Tag Archives: Women in Film

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.

A Casual Brunch (or More Hangout And Less Catchup)

Even thought I haven’t been too active with Women In Film lately, I’m still a member and still so happy that I joined with I did. They recently were taking applications for new mentoring circles and I thought about signing up to see if I could get in. But I did have some negative experiences with my 2 previous groups so I decided to take a break from it for 2017.

I might rejoin a mentoring circle the next time they do applications, but it really felt right to step back from it this year. I have a lot of other things that will be taking my focus (that are not acting related) so I don’t want to join a mentoring circle and not be able to dedicate myself to it completely. That’s the issue we had with my first group. Out of the 10 women who started in it, only 2 or 3 of us would attend the meetings. I don’t want to be a flake when someone else more deserving could take that spot.

But with my last mentoring group, the negative things had nothing to do with my fellow mentees. So it makes me so happy whenever we can get together. We were supposed to have our brunch in November, but the month was just too busy for us all and we decided to push things back a month. And this past weekend was our brunch where we were supposed to have 5 of us there, but even though only 3 of us could make it there it was still awesome!

We met at Rush St. (I think that will be our official brunch place) and since there was only 3 of us the catchup time was pretty short. I had run into one of my fellow mentees at Target recently so she was pretty up to date on the tumor situation. But I filled them in on the rest of the updates which is pretty much down to now we wait to see if the tumors shrink. I also updated them on how the premiere of my short film went and how there are a few other projects I’m looking at working on.

The other two women both had fun updates. One of them is currently writing a Hallmark movie and the other has been shooting a bunch of short films. And one of the mentees who wasn’t able to make it had emailed her update to us and she’s been doing so much as well. It’s always so inspiring to hear all the incredible things that everyone else is doing and they are so supportive no matter how much I have to share or if I got no acting related things done since I had seen them last.

Since there was only 3 of us there and we all had pretty short updates, we got to spend the rest of our brunch just having fun. Since we’ve been a group for so long now, many of us have become really good friends and that’s just so much fun. We were talking about the holidays and upcoming trips that they would be going on. We also joked about how the timing of when my liver surgery will likely be will mean that one of our meetings would be at the same time. So we were saying we should totally have a mentoring circle meeting from my hospital room! If I have to be in the hospital for a few days, I know I’ll need some entertainment and having our meeting then would be pretty awesome!

I do wish that more people could attend our brunch, but with us all having crazy schedules plus with the holidays happening we knew that it was going to be a tough month to figure out when everyone could make it. Our next brunch will be in February and I’m hoping that we can get everyone together for brunch to be a great way to kick of the mentoring circle meetings for 2017!

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 Night At A Screening (or Forgetting What Non-Screenings Are Like)

Last week I got an invitation through Women In Film to attend a screening of “Neighbors 2”. I had seen the first movie and I thought that the second one would be fun to check out. I wasn’t planning on going to the movies to see the movie (I try not to spend money on movies unless they are really the type of movie that needs to be seen on a big screen), so I was pretty excited for the invite to the screening!

The different screenings I get invited to all have their own personalities. The SAG-AFTRA Film Society screenings are pretty much always at the DGA theater and they are the type of screenings that you have to show up early for to make sure you can get in to the theater. There is no food or drink allowed inside of the theater and pretty much everyone stays until the end of the credits (it’s actually in the rules that you are supposed to stay until then). Most of the SAG Awards screenings are like this too. You go to a screening house and line up to get in. They are private events so they are almost always actors.

Women In Film doesn’t always do screening like that. Sometimes they are private events, but they also sometimes are with other organizations too. When I saw “The Theory Of Everything”, that was the fanciest screening I’ve been to. And when I went to see “Miss You Already” it was a screening with other groups, but somehow it ended up being more like a private screening with the crew and a couple of other people (I was one of the random other people there).

I’m aware that I’m probably spoiled with the screenings. Not only does it allow me to see more movies than most people go out to see, but the environment that I see the movies in is very different from what it’s like at a normal movie theater. Most of the time, nobody is allowed to eat or drink so I don’t have to worry about weird smells (I once sat next to someone in a movie theater who ate a tuna sandwich during the movie and the smell was pretty overbearing) or the noise of people eating. Also, at screenings it’s extremely rare to see a cell phone out. Not only are the people at the screening usually too into the movie to look at their phone, but since some screenings are advance screenings you can be kicked out if security sees the light of a cell phone during the movie (security will be standing all around the theater just watching for that cell phone glow). Seeing movies in screenings has fortunately become my norm and I’m so grateful for that. So when I see a screening that isn’t what I expect, it throws me off.

The screening for “Neighbors 2” was held at a movie theater at The Grove, and when my friend and I lined up to go inside we noticed that it appeared that the screening was not just Women In Film but a couple of different groups attending the movie. We got our tickets and got some popcorn (we had gotten dinner at The Grove before the screening) and walking into the theater.

Screening

As soon as we walked inside, I was shocked about how crowded the theater was. We had gotten inside about an hour before the screening and a lot of the seats were already taken (or saved by people putting their coats or purses on them). Also, at the front of the theater there was a DJ, a step and repeat, and a bunch of people there. Turns out, this screening was also sponsored by a local radio station (I think they might have given away tickets to the screening as well). Before the movie started, there was very loud music from the DJ and people climbing over seats to get to the front to play some games to try to win a free poster or frisbee.

Once the movie started, there were a couple of people talking around us and eating loudly (we may have been guilty of eating loudly too since we had popcorn). And I saw a couple of people trying to secretly text or check their phones during the movie even though we had been warned that if you were caught with a phone on that you would be kicked out. I really wanted to shush the people who wouldn’t stop talking during the movie, but I tried to ignore it and enjoy watching it. But this was all a reminder of how spoiled I have gotten with the screenings I’ve been to.

The crowd and the noise didn’t ruin the movie for me at all, but it was a bit distracting. Overall, I enjoyed “Neighbors 2”, but I wished they had focused more on the parents instead of the college students (I definitely identify more with the parents). It was pretty funny and I think my friend and I both had a pretty good time at the movie.

Netflix Luncheon (or Rebels and Rule Breakers)

Through both SAG-AFTRA and WIF I got email invites for an event that Netflix was hosting this past weekend that featured the women of Netflix shows. The event was a luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire hotel and since the luncheon technically didn’t start until noon, I figured I should accept the invite because my work shift would be ending at 11am that day (I don’t miss work to attend events so I do miss out on a bunch).

There was free valet for attendees at the hotel, but it was so packed that it almost took me 30 minutes to get into the valet area and get out of my car! Fortunately, the pre-reception was still going on when I arrived so I checked in at the front, got my table number, and headed inside the room where the event was.

Netflix Event Beverly Wilshire

I had never been inside the Beverly Wilshire before, so I was so impressed by the space and the set up in the room. There was a bar for drinks, but I ended up spending my time before the luncheon started looking for friends of mine. Fortunately, since there were invites from a couple of different organizations I ended up knowing quite a few people there. Most of them were people I knew from the SAG-AFTRA convention because they were there representing the union at the luncheon.

At noon we were instructed to go to our tables and sit down so the presentation and lunch could start. At each of our seats, we had a card that on one side had the people who would be speaking and on the other side the menu of the lunch.

Netflix Speakers Neflix Menu

I knew who would be there speaking ahead of time because it was on the invite for the event, but I was still so excited to hear everyone speak. The panel was done in 2 segments and each woman there shared a bit of her story and a bit about how she feels about being a rebel. Being a rebel in the entertainment industry can mean so many things, and each of them had such a wonderful viewpoint. I loved hearing about how women are afraid not to be polite so they don’t try for things or ask things that might be a bit bold. While women shouldn’t worry about always being polite, there’s no need to not be gracious. Being polite and gracious are different things, and I never thought about that.

I’ve always been scared to not be polite, so this was really hitting home for me. I know I’ve been paid less than my co-workers because I didn’t want to see rude or pushy to ask for a raise. I’ve been treated badly at day jobs because I didn’t want to make a fuss and tell HR that I’m being harassed. I’ve tolerated guys saying pretty bad things to be because I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t being nice because I’ve heard far too many stories of women being shot or attacked by men after they reject them (because to some men, rejection is rude and women shouldn’t do it).

I had already been making strides to being more bold in the past. More recently, I’ve been very outspoken about friends that I’ve wanted to work on projects with. The short film I’ll be starring in soon is because on a phone call with my friend Christopher I said that I was mad that he and I hadn’t worked on a project yet. He said he didn’t have anything that fit me, but next thing I knew our short film was written and now we are in pre-production. I’m going to be in another short film this year because when a friend mentioned that they were working on getting it to pre-production I asked what part there is for me. That isn’t the nicest way to ask, but it was effective and I’ll be playing a small part in that film now.

This entire luncheon was so empowering and really got me thinking about how I need to work on finding the balance between being polite (which is what I’ve been told I have to be) and being pushy (which is what I need to be to help further my career). I don’t have the answer on what that balance should be, but honestly I hadn’t been working hard enough in the past on this to make it work for me. I’m so inspired by what all these women said at this luncheon. I know that if I make a couple of small changes in how I interact with others (and how I network) that it can be a huge impact in the auditions I’m getting and the parts that are being offered to me.

The panel part of the luncheon was only about an hour or so long and after it was done we all were told to head back up to where the pre-reception was for desserts and drinks. I was able to find more of my friends at that point and I think all of us were equally inspired by what we heard (both men and women were at the event and I only heard very positive things from everyone).

We know that diversity is more than just women, but getting more women filmmakers and having women’s stories told in film and tv is important. Just this week, a pilot for a new tv show was rejected because it skewed too female. That’s is horrible. I’ve never heard of a pilot being rejected because it was too male. There’s also all the hatred that I don’t understand toward the all-female “Ghostbusters” movie. Some people don’t think that women need to look up to other women or are complaining that men have nobody to relate to in that movie (there are male characters and if they have to watch an all-male cast they can watch the original movie). And some people think that while women will watch shows about men, men won’t watch them about women. This has been proven wrong by movies like “Bridesmaids” that have been big successes.

These are all attitudes that need to change in order for more women to be writing projects, directing projects, and playing characters that are no just the girlfriend or the pretty one to look at. I feel like this change has started, but there are so many voices speaking negatively regarding gender diversity in film and tv (who want to keep it male centric) and I hope that those people will see that putting more women in front or behind the camera will not diminish men but will in fact create more projects that everyone can be in.

 

Networking Brunch (or Having Lots To Share)

I’m so happy that I’m still meeting with my fellow mentees from my WIF mentoring circle. We are assuming that we are not meeting with our mentors anymore (we didn’t have anything officially said to us, but the year of our time has passed), but that’s no reason for us not to keep meeting!

All of the past mentee-only meetings have been at my house. I’m totally fine with that because it’s pretty easy for me, but we decided this time that we wanted to change things up a bit. We had a couple of emails going back and forth about what we wanted to do and when we could met, but we settled on meeting for brunch this past weekend.

It was a nice change-up. Nobody had to cook or bring food and meeting on the weekend meant that nobody was exhausted from working all day. We decided to meet at Rush St. (where I had my birthday party) which was great since there is a free parking lot across the street and it seemed like everyone knew where it was.

We had 5 of us at brunch (the past few meetings have only been 3 of us), so it was a decent sized group. And after we all ordered food we got down to official business. Everyone went around and shared what they had been up to since the last meeting. Some people have won awards, some people have entered contests, and some people have booked amazing jobs. I usually feel like I don’t have much to share, but this time I had some good updates.

First of all, I shared how after paying my taxes I had leftover money. This is a big deal because I need a new computer and I’m still thinking about taking the next level of classes at UCB. The extra money is going to come in handy for both of those things and I’m happy that I don’t have to stress about how to afford them. I also shared about how I got a raise at one day job and might be getting more hours at another. Again, the more money I can make or save, the better off I’ll be as far as not getting into more debt and paying off my existing debt. I’m still making strides toward that goal and it’s tough when you are just making enough to cover living expenses.

Besides money and job things, I was also able to update the group on fun projects like the short film my friend Christopher and I hopefully will be shooting next month. This will be my first short film in a long time and I’m really excited to work on it. I think it’s going to be a great project and I think that it will be a lot of fun to be on set and work. I’ve missed that feeling lately and I’m happy to have it back. There are a couple of other projects in the works that are in the super early stages, but I tried to update the group on those as much as I could (it’s tough when you don’t really have details that can be shared yet).

It was really nice to have some fun things to update everyone on and not just to say that nothing is really different but I’m still pushing forward. I know the other women in my group don’t judge me on what I have or have not done, but it’s nice to have some things that are real proof of my efforts and not just ideas or plans.

Technically now I believe I’m eligible to apply for the next cycle of mentoring circles. If I do that, it will be my third one. The circles have gotten better so far, so I think that when applications are open again I’ll go for it. I can still meet with this group while having another group to work with as well. This industry is all about networking and who you know/who knows you, so it’s not a bad idea to get to meet as many people as possible. Especially if they are up and comers like I am.

As far as my current group, we still plan on continuing our meetings. We haven’t decided yet how often we will do them, but the plan is to keep them regular and hopefully as many of us will attend as possible. It’s a great accountability group to have and over the past year I have become friends with these women. So even though technically it’s a business meeting, it really just feels like hanging out with my friends.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (or A Movie With A Fun Friend)

The other day, I got an email from Women In Film inviting members to attend an advance screening of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”. Women in Film does really great screenings (like the one I went to for “Miss You Already”), so I signed up for tickets right away. Since there were limited tickets for members I wasn’t sure I would get tickets, but a day later I got the email that I got my seats!

I put it out on Facebook to see who else wanted to see the movie with me, and my friend Elisa said she wanted to go. I met Elisa through Tone It Up, she also works out at Orangetheory (but a different location than I go to), and she’s now going to be a part of my Pantages season tickets group next season. But she and I haven’t really hung out a ton by ourselves so I was excited to go to the movie with her.

I was super excited to see this movie. I remember when the first movie came out and loving it! And the story of how it was a one-woman show turned into a movie was really inspiring too. As soon as I saw that there was going to be a sequel, I knew I’d go to see it. And I’m so grateful that I got an opportunity to see a screening for it because there are so many movies lately that I want to see and I can’t afford to see them all!

We got to The Grove (where the screening was held) a little more than an hour before the movie was supposed to start. We were told that even though we had tickets it wouldn’t guarantee us seats, so we wanted to make sure we lined up early to get in. We were toward the front of the line and got our tickets pretty quickly. But then we noticed that they were not assigned seats (I thought they would be). So we didn’t want to wait too long before going into the theater. Even though The Grove has a bunch of restaurants, we both ended up getting movie theater food for dinner. Not the best choice, but I got a hot dog and water so it wasn’t too horrible.

We got some pretty great seats once we went inside (it didn’t get crowded until a few minutes before the movie started) and sat down to enjoy our dinner. We did get to catch up on life and everything since we had an hour before the movie started. Elisa has some cool things coming up in her life and job so she was filling me in on that. And we had a good time talking about all things Orangetheory. And before we knew it, the representative from the studio was talking to the audience explaining that since it was a pre-release screening they had antipiracy officers in the audience looking for cell phones and the movie was starting.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

The movie was really good! I was shocked afterward to see that there were negative reviews online when I enjoyed it as much as I did. I had seen in interviews that the original cast was returning for this movie. And there were a ton of people from the first movie! Every scene it seems like I was realizing that the actor on screen played a cousin or something in the original. It’s nice to see that so many cast members loved doing the original movie and they wanted to come back!

The story was really cute and even though some moments were a bit absurd, there was always something real and heartfelt to bring it back to reality. Elisa and I both were laughing throughout the entire movie and it seemed like everyone in the audience enjoyed it as much as us. The only thing that bugged me were the women sitting next to me. They talked pretty loudly and decided to do some dancing in their seats (and elbowed me a couple of times). I’m also used to going to screenings where you cannot eat inside the theater so the noise of people eating threw me off a bit (but that’s a personal issue and not an issue with the movie).

I’m so glad that the movie was just as good as I hoped it would be! It’s tough to do a sequel over a decade after the original, and this one did not disappoint at all. And I think Elisa would have the same review as me.

With Elisa

I wasn’t able to hang out at The Grove after the movie because I didn’t want pay too much for parking and I wanted to get home at a decent hour. But it was nice to get out there since I missed doing my post-New Year’s cheesecake outing with my friend Joanna this year (hopefully we’ll do that eventually this year).

With it being after the awards season now, there aren’t as many movie screenings as there were earlier this year. But I’m glad that there are still some so I can go to the movies and not worry too much about having to splurge with my spending. There are a couple of movies that are screening this weekend that I’m going to, and if they are as awesome as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” was, I’ll be writing about those for sure!

The First Mentee Meeting Of The Year (or Catching Up On Life)

Even though we think that our official time as a mentoring circle is done, my fellow mentees and I have made plans to keep our meetings continue. We are hoping to stay on an every other month schedule, and we just had our first meeting this week.

I was a bit stressed out about this meeting because I was out-of-town until the day before. While my house wasn’t crazy dirty or anything, I really wanted to be able to clean before everyone arrived. And I had to figure out a time to get to the grocery store to get food for the group, but I had limited time. Fortunately, I had planned ahead and went to the grocery store late on Monday night after flying back home. And my job wasn’t too crazy on Tuesday, so I had some time to do quick bursts of cleaning between customers.

It ended up being another small meeting because some of the others ended up getting last minute conflicts (I’m working on planning future meetings better to hopefully prevent this so more of us can make it). But it is nice having a small group. The small gatherings always seem more like a hangout and less official, but that can be nice from time to time and I think that has allowed me to become really great friends with my fellow mentees.

Of those of us at the meeting, most of us said that we didn’t really have much of an update to share. I was one of those people. In the past 2 months, I really haven’t done a ton for my acting career. I did complete my UCB class and got new headshots, but beyond that I haven’t really done much. I’m still self-submitting for acting parts and I’ve got a couple of things that may be in the works soon, but that’s not really an update. I did end up sharing some of the things that are hopefully going to be in the works and got some great advice on them. But the main part of the advice was I couldn’t do anything until things are progressing.

But even with non-updates, I love hearing what everyone else is doing. I think all of us think at a time that everyone else is further along in their career than them, but it’s nice to see that that’s not the truth. Everyone has leaps at their own pace so there’s no real way to tell who is further in their career than others unless there’s something very concrete to compare to. It’s great to hear what people in other creative jobs other than actors are doing to get ahead in their careers and to learn more about that particular job path. The better educated I am in all aspects of the entertainment industry, the better in my mind.

With the non-updates, we spend most of the time just chatting about random fun stuff. We talked about travel, workouts, dogs, classes, and living in LA. It was a great evening to center myself after a crazy weekend and to help get my mind and career back on track. It was a reminder that even if you haven’t done anything for your career in months, you still have wonderful things to update people about and you shouldn’t discount what you have to say or share. And it was a great night getting to know my friends better and to realize that even though the mentoring circle ended officially, it’s just beginning for real.

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.