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.