Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moving Day


After having my blog hosted by blogspot for the past couple of years, I have moved my blog to my website. Please go here. There you will find all my archived posts and new ones. I hope you will sign up for the blog.

I hope your holidays have been great!!

Success to you in 2011 and hope to see you at the new address for my blog.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Where Has The Time Gone

Goodness gracious. It has been two months since I last wrote a blog post.

I've had some interesting things happen. First, Jeff and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary by spending a week in Hawaii - we were on the islands of Oahu and Maui. Heavenly and so relaxing.

Shortly after returning, I switched managers. I am now repped by the lovely Laura Lichen of Laura Lichen Management. I am working with two different partners in developing and producing a web series and I am recurring on a great comedic web series called "The Unemployment of Danny London". I play the HR Director, Miriam.

When I was in the Midwest, I appeared on two interview-type broadcasts and was interviewed by some publications. I hope to have links of those here soon.

I have some great reps and coaches in my corner and I am having a ball. What helps to keep me going is being grateful every day.

I hope to write later in the week. In the meantime, if you are in the entertainment industry and you are free on Monday, November 29, come to the LA Actors Tweetup, a great time to mingle with fellow members of the entertainment industry. The event is at Busby's East on Wilshire (west of La Brea) and it gets going around 6pm. I hope to see you there.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Drop Offs

I've been on the fence for years about whether headshot drop-offs are for me.

I'm not a big fan of the drop-off services in which your headshot/resume is grouped with those of a bunch of other actors and dropped off to a plethora of theatrical and commercial casting offices. You can definitely get lost in the shuffle and the only real purpose of these companies is to drop off to as many casting offices as possible while charging you fairly high prices for the service, in my opinion.

I've always thought that quality over quantity is the biggest bang for my buck.

I recently re-visited my target list of episodic and feature film casting directors. And, in coming up with year-end goals with my career coach, Dallas Travers, I made a goal to book 3 co-star roles by 12/31/2010. So, we looked at all the ways I could be marketing to CDs and I decided to add drop-offs to CDs back on my marketing list BUT only drop-offs to those offices I could walk into so they would get to know me. And, my only costs are the reproduction and gas costs.

It's helping me in many ways: I know where the casting offices are, I get out of the house, I am doing something productive for my career and I'm making myself known to the casting offices I want to work with.

Again, quality over quantity.

Meetings. Offers.

I have a mantra that I keep on my desk that says:

Replace auditions with meetings and offers.

The subtext behind this for me is to shift energy away from self-submitting myself and into developing relationships with producers and directors.

I embarked on a project in May to reach out to more indie film directors so they knew I was here and ready to help them with their projects. I email them to arrange 10 minute conversations with them - I get a better than 1-in-3 response that they are interested in speaking with me. Sometimes the conversations last 10 minutes, most of the time, they last longer.

I am a strong believer in there is more than enough work for any actor who wants to work and has a sound work ethic. I also believe that the Universe has a plan for all of us and that an acting gig might not come when we want it, but it will come.

I was contacted last week by a dear friend who wanted to cast me in a web series. I'm excited about it. I play a character called Miriam in "The Unemployment of Danny London". Details can be found here.

So what is the number 1 thing you can do? It is easy - Show Up. But really show up so that energy is flowing throughout your entire being. Be your best at a networking function, meeting, CD workshop, class, audition, working on your craft, working on your actor business, etc.

I find that setting an intention helps. How about this one, borrowed from Don Miguel Ruiz' "The Four Agreements":




Saturday, August 14, 2010

Random Acts of Social Media

Hey everyone!

My friend and former writing partner, Dana VanDen Heuvel, who is CEO of Marketing Savant, produces a great email newsletter called Monday Morning Moxie, which has some great marketing tips. The tips are bite-sized so they are easy to implement, and they are worth their weight in gold.

The message is that if you are going to tackle Social Media, you have to be strategic about it. As the cliche goes: plan your work and work your plan.

Below are starting points to get you on your way to a successful social media experience.

  1. You’re going into a long-term arrangement. Time, work and commitment are required. Get this into your headspace and you’re set for battle. 
  2. Content. You need to become a publisher. That’s how you build your voice, your brand and your social media presence.
  3. Fish where the fish are. You NEED to UNDERSTAND your audience and where they hang out in social and digital media. Spend a day and start searching…and searching…and searching...
  4. Run it like a business. It’s not about having friends or followers. You HAVE to figure out how YOU will utilize social media to meet YOUR goals. Usually this means interacting, helping and then promoting, usually in that order. Innovate and then implement what works for you!

Success to you!!



Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mental Health Break

Hi everyone. I took a bit of a break in July. First, Jeff and I took a vacation to Pittsburgh, PA and Dayton, OH from July 14-July 23, 2010. And, last week, I took a "mental health" break.

I'll be back in August.

In the meantime, enjoy this Dilbert cartoon.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ellipses Vs. Dashes

Some more good advice from Lesly Kahn's blog:

Ellipses (. . . ) are not dashes. During ellipses (. . . ) no one says anything. Everybody thinks.

Dashes ( -- ) are cutoffs: you keep talking 'til the other actor interrupts.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Universe

I love a lot of the things found on Lesly Kahn's blog. This is just one of the many juicy tidbits...

With self-confidence, the world bows to greet you and coincidence becomes your partner. And self-confidence comes from loving yourself. And loving yourself comes from knowing that you are, still, exactly who I most want to be. And so I am.
- The Universe

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's A Numbers Game

I went to a fabulous CD Workshop with one of my favorite CD's recently, who re-affirmed the comment that acting is "a numbers game". Yes, the entertainment industry is a numbers game, just like every industry out there. In the actors' case, the more we audition, chances are good we will book more.

But, we have to be strategic with this to be effective, which means we have to have a strong foundation - a sound business plan, have a focus, be strategic and tactical (Dallas Travers calls it having a "laser beam focus - being targeted with our marketing) combined with a healthy pursuit of our craft (classes and practice). Otherwise, we are just spinning our wheels.

Being strategic and doing the hustle will get you from point A to point B much faster than being without direction.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Changing Paradigms

Attached are some great articles about the Drama show runners and the Comedy show runners courtesy of THR.

It's interesting to point out that I had read another interview by a TV Executive Producer who indicated that, sometimes, casting is being taken out of the casting director's, and to an extent, the Producer's, hands so that even early-stage decision making is falling on the hands of the networks. Ultimately, the network does make the final decision on TV (or big-budget film) casting but at the early stages?

So, if this is in fact occurring should actors market and make themselves known to casting directors, producers and even studio executives?

This change is interesting in light of a recent Twitter discussion that occurred last week: some actors, agents and casting directors said that calling producers and agents was "dangerous". I don't know about being dangerous - I think walking alone in South Central LA might be considered "dangerous", but calling a producer?!

The sub-text of the comment I later found out was more of concern if the actor called a producer in hope of being hired, it would send a message of that actor being desperate and most definitely, being unprofessional. Also, if the actor did call the producer, what would the actor bring to the table to motivate the producer to speak with the actor? And, what if the actor wasn't ready to be seen or have a conversation with the producer?

These all are very valid points.

Ultimately, we as actors have this fear of somehow being "blacklisted" as a result of actions we might take that don't conform to the norm. The entertainment industry is just like any other industry, it is not some secret society. We make phone calls to follow-up on meetings, written communications that we send, and the like. However, developing relationships does take consistency (on the follow-up and follow-through), focus and professionalism to be effective.

But, what if the actor wants to develop a relationship with a producer and while they want to work with the producer in the future, they really just want to start developing a relationship with the producer?

My feeling is a lot of things have to occur prior to the phone call stage. But you shouldn't fear putting telephone calling in your marketing arsenal.

Consider these points prior to any contact - be it verbal or written...

1. The actor needs to develop a marketing plan so they are focused on their career. Do you want to focus on TV, film, stage, voice-over, commercial, etc.?

2. The actor needs to come up with a target list of TV shows and those individuals handling them. Are you interested in drama? If so is that procedural, drama, dramedy, etc.? Are you interested in comedy? If so, is that single-camera or multi-camera? What is your type? What shows frequently and consistently cast your type? Which casting directors and/or casting associates should you contact? Which producer(s) should you contact? How should you contact these people?

3. The actor must be professional in their communications. Be pleasant and gratuitous in your meetings with CDs and when you attend CD workshops. Send a thank-you note after meetings with CDs. Send letters to producers (don't send your headshot and resume, wait for them to ask you for it) addressing who you are, why you are contacting them and what you want. Be clear in your communications. Again, I suggest ONLY contacting producers to develop relationships.

4. Be consistent. Contact individuals at a frequency that you can commit to - that might be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly for you. Only you can determine what is right for you.

5. Follow-up and Follow-Through. Commit and communicate on a regular basis (what you determined in #4). A telephone call could be a great follow-up to a letter you send.

My point is that any communication (self-submissions, post-cards, phone calls, etc.) is worth doing if you do it with focus and clarity.

Don't be afraid. Step out of your comfort zone.

Oh, and for the record, I have made some great connections via the telephone with producers and agents.

I want to know your thoughts. What do you think?


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Great Advice

Today was a day of some great advice.

What's the role of the guest star on episodic television? Elizabeth Banks considers the etiquette of a guest star to be "You're a guest in someone else's house and you have to act that way. I treat it as (if) I'm visiting someone's house for the weekend -- make the bed before you leave, be nice to everybody and know your place." Kristin Chenoweth, Gary Cole and Elizabeth Banks all chime in on the role of the guest star in this amazing article from The Hollywood Reporter.

I already posted the Emmy roundtable of drama actresses and here's the roundtable of the comedy actresses, courtesy of THR.

Great advice, indeed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Great article at The Wrap about 8 actors who have been in several failed shows but keep getting called back and keep coming back. Persistence and Resilience pays off.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

RIP John Wooden

The great UCLA Head Basketball coach, John Wooden, died on Friday, June 4, 2010. He was 99 years old. I leave you with this quote that really tells you all you need to know about this class act:

"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."

RIP, Coach. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010


My favorite brands are: Apple, BMW, Coca Cola, Nordstrom, Shell.

Why? They stand out.

Why? They under-promise and over-deliver.

Here's a great article from Open Forum about how we can be the Apple Computer of our industry.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

RIP Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper died over the weekend. I loved him. Easy Rider. Hoosiers (in which he got an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor). Flashback. And many, many others. He was amazing and mesmerizing. Here's a scene from Flashback, one of my favorite films.

What's Ur Brand?

I was thinking about a dot-com I worked for in 1999-2001 and listening to the CEO talk about our company's brand is this and that. So I asked, being a newer employee, "what does the market say we are?" He didn't respond nor did he care. The marketplace determines your brand. Yes, you can help shape your brand through customer and vendor touchpoints, but the market still determines your brand.

If you start a new business, you may think you know what you want your brand to be, but it is the market who determines it and you adapt to meet the needs of the market.

As actors, we may know what we want to be, but it is the CDs, producers, directors, agents, etc. who perceive us as something else - something that will generate revenue, which is our bottom line.

So, how does one determine their brand? Through research. Just as companies go through a SWOT analysis (they determine their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to come up with a brand, so do actors. We research our brand and we align with people who are a fit with our brand.


Here is a step by step list that has helped me as well as others.

-Know your type. Take a type class. Ask others what type you are. Keep a list of the words or phrases that keep coming up.

-Develop your pitch or tag line. This is developed based on words that came out of the typing exercise. Mine is "heroine with an edge who battles rough and tough terrain with perseverance and poise, while concealing her true feelings for the greater good".

-Determine shows based on your type. Using the words from your typing exercise and your pitch, which shows best match with them?

-Determine the right agents and managers. Look at the shows you picked. Then, look at the co-stars or guest-stars - depending on your level - for the most current season of that show. Look at the agencies and/or managers repping those actors or actresses. Then, see how your star-meter lines up with these agencies. Are these agencies or managers at or slightly above your level? Look for the trends. Those are the agencies and managers you should target.

-TARGET. Marketing research indicates that it takes at least seven touch-points for a target to remember you or want to even do business with you. I say the number is more like 12. Reach out to these people. There are so many options available to do so: social media, mailing submissions, drop-offs, CD workshops, meeting at events, having a web presence, emails, phone calls, etc.

I'd love to hear the tagline you came up with.

Good luck.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Beat By Beat

I read an interview that Melissa Leo did with Daily Actor recently. Lance Carter runs a terrific site. Check it out - a great resource for actors.

She says, when asked about her advice for actors, "If there’s anything else you can do, do it. If anything can stop you, let it. And if there’s nothing else you can do, and nothing can stop you, do nothing but. Just like when we work, it’s 101 Acting, you can’t go for a result. And in our career paths, we should avoid the notion of a result. Have a golden dream in your heart and head, but just do your life like you’re acting. Let it happen beat by beat. Be informed by what comes at you."

It takes a lot of effort to keep on course and enjoy and experience the journey. When we start looking for a result, the ego creeps in and we end up getting into our heads - a terrible, terrible place for actors to be. The trick is if we go into our heads, we need to come out quickly. But, not too quickly, as you don't want to carry the baggage. Stay until you clear yourself of that bitterness, and come out focused on your goals, and secure with knowing who you are, you are unstoppable and you are fearless.

I experienced my own "head games" this weekend as I became frustrated with my own weight loss - I focused too much on the result, got irritated that I wasn't nearer to my goals and probably kept some of the fat on because I stressed myself out, instead of focusing on the fact that I was losing inches, was exercising daily, eating well, had more energy and was happier.

I remember Bonnie Gillespie, in her articles, has talked about "Bitter Actor Syndrome" and "Poisonous Playmates" on several occasions. (If are not reading Bonnie's articles on a weekly basis, you are doing yourself a disservice - the info that Bonnie provides is amazing and she is always on point.) The two concepts get discussed together a lot. All along I was crediting Bonnie with the term "poison playmates" but it was actually originated by Julia Cameron who says "your artist is happiest when feeling a sense of security...we must learn to place our artist with safe companions. Toxic playmates can capsize our artist's growth".

Bonnie has written that you can tell a poison playmate by the following qualities most exhibit:

-love hearing about what's going wrong
-always have a better "what's going wrong" story
-encourage the sharing of troubles
-have "been there" and really understand you
-are threatened by the success--especially emotional success--of others
-introduce drama into situations that don't already have a healthy dose of it
-enjoy discussing problems but never solutions (there's always a reason this or that won't work, no matter what)

As you get more successful, poison playmates find it very tough to let you have your joy. In fact, they can be very seductive and could lure you into that "bitter actor syndrome" - when your ego takes over, you are in your head, and you are negative - where "self-doubt turns into self-sabotage" according to Julia Cameron.

As you grow, you find poison playmates are harder to be around, so you withdraw. And when you withdraw, these poison playmates take it out on you.

Be careful that you are not your own poison playmate or that of others - we have to work through our own "bitterness" or "head games" -- you'll go through it several times over - don't rush it, go through it beat by beat and you will come out refreshed and a winner. You will be available for yourself and others. You'll let yourself and others experience joy!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Taking Chance

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. You undoubtedly will see many films on TV having to do with war or the military this weekend. I would suggest the must see film of the weekend is "Taking Chance" on HBO. You can view the trailer here. You can also view the schedule of when the film will be on HBO here.

Kevin Bacon won a Golden Globe this year for his portrayal of Lt. Col. Michael Strobl. I've seen Kevin Bacon in many films. And he has been amazing in all of them. However, I think this performance was powerful yet subdued. It is by far my favorite of his performances.

Thanks for reading. Please keep our military personnel in your hearts especially this weekend and know that they are fighting for our freedoms.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Emmy Roundtable - Drama Actresses

This week, THR had an amazing roundtable of some of the best drama actresses on TV right now. Amazing. It is a must read. Read it here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Time Is On My Side

I was thinking about the Rolling Stones' song, "Time Is On My Side", this morning. Time is on my side - it's what I choose to do with it that counts. That is something that is always a constant - our freedom to choose. Should I choose exercising or watching TV? Should I choose sending those postcards to my episodic casting director targets or complain about why they aren't calling me in? Each choice is based on the place we are in. Remember, though, we manifest what we think about.

My career coach, Dallas Travers recommended a great website to me called Happiness Project Toolbox. In it, I found this gem:


I then went to Really cool. The blog has a whole mess of inspirational messages on sticky notes!!

I recently tweeted that I have ridded myself of actor-ease such as audition, sides, scene, piece, beat, etc. These words put me in my head and that is a dangerous place to be. I opt for alternatives like opportunity to play, conversations, etc. Try getting your actor-ease out of the way and see how that impacts your acting. It's helped me. A good actor doesn't act - he/she experiences and lives through listening and reacting.

My acting coach gave me a great quote last week and I will pass it onto you - you either act for the glory or you act for the story.

So, do we choose to live in the story, in other words, the present, or do we choose to live in our heads? The choice is ours. Freedom is a wonderful thing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy May!

I want to wish you a Happy May!!

I had an extremely busy month in April with a lot of networking, reconnecting with colleagues and socializing.

I want to send a big shout out to the folks who organized last month's LA Actor's Tweet Up. They are planning an event for May so stay tuned. I blogged about tweet ups here.

On Saturday, I went to the screening of North Star, the indie film that I did in February in which I was the female lead. It screened along with 7 other films - wonderful, wonderful films!!

I also attended another wonderful party put on by the Triple H crew.

It's going to be a great week with many, many opportunities. I already have two auditions lined up for the week. This afternoon, I get to visit my beloved audition coach, Annie Grindlay. She is amazing. Check her out.

I have been feeling so centered these days - I attribute that to journaling, meditating, working on my craft and marketing it, reciting my affirmations and being so incredibly grateful.

Last, on a somber note, word just came out today that Lynn Redgrave passed away. I feel for Vanessa Redgrave who has lost her daughter, brother and now sister all within a relatively short timeframe of each other. My prayers are with their family.

Be grateful for the short time you are on this earth. As Yogi Bhajan said, "gratitude is the open door to abundance".

Have a super week.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On Casting

I love the articles at Backstage. On February 4th, Filmmaker Adam Green ("Frozen") really shed some profound light on the casting process:

"For me, so much of who I hire on my cast and crew is based just on how I feel around you. Are you going to jell with my crew? I've used the same crew for everything, and it's a family. So what I like are actors who are part of the filmmaking process and are intelligent about moviemaking. It's not just about "Look how pretty I am" and "I was on 'The OC' once." I'm not impressed...The thing about auditions is you can't really tell about a lot of things. I know some great actors that bomb every audition. Because it sucks; what an awkward process to walk into a room full of people you may or may not know. It's almost worse if you do know them, because how are they going to believe you as another character? So just be you, be relaxed, and don't come in with some sort of agenda or ego...And don't kiss my ass, either...So don't kiss ass, but at the same time just be you and do your thing...The conversation that happens before and after the actual read is usually where the decision is made...I take a long time to cast my stuff, and I'm very picky in who I cast, and I think that's why I've been so lucky. "

I'm finding this more and more - how does a filmmaker feel about me as an actor? Is he comfortable with me? I keep telling my colleagues, and I am saying the same to you as well, the entertainment industry is no different from any other industry - we have to nurture our talent so we can trust that when we call upon it whenever, it's there and we have to market ourselves and cultivate relationships to be known. The third thing is we have to be ourselves and communicate our personality. When I was Director of Marketing in high-tech, and I needed to hire staff, I used to hire people based not so much on their skill set (it was there on their resume and even if they were short one or two things, I knew I could train them) but more on their personality -- were they a good fit for me and my team and the company, did they have a good work ethic, did they come across as professional, did they have a life outside of work - things we would call "nontangibles". In Silicon Valley, the fit was so important, we would end up having candidates we like interview with other members of the team to ensure the fit was there, and that could turn into multiple interview situations - very picky, indeed. 

In the audition room, I try to get my personality across - I'm not saying being bigger than life - I'm saying letting them see who I am and what I am like - being myself - so it will make it easy for them to cast me by getting answers to the following questions: Is she professional? Does she have a good work ethic? Can I count on her to deliver the goods to help me meet my project's creative and financial goals?

I'm seeing that more emphasis is being placed on the personality side of things because you are already in the room because they know you can do the job and are what they are looking for -- so, bring yourself into the room, HAVE FUN and tip the scales in your favor!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kathryn The Great

I was in awe of some amazing acceptance speeches last night - Mo'Nique, Sandra Bullock and...Ms. Kathryn Bigelow.

What can I say about Kathryn Bigelow - she is such a gratious person. I've been a fan since "Strange Days". I am so thrilled for her - not only because last night, she became the first female to win the Best Director Academy Award, but also because of her amazing talent, strength and professionalism.

Congrats to "The Hurt Locker" for winning 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Good Week

I wrote on my Facebook profile yesterday that I was prepping for auditions and performances this week. I have two indie film auditions this week and I am performing in two short play reading programs - check my Facebook fan page for details on that. In addition, I booked my photo shoot with, in my and others' opinion, the best photographer in town, Dana Patrick, I signed up for CD workshops, and I mailed postcards to my episodic and feature film target CDs, and sent congratulations cards to some of my favorite film producers. A damn fine and productive week thus far.

When I am not auditioning, I am hustling to do my marketing and cultivating relationships, or as Dallas Travers says, I'm sending out my "ships". I'm planting the seeds and I am not focused on when the harvest will come in but how I might be able to learn from and help the individuals I am cultivating relationships with.

I also had an opportunity to look at some Facebook friends' updates. I saw a lot of folks saying they nailed their auditions. I am always happy to hear when my actor friends feel they nailed their auditions and share it - we, as actors, have to be our own cheerleaders - it is something we have to do to keep sane. I know people say that they feel like they are bragging when they toot their own horn. No, No, No. You are celebrating yourself when you toot your own horn -- I think we should toot our own horns more often. Nurturing ourselves is key.

My acting coach and I have had several conversations about "being seduced by experiences". Huh, you ask? Being seduced by the experience, for me, is making the experience more important than it really is. In my acting, there are remnants of that from time to time. I make a memory so important that I disengage with my partner to relive the memory. Also, seduced by experience means making results bigger than the process. I know it has been quite a shift for me to take my focus off of the results and place it on the process. Doing so helps me to not be overly excited or disappointed in an experience, but instead I say to myself "ok, I am experiencing this right now" and I move on to the next experience. I'm not saying I discount my experience, I say that I look at the experience objectively and don't judge it. We get into trouble when we start judging. I try not to judge my audition experiences - I don't ask "did I do well?" or "did I suck?" but "hmm...that's how I did...what did I learn...on to my next experience". I'm not saying I don't stress - I have my "actor mind taffy" time, I try to get it out of my system, and move on. That deserves repeating, yes I MOVE ON. It even felt good to say it as I wrote it.

The focus on the journey has really given me peace of mind.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Less Is More

It's taken me a long time to get to say this - "I'm going to do what I want to do". Simple? Excuse me while I fall back on an old cliche - it's easier said than done.

There have been many times, that we, as actors, fall into traps of listening to everything people say what an actor should do and try to follow it all. I remember being told that I should submit for everything I was a fit for. And I did that. However, not everything I'm a fit for is right for me and that I want to do.

I'm at a point in my film and TV career that I don't have to do low pay/no pay work. Yes, I still enjoy working on student films - there are some great ones (I'll be writing about the Chapman film I just completed, in the coming weeks) - and other independent projects that move me. I'll be honest - I've been thinking about the phrase, "show business" a lot. The entertainment business is a business - so I'm very focused on finding work that let's me play for pay.

The key for me is doing projects that move and inspire me to want to communicate the story.

I believe doing less is really more because it makes you focus on the quality not the quantity. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Memorizing Lines

I know I said that I would have a blog post up about my short film experience. I'm waiting for more production photos so you can have the total experience through words and pictures. Stay tuned - it is well worth the wait. Trust me.

Someone asked me yesterday what is the best way to memorize lines for a scene. I have heard many techniques - read over and over until you have the words, cover your lines with a sheet of paper or index card to help you remember, put your lines on index cards, put words on tape, etc. The list goes on and on. The trouble that I see here is that you are learning the lines by rote - you are memorizing them. The key is to have a connection to the words - do you understand the conversation? do you understand why you are in the conversation? do you understand why you are reacting the way you are? do you understand what you need from your partner? Answers to these questions will keep you grounded, in the moment and present to your partner.

So, what was my advice?

1. Read the conversation for understanding - are you clear on what the scene is about? are you clear in what you want?
2. Put yourself in your character's shoes, react how you would react if given those circumstances and create a back story so you are living in and experiencing the world as that character.
3. Read your scene and visualize images as you are reading. Then, add the words and wonder why are you saying what you are saying.

These techniques will help you stay present to and connect with your partner - the trust in who you are and focus on the relationship is your foundation and you will know exactly how you want to communicate -- No memorization required!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Blogger's Bulletin

I was asked to write a guest column for The Bloggers Bulletin. My latest post, entitled Social Media on the Set, can be found here. The takeaways? Be creative in your tweets, use care in how and what you tweet and be professional.

Let me know what you think.

Happy Fat Tuesday, y'all!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Susyn Is Back and Better Than Ever

Hi All:

I haven't written a post since February 5 because...I was busy prepping for and filming an independent short film I was in called "North Star". I was one of the leads and I was so grateful and excited to be cast. And I was so grateful to be in the film - it was a great script, cast, director and one of the most professional crews I have ever had the honor of working with. I will be posting more news about that in the near future!

I mentioned that I am now recurring in the web series (please check out the project) and I will be doing some ADR work soon and doing more filming in March.

I had a great workshop with Ani Avetyan (casting associate with The Closer) last week at the SAG Foundation as part of their Casting Access Project (CAP). The guests are great and the workshop is free to SAG members. Ani had so much positive energy and was spot on with her comments.

Did you watch the Super Bowl? I caught the last half because I was filming. Congrats to the Super Bowl Champs, New Orleans Saints, who I was hoping (crossing my fingers and toes) would win!!

Are you watching the 21st Winter Olympics? It has been bittersweet so far - it was so very sad that Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luge athlete, died in a training run on the luge course on Friday, February 12, but the opening ceremonies were fantastic (I was happy to see that Georgia got about as many cheers as the United States and Canada got!), Apollo Ohno, with his silver medal that he received on February 13, is the most decorated male athlete of the winter olympics (and he is on course to be the most decorated athlete of the winter olympics), Canada won their first ever gold medal on their soil, and the US won the gold medal in the nordic combined, the first medal the US has ever won in the event. Of course, there were many more highlights. I am so very proud of our country - we are currently leading the medal count!

I hope you had a great Valentines Day! Jeff gave me a card and great gift basket and took me out to dinner.

Last, I hope you have a great Presidents Day!!


Friday, February 5, 2010

How Not To Twitter

There are some great articles at Open Forum.

I like the articles because they are geared to small businesses and my actor business is a small business (Actors: if you think of yourself as the CEO of your business, you have made a giant step in your career).

This morning, there is an article called "Top 5 Ways Not To Be Annoying On Twitter" - the full article is here.

In the article, it states the 5 ways:

While these are common sense items, they deserve repeating, over and over.

1. Don't hide - Tell us about yourself - utilize your twitter bio and tell us who you are and where we can go to find out more.

2. Don't Ignore - Answer replies and questions timely! My, how we have forgotten that etiquette tells us to return calls, emails, etc. within 24 hours.

3. Don't Yell - it's ok to market on Twitter, but remember on Twitter, the soft sell is king.

4. Don't Disappear - Be consistent on Twitter - remember that regular activity generates results.

5. Don't Lie - since you are trying to establish trust, don't lie - just don't do it.

And, I propose a 6th way - Don't Be Irresponsible - be aware of what you say in your posts and replies because, with Twitter, as with other Internet outlets, what you put out online becomes a permanent record, so use caution in your communications.

Are you watching the Super Bowl this weekend? I feel lost without the Steelers in it. I think I will cheer for the New Orleans Saints - I like to see teams who have never won, win. Who are you rooting for? I'm rooting for our success as actors!!

Have a fabuloso weekend. Cheers!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Change Is In The Air

I've made some changes to my blog. What do you think? Let me know.

Phil saw his shadow, so there are 6 more weeks of winter. I still hope the weather is decent when I get off the plane in Pittsburgh next month!

My part in the web series is now a recurring one. I hope you will watch it - everyone who lives in CA should be in the know with what is happening with Prop 8.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

82nd Annual Academy Awards

The 82nd Annual Academy Award noms are in. They are listed (courtesy of Awards Daily) below:

Actor in a Leading Role

Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role

Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role

Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film

“Coraline” Henry Selick
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
“The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
“The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
“Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction

“Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
“Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
“Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray


“Avatar” Mauro Fiore
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
“The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
“Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
“The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design

“Bright Star” Janet Patterson
“Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
“Nine” Colleen Atwood
“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell


“Avatar” James Cameron
“The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
“Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
“Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)

“Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
“The Cove” Nominees to be determined
“Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
“Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)

“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
“Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
“Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing

“Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
“District 9” Julian Clarke
“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
“Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film

“Ajami” Israel
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
“The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
“Un Prophète” France
“The White Ribbon” Germany


“Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
“Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
“The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)

“Avatar” James Horner
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
“The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
“Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
“Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)

“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
“Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Picture

“Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
“The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
“District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
“An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
“Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
“A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
“Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
“Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Short Film (Animated)

“French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
“Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
“A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)

“The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
“Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
“Kavi” Gregg Helvey
“Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
“The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
“Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
“Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
“Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
“Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
“Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects

“Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
“District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
“Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
“An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
“Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
“Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
“The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
“A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Ok - so the 1st 3 people who send me their predictions get a $10 Starbucks card.

I'm still pulling for my gal, Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker; and Jeff Bridges.

What say you? I'd love to hear.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Something's In The Water

I was just remarking to my acting coach the other day that I was booking most things I was auditioning for in January- booking everything you audition for is very hard for many actors to do just because of the subjective nature of the entertainment industry - I booked the lead in a short film, booked a web series, performed in a staged reading last night and I got called back for another independent film. All and All, a very good January.

I also had a great workshop this past Saturday. Lauren Bass, one of my feature film CD targets, was the guest. I came up with a plan that serves me well in CD workshops:

1. I have come up with a dozen episodic CDs and a dozen feature film CDs. These are my targets and I workshop many times with only them.
2. I do my research on the CD - I research what they are currently casting, their background, and anything else about them I can find out. This humanizes the individual, which puts me more at ease with them.
3. During the workshop, I follow Bonnie Gillespie's great words - "Have Fun. Don't Suck." An excellent mantra, I might add. I focus on the conversation and being with my partner.
4. I send a hand-written thank-you note to the CD within 48 hours of the workshop.
5. I continue to strengthen the relationship by following up.

The workshop was a nice end to a very productive month.

Here we come February, here we come!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Week In The Life of an Actor

Boy, this week was full of ups and downs but it began and ended with filming, which I'm ecstatic about. I'm working on this amazing web series about the Prop 8 trial here in CA. For those of you who don't know about it, Prop 8 was put on the ballot to dis-allow the marriage of same-sex couples. CA voters approved the measure in November 2008 and now there is a trial going on to overturn the decision. However, the CA Supreme Court ruled that the case would not be televised, so our producers decided to re-enact the case. I cannot believe the great team we have working on this - actors, producer, director. Check it out and let me know what you think!

So, my week started with filming the web series. I finished catching up reading Bonnie Gillespie's amazing articles. I did my planning for the upcoming week.

Monday was the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and when rain started. It rained, rained, and rained all week. We saw sunshine on Saturday, Sunday and so far today, but I hear another storm is on its way here this week. It was bitingly cool earlier in the week and still is cool - 50's - in LA (I know what my Eastern Coast readers would say - Are you nuts? That's warm! - but, that's cold for LA!) I also learned I lost a couple of tutor clients. Unfortunately, the tutor business is cyclical, you get some, you lose some. I had a great workout session, with my personal trainer, Ana, at Train. I've been seeing 11:11 on the clock a lot lately. That means the angels are with you and are trying to communicate with you - very, very spiritual.

On Tuesday, I tutored. I watched a great video by Casting Director Marci Liroff. I was contacted by a writer for Inc. Magazine who wanted to interview me about an article that I wrote in 2004. Cool!! That article still pulls today.

On Wednesday, I had a great coaching session with the wonderful Dallas Travers. I lost another tutor client. I've noticed that the tutor clients that stick are the ones who want to tutor and are committed to it and they improve their grades because of it (I have a guarantee that the student will see at least a 1-grade increase if they stick with the tutoring.). I met with a client that I do PR for. Man, I love PF Changs. I saw my personal trainer again today. I worked on a play for acting class that I have been working on for a while called "Keely and Du". A very intense, but fascinating, play.

On Thursday, I tutored, worked on my play, and got a chance to view my work that I filmed on Sunday. I also scheduled a meeting with a new tutor client.

On Friday, I tutored. I had an audition for a short film over at CAZT Studios - I'm still on the fence whether I like that place or not. I didn't feel I did as well as I did on the audition I had last weekend, which I have a callback on, but because this industry is so subjective, you never, ever know so I try to put auditions out of my head and move along my journey and if I book something along the way, super!! I was also contacted by the producer of the web series I am working on that I would be filming more of my scenes for my web series on Saturday.

On Saturday, the new tutor client meeting was canceled, I filmed more of my scenes for the web series, and I worked on my play.

Yesterday, Sunday, was so productive. We went hiking to Runyon Canyon, I drafted a press release for a client, I was asked to write and wrote a post for a guest column on a great blog. The post is here. I made dinner. I engaged with people on Twitter and Facebook. And, I found out I booked the lead in the short film that I auditioned for on Friday. And, I'm on track to get all my marketing packages mailed this week to my target CDs and producers.

That, my friends, is a very full week. And, the 16th Annual SAG Awards were on Saturday. Congrats go out to all the winners. I am so happy for Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Mo'Nique, Christoph Waltz, the cast of Inglorious Basterds, Julianna Margulies, and Kevin Bacon, who won their respective categories.

And, I'm out of breath, I'm so looking forward to and grateful for all my amazing experiences and opportunities this week.

Keeping living, y'all! Enjoy yourself. Flaunt it!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

16th Annual SAG Awards

Awards season is starting to take shape nicely. I am so glad my personal favorites - Jeff Bridges, Christoph Waltz, Mo'Nique, Meryl Streep, Julianna Margulies, and Toni Collette took home Golden Globes last night. I'll be honest - I'm pulling for "The Hurt Locker" to win and Kathryn Bigelow to break the glass ceiling, but "Avatar" won. Watch the ACE Eddies to see which film wins - which is USUALLY your Oscar winner. Other key indicators are the PGA's, WGA's and DGA's.

So, SAG Awards ballots are due by 12 noon PST on Thursday, January 21, 2010 and the SAG Awards ceremony is January 23, 2010. So, if you're a SAG member in good standing, get on line as soon as you can and VOTE, because it is a privilege to vote.

And...the 82nd Academy Award Nominations will be announced at 5:30am PST on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 and the Oscars broadcast will be on March 7, 2010.

Who do you hope wins the BIG prize? Let me know, I'd love to hear.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Advice To Actors For 2010

If you aren't already reading Keith Ferrazzi's blog, you should be.

As a special bonus to actors who already subscribe to this blog - I'm very grateful, by the way - or who come across it via a search or word of mouth - of which, I am equally grateful - Please check out these two posts by Keith:

Banish Approach Anxiety and Make the Sale! and

In Transition? Four Surefire Steps for 2010

Here's to your tremendous success in 2010!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Blessed Fan Page

I love Facebook fan pages. I created one for my acting business. And now, I have created one for this blog.

Please check them both out and ask your friends to check them out!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Life as a SAG Awards Nominating Committee Member

I had the best time being on the 2009 SAG Awards Nominating Committee. It was a great honor and privilege, and I had a lot of fun with it.

Every year, a SAG member in good standing can request to be on the Nominating Committee (as I came to find out later, once a SAG member has served on the Nominating Committee, that member isn't eligible to serve on the Nominating Committee for 3 years. So, I won't be eligible to serve on the committee until 2012.) In 2009, I was one of 2,100 SAG members selected to serve on the Nominating Committee. I was notified in late Spring via letter and I also received my special ID card that identified me as "SAG Awards Nominating Committee Member - Theatrical Motion Pictures". There are two sections - film and TV. (Note: I ran into a Nominating Committee member who was on the TV side and tried like to hell to get info on the Californication season finale, which I wasn't able to do - I'm glad I waited - my colleague was right, there were a lot of unexpected elements!). In the letter, I was told that I would be receiving invitations to screenings and screeners starting in the summer, although I would receive most of them in the fall. We also were instructed to go to the website especially dedicated to our committee and visit it often for updates.

I found out in the summer that I would be receiving a letter that I had to complete and sign to be able to have the screeners and screening invitations sent to my home address. I assume since these screening opportunities were usually for films that hadn't been released yet, the studios and everyone associated with the awards, because of integrity reasons, wanted to make sure materials didn't fall into the wrong hands. I waited and waited for that letter to arrive, but it didn't and the due date to return the letter was drawing closer. I called SAG to see what was up and they said the letter probably went to my old address - we moved in June. When I told them I updated my contact details with SAG, they said they needed to send me the letter to my new address and I had to walk the completed and signed letter into SAG by the deadline (apparently, the letter would be sent to parties outside of SAG, who handle the mailing of the screeners, and SAG had previously sent them the Nominating Committee member database with the addresses they had at the time). So, I walked in the completed and signed letter to SAG - Whew. I made it by the due date!

So, Fall came and I was getting excited for all these screening invitations and screeners to come my way. At first, I received maybe a screening notice or two and a screener or two every week. As we got closer to that magical date in December when we would turn in our ballots - and our Nominating Committee Member service would end - the frequency of screeners and screening invites became more and more. I kid you not, the two weeks prior to turning in our ballots, I swear I was receiving something in the mail and receiving FedX and UPS packages 3-4 times a day!! It was overwhelming but I embraced it because I probably wouldn't have had seen many of these films. It was interesting to see that each screener is personal to each Nominating Committee member - it is coded with a special number so if the screener got into the wrong hands - you would be easily identifed as the culprit (it states on the screener that the screener is for the Nominating Committee member's eyes only and the screener is not to be given to anyone, I repeat, to anyone) - I can see Tootie from "Facts of Life" now, "you're in TROUBLE." And, that's a capital T, that rhymes with P, that stands for pirate. So, the message is to keep the screener for your eyes only.

So, the time came to complete my ballot and vote. I love that technology has progressed over the years that you can vote online - much much simpler! When the SAG Award nominations were announced last month, I'll be honest, I wanted to see how many nominees I actually voted for. I was right on the money with some - woo hoo!!

My personal goal for the Oscars has always been to see all the Best Picture nominees prior to the awards. This year, I have seen all the performances of the actors and actresses nominated for a SAG award. It was incredibly tough to cast my vote as there were so many amazing performances. The ones that stood out for me were Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds), Mo'Nique (Precious), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Matt Damon (Invictus), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Woody Harrelson (the Messenger), Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air), and Sandra Bullock (the Blind Side). My list is actually longer because of the superb performances and films. In fact, the last screening I saw was for a film called "Everybody's Fine", excellent film with an excellent ensemble cast including Robert DeNiro, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell and Drew Barrymore. An excellent film that didn't receive nominations, but is a must-see.

So, now I will vote as a SAG member this week to determine which of these nominees with receive the Actor. I'm looking forward to voting online again. And yes, I have received DVDs - duplicates of what I have.

The only thing I can think of to make this magical experience perfect is please, oh please, SAG, give me a discount on the $600/ticket to the SAG awards! I don't want to be greedy but if you want to give me a ticket, gratis, for my service, I will most gratefully accept and represent you proud!!

The SAG Awards will be simulcast on TBS and TNT on January 23, 2010. The complete list of nominees is here.

I love the awards season - and this one is going to be great! I've picked who I want to win the Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. What are your pics? Send me a note.


Birth-Day Gratitude

Yesterday was January 7, 2010. Just another day, right? 2nd Thursday of a new decade. Special day? Yep. My birthday was yesterday. I turned 48. As I sit here in Starbucks writing this post, I am thinking about birthdays - parties, presents, cards, cakes, party hats, balloons and the like usually come to mind. What if we celebrate birth-day instead of birthday? I was and am thinking about my 48 years of being a living, breathing organism on Earth and I can choose the experiences I want, I can choose the people I want to surround myself with. Being given this tremendous gift of life is amazing and when I think about it, I am so grateful to be alive, to be healthy, to have so much abundance and prosperity in my life, to be able to do what I want for a career - ACT!, to be surrounded by wonderful relatives and friends, to be married to my best friend, to have a great dog, have opportunities for personal and professional growth, have financial resources, a great car, a great home, and the list goes on and on.

While my birth-day got me to thinking about gratitude, it doesn't stop with my birthday. I write in a journal day - I write what is called morning pages - 3 pages of free form writing that you do in the morning before you start the day. I decided to incorporate a list of 5 things I am grateful for daily - sometimes the list is longer, sometimes it's shorter. In addition, I incorporate be gratitude into my daily affirmations.

Gratitude is an uplifting experience - you can feel it physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. How can you feel gratitude? Go into a quiet place and light a candle or burn incense and just breathe, focus on your breathing, be present with your breath, just be. That is gratitude.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Awards Season

I absolutely love awards season. I love having so many wonderful films at my disposal. As an actor, seeing films, watching TV and attending theatre is my market research. However, I have talked with several actors who say they don't watch TV, don't go to theatre, don't go see films that often. Actors, you should be doing at least two of these things - watching film in a theater, watching TV, attending live theatre - weekly.

Admittedly, I was on the fence when AMPAS announced last year that this year they would start having 10 academy award-nominated films. But, now that I have had a chance to sit with it - I'm excited. Today, the Producers Guild have announced the PGA nominations for best picture and - drum roll, please - they include:

Producers: James Cameron, Jon Landau

Producers: Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson

Producers: Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey

Producer(s): Awaiting final credit determination.

Producer: Lawrence Bender

Producers: Clint Eastwood, Rob Lorenz, Lori McCreary , Mace Neufeld

Producers: Lee Daniels, Gary Magness, Sarah Siegel-Magness

Producers: J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof

Producer: Jonas Rivera

Producer(s): Awaiting final credit determination

Later this week, I will share with you my experiences as a SAG Awards Nominating Committee member.

Have a fantastic day!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year! Welcome to 2010 and my first post of 2010. Today is a day of beginnings - the first day of the year and the first day of the decade. What you do today sets the pace for the rest of the year.

Did you create your 2010 plan? Did you do some research on 2009 before you created your new plan - did you reflect on what worked, what didn't, what limiting beliefs may have held you back from completing tasks to your satisfaction? I keep a journal of accomplishments - it is a variation on what I kept when I was in corporate life - I used to keep a file of accomplishments, not only as a record so I could reflect on how my year went, but also I would use the information when personnel reviews came around - I was ready to toot my own horn on these big things I did for the company - whether I increased revenues, reduced expenses or both.

It's funny but I forgot about some of my accomplishments for 2009. Have you noticed that we take minor accomplishments for granted because we think they might not be stellar enough to list? It might not be booking a guest star role, or securing that theatrical agent, but getting your creative space uncluttered or putting together a home office, or even committing to a weekly workout routine is just as important. Definitely sweat the small stuff - they are important, too! In fact, they are the building blocks for the bigger things.