Tag Archives: actor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Business Brunch (or A Delayed Mentoring Circle Meeting)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audition Prep (or Taking My Career Seriously)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working On Priorities (or Adding And Taking Away)

Happy September! The beginning of a month brings the end to one monthly challenge and the beginning to another. And this time, my monthly challenges are related to each other. When I started doing monthly challenges, they were such huge things. Now, I’m getting to where I’ve made a lot of major changes and now I’m focusing on the small things. Sometimes it’s tough for me to remember that small changes can matter as much as big ones, but I’m glad I’m able to focus on changing things in my life even when it’s on such a small scale.

My monthly challenge in August was to work on seeing what things I’m doing every day that isn’t making me happy anymore. This was a tough challenge to decide to do because I don’t like being a quitter and not doing something anymore makes me feel like I gave up on myself. But it was getting to a point in my life where I was looking at my daily reminders and it was stressing me out too much. And it’s not benefitting me if doing those things every day was causing me stress.

I tried to be as nonjudgmental as possible this past month to see what I wanted to keep and what I felt ok not doing anymore. And it came down to 3 things that I felt ok taking off my daily reminders. The first thing I got rid of was my daily reminder to weigh myself. I used to get some peace out of weighing myself every day and being able to track how fluctuations happen. But that stopped being a good thing after I stopped taking birth control pills. I now have weight fluctuations due to my hormones and I haven’t gotten my mind to catch up with that idea yet. And until that happens, I don’t want to feel guilty for not weighing myself every day. I do still weigh myself most days, but I don’t feel like I need a reminder to do it anymore.

The next one that I got rid of was a reminder to do yoga every day. I haven’t done this is a while and I had the reminder on my phone. It was making me feel bad that I didn’t do it because I know I should get back into it. But my schedule and life have been hectic lately and it comes down to not wanting to feel guilty about not doing it. So it is off my schedule now and maybe in the future I will put it back on. But I might change it to be from a daily reminder to something I remind myself to do a few times a week.

The last one I took off of my reminders it to be mindful before eating, specifically mindfulness before dinner. I have more recently added to take breathing breaks to my schedule. I put those on my reminders at the times that are usually the most difficult for me. Having those as a part of my daily reminders (and I do take those breathing breaks and they do tend to help) has made the mindfulness before dinner reminder not something as important to me.

While I spent this past month taking things off of my schedule, this month I’m focusing on adding something to my schedule. I’ve talked about wanting to be more active in SAGAFTRA several times in the past. And that’s what my challenge for September is going to be about. While I can’t control when meetings, mixers, or events happen; I can still stay active every day as a union member.

I thought about what ways I could be involved every day and there were a few ideas that came to me. But I want to start small while I figure out what the best option will be for me. So the idea that I came up with is sending out at least one tweet every day that is union related. That could be something like news, a victory the union has won, or something that is relevant for SAG-AFTRA members to know about. I have a feeling that most of the time I will be retweeting something I see, but that’s ok. The important thing is that I want to be putting out a positive message for SAG-AFTRA members (and all union members) every day.

I might use Hootsuite to schedule tweets to do this, but since things can change so quickly and the news cycle is not as long as it used to be I might just have to be more active on twitter in general to see what I want to share. This isn’t a bad thing for me since I have wanted to be more involved with twitter and not just be passive reading other people’s tweets. I want to be a good messenger and I think doing union related tweets daily will be a great way for me to do that.

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.