, acting) but there were plenty of questions that made me stop and think really hard about how I wanted to answer it. In answering some of the questions, I learned a lot about myself and realized new things that I never thought about before. It was really an amazing self-discovery journey that happened in front of the camera.

I do think that I am pretty unapologetic for myself. I am who I am and I know that I’m not going to make everyone happy at all times. But all I can do is to make myself happy and make sure I’m not hurting others in that process. But another part of being unapologetic is to not be apologizing for yourself or saying sorry all the time. I’m totally guilty of saying “sorry” when I don’t need to and it’s a bad habit that I’ve been working on stopping. There are so many articles on why women say sorry so often, and I know that I totally fit into that stereotype.

I even apologized after my interview for the documentary was done. I was saying that I was sorry for rambling and talking too much. It’s so ironic that I finished being interviewed for a project called “Unapologetic” by apologizing! But I know that fixing this constant apologizing habit takes a lot of time and I haven’t been working on it as hard as I should be.

I was interviewed on the first day of interviews, so this film may not be coming out for a while. Of course I will keep you all posted on any updates I have on the film because I want you to be able to check it out! I only know 2 of the stories in it (mine and Michelle’s) and I really want to hear what everyone else had to say. It’s such a powerful topic and I know that I will learn so much from everyone else!

Thank you again to Michelle, Sarah, and the entire crew of “Unapologetic” for asking me to participate! I had the best time on set and you were all awesome! It’s still crazy to me that people want to hear my story because I feel like I’m not that unique. But maybe by speaking openly about my experience that is what is unique about me. I’m not scared to share the good, bad, and the ugly about my life and I hope that others will be able to relate and feel understood or not alone.

Now I’m just going to have to be patient to find out when this is done and ready to share with the world!

Another Actor Night (or A Diversity Panel)

Like I said in yesterday’s post, I’ve been trying to get back into acting any way that I can right now. While auditions are hard for me to get, there are so many opportunities in other ways and I’m really working on making myself more available to them. When I was at the Next Gen Performers mixer, they mentioned the event that would be happening in April. I assumed I couldn’t go, but it ended up working out perfectly for me to be there!

I spent the day with my parents (this was on their last day in LA) and then after we were done hanging out I got into my car and drove to downtown LA. The event that was happening was more than just a mixer, it was a panel on diversity in the entertainment industry and I was super excited to hear what the panelists had to say.

A lot of times people think of diversity as just ethnicity, but it really is so much more. There is diversity in ages (so not everyone is in their 20’s), diversity in appearance (so not everyone is beautiful and thin), and diversity in abilities (so deaf characters aren’t only played by hearing actors). And of course diversity in ethnicity is a big deal too and that was discussed by the panel a lot.

I haven’t experienced too much discrimination except with my weight, so I don’t always understand the struggle others have due to lack of diversity in roles. But being at this panel and listening to the stories really got me thinking about how I can help and what I want to see in the future with projects that I want to support. I love being able to learn about the industry and the issues that other actors experience and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

The panel was about 2 hours long (I was a bit late but I was able to be there for most of it and just took a seat in the back so I didn’t disturb people) and when it was done we all headed around the corner to the Far Bar for the post-panel reception.

I had never been to the Far Bar, but it was a pretty great place! The space was reserved for our group but we were a pretty big group. Every seat was taken by the time I got there and I found some of my friends and we just hung around the bar to wait for the food that was being served to come by us. We spent time just catching up (again, I was around people who wanted to learn more about how I was able to not need surgery) and then I noticed that the Next Gen Performer signs were out for people to take photos with.

Then I volunteered to help get some fun photos with the signs. I walked around helping to encourage others to take photos and then I had a weird idea. The bar had a balcony/loft area and I thought it would be cool to have a picture of the party from above with the signs being held up in the background. I recruited my friend Woody to help me and I think the photo ended up looking pretty fun!

I was just having such a great night out being around other creative people and feeling the positive energy that was in the room. I’ve realized lately how much I’ve missed doing this and how I’ve forgotten how much it makes me happy. It’s so easy for me to be in my normal routine and to not do too much at night, especially if it’s an evening after I workout at Orangetheory. Usually when I get home from a workout I shower, eat dinner, and just relax the rest of the night. But I could make more of an effort to go out after to do things that make me happy and help me network and make more connections to help advance my acting.

Sometimes you need a kick in the butt to take some action that you really should have been doing. And for me, I guess I needed the idea that I would be out of the acting game for a while and then not have that happen to make me realize that I needed to make more efforts to get out there. I haven’t been slacking on my acting career, but I haven’t been doing everything I should be and I know that I can’t just relax and let my career happen to me. I need to get out and make things happen for myself and see what is possible.

I’m not sure what the next actor event will be that I can attend. I need to look at the SAG-AFTRA calendar and see what I can attend and see what other groups might interest me. But my motivation is so strong now to be out there more and I think that this is going to be a really great thing for me!

Tweetup Time (or Back To Acting)

I took a bit of a break from acting recently. This wasn’t by choice, however. When I thought I needed surgery, I had to book out with my agents. I knew there would be time that I wouldn’t be able to work which also meant I couldn’t audition for projects. I hate having to book out time, but it was necessary. And as soon as I knew surgery was cancelled, I booked back in but there was still going to be a bit of time before I knew I could get an audition. I don’t get a ton of auditions, plus now is a bit of a slow time for the entertainment industry.

So I am working on getting back into the game whatever way I can. Even though my parents were in town, I knew that they usually don’t want to be busy too late in the evenings. So when I remembered that the LA Actors Tweetup was going to be while my parents were here, I realized the timing was pretty perfect! I could spend the day with my family and then go to the Tweetup at night.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Tweetup, so I was glad that I could finally make it to one. A lot of the people who I used to see at the Tweetups either don’t usually go anymore or they aren’t in LA or actors so they don’t attend. But I know that there are always great people at the Tweetup and was excited to get to meet new people. So after hanging out with my parents for the day I drove to the Tweetup and was ready to get back into the Tweetup world!

One of the newer things that the Tweetup has been doing is having guest speakers. It’s nice that it’s not just a hangout at a bar anymore and that it’s a more educational evening. This time, it was a casting session director who was speaking and we were encouraged to bring our commercial headshots with us for a game. I forgot to bring my headshots in with me from the car, but I had my business cards on me so I put that in the pile.

The idea of the game was to have someone who doesn’t know us look at our photos and see if we really look like our headshot. It’s so important to look like your photo so they aren’t surprised or disappointed when you walk into the audition. I’ve lost some weight since my last photos and know I need to take some new ones, but I was still hoping to get some good feedback.

At first, I got amazing feedback. The guest thought my photos were great and had a lot of personality. But later he told me that once he looked at me in better light he didn’t think I looked like one of my photos anymore. He felt like my headshot made me look ethnic when I’m not. That’s not the best thing and it’s something that I’m going to think about when I do my photos the next time. But at least he liked the other photo on my card and felt that it looked like me.

After the speaker, it was time to chat with everyone at the Tweetup. I think that I only knew about 4 people who were there, so it was nice to get to meet a lot of new people. And the people who I already knew were excited to see me because none of them had seen me in person since I got my good medical news. It makes me so happy that everyone is so happy for me. And any time I get to celebrate something good in my life is a plus for me! I sometimes feel like I don’t have as much to celebrate, so I’m taking advantage of this.

As with most events I go to, I had every intention of trying to leave at a decent hour so I could get home and go to bed. But I kept getting sucked into really great conversations and before I knew it a few hours had passed since I originally said I was going to leave. But the time I spent there was so worth it. I’ve felt a bit disconnected in the past week or so from my acting life and this was a great way to jump right back into it.

Hopefully the momentum I felt from attending the Tweetup will continue and will help me get back into the normal swing of things quickly. With the tv season being over and a potential writers strike happening I know that acting opportunities are going to be limited. But I need to do whatever I can on my own to get back into whatever I can and to be as prepared as possible for all opportunities that may come my way.