Tag Archives: actor

Union Unity (or Giving A Candidate Speech)

I’ve been doing much better with being more involved in the acting world. It is election season and that is pretty exciting. Election season gets me super involved with the community and it’s very exciting for me to get to see the changes that people have been making in the union. And I’ve become more active in the Union Working group. I did miss a meeting due to work, but the most recent meeting was this past week and it was a pretty special meeting.

Union Working is a non-partisan group because the goal is the bring the union together so we can be stronger and unified. But with election season they decided to allow all the candidates who wanted to attend the meeting to give a quick speech so we could share our platform. When I heard about that, I assumed that they meant just the officer and board candidates so I didn’t think too much about it. And when I got to the meeting I was very excited to see how many people were there!

There were a lot of people who are a part of my slate as well as lots of candidates from the other slate or who are running as independents. And while we are not all on the same slate, it is really great to see everyone coming together to try to make the union the best it can be.

The guest for the meeting was a casting director and it was so much fun getting to hear him speak. I actually had met him for the first time my last year of college in a class where we got to learn about the business of acting. I remember the lessons I learned when I met him and I still use those in auditions now. So it was fun to get to see him again and reintroduce myself to him.

After the guest, it was time for the candidate speeches. And then I realized that everyone running in the election would get to give a speech, including me. I had nothing prepared, but I figured I’d try to speak from the heart and not stress too much about it. But before it was my turn, I got to listen to so many amazing (and prepared) speeches. I loved the dedication to the union that Gabrielle Carteris shared and I’m so excited that she’s running for SAG-AFTRA president on the slate I’m a part of.

And before I knew it, it was my turn to go up and speak. I’m not a huge fan of speaking in front of a large crowd. When you act, it’s a smaller crew and you are usually not aware of things. Plus, you aren’t being yourself. But getting up in front of everyone to say why I want to be a delegate is a bit scary.

What I ended up saying was how I consider myself extremely lucky. When I was ready to join the union, I had the guidance from people who I’ve met through The Actors’ Network and through Inside Acting to help guide me on what I should do as a new member. And I got to be a part of Unite for Strength and met more amazing people who have encouraged me to get involved and who have educated me on so many union issues. I only want to pay it forward and being a delegate is the perfect way to do that.

I know I flubbed my words (I couldn’t remember the phrase “pay it forward” and kept saying weird variations of it), but I think everyone knew I spoke from the heart and that I was just being honest. And I bet a lot of people were also very nervous about what they were going to say so they might have been distracted. No matter what, I’m glad I got up to speak and that it seems like my 1 minute speech went over well.

Everyone who was a candidate at the meeting who wanted to speak had the chance to. And since the group is non-partisan they did have a few rules about things we could and couldn’t say in our speeches. Mainly the rule was that the speeches were supposed to be why we wanted to be elected and this was not a time for personal attacks. And I’m glad that with the exception of one person everyone followed that rule. Election season can get a bit harsh and I would rather see people campaigning on why they want to be elected and not why others should not.

After the meeting, most people went to a bar to hang out and have fun. It was nice to have a fun night out with so many friends and just have some good social time. It was meant to also be a time for people to meet the various candidates, but most of us were just enjoying having drinks and catching up on life. I couldn’t stay too late since I had early work the next morning, but I feel like I was there long enough to have fun and not feel like I was missing out.

I’m so glad that I’ve decided to be a part of Union Working. They really are a wonderful and positive group who are working so hard to better the union no matter what slate people may be associated with. And while at the meeting, they were selling Union Working hats so I got one. This way, I can show off my Union Working pride when I’m out and about!

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Election Season Time (or Being A Part Of Unite For Strength)

It’s officially election season again for SAG-AFTRA and I’m so excited to announce that I am running for a delegate seat again! 2 years ago when I ran for the first time, I had no idea what I was in for. But I’m so glad that I had friends who told me I should run because it really was one of the greatest things I’ve done for myself!

Within an hour of the convention 2 years ago, I knew I had to run again. I never knew that being involved in the union could be so inspiring and that I would get so much out of it. And after the gala 2 years ago, I knew that I needed to let my friends know that they should be a part of this too! And because of my excitement, encouragement, and maybe a little peer pressure I have some friends who have decided to run for the first time as delegates this year.

As I had before, I am a part of the Unite For Strength slate. And I’m so proud that I get to be a part of this slate. They are most knows for helping to lead the way to merge the union (it used to be SAG and AFTRA as different unions) but the leadership of Unite For Strength has done so much for the union in the past few years. I’ve been lucky that I have witness many amazing things that they have done first hand since so much has happened in the past 2 years. But knowing the legacy of Unite For Strength is pretty awesome too!

Here’s just a sample of some of the things that the leadership from the slate have done for SAG-AFTRA:

And that’s just a portion of what they’ve done! There are so many more things that the members of this slate have done or are currently working on! To know that I get to be a part of this group is such an honor and I feel so lucky that I get to have such educated and inspiring peers. I still have to pinch myself often when I realize that these leaders are my peers. They are not just actors that I have dreamed of getting to work with or admire from afar. I get to learn from them and many of them have become my friends.

If you want to see more of who is a part of the Unite For Strength slate, there is a list of candidates on the website. Also, since no union funds can go toward a campaign, we are hoping to get some donations to help us with the costs of running the campaign. Things are not free for us (like creating flyers to educate members on the election) and every dollar helps. If you can help, even with just $1, you can donate via PayPal on the website (please note all donations must come from personal accounts and not a business one).

If you are a member of SAG-AFTRA, please remember to vote. We’ve actually got 2 voting opportunities right now. First, we are voting on the new TV/Theatrical contract. That is due on August 7th so please take the time to look at the new contract, see what gains we have made, and vote. I encourage you all to vote yes on it, but most importantly I just want to see more members vote. Our voting turnout isn’t that high and I think we need to work hard on fixing that.

And I would love for any of you who are members of SAG-AFTRA to vote for me in the upcoming election. The ballots are being mailed out this week and they are going to be counted on August 24th. And I would really appreciate you all voting for the Unite For Strength slate, but again I just want to encourage everyone to vote. I hate when I see that the voter turnout is so low. During the last election, the Los Angeles local had under 17% of the eligible members vote. We need to improve that. And hopefully while some of you might be voting for the first time, you will vote for the slate and for me. I’m #217 on the ballot!

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Another Actor Night (Tweetup And Inside Acting)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brunch Celebration (or Everyone Has Awesome News)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.