Monday, March 21, 2011

Tip of the Iceberg

Check out my newly edited Actor Demo Reel! It was fun being on the editing side for once...made me appreciate even more the intense work and skill that goes into all the jobs on the other side of the camera. There are so many jobs like that I think - unsung workers, unobserved details, layers and layers and layers of structure beneath the tip of the iceberg.

One example: I just started a new dayjob at Trader Joe's and am getting a kick out of the "insider" perspective. You'd be surprised at the way the back room operates - though, I admit, as a shopper I never thought/cared about such things. But really, it's pretty cool. There's not that much space for the amount of traffic/supplies that come through. It's a lot of ingenuity in planning and coordination - like editors, directors, sound and light designers, PAs, casting directors, producers, assistants, location scouts, prop and set designers, fight choreographers...the list goes on, all the behind-the-scenes jobs that involve so much more work and out-of-the-box scrambling than meets the eye. It's just another reminder to me of how little I know, how much there is still to explore and observe and enjoy in this life. Not to be falsely humble, don't worry - I can get pretty cocky about what I DO know too ;)

I'm glad I got to have one of those "tip of the iceberg" days, though - it's actually a relief and a wonder to sit back and feel a little bit small - and also a little bit unfathomable. I myself, like so many things in this world, have plenty of secret backrooms and inner workings yet unobserved. My career does too, as does my neighbor and my city, my church and my craft. There's no room for boredom or failure - only discovery. As good literature is the tip of the iceberg in awakening to our human condition; as a reel is the tip of the iceberg in showcasing an actor's work; so the steps and formation of my life and career so far is just the tip of the iceberg of what's still to come.

"Art is a one-sided conversation with the unobserved." - Nassim Nicholas Taleb The Bed of Procrustes

Monday, March 7, 2011


Today I got the pleasure and boon of modeling with Teen Vogue's style editor Andrew Bevan for The Today Show! Teen Vogue put together a bonanza of a guide for "jeans to flatter every figure" (I'm the super tall redhead - not because I am actually that tall, but because the other girls were tiny and I wore 5 inch heels).

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I love the fact that they actually seemed to believe that I was a teenager (my birthday is next week and let's just say I've been a voter for quite some time) - AND I didn't even trip in those super high heels, haha!

It was so refreshing to be in the live TV environment, the hustle and bustle, lights, makeup and hair artists, various segment guests. The kindness and calm of Tara the producer, explaining the ropes to us and showing us where to stand, reminded me that even though I am still a newbie in this world it is for many people simply "business as usual." I was bumping into movie stars and real estate titans, security guards, fashionistas, and personal assistants. Boy oh boy, could I get used to that. And then I went out the door, away from Rockefeller Center, and walked downtown (so as to save money by NOT using the MTA).

I'm not on the Today Show every day, as you may have noticed, but it was an amazing morning and an inspiring reminder that professionalism, glamor, and hard work do sometimes align perfectly. Andrew Bevan, the stylish and savvy Teen Vogue editor interviewed in the segment, shared an adorable story before we went on. I hope he doesn't mind me repeating it here, I just thought it was great...He used to dream about being on The Today Show as a child, setting up stuffed animals to be interview guests in his basement and running his own version of the show. And there he was today, with Kathy Lee and Hoda, being interviewed. "If you can imagine it, you can do it!"

Now, with that in mind, time to get back to pounding the pavement! Thanks Funny Face Today for making this happen ;)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sleep it off!

There is nothing like a good night's sleep. I've been on a BBC Sherlock Holmes kick lately and so you'll have to forgive me for sneaking in some obscenely awesome quotes here and there and forcing it to relate to my theme, i.e.:

"And now, Watson, I commend to you the universal answer to almost all problems."
"And what is that, Holmes?"

Sleep. The universal answer to almost all problems? I know I used sleep last night to treat a pesky migraine headache, and woke up feeling if not totally restored definitely released from yesterday's pressures. My favorite part of sleep is dreams - mine are really cinematic, suspenseful, and intense and usually involve near-death capers and high jinx. It's like the movies, but cheaper. It's like a spa, but cheaper. Sleep is a poor man's budget day-cation, a mind-clearer, an attitude adjuster. Whenever I'm feeling frustrated, stressed, upset, confused, my parents would always say, "Sleep on it." Mostly as an adult I forget to think of their advice until I've tried out several of my own ideas, but usually once I turn back to their wisdom it pays off pretty well. Like last night for instance.

I've been stressing, let me tell you. I love my life in NYC, I love the fact that I get to pursue an acting career. I love that I have an MFA from The Actors Studio Drama School, that I live in an apartment with people I love, that I have some pretty nice things, that I have a great family and friends etc. etc. etc. There's a lot to be thankful for. Do I concentrate on that? Of course not, that would be the sensible thing to do. Lately, instead of noticing and enjoying all the good and encouraging things in life, I've been stressing. It's easy to do. Like many 20-somethings, I'm not exactly the exponentially wealthy, world-famous success I had expected to be. In fact, I'm hardly independent, scraping an existence together through various part-time jobs and unexpected help. I spend my days racing around the city, chasing unpaid acting jobs, salivating over postings for paid work, turning my nose up at honest dayjobs and puzzling together my schedule until it's incomprehensible even to safe-cracking ciphers. And why? Because of a dream. And not the sleeping variety.

Is there any harm in dreams? As a child I remember being constantly encouraged to dream big, to spend time daydreaming, to imagine. I'm finding as an adult that all my dreams, if you roll up their skirts and peek underneath, are made not out of clouds and sunshine, but rather, they are made out of nuts and bolts, underpasses, local trains, and occasional route changes.

"I'd say it's been my biggest problem all my life... it's money. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true." You'll never guess who said that. It wasn't me - it was WALT DISNEY! The imagineer himself acknowledged the practical struggles of making dreams come true. Guys, it's not just a walk through a rose garden. A lot of ingredients go into the pie.

That's not a bad thing at all; but if, like Sherlock, we follow this realization to its logical conclusion, we see that there are lots of brass tacks, receipts, and costs lumped up along the way to realizing our dreams. Sensible, strong, and dynamic people know to assess that and make their plans accordingly before they start. I'm apparently more of a figure-it-out-as-you-go kind of girl, constantly revising my strategy. Last night I was hitting a brick wall and my thinking was getting fuzzier and fuzzier, the brass tacks and bolts of my dreams seeming larger and heavier by the moment. In a moment of craziness I heard myself mutter, "Man, I wish I could just stop wanting things at all." It was a total
"I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later" (Mitch Hedberg) moment. It was a moment of truth. I was up to my elbows in job applications and out of migraine medicine, but when I heard myself say that wackadoodle thing, I knew there was only one thing to do: get unconscious.

I'm no private consulting detective - though I'd be HAPPY to play one, perhaps in the all-female version of Sherlock Holmes - but I thought my solution was pretty brilliant. While biology did its work, plunging me into REMs and NREMs, I had vivid, rich, and replenishing dreams - and when I awoke, my waking dreams seemed replenished too. Fellow New Yorkers, allow me to commend to you also this universal solution to almost every problem. I think all of us get too little of it here, in this city that never sleeps...Of course, having a Watson on hand doesn't hurt either.