Tag Archives: acting

Another NextGen Mixer (or A Fun Post-Election Hangout)

Even though the SAG-AFTRA election season is over, there are still so many awesome actor events for me to participate in! I’ve been getting registered for the upcoming convention and submitting interest in various committees. I’m getting so excited about both the convention and the committee opportunities. I know how much I loved the convention last time and I have a feeling that it will be just as amazing this year!

But I’m not just getting ready for future events, I’m going to some. And this past week was the big mixer event for the NextGen Performers Committee. I’ve gone to some of their smaller events, but this one is their biggest. It’s not just a NextGen Performers event, it’s also co-sponsored by New Filmmakers LA. I haven’t been to any of the combined mixers before so I was pretty excited to see what this one would be like.

It was held at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood, so it was a bit of a drive for me. But I was able to get there pretty close to the start time. But I had no idea how big this mixer was since I had only gone to the smaller ones. And when I arrived it was already pretty packed inside! There was a fun step and repeat to take photos at, but I decided to focus on trying to find some of my friends first.

Fortunately, within a few minutes of arriving I found a bunch of friends who were also a part of the slate that I ran on for the recent election. We were all so glad that the election season is over and we can focus on more union work now. And I also ran into some friends from the other slate and it’s nice to know that we are all past the campaigning and political stuff for now and can go back to working hard together.

With the bar being so crowded, I got a bit overwhelmed and when that happens I get a bit shy. So I ended up sticking with my friends for most of the night. I know that we were supposed to be networking, but that’s so difficult to do in a loud bar. It was so much easier to just catch up with people who I already know so I didn’t have to worry about offending them by saying that I can’t hear anything that they are saying. But it was a good mix of people I know through so many different things (even some girls from my Girls Night Out group!). So I wasn’t too isolated in the groups that I was talking to.

Since this was such a bit mixer for the NextGen Performers group, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris was there to speak. I’ve been so fortunate to get to know Gabrielle over the past few years and she is truly incredible. She took over as SAG-AFTRA president after Ken Howard died and that was not an easy thing to do. But she’s done such a wonderful job with the union and I’m so happy that she was reelected. But one of the most amazing things about her is how much she cares about everyone. She is so happy to see people and always asked about how we are doing. When she found out my friend was working on his first union contract, she had the biggest smile and was so proud of him. Having a leader that cares that much is a rare treat.

After the speeches, the official time for the event was coming to an end. We had a reserved section of the bar plus there was some free food and drink tickets. I think we could have stayed there after the official time ended (it just wouldn’t be reserved for our group or have the free stuff), but once it was 9pm I was feeling ready to go. I had a pretty long day that day with working my day job and a doctor appointment, plus the drive to the valley is a bit long. I knew that I was already overwhelmed and adding being tired to that wasn’t going to let me make any good impressions on people. So I started to make my round of goodbyes, which always seems to take forever, and headed back to my car to head home.

I love all the NextGen Performers events. Usually they are much smaller than this one which is nice because I can spend the time getting to know new people and it isn’t as crazy. But having a big event is so fun and festival especially when it comes at the end of what was a bit of a stressful election season.

The Votes Are In (or An Uneventful End To The Election)

This past Thursday was the end of the SAG-AFTRA election. Technically, ballots had to pretty much be in the mail by Monday last week to arrive in time to be counted on Thursday, so the election season felt like it was over for a bit longer. But it officially ended on Thursday when the ballots were counted.

Last time, it was pretty much midnight when we found out if those of us who were running for delegates got a spot or not. So I assumed it would be similar this year and planning on being at the union late. I finished work around 3pm that day but hung around my house until about 6pm. I figured I would rather kill time at my house than at the union since I expected to be there so long. I liked watching the ballots being counted last time and was excited to get to watch that happen again.

I got to the union just before 6:3opm and started to fill out the forms I had to sign to be an election observer. I was just done signing the first one when a union employee told me that there was no need to do that because everything was done! I couldn’t believe it! I missed the entire counting process. I was handed some printouts that had both the national and local election results and the first thing I did was scan down the delegates list to see if I made it. Everyone is listed in order of how many votes we got and if it says Convention Delegate next to our name that means we were elected. Toward almost the very bottom of those who had the designation next to their name, I saw this.

I was elected again as a delegate! I was really nervous I wouldn’t get it but I’m so glad I did. I was about 9 from the bottom of who got a spot so I know I’m very lucky. Unfortunately, several of my friends who were running for delegate spots didn’t get them, but they were happy for me.

Since the ballot counting was done, I headed over to the restaurant next to the union where my slate was having a gathering. It was an interesting dinner since the election didn’t really swing to one slate or the other. It was a mix which might be a great thing for the union. Hopefully the slates can come together to work hard for the union as a whole and politics won’t affect things as much.

And while I was still sad that some of my friends that I helped to get into union politics weren’t elected, one friend said something that really made me feel better. He thanked me for getting him involved because even though he wasn’t elected he now sees where he can be more involved. He met some amazing people, got to see what union politics are all about, and he’s now looking at what committees he wants to be a part of (you don’t have to be elected to be a part of our committees). Knowing that I helped to get him involved and that he plans on staying involved really made me feel amazing. And he’s already said that he will be trying again in 2 years to be elected.

Since we all knew what the results of the election were at the gathering, the energy was much more upbeat and festive than it had been 2 years ago when we spent the time waiting for any results to come in. While there were people upset about not getting elected, overall it was a very positive gathering where everything was so happy for each other. And we are so excited that our national president candidate, Gabrielle Carteris, was elected to be the national president. She has been serving as the president since Ken Howard passed away and I think she’s done an amazing job. I can’t wait to see what she is able to do for the union over the next 2 years.

While I was at the party, I got my official email from the union letting me know that I was elected. Even though I had seen the results and knew I was a delegate again, it was nice to have the email to make everything feel even more official.

I ended up staying at the gathering pretty late. I think we actually were there past the closing time of the restaurant, but we were all so energized and talking about things we are looking forward to in the union and some of the ideas we have that we want to submit for voting at the convention. It’s all so exciting again to me and I can’t wait to be a part of the convention. And this time, I’ve still got a lot of time that I banked at work when I thought I was having surgery, so I might not have to work while at convention if I don’t want to (but I might do it anyway to save the hours for something fun).

I know there will be some slate meetings coming up before convention so we can be educated on what we will be voting on. But until we have those meetings, I’m just going to be happy and grateful that I was elected and that I get to participate at the convention again this year. And hopefully in 2 more years, not only will I be re-elected but my friends will be elected as well.

Another Happiest Place On Earth (or Working On Episode 300)

I spent Monday at Disneyland which is the happiest place on earth. I totally agree with that statement, but there is another place that makes me just as happy as Disneyland. And that is being on a studio lot. The best is being on a lot because I’m working as an actor, but that isn’t as often as I’d like. But anytime I get to be on a lot seems so magical and there is an energy there that I can’t get anywhere else.

I was lucky to get to spend a day on the FOX lot recently, and it was for a pretty special reason. We’ve officially started working on the 300th episode of the podcast I work for! It seems like it was just our 200th episode, but we will be releasing our 300th toward the end of this year. I can’t share too much about our episode yet, but it’s a pretty involved one that required us to start working on it this week.

Both of the hosts and I were able to be at FOX to work on the episode this week. And it was a pretty amazing day. The person who we are interviewing gave us a great tour of the lot. There are so many areas of the lot that I haven’t been to yet because I’m normally only on the lot for auditions (which are usually located in one area).

While we were getting our tour, we were also doing a bit of an interview which will be a part of the 300th episode. We got to check out various production offices and meet so many people who are a part of the show that the person we are featuring in the episode is a part of. I’m sorry for being so cryptic, but we aren’t releasing much information about this episode yet. But I have to say getting to watch Trevor and AJ interview people all day was really fun and I love the questions that were brought up.

There were so many highlights to our day on the FOX lot, but one of the coolest moments came when we were getting a tour of the wardrobe department. There is a room that has lots of costumes that were used in major projects and we were just in awe. But the biggest collection of costumes in that room were superhero movie costumes. Of course, we had to take advantage of the Deadpool costume that was in the room.

It was pretty crazy seeing all the costumes and seeing how tall or short various actors are. It was a bit overwhelming, but so much fun at the same time.

While we were on the lot, we also got to watch a table read for the show we are featuring. It is a show that I’m familiar with so it was fun getting to watch all the actors perform the script for the first time. And it was a very funny script and we were all laughing out loud so many times. It was a bit weird being in the room since we were guests and most everyone else was working on the show, but we were in the back and I didn’t feel like we were in the way so that helped.

We were on the lot for about 4 hours before we had to go. But this is only the beginning of working on our 300th episode. We are supposed to be on the lot again next week to watch some filming (and hopefully to interview more people) and there will be some things happening when we aren’t on the lot. It’s crazy to think that we are already working on this episode when it won’t go live until maybe the beginning of December, but this is a major episode and it will probably take all the time we can get.

I think the combination of getting to be on a lot for the day plus the excitement of our 300th episode coming up made this day such an amazing experience. I know that this is just the beginning and I can’t wait until we get to do more work on the episode and I get to have more days on a lot. It really proved that it is one of my happy places and I want to have more days like this one.

Election Campaigning (or Being A Captain And Getting Out There)

We are officially in the middle of SAG-AFTRA election season! This election season has been very different from the last time I ran as a delegate. But just because it’s different doesn’t make it worse or more stressful. I’m taking on additional responsibilities and that is making me so happy! But there are other things that are making this a unique election season.

The first thing that has made it different is that while we are doing our officer/board/delegate election, we also have a contract vote. I’m writing this before we know the result of the contract vote so I don’t know the outcome yet. But to be out campaigning for 2 different elections has been interesting. The contract vote is done online (unless you request a paper ballot) and the election has to be on a paper ballot. So many people I’ve talked to thought the paper ballot was for the online election and tossed it out because they voted online. I’m glad I talked to them so they could request a new ballot. And then there are the people who have told me they have voted but they only voted for one thing.

I’m hoping that the contract passes because I think it is a move in the right direction for us as a union and by the time you are reading this we will know what happened. My fear is that it won’t pass and that we will have to strike. If we strike, all work will be shut down and it may take time to get things back up and running again. And when there is a strike, that doesn’t necessarily mean we will gain anything extra in the contract. So I’m hopeful that it will pass (or I guess I should say has passed) and that we can move on from this first election.

And I’ve gotten much more involved this year in the officer/board/delegate election. I’ve been trying to be more active in reminding my union friends to vote and it makes me so happy when I get text messages from people showing that I’m the first bubble they filled in.

Our voter turnout was very low 2 years ago and I’m making an effort to try to get the word out so more people will vote. I know that some people think it doesn’t matter (like how they feel about a presidential election), but it really does. 2 years ago, the difference between getting elected or not was sometimes 2 or 3 votes. So literally every vote counts.

I’ve already written about attending the Union Working event (although that is a non-partisan group so that was a one time only campaign thing), but there have been other in person opportunities I’ve been taking to get the word out about the vote and my slate. I’ve done the campaigning at the Film Society screenings before when I was running 2 years ago, and I’m doing them again this year. This is such a wonderful opportunity to talk to members who may not usually vote or don’t have an idea of what each slate represents. They get campaign material in the mail, but it’s so much better to talk to someone one on one.

I normally just go to the campaign events and help out, but this year I was asked to be a captain at some of the screenings! That was a big honor for me because I still feel like a newbie at all this, but this shows that the slate knows how hard I’ve been working to help everyone. Being the captain isn’t too tough of a job, but I did have to get the flyers to provide to everyone else volunteering and just make sure that things were running smoothly. Fortunately everyone is familiar with the rules we have to follow and the shifts that I was captain went really well.

And finally, if you follow me on social media you know that I’ve been getting the word out that way too. Tweeting about the election is important and I’ve been recycling a tweet I used 2 years ago. Since the election is right after my birthday, I say that the slate is my birthday wish list and that that’s what I want people to get me.

I know that not everyone I know is a member of SAG-AFTRA, but I use what I can to get people to pay attention. And saying that it’s for my birthday seems to get people to notice. So I’m fine taking advantage of the timing and hopefully that will get me and my slate a few extra votes (again, every single vote counts!).

Ballots for this election are due in a few weeks so I know I’ll be busy campaigning more this election season. I’m hopeful that I’ll be elected again, but I know it’s not a guarantee. But I’m doing everything I can now so I don’t look back and wish I had done more if I’m not elected.

If you are a SAG-AFTRA member, please vote! And yes, I do want you to vote for me and the rest of the Unite for Strength slate, but to me I really just want to encourage people to vote no matter what. If you don’t vote, you are not taking the opportunity to decide who the leadership of the union is. The leadership will help guide the union over the next 2 years and you shouldn’t ignore the chance to have your voice heard.

Another Actor Night (Tweetup And Inside Acting)

In my attempt to be more involved in my acting career and not just sitting around waiting for auditions, I’m trying to go to as many actor events as possible. Fortunately, there are lots of different events always happening around town. My biggest problem is usually finding one that fits into my schedule, but I’m working on getting better with that and making more time for my acting career.

I am lucky that there seem to be a bunch of events that happen on Monday nights (which are usually my free nights) and this week that’s exactly what happened! The LA Actors Tweetup was this Monday at Busby’s East and I was able to make it! As I mentioned before, the Tweetup now has a more structured format with a Q&A with a guest so it’s not just hangout time. I think that makes it even better and makes the night an educational experience and not just catchup time. This time, the special guest was Kabir Akhtar who is an editor/director for the show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (which is one of my favorite shows).

I got to the Tweetup pretty close to when it started so I had a lot of time to see my friends and catch up with them. There were some people I hadn’t seen in months and some who I had just seen the week before. But it’s always fun hanging out with your friends at a bar and just talking. A bunch of my friends have seen the random online dating posts I’ve put online and they wanted to hear more about the stories. And before I knew it, the room was getting pretty full!

It was so fun to see all the people at the Tweetup. There were a lot of people who I hadn’t met yet, and I always enjoy meeting new people. And the Inside Acting Podcast team was almost all there! We tried to make an effort to be there for the Tweetup and we had every intention of taking a team photo. That didn’t happen, but we did get a “ladies of IAP” photo.

I love that there are amazing women working on the podcast with me now. For so long, it was just me and the hosts. They never made me feel left out or anything, but there’s something special about women being powerful and working together. And I think we make a pretty amazing team!

Since it was so crowded, I went with some friends to try to find a good spot to sit for the Q&A. I knew I might have to do some work on my phone, so I ended up sitting toward the back in a raised section. It actually was the perfect place to watch the Q&A from because I had a great view. And there was no need to be up close when I wanted to just sit back, listen, and learn.

And there was a lot to learn from. Even though I don’t want to be an editor or a director, there are some universal lessons that anyone (even if they aren’t in the entertainment industry) could take from Kabir’s story. He has worked so hard to get to where he is and so much of his journey was so relatable. Hard work isn’t glamorous, but it’s what you have to do to achieve great things. And when one person says no, that doesn’t mean that everyone will.

One story that he told was one that I was a bit familiar with. When the pilot for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” was made, it was rejected by the network that was going to pick it up. It got rejected from other networks and probably most people on the show thought it was never going to be anything because they were getting all of the rejections. But then the CW decided to pick it up and it’s now an award winning show! They could have felt depressed after all the rejections, but they didn’t and they kept on going. The show just needed one yes to go and it didn’t matter if they had 100 people saying no first.

That story is so relatable to me in both my acting and my personal life. I deal with a lot of rejection and sometimes it’s tough to not take it personally. But I have to just remember that someone at some point will say yes and that can change everything. I just have to be patient and wait for that yes to come and I know it will be worth it.

After the Q&A was done, I tried to start saying my goodbyes to my friends. But somehow that always takes an hour or two to get done. But it’s because we are all having so much fun hanging out and we know that we are all so busy so it can be tough to see each other. There are a few other actor events that I know will be coming up this summer and I’m trying to plan for them the best that I can. But knowing that I can make it to the Tweetups on a somewhat regular basis is making me happy and feel more connected to my acting friends and the community. I’m always reminded about this at each event and I tell myself that I’ll attend more. Hopefully this time I can make that happen.

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.