Tag Archives: actor

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!

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!

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.

Another Brunch Check In (or Wishing I Had Done More)

This past weekend was time for another brunch with my Women In Film mentoring group. We’ve been really good at meeting every other month and it’s now feeling like a part of my regular routine and I look forward to it. Like I’ve said before, these meetings have become much more social than business, but we still spend time supporting each other and giving advice when needed.

Our regular meeting place has become Rush St. and since that is pretty much my favorite brunch place I’m very happy to meet there. It’s pretty close to where all of us live (it’s so crazy how we were randomly placed in a group together and most of us live in the same neighborhood) and the food has always been great. So not only do I get to look forward to seeing these awesome women who have become my friends, I get to have a great meal too!

While I was excited to get to see everyone who could make this most recent meeting, it gave me time to reflect on what career things I could share with them at brunch. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the past 2 months have not been that focused on my career. I didn’t have much I could share with everyone and that got to me a bit.

At the time of our meeting, I still thought I needed to have surgery. So most of my updates to everyone was about surgery and the prep I’ve been doing to get ready for it. Since so many women in my group live right by my house, many of them offered to help me when I would have been recovering so we talked about that as well. I wish I had known that surgery had been cancelled by our meeting so I could have shared that news, but I did get to email them all as soon as I knew and everyone was pretty excited for me.

I did get to tell them about the steps I’ve been taking to be more involved in SAG-AFTRA. And I told them how the elections are coming up again this summer and that I’m hoping that I’ll be elected as a delegate this year so I can attend the National Convention. Those are all really exciting things, but compared to what everyone else had as an update they were pretty low-key.

Since I believed that I was going to have surgery next week, I had booked out with my agents. I told them the dates I couldn’t work because of surgery and what I was thinking my recovery time would be. By booking out, they knew I couldn’t attend auditions or have booked work during that time. Now I’ve sent them an update letting them know I don’t need to book out, but there is a good chance I missed out on multiple auditions because we thought I wouldn’t be able to work. It’s frustrating, but there was no way to know that I wouldn’t have surgery so I can’t be too hard on myself.

The Artist’s Way Recap (or 12 Weeks Later)

I previously blogged about how the podcast I work for was doing a group to support each other through the 12 week process of “The Artist’s Way”. I’ve attempted to complete “The Artist’s Way” a few times in the past but I usually didn’t make it beyond week 2 or 3. But having an accountability group really helped to keep me on track and this past week I completed the full 12 week journey.

I’m pretty proud of myself for making it through the entire thing. I’m pretty stubborn when I set my mind to things, but this was something that for some reason I wasn’t able to complete before. I don’t know what was holding me back, but clearly there was some block happening that was making me quit each time I tried. And the irony on how the journey is about unblocking yourself wasn’t lost on me.

The two main elements of “The Artist’s Way” for me were the morning pages and the artist date. The artist date was a bit odd for me. There are a lot of things I do each day that make me happy. I don’t usually set aside a time each week to do something like that since I try to do things every day. But I did try to do something each week that felt a bit more special than the usual things that I would do. That could be going to the Pantages for our shows, going to a movie screening, or just sitting on the couch and watching something on Netflix that I’ve been wanting to watch. I think it will be easy enough for me to keep up the weekly artist dates because it is not that far removed from what I’ve been working on with my therapist.

The morning pages were something totally different. When I was in high school, I kept diaries. These were done every night at the end of the day and I would recap what happened that day. It was a great way for me to work out my thoughts and to decompress. Now I have this blog (although I do still keep some things private to me). I don’t keep a diary and don’t feel the need to do so.

The morning pages are supposed to be 3 pages of freeform writing each morning. I’m not a huge fan of handwriting because my writing is so sloppy, but it’s encouraged to handwrite the morning pages instead of typing them. And even though these could be stream of consciousness pages, I still wanted to write in full sentences with proper grammar. I did get frustrated when I made a mistake or spelled something wrong and had to cross it out. I like to do things perfectly and I hate seeing mistakes.

I totally struggled with my morning pages. I take a while to wake up in the morning and I didn’t want to write as soon as I was up. I tried to get my pages started within 15 minutes of waking up and I usually could do that. But more days, I was using it as a diary like I had in high school. I would recap what the past day was like and I didn’t have much else to say. Occasionally I would write about a weird dream I had the night before, but most of the time I didn’t know what to write.

There were plenty of pages filled with me writing how I didn’t know what to write or how I wasn’t loving the morning pages. It got me through the 3 pages on those days I couldn’t think of anything to write, but I know that doing that is not the goal of the morning pages. But when I don’t have any other ideas of what to write in the morning, I didn’t want to try to figure it out for a long time. I had things to get done in the morning and couldn’t spend an hour trying to get 3 pages done.

Besides the artist dates and morning pages, there was a chapter to read each week and questions and ideas at the end of each chapter. I dedicated a bit of time each Sunday to read my chapter and to work on the questions. Most of the time, I kept my answers to the questions to myself. Sometimes I would share (or they would inspire me to write something on here), but the journey is a personal one.

Now that I’m done with all 12 weeks, I’ve been reflecting back a bit on what the journey did for me. I don’t necessarily feel more creatively open in my life, but I do feel more open in general. I’ve been more relaxed in what could be a stressful and uncertain time for me. I’m a planner and not being able to plan for things next month could easily bring out some OCD tendencies in me. But I’m happy to see that I’m not experiencing that and that I’m more open to see what will happen.

I’m also in a better morning routine than I was before. I’ve been working hard at getting up at the same time every morning. It’s not easy, especially when I have a tough night or am out late. But I really want to be more consistent in my wake up time every day so it doesn’t feel as tough in the mornings. At the beginning of the 12 weeks, there were plenty of days that I overslept past my alarm. It usually was only oversleeping by 30 minutes to an hour, but that was affecting my morning. But now, I’m usually getting up within 5-10 minutes of my alarm going off and I’m not hitting the snooze button. The latest I have slept in this month was 10 minutes after my goal wake up time. That’s so much better than an hour.

While I did have some victories over my 12 week journey, it wasn’t as life altering as I expected it to be. But when I reached the end, that actually was discussed in the book. Some of the changes in my life might have been during those 12 weeks and other might not happen until a year or so later when I reflect back on things. And I have a feeling that will be exactly how things work for me. When I started my Spark Planner/Ink+Volt Planner, I didn’t notice the results the same way at the beginning as I did when I reflected back at the end of the year. I need time away from the process to see the change that I’ve been able to make.

I’m very proud of myself for completing all 12 weeks. I’m glad I stuck with it and I’m so grateful for the other people from the podcast who did this journey with me. And I now have friends who are about to start the 12 weeks and I’m excited to see what they are able to do. While I don’t plan on necessarily continuing my morning pages and artist dates regularly, it’s good to know that I have those habits to go back to if I need them. And I might try to do this again for the first 12 weeks of 2018 just so I can see how I change over this year.

No matter what I do, I finally can say that I completed the entire “The Artist’s Way” journey and that’s something that I haven’t been able to say before. It’s an accomplishment that I’m so happy with and I know that it will only do amazing things for me.

MOVE LA (or More SAG-AFTRA Involvement)

I’ve written lately how I am making an effort to be more involved with SAG-AFTRA. The elections for being a delegate are coming up again, and I’ve realized that I have not maximized my union membership over the past 2 years the way that I wanted to. So I’ve been trying to find new ways to be involved now so that when I hopefully get elected to be a delegate again that I will already be on the right track to be doing more with the union.

This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting for the MOVE LA committee. MOVE stands for Members Organizing Volunteer Efforts. I’ve been on their email list for a while, but I haven’t been able to attend any volunteer events or meetings in the past. But since I am making my union more of a priority in my life, I set aside the time to go to this meeting.

The beginning of the meeting was more of social time than anything else. We all had time to get something to eat and drink and to talk to the other union members who were at the meeting. It was nice to have that time because a lot of the members of the MOVE committee are friends of mine so I got to catch up with them. And there were new people to meet at the meeting as well which is also really fun.

Once the meeting officially got started, we got to learn a lot about the MOVE LA committee and the events that they do.

The committee puts on a lot of really great events covering so many different topics that are important to SAG-AFTRA members. These include discussing auditioning, working in voiceover, making ends meet with day jobs, social media, producing our own projects, and safety on set. These events often are recorded and put up on the MOVE LA website so even if I can’t make it to an event I can still learn about it! I had no idea about the video archive and I will be watching so many of these past events now.

They also do a lot of volunteering work (as the name of the committee suggests). These volunteer efforts include a senior buddy program, doing charity walks, and helping the post office with their big food drive. I really want to be able to help with more volunteer work, but I know that some of those will have to wait. The food drive will be right after my surgery, and I won’t be able to lift things like I would need to in order to help. But I hope that many people will be able to help out and I’ll be sharing on social media all about it so hopefully I can get others to sign up to volunteer.

MOVE LA is also the parent committee of the NextGen Performers Committee, which put on the happy hour I went to recently. NextGen Performers will be doing more happy hours that I will be attending in the future, but I know I will be missing the next one. But again, I will be making the effort in my schedule to fit those events in so I can meet more actors and work on being more involved with SAG-AFTRA in general.

Even though I have been getting the MOVE LA emails for a while, I learned so much more about the committee at this meeting. There are more ways for me to be involved with this committee than I knew about and lots of opportunities to learn at the various events that they throw. If you are in LA, I highly recommend getting involved with MOVE LA. And there are MOVE committees in other SAG-AFTRA locals as well if you are a union member not in LA. If you have questions about the committee, there are email addresses for the local committees on the website. But you can also ask me in the comments and I’d be happy to pass your question on for you!

I’m so glad that I made the commitment to get more involved with SAG-AFTRA. I haven’t been taking advantage of my union in the way that I should (which is outside of going to screenings and enjoying screener DVDs). The MOVE LA committee is a great way for me to be more involved in the union while also putting some good out into the world. And that seems like the perfect thing for me to be doing right now.

SAG-AFTRA Local Meeting (or Coming To The End Of My Delegate Term)

I’ve been lucky to be able to do a couple of different things with SAG-AFTRA recently. Earlier last week, I was able to go to the NextGen Performers Mixer which was a really great time. It was a fun casual event and I got a chance to see a bunch of friends and meet a couple of new people. It reminded me how much I want to be involved with the union and how I need to put focus and attention on doing just that.

And fortunately for me, I had the perfect opportunity to do just that on Sunday. The Los Angeles local had their big membership meeting and it happened to be on a day that I had free! I had been wanting to attend one of the meetings since becoming a member of SAG-AFTRA. But they seem to keep falling on days I have to work or am out-of-town. So with this one being on a day I’m free plus being right after attending a fun union mixer seemed to be fate and I was super excited to be there!

The meeting was held in Burbank and once I got there I quickly found the meeting room. There were 2 rooms set up for us. The first one was an expo type set up with different SAG-AFTRA committees and helpful organizations there with tables so you could learn more about them. I took a quick look around and was able to see a bunch of my friends who were there helping out at the different tables. Then there was the large room where the meeting was going to be with all the chairs facing a projection screen and the stage area. I was able to find some seats near the front and center and got myself and my friend Robert some great seats.

The meeting was really informative and educational. I can’t share too much of what was shared because it is union only information, but there were a lot of things that we discussed because they had been announced to everyone recently. These include the new SAG-AFTRA Members app (which is awesome!), Telemundo voting to unionize, and the news that we will soon be able to get residuals by direct deposit. While I don’t get residuals on projects yet, many of my friends do. And they are always posting how they may be getting 5 or 6 different checks for under a dollar in the mail. Being able to have these by direct deposit is going to be really nice!

Another thing that was discussed was the election that will be coming up this summer. It is the end of my time as a delegate, but I will be running again for sure this year. I was worried that my surgery might be during the time that I need to get my paperwork submitted so I could run, but when they announced the dates for all the deadlines I found out that everything is well after my surgery. So that won’t cause any issues for me! And while they were talking about the election, I mentioned to my friend Robert that he should run for delegate too. I think he’s still thinking about it, but I really hope that he goes for it!

The last half of the meeting was dedicated to Q&A time. Before the meeting, you could write down a question on a card and they would be brought over to the Los Angeles Local President so we could get up to ask something. As much as I hate public speaking, I had a question about the app that I wanted to ask so I submitted my question. I was shaking and nervous when I was at the microphone to speak, but I was able to get my question out (which was about logging into the app) and get it answered without shaking too much. Robert told me that you couldn’t hear the nerves in my voice so that made me happy.

Besides questions on the app, people had questions about the current contracts, upcoming elections, committees that either currently exist or they would like to see in the future, and general union questions. It was really educational for me because I learned a lot of new stuff about the union but also what my fellow members are concerned about. The meeting lasted as long as we could stay in the room (there was another event after ours in that space so we couldn’t keep going forever), but most of us ended up going out into the lobby or parking lot to keep talking.

After the meeting, I was able to catch up with more of my friends. Some people arrived a bit later than I did so they were in the back of the room during the meeting. But since I was in the front of the room and pretty much stayed seated the entire meeting, I hadn’t gotten to see them before the meeting was done. I ended up staying over an hour after the meeting just chatting and catching up with friends before getting into my car to drive back home.

I know I probably sound like a broken record, but this really made me think about more ways I can be involved in SAG-AFTRA. I think that most of it will need to wait until the beginning of summer since my schedule is starting to fill up now to get things done before surgery and after surgery I’ll need to take some time to recover. But just because I can’t do more things in person for a while, I will try to be more active with the union on social media and sharing important information as I hear about it.

I’m so grateful that I’m a part of such a strong and involved union and that I have the opportunity to be involved as well. I’m really looking forward to running as a delegate again (and hopefully winning my seat again so I can attend the convention this year). I hope that if you are a SAG-AFTRA actor that you are getting involved in the union as well and that you consider running as a delegate this year too!

A Happy Hour Mixer (or Being A NextGen Performer)

As much as I’ve wanted to get involved more with SAG-AFTRA, it seems like it just hasn’t been working out well with my schedule. I’ve wanted to attend various gatherings and meetings, but they seem to always be when I’m working. So when I do see an event that I can attend, I try to do whatever I can to make sure my schedule stays clear so I can go.

The NextGen Performers Committee is a committee within SAG-AFTRA to help unify those in the union between 18-35 and to help them get more involved. It’s a great committee and I have several friends who are a part of the leadership of that committee. They do a lot of great work especially since many younger union members don’t realize how important the union is. They haven’t known any other time and sometimes don’t realize when something is something that the union had to fight hard to get. It’s one of the committees that I’ve wanted to get involved with but hadn’t had a chance just yet.

But when they announced a mixer this past week at Rush Street, I knew I had to go! I had that evening free (except needing to pick up a friend at LAX at 11pm) and Rush Street is so close to my house that it wouldn’t take me long at all to get there. So I RSVPed and was excited about getting to spend some time with my fellow union members. I had ever intention of walking over there since it’s so close to my house, but I decided to dress up and wear heels. I don’t have to wear anything other than workout clothes normally, so I took advantage of this mixer. And since I was wearing heels, I didn’t want to walk over. So I drove over and found a free parking space!

The mixer was upstairs at Rush Street where we had a private space. I’ve been upstairs at Rush Street before for dinner, but never on the back patio where we were this time. And there was some free food (which always gets actors excited) and postcards promoting the upcoming Los Angeles meeting for SAG-AFTRA right when I walked in.

By the way, if you are a member of SAG-AFTRA and are free on Sunday, I highly recommend coming to the meeting. It should be a really educational afternoon and you will get to meet many leaders in the union. I’m excited to get to be there to see some people who I haven’t seen since either the holiday party or convention.

I wasn’t sure how many people I would know at the mixer, and there were a ton of people I didn’t know. But I did keep running into friends there including the friends who are a part of the committee. Some of them I had seen within the past month and some of them I hadn’t seen in over a year. Either way, it was awesome to get to catch up with everyone. And while everyone was busy saying hi to everyone who was there, I felt like I did get some great quality time with the people who I wanted to see while I was there.

And since this committee is focused on millennials (and those of us a bit older than that), they had a challenge for us for social media. They had different signs and if we could take a photo and post it on Instagram, we would get a free water bottle. I’m never one to turn down a free water bottle, so I took a photo with 2 friends to post online.

Since this mixer was a casual event, there was no agenda or timeline of anything. It was just a good time to get to hang out with other union members and talk shop. And that’s exactly what I got to do. It was perfect and again made me feel the pull to want to be more involved in the union. I know there isn’t a ton that I can do right now, but with elections happening this year I know that I want to do more than I have in the past.

I would have loved to have stayed at the mixer for a while (even though it was supposed to end at 9 it was still going strong at 9:30), but I did need to get home to get stuff done before my late night run to get my friend at LAX. I was trying to leave quickly, but of course it was taking forever to say goodbye to everyone that I wanted to say goodbye to. But I eventually made it out of there and was on my way back to my car.

With this mixer this week and the meeting coming up this weekend, I’m just feeling so excited about everything happening with the union. There have been some really exciting announcements lately (including the official union app and that residuals can be direct deposits now) and I can’t wait to hear what might be announced next!

 

Another Screening (or Enjoying A Film Festival)

I just had the film festival that I run, and the film that I did last year was part of the comedy programing. It was cool to have us in the festival and to get to share our film with more people. It wasn’t the first time we screened publicly, but it was our first film festival. And while it did feel a bit odd to have the film in a festival I run (I have nothing to do with programming so it’s fine), I was still so proud to have a film festival laurel on our movie poster.

We have been busy submitting our film to multiple festivals, but many of them won’t let us know if we got in or not for a while. But we did hear back from another festival besides the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival and we found out that we got in! We got into the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and we screened there this week!

This screening was held at Regal Cinemas at LA Live, so it was going to be another screening on a big screen. And we were going to be in a block with other short films, so I was happy to see what other films were in our programming block and to support other filmmakers.

There was a pretty decent turnout for the screening. We were worried because it was on a weekday afternoon, but the theater was over half full and everyone was so excited to see the films. We were toward the end of the program, so I tried to relax and enjoy the other films that were screening.

I’m not sure if we were a block of short films or comedy short films, but it was an interesting mix of films. Some of them were a bit more out there than our film is (ours is pretty down to earth and realistic), but there were things that I really enjoyed with each of the films that were in the hour long program with us. When our film played, I couldn’t focus too much since I still don’t love to watch myself act. But I was very happy that we got a lot of laughs and some of those were in spots that we hadn’t gotten laughs in before.

Once the program was done, we headed out of the theater quickly since the next screening was going to start right after ours ended. There wasn’t a Q&A or anything, but most of the filmmakers were gathering right outside the theater. There was a step and repeat set up so of course I had to get photos with my writer/co-star and my director!

When we were taking our photos, we had some people coming up to us to tell us that they enjoyed our film. That was really nice and I wasn’t expecting it. I am really proud of our film and would be happy even if it was just for us and nobody else got to see it. But to know that other people are enjoying the film is amazing and really made my day!

I wish that I could have stayed at the festival longer and seen more films, but my schedule did not allow for that. I know there were so many short films to see and I really wanted to support my fellow filmmakers. I know it isn’t easy to get people to see short films and I wanted to see as many movies as I could. Hopefully if we get into another festival I can attend more programs and see all the films. It just wasn’t mean to be this time.

I still can’t believe that the film that we made is getting recognition. It started out as such a small project and it has continued to grow and grow. I am so proud of the work that we all did and I’m really hopeful that we can continue to get into film festivals so more people can see it. We are already discussing working on another film together because we had so much fun with “Single Parent Date Night”. But until we do, I’m just going to enjoy having a great film out there and being able to look back at the hard work that we did.