Tag Archives: actor

A Premiere Morning (or Seeing Myself On The Big Screen)

This past weekend, we had the premiere screening of “Single Parent Date Night”. This film has been a pretty quick process (which is nice) and we’ve been able to get things done very efficiently from pre-production to post-production. I’ve been seeing the film through each edited version, so I knew what to expect. And I had seen the final cut already (but just on my computer), but seeing it premiere for an audience is always different.

We ended up renting a theater in the valley to hold the screening. And since our film is only about 9 minutes long, Christopher (the writer and my co-star) decided to create a 3 film screening of different films he wrote. The entire thing was only 30 minutes, but it was nicer to have that than to just have everyone come to a theater for a 9 minute movie.

When I arrived, I couldn’t stop smiling. As soon as I walked to the theater where we were screening, I saw our movie listed above the door. Everything looked so real and official and this was the first time a movie I was in had this.

single-parent-date-night

The theater we were screening in was a regular movie theater, so there were a bunch of seats and the screen was a full-sized screen. It was a little overwhelming, but awesome at the same time. Most of the people who came to the screening were friends of our director, Bryan. But I had a couple of friends show up too and I was glad they were there! I knew they would be honest with me about the movie and even though I knew it was good, I was very critical about my performance.

Our film was the last one screening, so I tried to stay calm while the other 2 movies played. And before I knew it, it was time to show off “Single Parent Date Night” to the world!

movie

It is always very tough for me to watch my own performances. I feel like things weren’t done right, I said something funny, or with this film that I blinked too much and too long. I’m very nitpicky and it’s hard to get over that. So I tried to focus on the audience watching the show for the first time.

Fortunately, it seemed like everybody really liked it! A lot of my lines got laughs, people seemed to be very into the story, and we got a lot of applause when the final credits came up. And I did manage to watch a bit of it when I wasn’t feeling too nervous and was in shock with how crazy it was to see myself on the huge screen there!

on-the-big-screen

When the screening was over, we all went up to the front to thank everyone for coming. Some of the people there were people who supported our Kickstarter and I wanted to make sure they knew how much we appreciated every dollar that was given. We were willing to do a Q&A too, but since most people there were also filmmakers and our film is pretty self-explanatory, there weren’t any questions.

After that was done, I went over to my friends to see what they thought and they all really loved it! They enjoyed my performance and thought the story was really cute too! I’m glad I had their support there because it is very nerve-racking to see a project that you have worked so hard at completing be done. All you want is for everyone to love it, and thankfully it seems like that was the reaction we got from the audience.

I know that a lot of people wanted to come to the premiere and couldn’t (either due to scheduling or distance), but we decided to put our film up online for everyone to see. So make sure you check out “Single Parent Date Night” to see what all our hard work created!

Another Mentee Meeting (or Beach Brunch)

I had another meeting with my Women In Film mentoring group this past weekend. Even though we haven’t met with our mentors in a while, all of us mentees have been happy to continue meeting every other month to keep each other accountable and to catch up. I’m so happy that most of us are still able to get together and these women have truly become my friends. I know if I need any advice that I could ask any of them. Which makes these meetings a really great and educational time.

We are continuing to meet for brunch, and this time we tried a new place for us. It’s called Beach Nation and there is actually a sand pit in the middle of the seating area that you can sit in! We got a table so we didn’t get sandy, but it was still fun to see. They aren’t necessarily known for their brunch selections, but they had a good variety on the menu and I think all of us were pretty happy with the options.

beach-nation

Since we got there soon after they opened, we were able to get our orders in quickly so we could start the more official part of the meeting. The format we have stuck with for the meetings is going around the table and each of us updates the others on what has been happening since their last update. Everyone else can chime in with support and advice, but it’s really the time for the person giving the update to talk.

This time, I didn’t have as much to update everyone about. They already knew about “Single Parent Date Night”, but I did share that I saw an edit of the film and we are getting close to being done with the post-production on the movie. I really hate watching myself on screen, but I’ve watched each edit that we’ve had. And while I’m super harsh about my performance (I think I can do better but I know I did a good job), I think the movie is super cute and I think when we are ready to screen it that people will like it.

I also updated everyone on the day job juggling. It’s not easy to have multiple jobs, but I’m getting a balance going with it and things have continued to take a turn for the better with that situation. I think that things also seem a lot better because I’m been working really hard on budgeting and I think I’m getting my spending down and that is making it feel like I’m making more money. I still have debt to pay off and I know I’ll have some big purchases coming up soon (I need new tires on my car and I will be getting a new computer when a new model is released), but I don’t think either thing will be a huge financial hardship for me now.

Everyone else had some pretty awesome updates as well. Some people have new day jobs, some are in new classes, and some are working on some major productions right now. Even though we are all at different stages in our careers, it’s been nice to see how we have all progressed since we had our first meeting. I think all of us have taken huge strides forward and I love that we are all super motivated and dedicated to continuing our careers in the entertainment industry. I’ve had a lot of friends either give up or decide they don’t want to try anymore so it’s cool that all of us have been sticking with it.

After we all got to do our updates, our food arrived. I ordered the breakfast burrito and it was really good!

brunch

While we were eating our meeting turned a bit more into social time (as it usually does) and we were talking about fun events coming up that the others may be interested in. I signed up for a couple of new email lists based on recommendations that I heard at our meeting so I could potentially go to some more screenings than the ones I go to now.

We will have our next meeting in about 2 months, and I really hope by then that I can have some more substantial updates to share with everyone. I’m not feeling stuck in my career like I was last year, but when you have some progress you just want to continue doing that and that’s exactly how I’m feeling now.

Union Stuff (or My SAG-AFTRA Delegate Time So Far)

It’s really shocking to realize that my term as a delegate with SAG-AFTRA is already more than halfway over. Even though this isn’t the most involved position as an elected union member, I’ve tried to be as involved as I can. I really loved my time at the National Convention and I’ve been trying to find that in as many aspects of my union participation as I can. While it can be tough to be involved while balancing as many day jobs as I can, I try to find the time or at least stay informed on what’s happening.

We’ve had some really awesome stuff happening in our union lately. In case you aren’t a union member (or are but aren’t aware of these things), one of the biggest things the union has been working on since SAG and AFTRA merged was the merging of the healthcare plans. Split earnings was such a huge issue, and it was announced this summer that starting on January 1st 2017, the plans will be merged and split earning will be a thing of the past! I’m not eligible for the healthcare yet, but I know how big of a deal this is for my fellow actors and hopefully in the future I can take advantage of it.

Another big thing that’s been happening lately is a bill that we are trying to pass that helps to reduce the age discrimination that happens with actors (and other industry professional). Some industry websites post the birth dates of people on it, and while that doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people it really can cause people not to book a job. If someone is in their late 20’s but looks like a teenager, they shouldn’t automatically be eliminated from consideration because of their age. No other job allows your employer to see your age before considering you, so I don’t see why acting should be any different. This bill hasn’t passed yet, so if you are in CA and want to see age discrimination reduced in industry jobs, you can fax in your support of the bill passing (and you can fax for free from your email!).

And we’ve got our upcoming contract negotiations happening with our TV and theatrical contracts. I’m not a part of the negotiation committee, but that doesn’t mean that I (or any union actor) can’t be involved in this process. We’ve got our wages and working conditions meetings happening now and we will continue to have them for a while leading up to the negotiations. I think every single SAG-AFTRA actor needs to attend these to share their experiences and to learn from others. It’s so important to know what is happening and what issues are going on so you can learn as well. I’m excited to attend some in the future when I know I will have a bit more free time between day jobs.

These things are things that have just been announced recently, but have been in the works for a very long time. The age discrimination issue has been in the works with SAG-AFTRA for 8 years and they finally got it to the Governor just recently. While I think all of us would love to things to change faster than they do, it just shows how dedicated everyone is in the union and how we can make changes if we try hard.

Since I’m seeing the results of long-term dedication to SAG-AFTRA, I’ve started to think about our election that will be coming up next year. I have no question in my mind that I will be running for a delegate position again. This has been such a great thing for me as an actor and I only wish I had done this sooner! I wish I’ve been more involved this past year, but I know that the day jobs had to take priority until I got a bit of stability happening. Now that that’s more normal, I can focus more on my acting career and union.

But I’m not totally sure that I’m fine with just being a delegate again. I’m seriously considering running for the local board so that I can be even more involved in what is happening in my union in my local area. This will be more responsibility, but I think that I can handle it and really do some great things. I’ve got some time before I have to decide what positions I’m running for, but I’m really leaning toward being both a delegate and local board member.

I’m so happy that about 2 years ago a friend of mine encouraged me to run for a delegate position. I love all the people who I’ve met through Unite For Strength and the various union events. I’ve never felt more connected as a member and I can’t want to make that connection even stronger through the years.

Anna Faris Is Unqualified (or Listening To A Live Event)

I’ve written in the past that I’m a bit of a podcast junkie (currently, I listen to 39 different podcasts). I love podcasts and I also work for one. One of my favorites is Anna Faris Is Unqualified. If you aren’t listening to this yet, download it and I know you’ll love it! It’s so much fun and everyone on the show are always entertaining to listen to. Unqualified is one of the few podcasts that I listen to on the day that it is released and I’m sad it doesn’t have episodes more often.

A few weeks ago, they announced that they would be doing a live show for the podcast and the tickets were going to be a lottery system. Everyone applies to buy tickets by a certain date and then after that passes they select the winners and they are the ones who get to have the tickets. It’s actually a pretty great system because the scalpers can’t try to get all the tickets the second they go on sale. So I entered the ticket lottery, but since I rarely win anything I figured I wouldn’t get to go.

But then about a week ago I got the email that I won and got tickets! I was so shocked and excited! So this week my friend Erin and I went to Meltdown Comics (where the show was held) to check out Unqualified Live!

meltdown

We got there right before the doors were supposed to open and I’m glad we got there then because we were toward the beginning of the line and so many people showed up a few minutes after us. After we got checked in at the front, we all lined up in front of the Nerd Melt Showroom to wait to be let in. While we were waiting, I got to look around Meltdown a bit. I’m not a comic book person, but the store looked pretty cool and I think a ton of my friends would love going there.

comics

Once we got inside the room where the show was happening, Erin and I found some seats in the first row on the side. We were so excited to be sitting so close to stage and our great luck in getting amazing seats!

front-row

The show started with the theme song for the show being sung live by Josh Ostrander and that was really fun to experience (sorry, I didn’t get any photos of that). Then, Anna and her producer came out to start the show! And as soon as they sat down, I learned that maybe our super amazing seats weren’t as amazing as I had thought. Because this ended up being my view for a good chunk of the show.

sim-sarna

Fortunately for Erin, she was able to see just fine and I’m happy she was able to enjoy things. And it totally was my choice to sit there so I only have myself to blame.

And my view wasn’t totally ruined the entire time. When Anna brought up Allison Janney up on stage (Anna and Allison did a demonstration on how to slap another actor for a scene), they moved up toward the front of the stage so my view wasn’t as obstructed.

allison-janney

And then about after an hour I finally got the courage to tap the producer on the back to ask if he could possible move his chair back a bit so I could see. He looked so apologetic and moved his seat back so I could see the rest of the live show. I wasn’t expecting him to move his seat at all (he was busy working and making everything go smoothly), so I was so grateful that he went out of his way to make sure everyone in the audience was having a good time.

And even though I couldn’t see most of the show, that really didn’t ruin my experience. I’m used to listening to podcasts so not having a visual made it seem just like any other podcast I listen to. And just being in the room with all that creative energy made me so happy and I had the best time that night!

Toward the end of the show, Anna wanted everyone to stand up to hold hands (she ended up borrowing my hand sanitizer so she didn’t have gross hands while doing it). Because I was so close to the stage and everyone up there, I ended up holding hands with the producer and Erin and we had to stand on stage to reach. We both found it pretty funny that somehow we ended up on stage with the team for the podcast by the end of the night. It just was amazing.

After the show was done, I got to talk to some of the podcast team a bit (love talking with people who understand what it’s like to produce a podcast!) and then Erin and I got a chance to talk to Anna as well! I have to say, while all the celebrities I’ve met have been kind and generous people, Anna is on a totally different level with how wonderful she is! She was so patient taking photos and talking to everyone who wanted to meet her. She honestly was grateful for every person who got a ticket for her show. And she was just a delight to get to talk to. And of course, Erin and I had to get a picture with her.

anna-faris

While I’ve run live events for Inside Acting in the past, this has inspired me to do so much more with our next live event. Unqualified really did an amazing show and I only hope that our podcast is this much fun for our listeners as this was for me. It’s been a full day since seeing the live taping and I’m still on a high from the wonderful energy that was in the room and how much fun I had there!

I’m just hoping that they will have another live episode, I’ll be able to get tickets for it, and maybe then I’ll pick a different seat so I can experience the entire live event!

Working On A New Plan (or Self-Producing)

I’ve been super excited about a couple of projects related to acting that I’ve been working on. These projects are all things where I’m doing at least one thing behind the scenes for the project. There is one project where I had an idea and a friend is currently writing it so we can both star in it. And we are still in post-production for “Single Parent Date Night” and I’m still super excited about that as well. But one project that is closest to the next step has had a setback and I’m trying not to get overwhelmed.

There is a project that I’m working with a friend on that is a reenactment of a video we saw online. I don’t want to say too much about it because I don’t want to give it away, but it’s something that I think is going to be really interesting. I’m not necessarily going to be in this project (I might play someone in the background to fill the space), so this is the first project since the Twitter documentary that I’m involved in that I’m not also going to be an actor in as well.

I’ve been busy getting our actors on board and my friend who is helping me has been busy working on the script. We’ve had some issues with getting actors, but we’ve pretty much cast the entire thing and the script is ready to shoot now. But we’ve hit another issue with this project.

We are doing this project as a union project, and I wasn’t aware that no budget projects (literally we have a $20 budget) need to have liability and workers comp insurance on them. I’ve been busy making calls this week to find the pricing on that, and most of them in are the several thousand dollar range. For a project that was going to be shot for the cost of water bottles and snacks, spending over $1000 to insure things isn’t really going to be feasible.

So I’ve been working on a lot of options. Some of my friends have guided me to companies that may do reduced premiums on no budget shoots, so I’m contacting them to make sure they meet the minimum requirements we need to have. There is also an option to see if another production company who already has insurance will come on board and insure us. And the option that I don’t want to go with is to get rid of our actors and make the project non-union. I have no plans to make this non-union, so I have to figure out another way.

In the past, this setback may have stopped the entire project. I’ve actually said online while I was frustrated that this might be the end of this plan and I wanted to give up on it. But the reason I started this project was because I wanted to share the story with everyone and I can’t let that go. So I have to figure out another option to make this work and to do things on the terms that I have wanted to do them.

While this is the first time I’m self-producing a project like this, I’ve realized that the insurance issue has been a recent one so many people who have self-produced have discovered this setback as well. I was putting myself down for not self-producing sooner so I would have known about this, so knowing others have this issue make me feel a bit better and less like I’m unprepared. This is just how you have to do business and I’m glad that I have a supportive community around me that is helping with figure out the best option for me.

Hopefully, once we get this project done and I figure out more of the legalities of self-producing, my next project and any more after that will become easier for me. While I don’t consider myself a writer, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be self-producing more often and creating the content that I want to see out in the world. I do have some ideas that I want to work on, and once I get over the hurdle of self-producing my first project I think things will just start rolling for me.

Figuring Out The Next Step (or I Need To Keep Acting)

As soon as I finished the shoot for “Single Parent Date Night”, I got the feeling that I had been missing out on acting for far too long. I’ve had auditions from time to time (I wish I had more but I understand that sometimes that’s out of my control) and I was in my improv class last year. And of course I have my meetings with my WIF mentoring group which is one of the most inspiring things for me.

But since my shoot, what I’ve been doing doesn’t feel like enough. I know I’m limited in some situations like I cannot force myself to get more auditions or don’t have the financial ability to do a short film like that one all the time, but that’s no excuse for me anymore. I need to keep going and I feel like I have no other choice.

I’m looking again into acting classes. I’m still torn if I should do the next level of improv classes, but I’m leaning more toward not doing it now. I’ve got a few more months to sign up for the next level before I have to start back at the beginning, so I can still change my mind if I want. But there are so many other types of acting classes outside of improv so I’m exploring those.

There are some acting classes that I’d love to take, but they are just too far beyond my price range. I can’t afford classes that cost more than my rent, and there are some like that out there that I know would be worth it if I had the money. And while the cheap ones are a good deal for me financially, I have to make sure that they are the right choice for my career as well.

I’ve got things narrowed down to a couple of classes that meet both the financial and career requirements that I have. I’m going to take a bit more time to look into all the options and I’m going to try to figure out what order I want to take them in. I will have to save money for each class I take, so it may take me a few years to get to all the classes that look interesting to me right now (and by then I’m sure there will be even more classes I want to take).

I’m also looking at doing more work on my own. They won’t be as professional as “Single Parent Date Night” all the time, but there are some beautiful projects I’ve seen that were shot on an iPhone. So I figured why couldn’t I do the same thing? I would need to keep the script and locations simple, but it is possible to work on my own stuff instead of always just waiting for someone to create one for me.

I took the first step to self-producing by becoming a SAG-AFTRA Signatory Producer. It was a very simple process online for me that allows me to produce union projects (which I have to do since I am union). Since I’m still not really a writer, I need to find friends who do write that I can collaborate with, but this is a start.

And I’ve already started working on another project. This one would actually not have me in it, but it’s an idea that I’ve been wanting to do for a little bit. I’m working with a writer friend and the script is done now. We are working on finding what actors want to be in it and once that is done we can submit all the paperwork to the union to get everything approved and ready to shoot.

Hopefully through the collaborations I’ve been a part of lately, I can find more people to work with and who can help me create my own work or will create work for me to be in. And yes, I still want to get more auditions so that I can book something that is on network tv so that I can feel like my career has taken a big step. For but now, I need to focus on what I can do where I am right now and hopefully that will be enough until whatever big thing I will book comes my way.

With The Good Comes The Bad (or My Vyvanse-Free Weekend)

Overall, my weekend was pretty amazing. I had so much fun shooting “Single Parent Date Night” and even though the night shoot was tough, it was the greatest time ever! It’s been a long time since I’ve had to be up all night (and even longer since I’ve had to do it to act), so planning out my weekend was a bit weird and I really did try my best.

Even though I had to work early Saturday morning, I went back to bed after work to get some extra sleep in. And I made no real plans on Sunday because I wasn’t sure how I would feel or if I’d get any sleep. And I also readjusted the medications I take each day to plan for the all-nighter.

I was able to take most of my medications as usual. But I skipped taking Vyvanse on Saturday because I didn’t want to take it in the morning since I wanted to go back to bed after work and I didn’t take it in the afternoon because I honestly forgot. And since the time I got home on Sunday was the time I usually take my first Vyvanse dose, I skipped that one too. And since I skipped the morning one I skipped the afternoon one too on Sunday.

I know I’m supposed to take a break from Vyvanse from time to time, but this was different. I didn’t take the break because I wanted to, I took it because I needed to for the weird schedule I had over the weekend. I thought I had prepared myself for taking the break, but the planning wasn’t enough. And it actually backfired on me.

Saturday and Sunday ended up being 2 of the worst food days I’ve had in a long time. I honestly can’t remember the last time my food was as bad as these days were. I’m not sure if Saturday was also bad because of stress and Sunday was also bad because of exhaustion, but it doesn’t matter. And it didn’t help that our dinner break for the shoot was at midnight and we ate pizza (I was hungry otherwise I would have skipped it). Fortunately I didn’t feel too sick on Saturday, but Sunday felt like a food hangover all day (and continuing to eat “bad” foods didn’t help that feeling). The one good thing with all the bad food choices was that I really wanted to get delivery food on Sunday for dinner, but I managed to resist that and went to the grocery store for a better choice.

I don’t want to completely blame the lack of Vyvanse on these bad days, but I did feel a difference in my body even mid-day on Saturday. I wasn’t feeling as strong as I’ve felt recently and I just wasn’t able to focus properly (Vyvanse is also an ADHD medication so I guess it’s been helping me focus and not just helping me with the eating disorder). I really hated how I felt and I wanted to be in a positive mindset because of the filming that night. I think the excitement of the filming did help a bit, but it still wasn’t quite right to me.

While I’ve been wanting to believe that the Vyvanse was helping me, I never was 100% sure about it. I knew that there was a bit of difference in my life, but I’ve also been doing a lot of self-improvement work lately so I thought it could also be that. But spending the weekend off of Vyvanse really did prove to me that it is working and that it is the right thing for me to be on right now.

I was back to my normal medication schedule on Monday and eating did get better that day. I think now I’m back to being on track but of course my scale is reflecting my bad choices and that stinks. I’ve been making so much progress lately and it does feel like a giant step back. Eventually I’ll get back to where I was and I just have to be patient with myself.

Even though this was a really bad weekend with my food and recovery, the good really did outweigh the bad and I wouldn’t change anything about my weekend. But I did joke to my co-star (and writer of our film) that the next collaboration we have needs to be something that shoots during the day because the night shoot was so crazy for me.

Making A Movie (or Pulling An All-Nighter)

We finally filmed “Single Parent Date Night”! We filmed the movie this past weekend and honestly it was one of the greatest acting experiences I’ve had so far!

I’m still in shock that we finally did this. It’s been a fun project to be a part of and I’m so happy that my friend Christopher wrote this script for him and I to star in! To think that this started as just a little scene for us to film for our reels and turned into a full short film is crazy! But I’m so glad that we were able to get a great team together for this and I can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s done!

Our filming adventure started at my house at about 7pm. Christopher, my friend Gedaly (who was so nice to volunteer to be background in our film), and I met up at my house where our hair/makeup person, Kate, would be meeting us. Kate was actually the one who did my hair and makeup for the past few headshot shoots I’ve done, so I was so happy she could do the film too! Since I was the only girl in the film, I definitely took the longest to get ready. But Kate got my makeup done and my hair in velcro rollers and then she got started on the guys.

Hair and Makeup

Once the guys were ready, we all headed over to the first location where we were shooting. We really lucked out with locations because those could have cost us a ton of money. But a friend of our director is an investor in a restaurant that hasn’t opened yet. And since they haven’t opened yet, we were able to use the space without paying because they weren’t going to lose any money having us there!

As soon as we walked into the restaurant, I wanted to cry from happiness. Like I said, this started as just a simple scene for Christopher and I and it became much bigger than that. But to walk into the restaurant to see the cameras and lights set up, it really hit me that we were making a movie and this was real!

Cameras

Once we got there, we got ready to start shooting pretty quickly. I had to get my hair finished first and our sound guy had to get our mics and battery packs set up. I had the sound guy and Kate working on me at the same time, and Christopher got what may be one of my favorite pictures from the shoot.

Crazy Prep

Of course, we kept taking lots of silly photos throughout the night. I got a pretty fun one of Christopher with the clapboard for the film.

Christopher

The shots we had to get inside the restaurant were some of the easiest ones for us. We didn’t have any lines and we just had to do a couple of moments that will be used in the beginning of the film.

At Restaurant

Once we were done with that setup, we moved outside to the valet area for the restaurant where we were going to shoot the first big scene between Christopher and I. The crew had to bring all the stuff from inside out to the parking lot, but they were so amazing that it was set up before we knew it!

Parking Lot Cameras

Even though I had worked on my lines the week leading up to the shoot, I was so terrified that I would forget what to say. Before each setup, Christopher and I ran through our lines a couple of times together and I’m happy to say that there were only a few times that we forgot what to say or messed up a line.

Filming In Parking Lot

We were done at the restaurant around midnight (so about 4 hours of shooting there) and then we were off to our next location. This time, we needed a house with a driveway and fortunately Christopher has a house with a great driveway to use! So we had another location that was free and we could be there without bothering anyone (Christopher’s wife and kids were visiting family that night so they weren’t home).

Before we continued on with the shoot, we had our “lunch” break and Kate touched up our makeup and Christopher and I worked on our lines some more. Then we headed out to the driveway for the next setup which was inside of a car.

Car Set Up

This was another big scene so I’m glad that Christopher and I worked on our lines before shooting the scene. We were able to store our script inside the car if we wanted to look at it between takes, but we ended up getting through all of the takes and camera setups so quickly that we didn’t really have too much time to look at it. Once we were done with the car scene, we were over halfway done with shooting the movie, so Christopher and I were pretty happy about that.

In The Car

Next was a scene outside of the car that had a mini-monologue for me to do. This was about 3am and I was starting to be pretty tired. I had tried my best to sleep as much as I could during the day on Saturday, but the late night was starting to catch up to me. I had a few moments where I had to think really hard about what my next line was, but I think that between all of the takes that we did there’s at least one really good line reading from me.

Our last setup was at the door of the house. We were actually filming 2 scenes there back to back, and as we were getting close to being done the sun was coming up quickly. I was shocked how early the sun was up (I guess that’s the risk you take filming in the summer instead of the winter) but we managed to get everything done before it was too bright outside!

And at 6am, we were done with shooting the entire film! I tried to get a good selfie from the end of the night, but I think you can tell how exhausted and crazy I feel from my look.

Wrapped

And of course, we had to get an exhausted picture of the 4 of us who were the ones who did the Kickstarter: Christopher who was the writer and star, Bryan who was the director, Jamie who was the producer, and me.

All Done

We got the entire thing filmed in about 11 hours, which is crazy because even though the script was only 9 pages that still working at a really fast pace. And we had to keep things quick because we were racing the sunrise. After we were done, I was totally ready to get home and to try to sleep. The exhaustion of the all-nighter caught up with me. But even though I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open, I still was on such a high that we actually did it! This movie has been such an incredible experience the entire time and a little part of me is sad that we are done filming now!

Our film will be going to our editor this week and then all of the post-production work will be starting. I don’t know how long it will take to be finished, but you know that I will for sure tell you all where you can watch “Single Parent Date Night” and every update each step of the way.

Thank you again to every single one of you who either donated to our Kickstarter or shared our Kickstarter so others could donate. We really could not have made this film without you and I’m so grateful that I had this opportunity to act and live my dream life for a night.

Clapper

Celebrating Ms. In The Biz (or 3 Years Later!)

This weekend, Ms. In The Biz celebrated their 3rd anniversary! I’ve been writing for the blog since the beginning, and in 3 years I’ve written dozens of posts (you can see them all here). So many women have written for Ms. In The Biz, and it seems like we keep getting new writers each month! I’m not sure how many of us have been with the blog since the beginning, but I’m super proud that I’m one of the original contributors.

The celebration for the anniversary was held in Santa Monica. There was actually a street festival happening in Santa Monica that day, so traffic was a bit insane. So I decided to take the light rail out to Santa Monica. I’ve taken the light rail a bunch to get to Hollywood, but the extension to Santa Monica just opened up last month so I figured it was a great time to take advantage of it. The Santa Monica stop was only a few blocks from the party, and those streets were all shut down to traffic because of the festival. So it actually ended up being pretty ideal.

When I arrived, I took some time to decompress from walking over and dealing with the crowds before mingling with everyone (I also wanted to smooth down my hair before I took any photos). The set up was pretty nice with a step and repeat with a photographer right by the entryway.

Step and Repeat

There was some food from Chipotle and cookies from Sprinkles (I didn’t know that they did more than cupcakes!). And there was a wine table as well as a liquor table where various liquors were mixed with tea. I didn’t end up drinking, but I still enjoyed checking out what was there.

Shortly after I got there, a couple of my friends showed up so we found a couch to hang out on a chat. It was starting to get a bit crowded, so being able to sit off to the side helped to keep my anxiety away. Since the red carpet photos weren’t being done the entire party, I also remembered to head over there for some photos. I don’t have the official photos yet, but the photographer was nice enough to take a photo with my phone so I’d have it right away!

Red Carpet

The party was pretty casual so that was nice. There was a raffle about halfway through the event (I didn’t win anything but that’s ok) as well as a quick video highlighting some of the projects that the writers have worked on (I didn’t get a chance to share anything so I wasn’t in that). But most of the time, I was just chatting with my friends about lots of random stuff. I know I probably should have networked more, but with so many people in a space I can feel really shy and end up sticking with people I know.

Since I had to take the light rail back home (and I had some work I had to get done), I didn’t stay too late. I was there for a couple of hours, but there were still a few hours to go when I ended up leaving. The walk back to the light rail was easy enough and even though I had to stand the entire ride (while I was in heels), it was still a pretty convenient way to get to Santa Monica. I’ll have to take the light rail again there soon for a beach day since it is way easier than driving over and trying to find parking.

Congrats again to Ms. In The Biz for sharing amazing stories by amazing women for 3 years! I’m always inspired by each article I read and I’m honored that someone might be inspired by what I have to write too. I’m excited to see what cool things will happen for the blog in the next 3 years. I know that there are going to be some fabulous things in the future and I can’t wait to be a part of them!

Hanging Out With Unite For Strength (or Talking About The Union)

Remember how the other day I blogged about skipping a couple of actor events? I definitely made up for it over this past weekend! Not only did I have the Netflix event on Saturday, there was a fun get together with fellow actors who also were part of the Unite For Strength slate when we had the SAG-AFTRA elections last summer!

Technically after the SAG-AFTRA convention my work as a delegate was done. I can try to join different committees and I can be as involved in various events as I’d like (just like any other SAG-AFTRA member), but there are no other responsibilities as a delegate other than to represent my fellow actors at the convention and to vote on different things at the convention with their best interest in mind.

Since my delegate work was done, I’m so glad that this gathering was organized for us to see each other again and to discuss recent or upcoming union issues. It was held at the house of one of the actors who ran on the Unite For Strength slate and it was pretty casual. There was a ton of food (I feel bad that I didn’t bring anything with me) and it almost felt more like a reunion than anything else. Most of the people there were people I hadn’t seen since the convention because I have not been as active in the union as I was hoping to be so far.

We’ve had a lot of things happening in SAG-AFTRA lately. One of the biggest, and saddest, things that has happened since the convention was the passing of Ken Howard who was the SAG-AFTRA President. It was a big blow to all actors when Ken passed away. He was an amazing advocate for actors and he was one actors who helped to get the merger of the unions to happen. I know that we all miss him and while we know that the new president, Gabrielle Carteris, will do an amazing job we all wish that he was able to complete the term he was elected into.

On a happier note, the union is celebrating the very recent passing of the new commercials contract. This contract will give us raises in our work and will also help to protect us as actors in the new landscape of commercials. Since there are digital commercials (like what you see on YouTube or Hulu) plus ads through social media (like twitter and Facebook), we need to have policies in place for those and this new contract is getting that started. The new contact was passed by over 92% of those who voted, but we are all a little saddened that only 13% of those who could vote did so. We were trying to share ideas of how to encourage our fellow actors to vote because I feel like more actors should be voting on major issues like new contracts.

Along with the commercial contract, we also were discussing the Best In The Biz campaign that SAG-AFTRA has to help organize commercials to get them organized as union contracts. When I was non-union, there were quite a few non-union commercials, but now it seems like non-union commercials are a bigger percentage of commercials than ever. Non-union commercials can pay actors whatever they want and don’t have to follow the same rules as far as how long they can run the commercials or residuals.

I did a non-union commercial back in 2007, and it’s actually still running now. When I did that commercial, I made $500 for the day (which I was so happy about) and didn’t think about it. But since it was non-union, I haven’t gotten any residuals for the 9 years it has run so far and I have no idea how long they will continue to run it. And while it’s on the air, it’s considered a conflict for any products that might be a competitor. I didn’t realize what I had done when I did that commercial, but that’s why I’m so passionate about getting commercials organized to be union and not non-union. I don’t want to see other actors get into deals like I had and aren’t making what is fair for that job. Major multi-million dollar corporations are doing non-union commercials and there is no reason for them to not be union.

There is also currently a campaign to get Spanish-language jobs to be union so those actors get the same pay and benefits as the actors who work on English-language jobs. I don’t know too much about this situation, but I agree that all actors should be equal under contracts. You shouldn’t be paid less (or not get eligibility for union benefits like health insurance and pension) because a show is in Spanish and not English within the same studio system.

The last thing I got to hear about was the new opportunities that there are for union actors to volunteer within the MOVE (Members Organizing Volunteer Efforts) program. I have signed up to be a part of MOVE and I do get the emails about the various events. So far, they have been when I couldn’t attend. But I’m really hoping to be able to join something soon. Just this past weekend, they helped the post office sort donations that were given during the Stamp-Out Hunger drive where people in LA left canned goods in a paper bag for their postal carrier to take. I wanted to help, but I had the Netflix event at lunchtime and then I had to go straight from that to a babysitting job. But they have other programs like the Senior Buddies and attending various charity walks that I think I might be able to do at some point this year.

I’m hoping that we can have another hangout like this in the near future. It’s a great way for me to stay informed about what is happening in SAG-AFTRA and then I can share that knowledge with others. There’s always a ton happening in the union (and we get a lot of emails every day), so I know that people might miss things from time to time. I want to continue to be a leader for others within the union and to help promote events and issues that I think other actors need to be aware of or to take action upon.