Monday, November 30, 2009

Gratitude in Los Angeles

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I spent a quiet Thanksgiving with my husband, Jeff, and our poodle, Folsom.

In a very ego-intensive entertainment industry I am a part of, in order for me to keep my sanity, I am grateful each day but I don't only think it - I say it. The words "I am grateful every day" are the first line of my affirmations, which I say at least 5 times every day.

In addition to spending time with my family, I worked at my catering job for a local catering company, who I have worked for off and on the past 3 years. I love working residential parties. I love to help - my reward is seeing guests enjoy themselves. The family I worked for on Thursday was nothing but gracious, friendly, happy, and the list goes on. They get what life's all about - they are grateful and they live in the moment.

2009 has not been the best for me financially - I had very limited work in film and TV - I have not been alone in that regard - but I had a really successful year with my tutoring business. In essence, I am meeting my goal of having the majority of my 2009 revenues come from entrepreneurial activities. You see, I used to have a 40+ hour/week job as a management consultant. The job was my first priority and my acting followed. The economic slow down really slowed down my revenues - I used to make a six-figure salary and by the end of this year, I will have made 2/3 of that. The funny thing is letting go of all that money got me out of my head and I got so in tune with my acting instrument that I really enjoyed experiencing life, have become really comfortable in my body, learned it felt good to get out of my head and I have made a habit of being in the moment. I heard a great quote while watching TV today - "In order to be happy, one must be willing to let go off everything." I've heard this quote many times. Sometimes, we just have to let go and deal with life and get rid of the "who cares", you know that thing we let preoccupy us when we are in our head.

While I could compare myself to others and let it consume me, I choose to think about all the things I am grateful for and list them. And, when I think about that, I realize that I did do quite a bit. Have you ever noticed that when you are truly grateful, there's all this peace, love and joy that fills your body? Have you also noticed that when you are grateful, wonderful opportunities and events come your way?

Some of the things I am so grateful for include: my husband, my dog, my family and friends, my coaches, my tutoring clients, the acting work I did do this year, my unions, being able to sell our Ohio home in a very depressed market, my health, and new opportunities.

What are you grateful for?

Have fun in everything you do and enjoy life to the fullest!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Resiliency in Los Angeles

I like reading. Because of how busy I am, I do a lot of my reading online. One of my favorite blogs to read is my pal, David Dean Bottrell's blog, Parts and Labor. David is a gifted actor and writer. You might remember his eery, but spot-on portrayal of Lincoln Meyer on ABC's "Boston Legal". David is inspiring and has a way of saying what many of us Hollywood creatives are thinking. He is our mouthpiece.

David's message today really hit the nail on the head - we hold our destiny in our hands. While the economy may be taking its toll on Hollywood, it is up to us to do something about it - we can see the glass as half-empty - "I'm not getting any auditions", "I haven't booked a gig for a long time", etc. - or see the glass as half-full - "I need to stay visible", "I need to re-invent me".

Isn't being/staying visible the name of the game in Hollywood? This is where it starts. We have to build word of mouth to stay visible.

The ways I stay visible these days are: writing a column for a national online Marketing publication (I write about marketing my actor business), this blog, do readings for local writers groups, perform with my theatre company, and attend casting director workshops. I have also started an actor's business group and an actor's workout group for professional actors.

We need to be, as Alec Baldwin says in "Glengarry Glen Ross"..."A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing." What that means for an actor is to think strategically and always be creating, always be visible, always be building word of mouth. Actors must be resilient and steadfast. But, we need to mix it up and be creative in the process.