Tag Archives: meeting

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.

Women In Film (or Brunch and Ghostbusters)

Continuing with my busy weekend, I also had my Women In Film mentoring group brunch on Sunday! We’ve been trying to be really good about meeting up every other month, and we’ve learned that meeting for a weekend brunch works well for us. This way, none of us have to drive in rush hour traffic and we aren’t tired from working all day. Also, going out for brunch means that we don’t have to all prepare food and I don’t have to super clean my house!

I was really excited for this brunch. I got to tell everyone about “Single Parent Date Night” (some of my fellow mentees actually were donors for the Kickstarter too!). I told everyone about the filming process and how we really lucked out with finding some amazing locations and getting some incredible crew members. The budget we had for the film was pretty small, but I don’t think that the film will look like that.

I also updated everyone on the day job situation and how I’m very torn about doing the next level of improv classes at UCB. The classes aren’t cheap and I’m thinking that maybe taking a different class with that money would be a better use of my money. I have until December to take the next level of improv classes without having to redo the first level, so I’m not rushing to figure out what I want to do.

This brunch seemed to be full of updates from everyone. It was really great to see that everyone is doing amazing and making big strides in their careers. I still love that we have our meetings every other month and I really hope that we are able to continue to do these for a long time.

After brunch was done, I asked the group if anyone wanted to go see the new “Ghostbusters” movie. Since we are members of Women In Film, I figured going to support women in film by seeing a movie was pretty fitting. Not everyone could go, but 3 of us got into my car and drove a few minutes away to where there was a screening starting 20 minutes after we finished our meal. The timing was really perfect so I felt like it was fate that we were able to see the movie after brunch.

Ghostbusters

I know that “Ghostbusters” has gotten so much hate, and I really don’t understand it. If “Spiderman” can be remade lots of times why can’t “Ghostbusters” be done once? People claimed that the new movie ruined their childhood, but that makes no sense. If you don’t want to go see a movie, don’t see it. But all of us who went love the actresses who were in it and were excited to see what they did with the reboot. We didn’t care what the random reviews online said (and most of those were done before anyone saw the movie so they can’t be trusted) and we were just excited to see the movie with an open mind.

Honestly, it was an amazing movie! All of us really enjoyed it and were laughing throughout the movie. Yes, it had similar elements from the original but again we see so many remakes that it’s not a big deal. If it was a remake without any bits from the original movie that would have been very weird. And they had some fun new stuff and we all loved seeing the cameos from the original cast members.

But the biggest deal to me was that “Ghostbusters” was just an awesome movie that happened to star women. There was no romantic comedy element to it, nobody had to be saved by a man, nobody fell in love and changed their life, and as a friend of mine put it no woman ended the film scantily clad or in spandex. The women weren’t supermodels, they were real. And you could have replaced the women in the film with men and it would have been the same movie. That is so rare and special.

I had the best time seeing “Ghostbusters” and I’m so glad that we went to see it after brunch. It was the perfect thing to do after the meeting and I think we all felt so inspired after the credits were done. I know that many people won’t see the movie because there are women in it or that they saw all the negative reviews that happened before the movie was released (almost all the real reviews are positive), but I’m happy that we went out and supported women-led films with our money that afternoon.

It really was the perfect morning and afternoon for me. I got inspired by my fellow mentees and the steps they are taking in their career and then I got inspired by seeing “Ghostbusters” and how amazing it was.

A Lunchtime Meeting (or Feeling Very LA)

I’ve talked about a couple of projects in the works that I’m a part of. Each of them are taking steps forward and hopefully they will be happening at some point this year. The project I’m farthest along with is the short film that my friend Christopher wrote for the two of us to star in.

He’s written 2 drafts of the film so far. The second draft happened after he and I met to read through the script, discuss ideas, and make changes. I’m really happy where the script is now and I think it’s a super cute and funny short film. I think the way it is right now is a finished draft and we are ready to get this project filmed!

Of course, in order to film we need to find a crew and get some money together. The money thing isn’t going to be easy, but we are hoping that the crew part won’t be as tough. We first focused on finding a director and I reached out to my friend Bryan who directed the documentary I produced. I sent Bryan the script and fortunately he really liked it and we set up a lunch meeting to discuss things.

There are times where I have to laugh at how stereotypically LA I am sometimes. And going to a lunch meeting with a writer and director with a script in my hand was really funny to me.

Lunch meeting

We met up at Public School 818 (where I’ve met my Tone It Up friends before) and it was a pretty awesome meeting. I hadn’t seen Bryan since he helped me with my demo reel a while back, so it was great to see him again! We caught up on life (he and his wife had a baby since the last time I saw him) and Bryan and Christopher got to meet for the first time and chat.

Meetings with potential directors kind of feel like first dates. You are feeling each other out and seeing if you can get along. I already knew that Bryan would be an amazing director for this and Bryan was really impressed with Christopher’s past work. So I felt pretty good that the meeting was going to go well.

Honestly, most of our lunch meeting was just chat about almost everything besides the script. Christopher and Bryan are both dads, so they talked a lot about that (and I just listened). We talked about random LA stuff and eventually we got to talking about the film. Bryan has a couple of minor adjustments that he thinks would make things better, and both Christopher and I were totally fine with his suggestions. And we discussed how much of a crew we would need to shoot it. Christopher wrote the script with a minimal crew in mind, so we wouldn’t need a ton of people. But we do still need a crew.

Where we left our meeting was that Bryan seemed pretty enthusiastic about the script. He has a producer friend in mind who might be able to help out and help us find crew members who want experience (and wouldn’t cost a ton of money). And Christopher and I need to try to find some post-production people since Bryan doesn’t really have as many connections there.

Overall, I felt like the meeting went really well. Progress is being made in the project and we have a timeline in mind for when it is best for us all to shoot. Hopefully if things go the way we want them to, by my birthday the film will be done and I’ll have another credit to my name before the fall tv season starts this year. This will also help me refresh my demo reel since I don’t exactly look the same way I did when I shot the scenes I’m using now (my hair is different and I’ve lost weight).

The best thing about this meeting is just how everything came together. This is why it’s so important to meet creative types that aren’t doing the same thing that you do. I met Christopher years ago when a friend of mine was in one of his films and he and I have stayed in touch since then. And Bryan was brought to the documentary by a friend and I’ve stayed in touch with him since we filmed it. Hopefully I’ll have enough connections to help us find our crew. But even if I don’t, I have a feeling that we will be able to figure it out somehow. Things always seem to work out somehow if they are meant to be.

A Night Out With Some Awesome Women (or Being Ok Being Awkward)

The other night, a friend of mine invited me to join her at a meeting of women writers. I asked her if it was ok for me to go even though I wasn’t a writer, and she said that the group was ok with it. This group had met before, but not all members had met before so it wouldn’t be like I walked into an established meeting.

My friend and I were the first ones at the bar we were meeting everyone at (after getting a perfect almost free parking space right in front!) and soon after we arrived more people showed up. We got a table for the group and started ordering food and drinks.

In the beginning, I was just listening to what everyone else was saying. They were updating each other on their lives and jobs and I didn’t want to interrupt. It was really cool to hear what all these awesome writers have been doing and not just listening to what other actors are doing (those conversations can be very repetitive and weird for me at times).

But soon after that, more women showed up for the group and our table got pretty full. There were maybe 8 or 9 of us and the bar was a bit loud. I really wanted to hear what everyone was saying and participate in the conversation, but it just got very difficult to hear. I listened to what the people immediately next to me were saying, but I was still not really a part of the group.

My friend (who was sitting next to me) noticed that I was being really quiet and not adding to the conversation and she interpreted it as me being bored. I explained that it wasn’t that I was bored but it was awkward in the group because I really didn’t know everyone and it was tough to be a part of the conversation. I wanted to be a part of things, but I had to be ok with the circumstances and be ok with being an outsider for the night.

It wasn’t the group’s fault at all. The table we had was pretty big, there were a decent number of people, and it was pretty loud. Even our waitress had trouble hearing us from time to time. So it wasn’t the best place to be when I tried to get to know a bunch of new people.

My friend and I left a bit on the earlier side because we had another place we wanted to stop by before it got too late, so we started to say our goodbyes to everyone. And I talked to everyone more while saying goodbye than I had all night. I was talking to people individually while we were standing next to each other. So the noise and number of people didn’t affect the conversation. And everyone in the group was so awesome and I wished that it had been easier to be a part of the group the entire evening. But it just wasn’t meant to be that night.

I’m sure that I will get to see everyone again in the future. Hopefully I’ll be invited to another group meeting and maybe it will be somewhere that is a bit quieter so I can feel like I’m part of everything. But even though I pretty much sat quietly in my chair during the meeting, it felt awesome getting out and getting to meet new people. I’ve been in my own bubble with my set group of friends for a while and I know I need to expand my friend circles. Meeting people who are awesome is always a good thing in my mind. And I learned from those brief conversations that everyone in that group was pretty awesome.

Last Official Mentee Meeting (or Planning For 2016)

This past week was the final mentee only meeting for my Women In Film mentoring group. We’ve been meeting for about a year now, and we only have one meeting left with our mentors.

It’s been a pretty awesome year with my mentoring group. I’ve become friends with all the women in my mentoring circle. I’ve hung out socially with them outside of our meetings and we’ve discussed working on a project together in the future (the benefit of having women in all parts of the industry in the mentoring group). And I’m sad that our year is coming to an end.

Our last mentoring group was pretty small. Due to holiday conflicts, only 3 of us were there (out of 8), but we still had a nice time. It was more of a social hangout than an official meeting, but that was fine with us all. We chatted about things we have been doing in the past few months and what we are working on in the start of the new year. We also did a gift exchange (I got some greeting cards with amazing artwork on the front done by one of my fellow mentee’s husband).

With the end of the official mentoring circle time here, we also discussed what we wanted to do going forward. In my past mentoring group, it seemed like the end of our official time was a natural end to our group. We had never met outside of the meetings with our mentors, and while I do keep in touch with some of them over Facebook we’ve never gotten together after the end of our group.

But with my current group, we’ve gotten to know each other so well and have really bonded as a group. So we started talking about keeping our current schedule of meeting every other month as just a group of mentees. It’s going to continue to be an accountability group as well as a sounding board for questions or issues we might be dealing with in our professional or personal lives.

We’ve already started to plan how to continue our meetings into the new year. I think that we will be meeting again in February and I have to say that I’m so happy that it seems like the rest of my group is also looking forward to continuing with our meetings. I’d be pretty upset if we stopped meeting. Our meetings have become evenings that I look forward to. It’s an evening with my friends and an evening that always leaves me feeling inspired. I still feel like I’m the most beginner of our group, but if anyone else feels that way about me they don’t show it. They treat me with so much respect and have really helped to push me further in my career.

I’m so lucky that Women in Film partnered me up with the mentoring group that I have. I know how tough it can be to create a bond within the group when all the women are extremely busy and have crazy and complicated schedules. But we all tried to make our meetings a priority and it really worked. I have the opportunity to join a new mentoring group in the spring or fall next year, and I’m not sure if I will do that. I would love to have another great group, but I’m also scared that the new group wouldn’t be able to live up to this group and I wouldn’t be able to be as involved as I would want to be. I’ve got time before mentoring circle applications come around again, so I don’t have to rush to a decision yet.

But for now, I’m so grateful for what I’ve gotten out of the past year and I can’t wait to see what the next year with my mentoring group will bring to me.