Tag Archives: meeting

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.

Another Night Of Union Working (or Back To Back Union Events)

I’ve said several times that I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to get involved in the union and this week has been the perfect opportunity. I had the local board meeting/SAG-AFTRA Convention orientation one day and the next day was a meeting of the Union Working group!

I’m so glad that I’ve joined the Union Working group. It’s great having another opportunity to hang out with awesome people and to get to meet more like-minded people. But I’ve learned so much in my time in the group. There are things that the union has restrictions on doing because of our constitution or because of how certain things are handled in the entertainment industry. But as a non-partisan and not officially SAG-AFTRA group, Union Working doesn’t have those same restrictions. We can talk to people without having to worry about the official procedures or making sure that lawyers are there. So we are talking to people more freely and that allows us to know what the issues are and how we can fix them.

Each meeting has a focus and a guest, and this meeting was a bit different. The overall focus of the group right now is how to get commercials to be union more often (which is a big focus of SAG-AFTRA too). So this meeting had a lot of general overview of the issue of commercials being non-union, what is currently being done to work on this, and what we are going to be focusing on next. We learned about the process of what happens when a commercial tries to go from non-union to union and what we can do to help make that happen more often.

We had a couple of guests that spoke at this meeting including the Los Angeles local president of SAG-AFTRA, the chairperson of the commercial committee for the union, and a staff member from SAG-AFTRA who discussed members of the union who take non-union jobs. When you are a member of our union, you can’t work non-union work (or work off the card). And if you are found out, you have to face the disciplinary committee and can possibly be removed from the union. It’s a serious issue and it is not taken lightly by anyone.

It was great hearing the perspectives of different people on these issues. While most of us agree on things, each person has their own story of how things affected them or things they’ve experienced or witnessed. For me, I did a non-union commercial before I joined SAG-AFTRA. At the time, the payment I got for it seemed awesome. But I had no clue that the commercial would still be airing 10 years later. If this was a union project, I would have gotten residuals and payments as they continued to run it. But since it was non-union, I got the payment as a buyout and the commercial can run in perpetuity. While I don’t regret doing it, I learned a lot from it and want to share my experience with other actors so they can understand what can happen if they chose to do a non-union commercial with a buyout.

There were a few debates about things during the meeting, but even in the disagreements everyone was pretty much coming together. Compared to how us vs. them the election season was, having these types of debates was nice. Everyone won’t always agree on things, but disagreeing doesn’t always have to mean arguing. And I think that everyone learned things from others while at that meeting and we all have a lot to think about now.

The meeting was about 2 hours and then we had to leave because the space that we use had to close. But I know that we probably could have kept going for another hour or two because everyone is so passionate about making the union the best it can be and the strongest we can make it. Fortunately, many people at the meeting are also elected delegates so we can continue working hard at this when we are at the convention in 2 weeks. And because I’m a part of this group, I know that all the work I do at the convention will continue after because I will be bringing that knowledge to the meetings and continuing to educate myself.

I’m so lucky that I have friends who told me about the Union Working group because it is one of the greatest things I’ve done for my acting career lately. I’ve said I wanted to be more involved and I was presented a great way on how to do that. And I know that this group is going to continue to grow and make some amazing things happen for the union. I’m just so lucky that I will get to be a part of that.

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!

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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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!

MOVE LA (or More SAG-AFTRA Involvement)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning My Next Project (or Meeting A Director)

Now that “Single Parent Date Night” is pretty much done (we are just submitting to film festivals now), I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted to work on next. I’d love to find another project that I can star in again, but it’s not that easy. I thought about seeing if I can find another writer friend to help create a project for me, but again that isn’t easy and I didn’t know if that was the right step.

But a while ago, my friend Camber (who I met through our WIF mentoring group) mentioned an idea for a documentary that she was thinking about doing. I’ve helped to produce one documentary before, but that project was pretty easy. Our entire movie seemed to come together really well and since it was mainly interviews it was an easy shoot to do. But the documentary that Camber brought up to me will be much more involved and will require more planning.

I don’t want to get into too many details (mainly because they aren’t figured out yet), this documentary idea would be one about nature. It would involve travel both within the country and internationally and it would require a pretty decent budget. Also, since it wouldn’t be interview based, we would pretty much have to write a script for the documentary to help guide the project.

Neither of us have experience with creating a documentary like this and we knew that we would need some help pretty much from the beginning. I brought the idea to the director of “Single Parent Date Night” (who also directed the documentary I produced previously) to see if he wanted to be a part of this project too. I trust him so much as a director and would have loved to have him a part of this. But the subject isn’t one that interests him and that is something that is important to us. We don’t want someone directing a project just to do it, we want them to have a passion for it since we need their guidance on how to tell the story.

So I posted in a couple of different industry related groups that I’m a part of to see if there were any directors who specialized in documentaries and possibly had an interest in doing a documentary about nature. I kept the post a bit vague as we are still figuring out what our documentary will totally be about. I got a couple of responses, but there was one director who seemed to be very interested in discussing the project so Camber and I met with her this past week.

I feel so lucky that I’ve had some amazing people come into my life in regards to acting and other entertainment related stuff. The director we met with is very much on a similar wavelength as Camber and I are. And she had some great ideas for us on how to narrow down our ideas and to build a narrative for the film. She even gave us a list of films to watch so we could get some more ideas!

The best thing was that she said that even if we didn’t want her to be our director, she still wanted to help us make it! That is just so generous and I know that she will be a great asset to the film. I’m just so grateful that she responded to my post and was willing to meet with us even though we don’t have a full concept to present yet.

Camber and I have a lot of work to get done before we meet with this director again (or meet with any more directors). We know this documentary that we want to make may take more than a year to do, so we want to do everything right. And even though it isn’t acting, this project is a creative one and is helping me exercise the creative part of my mind. I hope that we can make this documentary a reality. Not just because I want to be able to do it. I really feel passionate that I want everyone to see what we are hoping to make and I feel like it can have a big impact on a lot of people.

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.