Meditation: I’m doing it wrong.

I am a perpetual over-thinker, steadily adrift in thought, lost in the winding, undefined trails of my psyche. It was worse when I was younger. Forget about making me read a book as a kid. No sooner would my eyes scan a sentence than my cunning deviant mind would seduce my attention away from the page and into it’s entrapments. It’s a miracle I got such good grades in school. How clever I must have been.

I was interesting enough in a conversation but my listening skills were acutely deficient. I would nod my head accordingly at the person in front of me meanwhile waiting to interject, thinking about what I was going to say, eventually interrupting to tell my own story. I suppose there is some small redemption in my awareness to it. Nonetheless, it seemed the only way out of my overthinking mind was talking, and believe me, I did, and still do, a LOT of it.

I may have been entertaining, or even charming enough along the way to compensate for my deficiency. Even so, I didn’t give anyone much of a choice in the matter but to listen to me. I would engage with just about anyone who was willing or lacked the strength to turn away. The underpaid grocer, the rushed server, the poor sucker who got stuck next to me on the plane. This technique served me in some manor for many years. It allowed me to fearlessly go out in the world and connect with any miscellaneous human on just about every subject. I’m a social butterfly. An extrovert. I am the product of a lot of energy and a mind that will not stop talking at me.

For as long as I can remember, friends and fellow seekers have been suggesting meditation as a treatment for my condition. I uttered the same uninspiring response every time, “I can’t meditate. I’ve tried but I can’t stop thinking.” I truly believed that meditation did not and could not “work” for me. How could it? All it ever did was cause me to waste more time trapped in the corridors of thought. Time better spent out there in the world getting things done. Producing results. Working hard to make things happen. Or at my worst, occupying my time with mindless entertainment to silence the chatterbox in my head.

This year I was invited to my friend’s wedding in Mumbai, India. Simultaneously, but not consciously planned, I purchased an unlimited month of yoga and meditation classes at a studio near my home in Hollywood. I figured maybe in a class setting I would learn something about meditation that I just wasn’t getting. I mean, every spiritual teaching and philosophy I embrace encourages it, so I had to keep trying, right? Maybe I could get it right this time. I would finally get it right and take all of my enlightenment to India where it would lead me on a healing journey that would reveal itself simply and beautifully like a Rumi poem.

India unfolded more like a Hunter S. Thompson novel, magically abrasive, and more chaotic than soothing. More about India later…

So, I schlepped myself to meditation class, yoga mat in hand, hoping for the best, but not expecting any breakthroughs. I always say that you don’t get what you deserve; rather you get what you expect. I got just that. Not only did I not have any major breakthroughs, but I was so shifty during the class that the teacher called me out afterwards. He suggested I sit in a chair next time because my body seemed uncomfortable and he could sense my restlessness. Oops. Failed again at meditation.

A few days later I tried a different class where we sat on couches and a lovely young teacher soothed us with her feminine voice and eased us into our practice. I was a bit more comfortable, but not without distraction. There was a beautiful man in the class who sat next to me. His long curly black hair fell down upon his Disney hero jawline and when I closed my eyes his steady breath in and out stole my entire focus for twenty solid minutes. When they tell you to focus on the breath I’m pretty sure that’s not what they are talking about. Oops. Failed again.

There was something that I was just not getting. What was it? What was I doing wrong…

To be continued…

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Letting Go without Closure

He sent me the most clinical of emails to end it. It was filled with anecdotal ideas that did not even seem to be coming from him. At least, not from his heart, which I know so well, which is entangled with mine. These reasons seemed to extend from his overburdened thinking mind, which I have also come to know. This antiseptic email is not from the person I know him to truly be. Or rather, it is from him, but it is not consistent with manner in which we share ourselves with each other.

We share our broadest thoughts, our most intricate emotions, our hopes, our promising dreams, our defenseless bodies, our uneasiness, and our sincerest souls all in exquisite detail. We share hidden secrets and unlock each other’s deepest buried treasures. Even in moments of extreme overwhelm the slightest connection melts away all fear. What did this conversation with an outside source reveal that so suddenly reversed his arrangement to follow his heart’s strongest desire? What was this epiphany that shattered our collective dream and planted seeds of “reality” deep within him? What is his new dream? What is his new story?

Maybe his perception of our exchange has been tainted. Perhaps it has been dissolved and reduced into the sum of its parts: unconventional and misguided. What has triggered this regression toward withholding his newest insights and surprising revelations? Why is he suddenly censored with me?

It is me, after all. It is me who knew him upon first site. It is me who accepts him as he is. It is me who has an overstuffed toolbox ready to take on anything. It is me who’s built a supportive foundation of trust and intimacy. It is me who listens to him deeply and respects his feelings and his words. It’s me. Is it possible that I energetically produced the perfect environment to germinate his doubt in me? Is it possible that my own fear and ego began nipping at the insecurity of my love’s heart? Did I attract this? I’m left only to wonder, as the details he provides are scarce and he has requested something nearly impossible. He has asked for my silence.

Today I am wrestling with 2 things. My responsibility in pushing the love of my life away because of fear, and this question: what could someone have possibly said that triggered this new discovery that would change the direction of our momentum? Propulsion we launched together in our most authentic and organic exchange of love.

Our entanglements are not of the physical world. They are in the depths of the core of love itself. They stem from the root of the deepest origin of life. There is no to-do list to untangle this. It is.

Am I not deserving of a loving conversation, of which he knows I’m capable? I would let him go if he looked me in the eyes and asked me to. I would not deny him his process or his true aspirations. I could not. Who is the man who sent me this email that I have dissected like a scientist to understand it’s anatomy? Who is the man that sat down to write words and thoughts sterilized by the mind and left unpunctuated? Who is the man that pressed send, and where is he now?

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New Year: 10 things to do now if you are scared

In my little oasis in Hollywood January 1st is not the celebration day I hoped it would be. It is instead the beginning of one of the greatest challenges in my life’s journey. I don’t know quite where to start. I’m not quite sure what to do actually. Everyone who advises on the topic reminds me about time. Time which does not exist and yet somehow has it’s own unique way of healing. If you know me, you know that I am filled with joy and positivity and this has never wavered. It has been my natural state since birth. I am filled with hope and love and strive to hold and share this vibration outward. It’s just that today, I have a broken heart. It’s been cracked open and all of it’s fragile contents have been exposed.

All is not lost. As I sit in the restlessness of not knowing how to begin mending it, it occurs to me that instead of being alone with it, I can share it. I can share it with you because it’s okay to be where I am at, even it it doesn’t feel that way. And it is possible that I am not alone.

Are you going through something difficult today? You are not alone. Are you feeling a little sad? You are not alone. Are you looking ahead at the open canvas of 2018 without art supplies and kinda scared? You are not alone. You are not alone.

So, we are not alone. Now what? What can we do?

Let’s contemplate together of all of the numerous blessings in our lives.
Let’s ponder the wonder and magic of life itself.
Let’s re-frame our way of facing 2018 with fear and let’s call it excitement.
Let’s get curious and go out there and see what life has to offer us.
Let’s honor where we are, wherever that is, and start from here.
Let’s let go of knowing the answer and embrace not having any clue at all.
Let’s see what happens.
Let’s do it together.
Let’s start now.
You and me.

Love and Light,
Hollywood

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High Five Guy

I have been running through Hancock Park all the years I have lived in Hollywood. I usually run at the same time and always down the same streets. Today, instead of running on the sidewalk, I ran in the street because there was more shade. In the distance I saw a young man running steadily toward me. “I’ve never seen him before.” I thought. I often pass the same runners and dog walkers, or nannies pushing strollers. This guy running toward me was definitely new, and, wait., was he smiling? The closer he got, the more I could see that, yes, this guy is smiling. As he came toward me, his smile became even more pronounced. Then, just as he ran by me, he extended his hand toward me. Instinctively I extended mine and we high fived. In the middle of the street in Hancock Park on a run I have been going on for over 15 years, listening to Death Cab for Cutie, a guy running past me gave me a high five.

I immediately felt such a strong sense of community! I actually said out loud, “Yes!” smiled, and even giggled a little. I felt like I was in the movie Rocky and some triumphant moment had just bonded us together. This stranger who had passed me had literally reached out to me and created a perfect opportunity for harmony between us. He had pronounced our one-ness in a simple gesture and I felt like we were in it together. I was filled with a warm sense of gratitude and satisfaction. I love knowing that we are all connected and that if we fearlessly reach out to each other we can truly connect and thus change each others life experience for the better.

The next two people I ran past were not interested at all in connecting with me. Now, I did not reach out to give them a high five, but I did smile and acknowledge them both, with no response. How did high five guy know I was receptive to his gesture? Did he high five everyone as he passed them? Was the moment we shared a fluke? What can I do to pass along the high five to others throughout my day? Although I did not literally pay his high five forward, I did make an effort to look people in the eye all day and give a warm smile to those who passed.

I hope that someone high fives you today. I hope that you are inspired to high five someone else. I hope that I can carry this feeling of community throughout my day and instead of burying my face in my phone (which I am quite guilty of doing) that I will choose to connect with those around me. We are just a high five away from feeling not so alone after all.

Love & Light,

Hollywood

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4 Steps to GREAT SKIN!

I’m not a doctor or a dermatologist; I am just a woman with a strict daily skin care regimen that that seems to be paying off!   Women always ask how I keep my skin looking youthful and radiant.  Here is a list of what I do daily.  If my regimen doesn’t work for you, modify it until you find what works or consult a doctor/dermatologist.

1. EXFOLIATE

I exfoliate my face morning and night.  I also always use exfoliating gloves on my body in the shower.  Skin is an organ that absorbs toxins, oils, dirt, and makeup day and night, not to mention all the dead skin cells hanging around!  Hands are not an adequate way to exfoliate the face and body.  I use a brush or a buffer sponge.  I treat my skin like I do my teeth.   I exfoliate for 2 minutes morning and night with gentle pressure in circular motions upward using an exfoliating sponge or brush.

I use an all-natural foaming face wash without parabens or sulfates.  Cream cleansers feel heavy and my face never feels clean, so I prefer foam.   I also use an at home microderm abrasion kit 3x per week.  I LOVE it and feel that it is an important part of my routine.   It makes my skin soft, my pores smaller, and has reduced fine lines in my face.  Never (ever ever) go to sleep without washing your face (No matter how much you had to drink or how cute he is).

2. MOISTURIZE

I give my pores a good solid cleaning so moisturizing is key.  I try to choose products that are paraben and sulfate free and I don’t believe advertisements.  I have done research about which products are scientifically proven and work for me.  There are only a few products actually proven to do what they claim.  I always use a cream with SPF during the day.

In addition to my moisturizer, I use a lotion 2x per day that has 10% Alpha Hydroxy acid (Retinol is also a good choice but requires a prescription). They are both proven to improve the surface of the skin.  It stings a little, it is acid after all, but that means it’s working.   I would rather treat my skin with a small concentrate of acid daily than go through a major acid peel later in life.   For added moister in dry spots, I break Vitamin E capsules, and put the oil  (along with avocado oil) under my eyes, on my forehead, lips, and neck.

3. HYDRATE

I drink water (almost exclusively), rarely drink alcohol, and use a humidifier in my bedroom.   I noticed many years ago that my skin looks younger in moist climates and older when I’m in the desert.   Putting moister into the air improves the look of my skin in a very short amount of time.  I use a vaporizer because I like warm steam but you might prefer a cold air humidifier.  Either way, use one daily if you can.  When I have access to a steam room, steaming is a part of my regimen.  I also keep a small spray bottle of water in my purse or car.  I hydrate my skin throughout the day with a fine mist of purified water over my makeup. It feels great and even wakes me up a bit.

Vitamin C is a potent anti-oxidant proven to promote collagen formation when applied topicaly, but once it has been mixed into a lotion it looses it’s potency in as little as 2 weeks.   Expensive vitamin C creams no longer carry the benefit of Vitamin C.   I did some research and now I buy Vitamin C in its pure powder form online (L-Ascorbic Acid) and mix the powder with purified water in a small glass spray bottle every week.  I spray it on my face and body morning and night.  Research “do it yourself Vitamin C lotion” and find a recipe that works for you.  You will save SO MUCH money!  I spend about $20 every 6 months!

4. SUPPLEMENT

In addition to eating consciously, I take 7 vitamin supplements 2x per day.   I take vitamin E, oil of evening primrose, black currant seed oil, B complex, Biotin, Vitamin C, and calcium/magnesium/zinc.   Do some research and consult your doctor or herbalist to see what combination of supplements is right for you and your skin.   I noticed that my skin was brighter after about a month of taking vitamin supplements and my nails grew faster.  My immune system also feels stronger.  I rarely miss a dose of my daily vitamins.

Finally: Smile and be Positive!  Nothing looks better on your face than a smile 🙂

That’s it!  It may seem like a lot, but these are daily habits that I rarely even think about.  It may take a bit of effort in the beginning but I believe that when you (and others) begin to notice your radiant skin, you will practice skin care with ease!  Nothing feels better at any age than hearing, “You have such great skin!”

Here’s a pic from my Iphone au natural 🙂

Love and Light,

Hollywood

 

 

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The Bikini and The Beast: Getting Naked

6pm yesterday I get a call from my commercial agent. “You have an audition tomorrow. Please check your email and confirm”

Like always, I checked into my account to bring up information about the audition, time, place, wardrobe, etc. 10am okay, Santa Monica…. all good, Bathing Suit…..did I read that right….wardrobe: Bathing Suit. My heart started pounding as I searched for the character description. “Brunette. All American looking. Attractive and fit. Must look good in a bathing suit, but not too skinny or too muscular.”

“Oh no!” my mind races, “My agent thinks I look good in a bathing suit. My agent has never seen me in a bathing suit” thinking, “No, my agent has never seen me in a bathing suit.  Oh crap.”  I run to the mirror to lift my shirt and look at my stomach. “Okay.  Okay.  It’s not that bad.”  I take off my cloths and lean naked frantically rummaging through my drawers for every bathing suit I own. I try them on one after the other. “No…no…no….no, no, NO!” I have to choose. I turn to the mirror. “Okay.  I’m okay.  It said not too skinny so I know I have that part down.  Not too fit is what it said.” I stare at the distorted image standing in front of me. Based on my perception I decide that I fit into the not too fit category. “Why am I freaking out? OH my God I’m freaking out. Put me in a bin of spiders. Burry me alive with rabid snakes covered in grape jelly. Make me tap dance in a lobster suit. Calm down.”

“Cake,” I remember, “There’s red velvet cake in the fridge.” I run immediately to the fridge and begin to eat the red velvet cake with my fingers chasing it with milk from the carton. “Oh my gosh, I just saw this on Oprah today! Emotional eating. I am emotionally eating cake in a bikini in my kitchen” My cats sit staring at me. I put down the cake and decide to take action. I do 35 pushups, 100 sit-ups, and decide not to eat for the rest of the day. “I always wake up feeling thinner” I reflect, “when I don’t eat at night.”

I begin my nightly routine of washing my face, exfoliating, moisturizing, more pushups. I brush my teeth, take vitamins, and finally, go to fill a water bottle to put next to the bed. “Crap, I’m in the kitchen again. Fill the water. Just fill the water. You’re almost there, focus, FOCUS!” I peak in the drawer next to the fridge as I fill the water, you know, just to see what’s in there.

My eye catches an enticing box of….. “DOTS!” I contemplate, “I can eat some Dots. They’re fat free!” I begin to chew Dots in light of my open refrigerator. Dot after Dot I chew and chew. “I’m not going to loose weight in 8 hours. I’m fine” I tell myself. Many moments later, digging colorful bits out of my teeth I catch my reflection in the mirror on the opposite wall. The box of Dots is empty.

I’ve auditioned in fitness cloths a bunch of times, fine. I’m a runner. I work out. Fitness cloths, no problem. I have never, however, been required to awkwardly strip down quickly and unbalanced to a bikini in front of a camera man in a cold florescent casting room with an actor playing my husband uncomfortably watching (while pretending to look away) in his board shorts and t-shirt while the client observes anonymously behind a double sided mirror. Today, that is just what I did.

You know what? It was great! I felt great. Once I got through the strange process of taking off my cloths, I actually felt really good. The camera man had a big warm smile on his face, and the actor playing my husband willingly held my hand as we pretended to “walk along the beach” (basically we strolled slowly across the room and smiled at each other lovingly) Even when I had to do the dreaded 360 turn in my bikini I felt good. I was FREE! My mind had made a monster out of a kitten.

The mind is a cunning saboteur. When I was in college I will never forget the time a random girl I barely knew said to me, “I think you are so pretty” “Thanks” I replied. Then she followed it with, “I told my friend how pretty I thought you were and she said she thought your body was weird but I said I thought you looked like a model” My stomach sunk. Between all the compliments that random girl gave me that day, all I heard was “your body was weird.” I agreed with her friend. My body IS weird. My neck is too long, my hips too wide, my boobs too low, my ankles too skinny. My body is weird. I spent years breaking that agreement and creating a new one. I spent years overcoming the distorted image I created of myself and coming to a new understanding.

My body is awesome. Not because I’m skinny or fit, but because I can walk and run and play! My body is capable of standing for hours on end and walking long distances. My body can play instruments, and reach things in tall cabinets in my kitchen. My body is the vehicle through which I perform all of my daily functions. I am so blessed to have a healthy, functioning body!

But the mind is a cunning, cunning trickster. It didn’t take much to send me into a crazy downward spiral backward into the past. I recovered from this experience and have taken so much from it. Celebrate your body! It is the only one you have. Cherish your body! Cherish YOU! You’re the only one in the world and yours is the only body like it. You are an original model. We all are 🙂

Be Silly. Have Fun.

Love and Light,
Hollywood

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Ugly Baby

I’m not one of those people who thinks babies are really cute.  They always seem a little gross to me with their hazed over eyes and dry patchy skin, exuding waste from every orifice.  It was pointed out to me by a friend that babies actually kind of look and behave a lot like larva, squirming about unknowingly.  At least larva can sustain themselves…or can they?  I’m gonna look that up.  BRB.

According to Wikipedia: “Animals in the larval stage will consume food to fuel their transition into the adult form.” and “Larva is Latin for ghost”  Larva is Latin for ghost?  That’s beside the point but very interesting.   So larva, unlike babies, do take care of themselves until they transform into adults.  

We respond to certain unattractive behavior with the expression “Stop acting like a baby.”  There must be some truth then that babies are sort of annoying or we wouldn’t say that.  Maybe it’s more true of other people’s babies.   I’ve watched people get annoyed with babies that are brought out into public and I myself have been annoyed with babies if I have to sit too close to a screaming one or witness a diaper change.  Not everyone feels this way about babies.  Maybe you are one of those people who loves babies.  Anne Geddes has made an entire career out of photographing them, as seen below.  Even really well lit in beautifully poetic context and sleeping peacefully, I still don’t want to look at that ugly baby.

I do, however, look at and am fond of every single cat I see.  Maybe I wouldn’t be so afraid of having and caring for a baby if in the larva stage they looked like kittens.  I would like to think a cute little kitten is growing inside of me.  I wouldn’t even mind holding it when it came out it even if it was all covered in gunk if it were just a cute little innocent kitten.

I do think kids are super cute.  When I tell you I think your kid is super cute, I really mean it. But if I say “I think your baby is so cute” I am probably lying.  Believe me, I feel bad about it.  I wish I thought your baby was cute, I promise.

I still want one some day, though.  So now I’m wondering…am I a bad person if I don’t think my own baby is cute?  Or will I think my baby is cute no matter what it looks like because it’s, well, my baby?  If I ever have a really ugly baby and I hold it up to you with love and pride and say, “Look how cute my baby is” please lie to me.  This is one of those times where I think a little white lie does more good than harm 🙂

Be silly. Have Fun.  Post baby pics if you have them!  I’ll ask my mom to send me one of mine and I’ll post it here

Love and light,

Hollywood

 

 

 

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Volunteers

Echo Park LakeThis morning I had a doctor’s appointment to check out an irregular mole. Good news: nothing abnormal, just an age spot (that was the bad news) The free consultation was in South Central so I used WAYZ to navigate the fastest route back to Hollywood. I realized at some point that I was nearing Echo Park Lake so I decided to park & walk around the lake instead of rush home to do work.

It was a beautiful warm and breezy summer morning so I took my time strolling around the lake. I even stopped and read about the history and really took in the recent renovations. I spent time with the animals. While taking pictures I noticed a red tailed hawk souring above and observed it for a moment. Then I noticed a man standing alone in the grass calmly raking leaves wearing khaki shorts and a vest that read “Volunteer.”
I asked “Where did you volunteer for this job?”
“At the Elysian Park office.” He replied. “I just graduated from college and I have some time on my hands so I went there to volunteer. It’s great, they pick you up and then drop you off.”
“Where?” I asked.
“Over at the office near Dodger Stadium. They will come pick me up and drive me back there.”
“And they provide you with the rake, the vest, and the trash bag?” I asked
“Yes.” He answered.
“Well, that’s just great. Thank you so much for volunteering. You’re doing a great job. What a nice place to volunteer.”

As I resumed strolling the walkway a lovely young woman wearing a straw hat holding flowers approached me and asked “Do you know any good Birthday songs? I’m meeting my friend here and it’s her birthday today.” I thought, well, she’s going to love this (thanks law of attraction) “I did singing telegrams in college,” I replied. “The birthday song for the telegrams was pretty cool, wanna hear it?” Of course she said yes, so I delivered her the full on Broadway style version. She FREAKED out (as I suspected she might) and after a series of failed attempts to record me singing it into her Iphone I offered to walk with her and deliver the song personally to her friend.

We began to walk together. On our way around the bend of the lake a woman holding a live green turtle upside down approached us. “Will you help me?” She asked. Apparently the turtle had been escaping the lake and wandering the surrounding land. The girl had been repeatedly returning the turtle to the lake and it had defied her each time, climbing back onto land and wandering toward the road. The solution this woman had come up with was to climb the large iron gate that encloses the bridge that leads to the island and place the turtle there where she thought it might be more safe. My job: Hold the turtle (upside down which makes you less likely to drop it when it’s pointy nails dig into your hand while trying to escape) while she climbed the chain locked fence successfully. I handed the wiggling turtle to her through the fence. As she ran down the bridge to the island with it she yelled, “Watch my purse.” Which she had left at my feet with her iphone poking out.

Once that heroic task was complete, we noticed the turtle swimming right back toward the land. “Look!” shouted the hero. “He just keeps swimming back to the land. I can’t stand here and watch him all day!” We shared a laugh about the turtle’s possible agenda as the turtle girl ran off in the other direction and the woman with the straw hat and I continued to walk. When we saw her birthday friend she broke away, then I snuck up on them and performed the singing telegram for the Birthday Girl. She was surprised and amazed and awed. She asked if it was fate, or had it been arranged to which I replied, “Both.”

My life is pretty magical and when I follow my intuition (stopping for walk around the lake instead of rushing home) the flow is true Bliss!

Happy Day everyone! Volunteer whenever possible. You never know what adventure might follow.

Be silly. Have fun!
Hollywood

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RIP Arius

My cat companion, Arius, died on Sept 5th. Arius was 16 1/2 years old and in great health. I got home from Burning Man the night of the 4th and he was fine. The next morning I found him on the table where he liked to sit. He looked like he was sleeping but as I approached him I could see that sadly he was gone. I feel incredibly blessed in so many ways. About being here. Being the one who discovered him. Seeing him so peaceful. Seeing him one more time the night that I returned. That I had time to spend with his body to say goodbye before I took him to be cremated. That he lived every moment of his life in good health. That I got to experience him for so many years.

Nonetheless it is shocking and deeply sad. I have definitely been thrust into a deep pondering stage and am beginning to consider where other energy can move around in my life. Arius had the courage to let go, and I’d be wise to follow his lead…metaphorically for now.

I got his ashes back on Tuesday. The poem that came with his ashes is beautiful, wise, and deeply comforting. I’ve posted it below.

I do like to focus on positive thoughts and obviously prefer not to feel discomfort. I have, for the first time in many years, allowed myself to fully feel these restless moments of sorrow. I was listening to Le Miserable today on my run and out of no where was so choked up I had to start walking because I could not breath. “It’s okay.” I thought. “It’s okay to be sad about this right now.” This too shall pass.

Love and Light,
Hollywood

“I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn’s rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the stars that shine at night. Please stand not at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.” RIP Arius

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Casting Director Workshops

Casting Director Workshops: To take them, or not to take them, that is a question and long standing debate among actors. I think they are great and I take them as often as my budget allows (there are many to choose from but I go to
ACTORS ANGLE
) Here’s why:

CD workshops are a great way to establish relationships with people in the industry! It is rare to get one on one time with CD’s for major network TV shows and feature films. If you choose a handful of casting directors and repeatedly take workshops with them, they begin to know who you are. When you follow up with post cards and updates, they begin to remember you. With time and effort, fostering these relationships is one way to establish and forward your career. Sounds pretty good, right?

Unlike classes, CD workshops actually simulate the audition experience allowing actors to prepare a scene and perform it in front of a casting director. We all get nervous, I know I do. Auditioning can be a strange and unnerving situation even for the most experienced actor. Taking CD workshops regularly allows us to practice walking into a room and being relaxed in front of industry professionals so they not only see our work, but get to know us over time as people.

If you choose the right workshop there are many other benefits as well. I recently started taking workshops at Actors Angle because of some added perks they offer and I’m loving the results! Every session is put on tape and the day after my workshop I am emailed a link to watch my scene! It may be scary at first, but approaching your work with a critical eye can help you improve and grow. I am able to really see where I need work and if I am on the right track with the scene I choose. I LOVE being able to watch my scene and I am so happy to find a workshop that offers this perk.

On that note, I am not a fan of workshops that have actors do cold reads. Cold reads do not simulate a real audition where you have time to prepare, make specific choices, and be off book. Find a workshop, like Actors Angle, that allows you to perform a scene of your choice. This way you can really target market your best work.

I also think it is important to choose a workshop where you perform your scene alone in a room with just the casting director and a reader, as it most closely simulates an actual audition experience. Who needs the anxiety of a room of actors watching as you try to present your best to a CD? Not to mention, you will likely never perform an audition for film/television in front of a room of actors.

Casting Directors at Actors Angle also provide written feedback about your scene and how they see you as an actor. They may also provide feedback about your headshot and other comments to help you better market yourself. I always take note of comments that the casting director says in the room and write them down on my comment form before I leave. This way I am sure to remember the details that always seem to fade on my drive home as I obsess over my work and what I could or should have done differently. Written feedback is invaluable and I would only choose a workshop that provides it.

Me on set playing Mrs. Peacock

I have been to many workshops in town and have often been left with a bad feeling because the environment was cold and unwelcoming. Maybe it’s because as actors we often feel that we are competing with each other on some level, or maybe it’s just my own insecurities. Either way I sincerely appreciate the atmosphere at Actors Angle, where I feel incredibly supported and welcome. I also network in the lobby where the environment is friendly and professional. Also, this is the first CD workshop where I was given a time slot for my scene work so I didn’t have to sit around for hours uncomfortably waiting. If you haven’t taken CD workshops out of fear or discomfort I encourage you to keep trying to find the one that is right for you!
As always be silly and have fun (oh, and Break a Leg!)

Leave comments below if you have any questions and I’m happy to answer them. If you want to check out Actors Angle I strongly encourage it! There are hundreds of workshops to choose from and in my opinion it is the best one in town!

ACTORS ANGLE

Love and Light,
Hollywood

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Making CENT$

When good friend and film producer Jessica Goldstein asked me to watch the teaser trailer for her upcoming film CENT$, I was not expecting to be so emotionally moved and intrigued.  Her work is solid, don’t get me wrong, but we all know someone making an independent film and sometimes it’s hard to capture the projection of a full length feature film in a short trailer.  Check it out:

This successfully peeked my curiosity about the film’s content, the story that inspired it, and her film making process.   I had a moment to sit down with her recently and chat with both her and the film’s writer/lead actress and native American, Tiger Moon.  While the story in the film is fiction, it is largely influenced by Tiger’s real life story.

As the product of a failed foster care system,  a childhood riddled with physical and emotional abuse, a pregnancy out of wedlock, and a subsequent period of surviving life on the streets with a child, Tiger has worked hard to beat the odds which have never been in her favor.   I asked her how she had made her way from the alleys and into college and she responded “I heard once that only 2% of foster kids graduate from high school and I did not want that to be me.  Then I heard that only 10% went to college and I did not want that to be me either.  I wanted to beat the statistics not be one.  The indigenous part of me gives me an extreme sense of compassion and that’s a big reason I think the way I do.”

One of the things about the trailer for CENT$ that stands out to me is that it incorporates visual art effects, music, and story telling.  It is not too avant garde to understand that it focuses on homelessness yet I can tell the film will take me on a visual and audio journey along with it’s story.  I was curious how Tiger decided to tell her story in such a way and she said, “I want to tell the story creatively so it can ease it’s way into your consciousness.   Spoken word and poetry helped me to realize that I could be an example for change and an inspiration instead of another statistic.   Art saved my life.”

CENT$ is a conscious art film that strives to break stereotypes and humanize homelessness. In order to produce the feature film, the money must first be raised through the project’s Indiegogo campaign.   From the Heart Productions graciously offered to be a fiscal sponsor for the film after the concept caught their attention in 2010 when Tiger submitted the treatment to their yearly competition. The great news for you is that your donation is TAX DEDUCTIBLE!    I have been told that a donation at any level, even $10-$20 is helpful.   Please take a moment to watch the trailer and contribute what you can.

During an economical meltdown where propaganda abounds, it makes sense to contribute to projects that help create awareness and understanding between us.  It makes sense to support and fund art that strives to uplift and inspire.  CENT$ is well worth your 2 cents

Help make CENT$ by contributing here: indiegogo.com/cents

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Happy Valentines Day!

An original song for you 🙂

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