Friends, fellow filmmakers and big fat fakers

paparazzi 1Photo by Christopher Labadie Photography

There is something really sensational about the human spirit – how we live in a constant state of renewal and restoration. Think about all the times you have been screwed over, hurt, betrayed, taken advantage of, lied to, left behind, heartbroken, cheated … by friends, colleagues, family members, trusted elders …  but have you stopped trying? Have you stopped your heart from loving or from exploring the possibilities of what other love exists? I don’t know a single person that could answer yes to these questions in truthfulness.

We are chemically wired to seek out connection and fellowship with other souls. Our body physically responds to touch and emotional encounters in ways that science nor logic can deny that we are literally constructed to share our lives with one another in unity. This is where the pitfall of organized religion comes in and acts as a trap to mankind. Any person, power or organization that teaches you that you are somehow incomplete or lacking if you do not depend on them is an inhibitor and damaging to your soul. Because we are constantly in this state of seeking, so many people falsely claim to have or be what it is that you seek and out of desperation or hope, you grasp onto it, wanting to believe you have finally found your home, your church, your life partner, you dream job, or whatever it may be.

The issues is in the source – if that thing or person is lost, destroyed, does not live up to expectation (which is the most common reason for depression clinically is unmet expectations) … then what becomes of you? You who have aligned yourself to this force to be fed some sort of spiritual, mental or emotional nourishment to sustain your own life-source? You die and wither like a flower starved of water.

If you’re like most of us, you barricade yourself in a room for a bit, pig out on Ben & Jerry’s, a few bottles of wine or maybe some vodka depending on how serious, cry, rip some shit up, throw away anything that causes recollection of said person, place or thing and then emerge from your cave claiming to feel like a new person; rejuvenated, reignited and ready to go.

You’re not new though, you are a collective of everything you have ever experienced and everyone you choose to encounter and allow into your life path. It is how you let these pieces shape or impact who you are. I’ve never believed in forgetting or not acknowledging your past because of this reason – your past is your foundation, the building blocks of the pillar that is you. Given everything that gets thrown at you in life, the fact that your pillar is still standing (it may have a few gouges or scratches here and there and some missing paint or cracks) but the simple fact that it is indeed still standing, is quite phenomenal.

I love very deeply. I love my parents very deeply. I love my God very deeply. I love my acting very deeply. I love a man very deeply. I have to be extremely careful of those whom I trust and whom I allow into my life on a deep level because when I love you, you have so much power to effect my world. That’s just not a risk I’m willing to take lightly anymore the older I get.

I’ve had a few circumstances that arose in my life over the last year or so ( health scares, love woes, etc.) where I get in my car and I drive around and say “I have no one. Everyone I know is a business contact; an acquaintance.” It’s a very hallowing realization to understand that if I want to call someone at 3a.m. to talk about the audition at Good Faith or that film set we were both on two weeks, ago I’d have my of the litter, but if I need to talk to someone about how I may have a hole in my heart and that’s what’s been causing my migraines this whole time, then who the heck can I call?

I made a devout promise that I would begin working on developing healthy, viable relationships. I am blessed to say that I have a few ladies in my life that I’ve known since Kindergarten, one even from preschool. I don’t come to her nearly as often as I should, but every time I do I feel welcomed home (usually with wine) and warm and comfortable – like putting on a cozy sweater. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed or what guilt my conscious has racked up with sins, I know I can be myself with her.

My best friend lives in Texas. She was one of those people that you meet and your energies just collided and mesh. We connected immediately and although I’ve never had a sister of my own, I would say that I love her as my own flesh and blood and would protect her at any cost. We have this unspoken anger with one another because both of us are entirely too stubborn for our own good and don’t like initiating or asking for help or love so we constantly await the other one to make a move – it’s a lot like a long distance chess match done through the mail actually. I wish every day she would move back and that I could have her near to laugh with. The relationship, the distance, the life circumstance may change, but the love never does.

God has also brought other people into my life in the most unexpected ways. I stayed with Mary Lynn Kelly when I first moved out of my home when separating from my ex husband. Mary Lynn is a glowing spirit, always looking for expressive ways to create and enhance the world of those around her and took me in graciously under her maternal wing. Wendy Killeen is probably the most selfless single mother of 2 that I know as well as an unsung hero. She gives so much and asks nothing in return. Wendy is the kind of person who inspires me. I read in my book series which I often make reference to, that whenever you meet someone new, the question you should ask  yourself is “How can I be a gift unto this person?” Most people operate on the opposite basis, asking “What can I get out of this other person? How does this benefit me to befriend or spend time socializing with this individual?” Wrong. So wrong.

That’s where my fellow-kind comes in. I have over 2,000 “friends” on Facebook. I talk to dozens of different people on any given day whether it be on a film set, IM, at an audition, mixer, screening, rehearsal, work or what have you. I constantly have people coming and going from my life. I made a mistake very early on when first starting out in this career path, believing that all of these new people I was meeting were  now my new friends. I am a very open person and a very trusting person  so I shared bits and pieces of myself with these people. Bits and pieces that these people doused in gasoline, shoved into a cannon and then proceeded to fire at will as ammo at me when it benefited them to do so.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened up to someone honestly, thinking that I was in a safe place to do so when I hear the next day that this same person turned around and said I was a diva or a bitch and used my words (which they originally agreed with) to turn a director or manipulate some other like party against me. Ouch. Seriously, don’t do that! Let me cry, let me be a loner a set, think I’m a bitch, fine – but don’t fake -friend me. That’s just mean. I recently got the advice never to trust another female in LA. Don’t let another female ever take you to an audition, pick you up from an audition, look at a script or side you are working on, or know anything about who you’re dating or your personal life. I don’t think that rule only applies to the ladies la la land … just sayin …

Granted I still believe in my gut that most people are genuinely good and are also looking for a deeper connection. I think that most believe because you may share a mutual interest in film and acting that those seeds should be enough to bloom into a beautiful, fruitful tree if watered and cared for. Ideally, this should be so and fresh , full gardens of shared passion should be cultivated, but that requires both parties to operate on the same level.

I do think that there are some people though, that are nothing but big fat fakers. If all you want from me is for me to work in your film for free, or for me to write up a press release for you or perform some other business-related task, here’s a novel idea – JUST ASK ME. You don’t have to go through this entire bs process of befriending me. It’s a waste of your time and mine, we are both adults and understand the nature of our industry and how cross-promotion works, so why not be forthcoming about it?

I’ve seen it all before, where people fake an interest in who you are because they feel if they don’t, you won’t grant them certain favors that they are in need of. I know the process and I’ve seen it all. There are guides available even, on how to do this  like a skill set – when you meet someone don’t start off by directly asking for a need or a favor or a contact or referral, instead introduce yourself, compliment the other person, let them know qualities you admire about them and if anything, ask them how you can be more like them. These individuals will feel so appreciated that eventually they will volunteer information and services without you even having to ask. That’s the beauty of the system. Even with people I know, they write to me and start with a compliment or some sort of formality so I scan to get to to the part where they are asking me for what it is they actually need. So silly.

I’m feeling bitter at this precise moment because a new business connection decided to drop me like a fly after it escaped my mind that we were scheduled to hang out. He sent a cold text saying “Best to you in your endeavors.” Wow, alright dude, if you choose to operate in those closed off terms and with a policy of unforgiveness and lacking of understanding, then perhaps I’m not interested in fostering a relationship, professional or personal, with you anyway. Dan Dice once said, and I think it is true, your friends will be your friends no matter what. Those true beacons of light will guide you home no matter how much you have messed up, how far off the path you strayed, how lost you got in the wilderness; they will just always be there. That is a friend.

You see, something interesting happened to me while at the Jerome Indie Film and Music festival which taught me an invaluable lesson and exposed a dark, dirty area of myself to … well, myself. I had a very close encounter with my ego and I didn’t like it. I’m ashamed to admit to this, but I feel most may have experienced similar things. I’m dating an actor, a very multi-talented, dynamic, handsome actor who happened to have multiple features screening in Jerome. I prepared myself in advance that this would be his event and I would be support to him, his date and company. I didn’t realize how deeply it would impact my confidence and sense of worth. I felt like a nobody, after all, in this industry you are only as good as your last film. I’d see everyone going around talking about their work, proud of their shorts and their roles, smiling and beaming but I just couldn’t shake my feeling of uselessness. I suddenly desired the invisibility cloak from Harry Potter, more than anything several times throughout that weekend. In fact for the very first time in years, when people started asking me what I do while I was out there I denied the fact that I was even an actor.. I kept saying that I was a writer. I felt to lowly, too non-existent to own the title of actor. I remember feeling that same way when I first started out 2 years ago or so, and I remember my mentor pulling me aside and saying “Melissa, no one will believe you’re an actor until you do.” Since then whenever someone asked me “Oh what do you do?,” I would reply with forced confidence and a smile “I am an actor” until I did start to believe and it felt comfortable on me. Fake it till you make it, right? Until now at least …

When we went back to the room for a wardrobe change in between events and my sweet man started to express his love for me and I didn’t feel worthy of it. Who was I? A nobody, and this fantastic creature in front of me is trying to give me his love. Why? I don’t deserve it. Suddenly flashes of this cycle rippled across the back of my mind and I realized with extreme clarity that this is what we do. We allow others to dictate how good we feel about ourselves. What a terrible, ugly thing. Because these others don’t know us, they don’t know our hearts or our true value, these others know our characters, know the roles we play, know the public personas we exude at events, know shadows of us and yet they are the ones that determine our good days and our bad days? I looked him in the eye and expressed what I just came to terms with and he agreed that this was something that we both were indeed guilty of and needed immediate action to rectify. It became so clear to me why professional actors keep their real, authentic lives locked behind closed doors – because it is precious to them. It became clear to me why the emphasized needing family and people in your life for a support system, because it does not matter how many fans or awards or Facebook likes you have – the world is a fickle and unfair force. If you place your life in their hands you can be God one day and the sacrifice for the upcoming God the next. But to give your heart to those that find you always worthy, no matter how long it has been since you were cast in a lead role or how big of a success of big of a flop your last film was, or how many people recognize you; that is where you will find the core of love and it is only from there can you receive it’s true blessing and healing powers. It is only there can you share your life with someone without fear of falling too deep.

The Lovelost – Ready to Hear You – Music Video by Running Wild Films   http://youtu.be/ddsow5cukks

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A universal truth for all actors, on set and off – Just keep it real, man.

Keep it real postPhoto by Chris Labadie Photography

It’s been pushed in my face over and over again … the same question. I can hear it echoing in my head like a broken record or that horrible song “Does that make you crazy” to which I always yell “Yes it does make me flipping crazy!” before turning the radio off and mumbling to myself like a disgruntled old fool. So what is this haunting question, this bane of my existence? “Melissa, when are you going to learn to say no?”

I don’t know. I had convinced myself that our culture is one that encourages you to always say yes. Say yes to spending money that you don’t have, in fact, we’ll even help you by offering you credit cards so you can at least feel like you have money that you don’t actually have to spend it on stuff you don’t actually need. Just say yes.

What’s that, you don’t actually believe in marriage and know that you’ve never been faithful in any relationship … not a big deal, just say yes when you see the ring and “I do” at the alter and if it doesn’t work it out we’ve got this nifty little thing called a divorce to get you right of it in a pinch, in fact we’ll make it so easy you can do it online in 15 clicks or less! Just say yes.

You don’t like drinking or partying or sleeping with randos or saying yes to every role or doing stupid things? Well then you are unexciting, uninteresting and unsocial henceforth you will be unappealing to society as a whole, unless you learn to JUST SAY YES.

Yes Man” with Jim Carrey is an ideal example of my idol for the last year. I thought that the more I said, the more I agree to do and try and be, the more happy I would become. Then I remember how at the end the speaker pretty much calls him an idiot and tells him you can’t just say yes to everything, that’s asinine. The purpose of saying yes is to be open to the experience of life. I’ll just hold up my idiot sign now…

I’m ranting a bit. Probably to make myself feel better and beat around the bush at the fact that I’m a people-pleaser; always have been. I’ve said yes to so many things and it’s not necessarily that they’ve done anything to ruin my life or put me in detrimental situations, but it is so much lost time. So many things that I did for the fulfillment of another while leaving my own heart empty and hollow.

I’ve got to thinking, in case you couldn’t tell, because I am in a place of transition. I’ve been offered an “opportunity” and I hate to be secretive or hide anything here, but I must at least until mid June. Don’t get all TMZ on me, it’s nothing acting related directly, it just heavily affects my future and my career. It’s got me thinking about all these things that determine and make up the infrastructure of my life.

I stopped and looked at how I spend my days … it’s complicated. Half the things I love so very much and I don’t mind the insanity that it brings me with the unstable hours and adding monstrous miles to my car and having to always have multiple changes of clothing on me at all times and a purse big enough to be carry on luggage for a week-long trip; but the other things … the others I do out of obligation. I do because I thought they would get me somewhere. I do them because I didn’t want to miss out. I do them because so many others are doing it that I should probably do it too. I do them because if I say no, they may not offer me something else in the future. I do it because I don’t like to not be liked.

I enjoy being the girl that’s everywhere, in-demand, doing a billion different things. It makes me feel good, but there are these moments when I stop as I hear a baby laugh at the cafe table next to me and I ask myself “Will I ever have THAT moment?” Or when I call my mom and I can hear in her voice the hope that I’ll say I am free to go shopping with her that afternoon. I’m never free. I want to go shopping with her, I really do, but I’m never free, because when I am free, it gets filled. Someone finds out I’m free and suddenly there’s an audition available, or a party invite or a short film in need of an actor or just a friend I haven’t seen in a while who wants to take advantage of my freeness and grab a beer. What if I just want to be alone? What if I want to go shopping with my mom? What if I say no?

I keep reading these article from famous actors and people in the industry about how you have to find and maintain that ever delicate balance between your personal life (reality) and your acting career. You work your butt off on set or in the hustle and grind to end up on a set, and then you go home and BE home and invest your time and attention into giving yourself fully to family  and friends and loved ones. In flashes of bitterness I ask if they were able to do that when just starting out or if now that they are established and hold their place in Hollywood hierarchy, can they only now offer those words of wisdom?  I wonder if they, like me, felt stretched thin and bare down to the last fiber. If they jumped at every piece of bait dangled in front of their face at the chance of catching their big break but usually you just end up flopping around a deck somewhere? But still, you never know …

Maybe they didn’t. Maybe that was their secret. Maybe they lived in balance the whole way through and exercised discipline and choice of freewill to have Sunday family dinners and pick and choose which auditions to accept. Something I’ve never been all that good at.

I read somewhere recently that it is all a state of mind. Those that are at peace and full of joy, never feel pressed for time or overwhelmed because they have chosen to be joyous and peaceful in every situation as it is happening. I think this is the approach that I need to take. So often I am waiting to get through something, waiting for the day to be over, waiting for my shift to be done, waiting to hear about the callback, waiting, waiting, waiting … that I don’t appreciate the right now. This realization occurred to me last week when a horrifically, remarkable thing happened to me.

I was on the I-17 stuck in rush hour traffic, but it was moving along quite reasonably and I was pleased that I would be able to remain in my 5-7 minute grace period that I allow myself each morning to get to work on time, taking into consideration traffic, parking anywhere between floor number 4 and floor number 8 in my parking garage and taking the elevator in my office building up to the 9th floor. I’ve gotten pretty accurate in that crucial calculation of time. I was mentally checking off a list of things that I needed to get done – emails to send, resumes to submit, events to RSVP to etc and thinking that I couldn’t wait until this day was over and I could be back in my pink fuzzy slippers and Hello Kitty PJ’s in  my wittle bed. Then my mind flashed to Brad, the young actor that passed away, because I had just testified in my journal the night prior that I would wait no more. I was reflecting on his death and why it impacted me so strongly when I barely knew this young man when BAM!!!! This car flipped up in the air and landed on top of the car in front of me and they both slid over to the left and landed in the carpool lane. Life stopped for a moment, everything went quiet and everything seemed to slow down. I remember talking to the 911 operator and seeing the people climb out of their cars grasping their chests, thankful to be breathing, to be walking. When I pulled away my legs wouldn’t stop shaking and I called my dad to calm me down as the adrenaline rushed through me. I was off that whole day. I couldn’t stop thinking about the accident, about Brad, about how I feel I’ve been living my life on hold. The soundtrack to my life would be elevator music.

Why couldn’t I appreciate it? In fact not only do I not appreciate it, I try to fill it – every single waking moment of it. Waiting means there is a gap and a gap means that there is emptiness and emptiness means that there is space to fill, and space to fill means that I can be doing more, always more, always seeking out worth. My name means “seeking one” in some cultures. I used to love that idea when I was a kid. I pictured myself this devoted scholar, perhaps a bit more Indiana Jones-esque as I spent my life seeking out truths of the universe. Now it seems a bit more bleak … Like I’m a lost soul, aimlessly wandering, trying to find a truth, any truth to hold on to.

From a practical standpoint, it really doesn’t make sense to not live a balanced life. Acting, art as a whole even, in and of itself in essence is a representation of life. So how can you represent it accurately, truthfully if you’re not living it? How can you be a lover when you can’t remember the last time you’ve had sex, how can you play a best friend when you don’t know how to be a friend to anyone, how can you express joy, sadness, loss, excitement, fear, anticipation if you don’t allow yourself to experience them because you’re always locked away behind office doors and audition lines and workshops and closed sets or the limitations of your own mind?

I keep waiting for someone to ask me after reading my blogs why I keep acting when I seem to have so many problems and that answer I know without a quiver of doubt or hesitation.

I love it.

It destroyed a marriage. I still love it. It consumes my thoughts. I love it. It frightens my parents. I love it. It eats up time. I love it. it causes me to feel insecure and inferior. I love it. It is competitive with no guarantees of a pay-off. I love it. It steals the hearts of those I love. I LOVE IT.

Last week I was talking to a man who has a passion for innovation in the digital world. His career is often just as unstable as my acting career because with innovation it is  new and highly disruptive to the natural order of things. It is often disliked because people are afraid of that which they are unfamiliar with and people are tentative to invest. He’s had more jobs, more moves and more position titles in his life than I can ever imagine. Why? He loves it. When talking about it he directly said that most aren’t willing to take the risk to do what he does because of everything I mentioned just above, but HE DOES, every single time he is willing to take that risk because it is worth it to him.

Sometimes, at my core, I wonder if that is what my real problem is. That I keep saying yes to all of these safe, straight-path routes to try to get to a desired outcome, when I should be saying NO to all of that bullshit and say yes to the risk? I don’t know what that means for me anymore. Everyone keeps telling me that film is leaving Hollywood and that I need to go South. I used to think my big risk was moving to LA, now I’m not so sure anymore. I just know that I feel a shift on the horizon. I said that to God as I drove home the other night.  I can feel it and sense it in my bones. Something new is coming and a change is on the way to deliver me.

I am always so afraid that I’ll miss it or that I’ll do the wrong thing and mess it up, but I came to understand something as I get older. Each decision is not the end all or be all of my life. I can make wrong choices and go the wrong direction and fall in love with the wrong people but that does not mean that my life is wrong, it means that I get the opportunity to make another choice, to go a different direction, to fall in love all over again and live life until I feel that peace inside of me that I am where I’m meant to be … Like Hercules. Sorry, that song totes just popped into my head after I wrote that sentence. I’m such a Disney nerd. Anyway, moving along.

This post could go on forever because I’m searching my soul for what it is that I’m supposed to be saying no to; what it is that I’m supposed to be doing and I feel like if I keep typing that means that I have more time to figure it out. I think back on things I feel I should have said no to because supposed limitations will arise from it but life seems to challenge me every time I try to place that limitation on myself.

A role where I showed my breasts … folks words vibrate in me a fear that I’ll never work for Disney or have a role as a young mom in a sitcom or be taken seriously. This morning alone I can pull up at least 7 different actress’s IMDB accounts that I know of to show those theories incorrect. My radio show because it is crude, sexual, liberal and outlandish. Good God look at Howard Stern, he made a lifetime career out of such audacities. Not that I am trying to be Howard Stern, but all it really does is show that I have an edge or that I can be dynamic. Right? Can you tell I’m not my usual self and that I am in a place of self doubt. I feel so lost. Anyone have a map out there they want to lend me?

Ok Melissa, focus – so what is it? Stop wasting these people’s time! What is is that you should say no to? Say no to anything that doesn’t move you. Say no to anything that doesn’t make your heart flutter. Say no to anything you feel instantly weighed down by or confined to. Say no to anything that you said yes to because of a fear of ANYTHING – whether that be missing out or not getting noticed or whatever the fear may be, because where there is fear, love cannot exist and all root decisions must come from love. Say no to anything that is a waste of your time, energy and resources and simply say no to anything you don’t want to do.

I think so often I say no to all of the wrong things that prohibit me from living fully and greatly. A post by Christopher Sheffield on Facebook the other day literally mirrored an article I read about how as artists we must be fearless when it comes to diving into the extremes and depth of our emotions.

“If you want to wear the mantle of an artist, you must accept the responsibilities the title will bring. It will be your duty to pioneer emotion, to experience everything the average mind fears, to abandon yourself completely to true love, to feel the deepest pains of loss and failure, to traverse the waters of morose depression, and climb the hills of ambition, to push your perspectives in every available direction to the absolute extremes, and even for some, to die. All of this is your responsibility as an artist, so that you may take these experiences and represent them to the world in your art. We must give faces and forms to life’s unknowns, so mankind will never truly be alone.” – Sheffield

When someone says “No, I will not allow my heart to feel that because it might make me weak or vulnerable or fall crazily, irrationally in love;” We must say yes! When we experience the loss of a loved one or are mourning the end of a treasured relationship, when most people would dismiss their pain and distract themselves with booze, drugs, people or sex, we must revel in that pain – feel it, remember it. We must say yes. When we are feeling alone and unwanted, instead of seeking out the next available companionship or easy quick-fix, we must be honest with ourselves and exist in that room with our suffocating loneliness. We must say yes. Ninety percent of the population does anything possible to stifle, repress, hide and fake their way through what they are honestly feeling. It is in those pure, raw emotions that true art is born and created. It is our greatest tool as an actor. To deny what and who you actually are is to rob yourself of your highest power and the greatest gift you possess. My sensitivity is my strength. My weakness is my courage. My pain is my love. My inability to say no is my exploration and my flaws are my characters.

Perhaps it is not learning to say no, it is learning to be real. Well look at that obvious coincidence – that is what acting is all about too. Be real in the moment on set and off, and that is where you will find your happiness and your truth.

How to become a celebrity – The answer might surprise you – All you have to be is you.

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I have interviewed quite a few celebrities in the past year as part of my journalism background and I keep searching for some common thread. It is about as scientific as I’ll ever get, hunting for some pattern or secret formula that I’ll be able to piece together based on their responses, backgrounds and professional paths. It’s a good thing I didn’t have a hypothesis and even better that I didn’t place money on it because in the world of entertainment it seems that all bets are off! 

So far I’ve interviewed a 20 yr. old actress that started acting at the tender age of 2, has a mother that owned a theater and only does family-friendly material but still manages to have more credits to her name than most 40 yr. old actors and I’ve interviewed those that lucked into it by randomly winning nation-wide talent contests or stumbling into the right place at the right time with the right people. Some of them have had the best training, private coaching, formal education and an immaculate track record for flawless progression from agent to commercials to featured extras to featured cast to starring titles wile others simply sky-rocketed after landing an Indie role or catching the attention of a prolific director. 

At first I was frustrated by this observation of chaos, and then I started to think, how cool is that? I get to pave my own way in! So many times I’ve stopped myself from going to LA because people have told me that you have to have a YouTube following of X number and an X number of Twitter followers and you have to have your own website of course and work with these agents and at least have these many credits and a star meter of a billion on IMDB and blah blah blah blah blah… Really? I mean let’s be honest, do I really? 

I’m not showing skepticism toward the concept of working hard and showing commitment. I understand the reasoning behind it – agents & managers want to see that you will make them money. This is a business after all. If you already come to them with a strong brand and large audience, that means less work for them and it means that you know how to market yourself and will be willing to do what it takes to get work. When you book, they get paid and we all like to get paid. I do follow the standard in that I continue to add diligently to my body of work, I do indeed have my own website (this here blog) I have a decent amount of Twitter folk and my IMDB page is expanding nicely, but here’s my thing, and maybe I’m a purist, to me TALENT is TALENT. 

You can’t argue long enough or show me any evidence to convince me otherwise. You can place a beautiful girl in front of me all day long with thousands of fans and a portfolio as thick as the yellow pages, but if I don’t feel that fire in my soul when she performs but a nobody from Kansas walks in and knocks my socks off, who would I cast? If I were a true artist, if I had a passion for creation and quality, if I had integrity and pride in my work, I would cast little nobody Dorothy and trust that the right audience will be drawn to her. 

Those are the kind of people that I want to work with and the type of career that I strive to have. I have deleted some of the most popular “directors” out here because I cannot stand the joke that they try to pass on as art. If you want to make a soft porn or a T&A action flick, fine! Go for it! Rock on! But don’t try to sit there and try to call a weed a rose, it is what it is. You got a fat check for it and nobody blames you for it, so don’t try to validate why your film showing in Asian markets starring a porn star is a legitimate piece of art. And more than that, do NOT make me feel like I will miss out on opportunities to develop or further my career because I won’t work with those types of directors, or because I won’t take on any and every project that gets posted on a casting website or because I won’t do free work over and over again just to have 37 films completed in 1 year. Who is seeing them? 

This is a business, but as an artist, this is also my life. This is my passion. This is my heart. I wear it openly and freely for all to see which has kicked me in the booty a few times, but I’ve learned this year that saying no, is not the end of my career. That signing with a boutique agency instead of a massive heavy-hitter because I had a peace in my gut about, is not the end of my career or limiting to me in any way. That not having thousands of Twitter followers real or purchased, will not be a doorstop to my career. That having personal standards as to the kind of work and the people that I work with will most definitely not hurt my career but instead mold it into one that I am proud of. 

I realize that perhaps my original intent my have gotten lost in the heated rambling, but my point is (I shall shamelessly steal from Shakespeare) Actors, “To thine own self be true.” Trust your instincts, follow your heart, live and act in love and you can’t fail. When you read suggestions on how to succeed in this business, talk to other actors or mentors and even now as you read my blog – be open but understand that these are all learning points. You can choose to use them or not based on what works for you. Their path is NOT your path, and what worked for them may not work for you. Just because they worked with so&so director or got their headshots done at a particular studio does not mean you must follow in their footsteps. Pave your own path. Being an inspiration to all those people out there who inside are saying “I want to act but this just doesn’t feel right to me.” When you honor yourself and your spirit, success, beauty and true worth always shine through. 

I am a testament to that. Almost ever opportunity that has come to me has been something that the universe presented to me based on my choices of a collective lifetime, but any time I have tried to manipulate or pre-determine a certain outcome, it usually is never as fulfilling as I had hoped. And that is what we are all really after isn’t it – to be fulfilled? 

So cheers to you on your brave new adventure! I will tell you that some of the resources I do love and regularly learn from are use as resources are:

Durantcom.com – Casting notices

Arizona Actors Page on Facebook – Casting notices and stay current w/ what other AZ actors do

Backstage.com – Great articles

Castingnetworks.com – Awesome monthly newsletter filled with tips from industry experts 

The Examiner – Their film reviewers, particularly Bill Pierce are poignant and honest