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New Year, New Habits - "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." - Jim Ryun

So it’s been a minute since I’ve posted here. But I like to recap my annual New Year’s Resolutions, and I miss having the opportunity to reflect and self-assess on this blog!

2018 was a lot of a year for me. If you don’t follow me on social media, then, in addition to the sketch comedy group I mentioned in my last post literally nine months ago (Hot and Funny! Check us out on YouTube!) I was also in a choose your own adventure play called Princess Priestess with Neko Squared Productions that flew me to Dallas/Fort Worth, a Hollywood Fringe Festival musical called Public Comment that won a Producer’s Encore Award, an experimental short film called Blackmail by Charmed Productions that will be coming out later this year, and I applied for a Fulbright Award. So all good stuff. And Los Angeles is becoming easier and easier - I definitely don’t hate it anymore the way I used to. But you know, I barely thought about any of that lately until I started typing this paragraph.

So. Reflection and recapping! Let’s start with last year’s resolutions.

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Produce 2+ new projects: Success! I fulfilled this one so easily because of all of the work I’ve been doing with Hot and Funny, to the point that if I had known how much I would be producing with them, I wouldn’t even have made this a resolution because it wasn’t a challenge to achieve.

Travel to 2 new places, domestic or international: Also success! Most of them were in California, but seeing how I’ve barely explored the west coast, it still counts! This year I went to San Diego, Dallas/Fort Worth, Vermont, Sacramento, and Solvang, in addition to traveling home to New York and visiting Boston, and it was all lovely.

Take 3+ new performance or skill classes: Didn’t quite hit this one, unfortunately. I was well on track - I did a scene study/audition workout class with Stephen Snyder, and then Improv 201 at UCB, but towards the end of the year I didn’t have as much extra income for things like classes as I had hoped. Oh well. It was nice to be working out again, though, and working towards this resolution gave me better insight into classes in LA, so I now know so many places I would like to study!

Get my driver’s license: Didn’t get this one, either. I got my driver’s permit, and I had intended to make driving lessons my third skill class, but then it wasn’t that lucrative a fall/winter. I’ve carried this resolution over to this year, though, so I intend to make it happen before my permit expires!

Be more of a bitch: Success! This comes from a line of resolutions I used to make that I KNEW I could achieve, just to get me started. The first year I did these, it was “don’t get somebody else pregnant,” and for biological reasons, that was an easy victory. But this year, totally by accident, it ended up becoming more of a real resolution. And because of it, I have taken way less bullshit this year, and become known as someone who can handle herself with difficult people, or men on the street.

Have/Complete monthly goals: Hard fail on this one. I don’t even have that good a reason for it. It’s just ultimately a pain in the ass to come up with a list of things every month, especially as things changed on a month to month basis. I’d be halfway through a month and find out that a project was a much bigger time commitment than I had thought. I still write out plans, and things I need to do, in my planner. But this, in this format, isn’t what works for me, and I think it’s time for me to give up on this as a resolution and find a different way of doing it.

Finish 26 books: Close, but no cigar. In all fairness to me, some of the books I read were quite long, cerebral, and difficult. (I loved the 600 page biography of Queen Elizabeth II, but it took me FOREVER to read.) But on the flip side, I also counted plays. But I’m bringing this one back again, so hopefully I’ll make it this time around!

Start a retirement account: Success! It wasn’t the IRA account I expected, but it’s still a solid investment into my future.

Apply for the Fulbright at LAMDA: Success? I did apply for the Fulbright at LAMDA. It was way more difficult and time consuming than I expected, but I did it, and grew through the process, and it literally changed the way I look at myself and my work. And then I was rejected for the Fulbright at LAMDA. I was rejected way earlier than I expected, too. I thought I’d at least get through the first round with my application. It’s making me take another hard look at myself and my work. This is mostly a post for another time, but it’s inspiring me to make 2019 the Year of Excellence.

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Get my driver’s license: It’s time. Because this shit is just getting pathetic.

Finish 26 books: I was so close last year! So I think I can really do it this year!

Open a Roth IRA account: I started my investment account last year, but I’d like to have a solid nest egg of money that I’ve just put away, too.

Have 250+ strong days (defined as practicing 3+ of the habits I’m trying to cultivate): I’m trying to 1. practice Spanish on Duolingo, 2. do a small workout, 3. go a full day without eating meat, 4. practice piano, 5. meditate, and 6. go to bed before 1am every day. Since I started tracking these habits, I’ve been pretty good about doing 1-2 per day. But I think I can do better. So I’m trying to do at least three of them every day now, or at least three of them for roughly two thirds of the year!

Finish writing a script that is not a sketch: I did SO MUCH sketch writing in 2018, and it was awesome! Particularly because I had so many of them produced as well! But I want to also take time to focus on a couple of other projects I enjoy that I’ve put on the back burner just because they won’t be as easy to produce.

Produce another staged reading for charity: I did a couple of them very successfully in 2017, and I think they’re a great, fun way to give back. So I’d like to do them again.

Start my script consulting business: It started out coming from the need to supplement my income a little… but I need to really get it together, create a contract, specify what services I provide and exactly what they entail, and start marketing myself in a big way. I think I could be very, very good at this. So I need to make sure it happens!

Don’t re-watch any TV series more than once: Since I’ve come to LA, I’ve been relying on comfort TV a whole lot. And while most of my favorite TV shows stand up to the rewatching, there’s so much other television out there to be watched that I can’t rewatch Parks and Rec over and over and over again.

Achieve one or more of the following: theatrical agent/manager, speaking role in a TV show, another role in a feature film: Fairly self-explanatory. These are the next steps in my career, so I need to make sure I hit them.

Beyond all this, though, I’m trying to just be better. I think I’ve been giving myself too much slack - I am capable of more than what I have been doing, particularly in terms of the quality of my work, and that’s going to change. Like I mentioned before, 2019 will be the Year of Excellence, so I’m hoping to not just achieve all of my resolutions, but to achieve them well.

What about you? What resolutions or habits are you starting this year?

Fame and Its Proponents - "I wanna be famous, a star on the screen, but you can do something in between." - The Beatles

The other day I ran into an actor friend on the street. We chatted for a minute and quickly got into shop talk, including how we access breakdowns. Eventually he ended the conversation with "well, I'm sure we'll both be famous soon!" and he meant it so genuinely.

Without meaning to, my back arched. Every hair on my body stood out straight. I screeched up at the sky in horror and disgust as if that would expel the belief from the world that fame is not only a good thing, but the goal.

I'm exaggerating a little bit, but not by much. It's a concept that I've run into a lot lately, and with every fiber of my being, I hate it.

If it were just about the money, I would get it. Like, there's the art and the craft and all which is more important, I know, blah blah blah, but being very rich would be very nice. Have you seen rich people houses? They're HUGE. And GORGEOUS.

But fame itself? We glorify a state of being that leads a really high number of people to substance abuse problems. When you're famous, you can't go anywhere on your own in public, which is deeply infantalizing and limiting. I know that I want to be respected for my work in the industry, and I want to be known to a certain extent because that's how you get the really good roles, but being famous? That's the negative side effect of what I want, not the thing itself.

Also, it cheapens the industry as a whole and the people within it. Acting and storytelling has such capacity for touching and moving people across the world, and for the exploration of intellectual ideas. And when you lump all of that in with the simple desire for people to know your name, it seems like we're all shallow and thoughtless when we can really be so much more than that.

I smiled and thanked my friend. I know he meant it as a compliment, and I don't want to be a dick about it. But god, why would I ever want to be famous - which is in itself no more than a scream into the void - when I could do so many things in my life that are far more interesting than that?

Truth and the Pursuit of It - "If you're engaged in a fight with something, then it's not with me. It's with your own blindness." - The Crown

Yesterday, I had an epiphany.

To set the stage for it, I need to catch you up with how much the past few weeks have been. The place where I live is surrounded by massive, blazing wildfires. I finally got a serving job in LA, so I'll be making more money, which is pretty necessary. But until my first set of tips come in, money is still pretty tight for me. I got a callback for a really interesting play here, and while my confidence comes from within, it's nice to have that external validation that I am indeed a good actor, even if I'm not quite what they needed. It's the holiday season, which is one of my favorite times of year, and I am surrounded by cool new friends and great old friends and we're all having holiday parties. But I can't go home at all this year, and New York around the holidays is one of my all time favorite things, not to mention that I miss my family and friends there.

And, on top of and beyond all of that, last week a friend of mine from college died.

I want to take a moment here to remember her. Her name is Miriam. She and I worked together in the theater a whole lot, particularly with the Shakespeare group. She was always sweet and kind, she had this incredible zest for life, and this crazy amazing voice. We had fallen out of touch after graduating, but I would still see her on Facebook - she was an award winning screenwriter, and I admired the work that she was doing, and hoped that we'd maybe even get to work together one day. And it's shocking and upsetting to know that any chance we might've had at reconnecting at all is just gone now. People die every day, but the realities of it when it affects you are always surprising.

So yesterday, I was heading to an audition, and already felt like I wasn't going to get the role. I may be a good actor, but the character is a teenager and I knew I was auditioning with some actual 16 year olds. It's always good to practice audition technique when you can, but it felt like a lot of time to put towards this practice, and I was miserable, and there was nothing I could tell myself to make it feel better. All I could do was use the emotion - the character is supposed to be insecure anyway, so it's ultimately good, right? (For those of you who aren't actors, that doesn't actually help you feel better.)

The epiphany hit me like a freight train or, more fittingly, a speeding car: I don't like LA.

And that's okay.

There are people here who I care about a great deal. There are specific neighborhoods where it is pleasant to spend time. And I know I'll stay because the work I want to do is here. But as a whole, I just don't like it.

I didn't realize how hard I had been trying to convince myself that I do until I admitted that I don't. But now it feels like this incredible weight has been lifted from me. I don't like LA. And that's okay. And just acknowledging that truth makes everything so much easier and better.

No wonder we're all in pursuit of such obvious truth as artists. It's wonderful.

Sexual Assault and Hollywood

I feel like I should write a post about all of the sexual harassment "scandals" rocketing through Hollywood (and now also politics and on to pretty much every other industry) over the past several weeks. I'm just not really sure what exactly I have to say about it.

Anything I could possibly write in this blog post should be fairly obvious. Duh you shouldn't rape people. Respect women; we're people, too. Let's also not touch men without their consent while we're at it. Like, duh. There's no hot take to be had. There are shades of gray like there are in everything - there's a huge difference between Harvey Weinstein and Senator Al Franken - but so long as you have the minimal amount of awareness and respect for your fellow humans, acknowledge when you fuck up, and do your best to make it right when it happens, there generally shouldn't be a problem. Let's all work together to destroy rape culture. No shit, Sherlock.

But on a more personal note, it's the first thing that's ever made me nervous about being an actor. I've known my whole life that I'm going to struggle a little financially, that I'll never have job security, and that if I do "make it," I'll be objectified in tabloids. It's not exactly a part of the career that I enjoy/am looking forward to, but I knew what I was getting myself into with that and I'm okay with it. I did not think I was signing myself up to, more likely than not, get sexually assaulted.

Another obvious statement: I don't want to get raped. And it's discomforting to realize I've put myself in a place where it could easily happen. If my previous experience with harassment has been any indicator, no one will step in to help - the only one who would be able to stop it is me. So many abusers are being dragged into the court of public opinion, but not a whole lot is being done to change the "old boys club" culture and mindset, and there are very few recourses available if someone in a position of power does decide to put me in the casting couch scenario. If/When that happens, I will be forced to choose between my self-respect and my dreams.

It feels like a variant on the trolley problem in ethics. I can do nothing, and let someone take advantage of me, or I can walk out and potentially wreck my career, the only thing I've ever really wanted.

To be honest, if/when that happens, I genuinely have no idea what I'll choose.

It should be more comforting that people are beginning to actually believe women as they describe being assaulted and by whom. But, while I support each of these incredible people coming forward 1000%, it's way more terrifying than comforting. It's just another stark reminder that so many people I've spent so much of my life admiring are actually monsters. And who am I if I've spent all this time wanting to be them, or at least be around them?

Almost, Maine and Magic?

I cried on Monday. It was pretty great.

If you saw my post last week, then you know I produced and acted in Almost, Maine by John Cariani at the TBG Studio Theatre on the 10th! And it was exactly every actor/producer's dream. A big, responsive audience! A smooth show! And we raised $762 for the ACLU!!

But more than that, I'm so proud and grateful for the people I had doing the show with me, and I just want to take the time here to talk about how dedicated, thoughtful, and thorough they all were for this project. My director, Charlotte Grady, 100% made this show what it is. I may have handled the logistics, but she thought of so many things that go into putting on a show that I never considered, and without her, I don't even want to think about what it would've looked like. Speaking of the look, Ana-Sofia Meneses is a brilliant costume designer. At our very first meeting, she came in with several lookboards of ideas of what the characters and ensemble should look like, from the Norman Rockwell-ian to the idea of us all being seen through a frosted pane of glass like you would find in northern Maine, with pops of strawberry red for love. And, of course, the look wouldn't have been complete without Shannon Kavanaugh who has an eye not just for beautiful painting, but also making sure everything is cohesive and on-theme. Plus, when we got to the show date, she was happy to do whatever needed to be done backstage just to make sure the show went off without a hitch. And, of course, absolutely nothing on stage could've happened without the technical help of Claire Fishman. When we were in college together, I was part of a meeting where I saw several directors fighting over who got to have her as the stage manager for their show. And now I got to have her in mine! (And, I have to say, I'm exceptionally proud that we were able to come together as easily as we did and be an all-female production team.)

And then, of course, there's our brilliant cast. There were eighteen of us, so I don't have the space to talk about each one of them individually. But suffice it to say that they brought this play that I love so much to life, and they were totally willing to jump in, heart and soul, and give their time, energy, and thoughtfulness to this production, and I'm just so over the top proud and honored.

Valeria Avina
Arielle Beth
Adrian Burke
Jon Butts
Noah Chen
Dan DeCarlo
Therese Dizon
Raul Hernandez
Daniel Kemper
Corrie Legge
Chanelle McCoy
Uki Pavlovic
Rahmell Peebles
Marjay Smith
Chance Wall
Jenny Ward
Patryce Williams
Hannah Yi

And now, after this, it's on to the next show... which is literally this Wednesday.

It's called Magic? and it's a one-act told entirely in rhyme! The director and co-writer, Chris Erlendson, compared it to the way Shakespeare's works are written. And I promptly teased him for comparing himself to Shakespeare. The other co-writer is Yaakov Bressler, and Hannah Yi is gonna be acting with me in this, too!

But actually though, it's a clever, funny, sweet show. I'm psyched to be a part of it. I have my own theme music. It's that cool. And, for a variety of reasons, we had to pull it together in about two and a half weeks. But guys, I swear to god, we're doing it. Come out to Dixon Place this Wednesday at 7:30. It's gonna be incredible. (See how that's a link? It's a link to where you can buy tickets online!)

"But Emma, I'm a visual learner, how do I KNOW it's gonna be-"

VOILA! A promo video. Now you can be absolutely certain it's worth seeing.

Know Thyself - γνῶθι σεαυτόν

So self-image is weird. Not just self-image, but the way we behave that confirms or denies that is weird. And the way that other people confirm or deny that for us, and how we choose to see it.

I know so many people who say that they're actors, but they haven't gone on auditions in months, and they certainly don't create any work for themselves. But they will insist over and over again when they go to the movies or watch an episode of a TV show that they really like that they can't wait to be there themselves. And I compare them to friends of mine who don't consider themselves to be in the industry, but make theater just for fun, and it's incredible. And they're clearly doing the work, which becomes obvious in how their shows are happening now. (Check out Measure for Measure by one of these friends on May 5th and 6th! I'll be in it, too!)

Or there's also, you know, me. (It is my blog, after all.) I consider myself a fairly attractive person. I'm not Keira Knightley, but I'm pretty. And my friends seem to agree. I posted this photo that a friend took on a commercial shoot on Facebook and Instagram

and had friends commenting about how cool it was that I was there, and how good I looked. I appreciate that, and it was very sweet of them. But then I look at my romantic life, and I'm what a romcom would call "unlucky in love." Most of that is by choice, because I'd rather be working on my career, but, like, damn. And it's the kind of thing that makes me question whether, in this area, I'm like the people who say that they're actors but are so oblivious as to not realize they haven't worked in years.

I think self-awareness is important. I think it's good that I know that, at least in part, I made this post so I could fish for compliments and show off the above photo. I think it's okay to ask for those things. But also, sometimes, I think I may need to reevaluate my worldview and self-view, and that's a weird thing to do.

Moral Gray Areas

So there's a project I was a part of that was absolutely full to the brim of microaggressions towards a group of people of which I consider myself a member, and I'm not sure to what extent I should've stood up against it.

Early enough in your career as an actor, you can't say that you're "too good" for any project that wants to cast you. You don't want to come off as aloof, rude, or difficult to work with. And the vast majority of people involved with that project are lovely people who recognized that there were times when the script was uncomfortable, and we're still in touch and work together.

But yikes at that script.

What should I have done? I'm not exactly a "name" actor, so I would've been pretty easily replaced. It's easy to write off an uncooperative actor as a diva, so I don't think my leaving would have started any serious conversations about the topic. And if I'm willing to break my word in business and leave after having committed to the project, then why should they listen to what I have to say in any other arena?

What about staying on but talking to the director or producer about it? I guess I could've done that, but I get the feeling that I either would've been insulting the director/producer and their taste/morals or I'd be a diva again. Maybe that feeling is unfounded. I honestly don't know. Neither the director and producer are malicious or selfish people. But I've been so thoroughly taught not to make those kinds of waves that it was barely a thing I considered. (And if I hated the script so much, then why had I agreed to be a part of the project?)

I won't leave you in suspense - what I did do was stay. I vented my feelings with some of the cast and crew who I knew agreed with me, but I did it. I gave my face, time, and talents to the production. I felt icky about it, but I did my job.

I'm still not sure if that was the right thing to do. I'm not sure if I should've stood up for what's morally right there and called the writer out on his shit, or if it was better to just get what I could out of that project and move on.

We all love moral gray areas when it comes to our favorite characters on screen and stage, but it doesn't seem to feel as good when it's in real life.

 

Resolutions for the New Year - "Be slow in considering but resolute in action." - Bias of Priene

Well you guys, I finally have my New Year's resolutions together. And it only took me, like, two weeks! (#awks)

So I guess we should first go over how I did on my 2016 resolutions.

2016 New Year's Resolutions

2016 New Year's Resolutions

Not as well as I'd hoped, to be totally honest. Which isn't to say "badly," but last year I had definitely, in some way or another, completed all of them. And this year, not as much. I think I was too specific for 2016, so when my life and priorities changed, these didn't change with them. But let's go through them all:

Write the Uglies screenplay: I just didn't do this one. I still want to. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld is still one of my all-time favorite novels, and I think it'd make a fantastic movie. But I just didn't do it. I worked on other feature-length projects. But I didn't finish this one.
Get my own apartment: Well, THIS one I very much completed!
Go to South America, Asia, and/or Africa: Hello, my trip to Peru!
Get my reel together: Well, yes and no. I don't have one video of clips of my work. But if you go to my Actress page, you'll see tons of clips of my work that are all labeled and easy to watch. So... I think that counts.
Go to another city in the USA: Well, technically I traveled to Boston, but I meant a new city. So I didn't do that in the USA. But I did see a new city in the UK, so I feel like I still fulfilled the spirit of the resolution. Mostly.
Start my 401K: I was too specific here, but I was also lazy with my finances. Sure, I've been saving money, but I haven't started a retirement account. I have, however, gotten a credit card and started to build up my credit. So I've advanced the planning of my financial future, even if I haven't started a 401K, which is within the spirit of the resolution. But I also could've started all of this way earlier in the year and then done both, so I'm not sure that I get to consider this a win.
Write/Act in 2+ shorts and submit to FESTIVALS: I've acted in so many shorts this year. But I've only written/produced one short in which I've also starred. It's a bigger production than I expected. And I'm very proud of it. So maybe I just overshot with this resolution. Either way, I'm proud of the work I did last year. It just wasn't the work I thought I would do.
Attack life with the confidence of a mediocre white man: Done and done.
Do 10+ industry seminars/workshops: I easily did more than ten!

Overall, not a terrible showing for my New Year's resolutions. But I think I can do better in 2017. Here's what I have coming up!

2017 New Year's Resolutions

2017 New Year's Resolutions

Most of them are much more vague 2016's. But I think that's good. It makes them more flexible and reasonable for a life that's changing and constantly in flux. These are resolutions I can achieve even as my priorities change over the course of the year.

Move to Los Angeles: This one, I think, is pretty self-explanatory. I'm heading out in June. It's time. I can't be bi-coastal if I'm only ever on one coast.
See 2+ new cities in the USA: Sure, it was within the spirit of the resolution to have seen Edinburgh instead of a new American city last year. But this year I am so specific. I have to see more of my own country. New York, LA, and Boston do not count. They have to be new cities to me.
Increase my future financial security (401K/credit score/fuck you money!!): This one, also, is pretty self-explanatory, I think.
Get a new doctor and have a check up: Guys, it has been embarrassingly long since the last time I saw a doctor. Long enough that, technically, my doctor is still my pediatrician from when I was a child. That's just not acceptable. I don't think there's anything wrong with me, but it sure would be nice to know for sure.
Be the Blood of the Dragon: Guys, I've been really inspired by Daenerys Targaryen lately. Her leadership, her self-assurance, and her ability to make people believe in and follow her. I want to emulate that. Sure, she's a fictional character. But they're admirable qualities, and I'm gonna get them.
Get at least one of the following: agent, manager, union status: It's time. I can't control who will like me, or if a union project will cast me. But I think it's reasonable to expect to achieve at least one of those over the next year.
Finish at least one feature-length project: I have so many things that I'm working on that I never finish in favor of shorts. But this year, I don't care what it is, but at least one feature screenplay or full length play is gonna get written.
Simplify your material life: For all that I bitched about getting rid of all of my childhood stuff, I felt so much freer and stronger once it was gone. And, frankly, I don't really miss it. I'm gonna try to keep getting rid of stuff as much as I can. I don't need a lot of things. And I like how I feel when they're gone.
Have/Complete monthly goals. January: shoot WICF film, go to Planned Parenthood about an IUD, send out industry updates: I think it would be a good idea to set these kinds of goals for myself more regularly than once a year! So I'm shooting a short film on Saturday for the Women in Comedy Film Contest, I'm gonna send out updates about the work I've been doing since the holidays to my contacts throughout the industry, and I'm gonna go to Planned Parenthood and see if I can't get an IUD before Planned Parenthood gets fully defunded.

What do you guys think? Do you have any resolutions of your own that you're actually going to keep up throughout the year?

Gettin' Naked in the Movies - "This is not a porn film, but..." - A casting call about a month ago

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post that referenced stripping in the title, and it got more hits than anything else I've written on this blog in ages. So I figured, why not give the people what they want?

Is it possible that you, my readers, were actually impressed by the fact that I was making movies and living the dream with spectacular castmates and crew, and that's why you all read it? Sure. But there aren't any updates on The Slightly Awkward First Date of John and Joanna right now, so I can't do more of that. (Check back here next week, though!)

So instead I'm just going to write about doing nudity in film! And why I don't do it.

(Hee. You see what I did there?)

About a year and a half ago, a couple of other actresses and I were brought in to a class for film students about how to direct actors at a prestigious university. The professor wanted to give these future film professionals an idea of what it's like to experience the industry from an actor's point of view, so we did a Q&A with them. And eventually, one of the students asked us about doing nudity, and what does and does not make us comfortable with it/when we were willing to do it. The other actresses in the Q&A both said that they didn't love doing it, but they're artists, so if it was really called for in the story, it was a good enough story, and they were respectfully treated, they were okay with it.

It's amazing how quickly an entire room of aspiring directors got angry at me when they looked to me for my response, and I said "Really? Because I don't do nudity. Not ever. Especially not for unpaid student films. Hell no."

I promptly found myself in a fight.

"But what if you need it to tell the story?" "We're all trying to make art here and we're supposed to collaborate and each give our all." "So you're saying that you never want to tell stories about relationships and sexuality?" "Don't you know how many roles you're losing out on if you won't do nudity?" "You know, I think it's kind of really beautiful, and you're being a little bit closed-minded about it."

They were really not happy that I had such a strong reaction against nudity. And none of them wanted to hear my self-branding reason ("My type is the girl-next-door, innocent and sweet. If there are any nude images of me out there, they will find their way onto the internet, and then that image of me will be ruined forever and I won't be cast-able,") or my business reason ("I mean, if Game of Thrones called tomorrow and said that they had a huge part for me with a huge salary to match, then I'd consider it, but you're asking me to give away a lot, for free, for your student project,") and they DEFINITELY didn't want to hear my artist/storyteller reason ("Besides, nudity is a crutch anyway. You absolutely never need it to tell your story, and 100% of the time you can find another way to show levels of intimacy, attraction, or whatever else.")

To be clear, I don't think any less of people who do, in fact, do nudity. I don't think it's a good business decision, but it's their body and they can do whatever they want with it. I'm also the kind of liberal hippie that says that we shouldn't be vilifying anyone in the sex industry either, though, and that natural bodies are nothing about which to be ashamed. All of these things are personal decisions, and we have to make the one that feels right to us.

But you know, a year and a half later, I don't feel like my career is in any worse of a place than it would be if I did do nudity. And I don't think I've lost anything by speaking my mind, even when those student directors didn't agree with me or want to hear it. I may not have anything against people who do nudity, be they actors or writer/directors who insist on it. But I do like winning fights!

#OscarsSoWhite. Again.

Happy half-birthday to me! Today I'm going to talk about why I've been considering giving up one of my favorite things of the year this year. Whee!

If you've been following me for any length of time, you'll know that I absolutely love awards season. Sure, Hollywood awards are meaningless, given by a self-selected group of elitist white men, and are, in the end, almost entirely about the glitz, glamour, and self-congratulation of the awards ceremony on TV. I get that. I really do.

But oh my god, I love them. Everyone is so pretty! And you get to watch the winners' dreams come true! And it's all about celebrating some of the best told stories of the year! And if I could, while I'm one billion percent on board with #AskHerMore, I would wear couture gowns all day every day.

The thing is, it's kinda impossible to ignore #OscarsSoWhite. Two years in a row? Even the one year in a row it was last year was too much. And I saw calls going around for a boycott this year. I am a firm believer in being more of an activist than making Facebook statuses... or writing blog posts on a personal website. Which means that I should put my money where my mouth is (or, rather, take that money away from ratings agencies and advertisers) and join the boycott.

But at this point, what would that actually accomplish? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has already said they're going to double their number of minority and female voting members by 2020. There are definitely performances and films by people of color and women that came out this year that deserve awards-level recognition. What we need is a culture that actually recognizes them. The SNL sketch is actually pretty on the mark about it.

Here's the thing: If what we need is a complete change of culture, I don't think a boycott is going to accomplish that. The fact that the AMPAS is increasing their number of minority and female members shows that they know the community is upset. A boycott isn't going to completely change the culture in the way it needs to be changed. Complaining that underpriviledged people aren't being let into their elite club isn't the way to get them to admit underpriviledged people into their elite club.

I'm gonna be honest: I'm not sure what the next step to take would be, if it's not a boycott. There are means out there for female filmmakers and filmmakers of color to make movies and get them out there. Not nearly as many, and we are not a part of the white, straight, cisgendered boys club that is most filmmakers, but it's not impossible. We can do more, though. I just wish I knew what that more is.

In the meantime, I'm probably not boycotting the Oscars. It would just be not taking advantage of something I love, and, in the end, for zero net gain. But I don't think I'll be making picks, analyzing each nominee's chances, or doing a write up of any of it. I just don't feel like analyzing Charlotte Rampling in conjunction with other wonderful actresses.

(I mean, come on, Charlotte Rampling. The outcry is "racist against white people"? That's not even a thing. We're not on the bad end of systemic oppression. She's excellent at the craft, but damn. If nothing else, this controversy has made an excellent litmus test for how racist most white people in Hollywood are.)

And, at the very least, I can start to look forward to next year's Oscars. The Birth of a Nation just sold for $17.5 million to Fox Searchlight at Sundance, the highest amount ever paid for a film there. They went with Fox Searchlight instead of Netflix, which was offering $20 million, because they agreed to have screenings of it in high schools and do other community things like that. And it's already being seen as an Oscar contender. So there's hope for the 2017 Academy Awards yet.

Goals and Resolutions for the New Year! - "Don't get a girl pregnant." - Me, a year ago

Happy New Year! Sure, as we're already a week into 2016, it's a little bit awkward to say it. But I hope you have a wonderful rest of the 51 weeks left!

And I'm feeling good about this year. It still feels shiny, sparkly, and new. It's a leap year, which always seems special to me! And it's an excellent time to set new goals for ourselves to reach.

Last year I experimented with writing down my resolutions and goals for 2015 and putting them up on the back of my bedroom door where I could always see them. I probably shouldn't be as surprised as I am at how well that worked. But, I kid you not, I made nine resolutions, and I basically accomplished all of them. In fact, I did most of them by halfway through the year.

So now I want to take a moment to look at last year's resolutions and how well they worked, and also share my goals for 2016.

New Year's Resolutions: 2015

New Year's Resolutions: 2015

Take less shit: Guys, in years gone by, I was kinda a doormat. For a variety of reasons, I never really fought back against anybody, aside from in the context of academic debates. This year, I wanted to take less of the bullshit people will sometimes try to feed you to take advantage. And I suppose I can say I did it. I've certainly started standing up for myself more than I used to. Because I didn't put a way to qualitatively say that I've done it, I guess I just have to use my own analysis. But I do take less shit than I did a year ago. I still take more than I'd like. But less than I have.

Build up savings: Kind of. Not really. 2015 was a turbulent year in terms of day jobs for me, so I had issues putting money away just to have in savings. But I've since gotten a new day job that pays more than my old ones, so at least I'm on the right path towards building up my savings!

Get a better job at the museum: At this time a year ago, my day job was at the American Museum of Natural History as a Visitor Services Representative. It was an incredibly cool place to work, but the job itself wasn't exactly interesting, and it didn't pay as well as I'd like. Since then, I've gotten a better job than the museum. So while I still miss working in one of the greatest museums in the world, I make way more money than I did, which is what helps me pursue my true goal. (You know, the whole "acting" thing.)

Take 2 acting classes: I took four. Boom. Thank you, The Barrow Group.

Get vouchers from the union (SAG-AFTRA): Two things have happened in the past year. One is I learned that I don't really need to collect those vouchers for where I am in my career right now. The other is that I started accidentally doing it anyway. So... success!

Start sending out an industry newsletter: I don't send out a monthly news update from a mass email service. But I do know people in the industry who I personally update with news about when I get cast in things, or when I get footage back from new projects. Which is close enough for me to consider this a job well done!

Write/Act in 2+ shorts: It really depends on how you want to define this one, I think. I acted in at least a dozen shorts over the year, and I wrote a whole handful! Now, what I meant when I wrote it was that I would write and act in at least two of my own projects, and for that, I only did one. (And it's pretty sweet, short, and worth watching. Just saying.) I have a lot of excellent projects coming up for this year, though, born from the work I did towards this resolution last year!

Go to London: What do you think?

There are giant teddy bears like this all throughout Harrod's!

There are giant teddy bears like this all throughout Harrod's!

AND I went to Reykjavik, Iceland.

This shot is from the mountains in Iceland, when I did a Viking Horseback Riding tour!

This shot is from the mountains in Iceland, when I did a Viking Horseback Riding tour!

Don't get a girl pregnant: Smashing success.

And now, looking ahead, are my RESOLUTIONS FOR 2016!!!

New Year's Resolutions: 2016

New Year's Resolutions: 2016

Write the Uglies screenplay: Have you read the Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld yet? No? Well damn, you better get on that. I'll wait. Now do you see how groundbreaking this series is in terms of societal norms, beauty standards, and the way we treat looks and intelligence? And how good it would be as a movie? And the best thing I can do to make sure it happens is to do it myself. Sure, it's highly unlikely that my script for it will ever come to anything. But hey, what if it does? What if it does, and I can then play Tally? Guys, that would be such a dream come true. So I'm gonna kick it into high gear this year and just write the damn script.

Get my own apartment: Confession time: I still live with my parents. Sure, it's a great way to save money, especially living in NYC. But I'm also an adult who needs her own place. I'm not saying that I'm going to live entirely on my own without roommates or anything. But I need, as Virginia Woolf has said, a room of my own.

Go to South America, Asia, and/or Africa: I dunno whether or not you've noticed, but I really like to travel. And I used to think of myself as someone who has been all over the world. After all, I've been to over a dozen countries. And then one day I realized... almost all of that has been within Europe and North America. And that is an unacceptable for a "world" traveler. So, somehow, I want to make it to one of these three continents. I may not yet know how I'm going to afford the flights or anything. But this year I am determined to make it happen. And I am really good at making things happen.

Do 10+ industry seminars/workshops: I'm already signed up for one. And it's pilot season, so everyone is gonna be trying to meet everybody else. This goal is pretty straightforward, and I have every intention of and belief in meeting it.

Attack life with the confidence of a mediocre white man: If you're a straight, white, cisgendered man reading this, don't worry, I probably don't mean you. I don't mean every straight white man. I mean the guy who sends unsolicited dick pics to women with whom he's only just begun chatting. I mean the guy who says sentences that begin with the phrase "Okay, no offense, but-". I mean the guy who thinks it's deep to be angry and sad, and tries to force that on the people around him. Haven't you ever noticed how that guy always seems to have an extraordinary amount of self-confidence and belief that the world is, or at least should, belong to him? I want nothing to do with that kind of person... I just want to live my life and approach my career with that incredible level of self-confidence.

Write/act in 2+ shorts & submit to FESTIVALS!!: Similar to my goal from last year, but this time I want them to be finished enough that I could actually get my work in front of an audience instead of simply posting them online.

Go to another city in the USA: I have seen depressingly little of my own country. So I'm thinking New Orleans. Or maybe Chicago, or Detroit, or Seattle. In fact, if you have any particular suggestions, I'd love to hear them! I'd love to see more of the rest of America.

Get my reel together: I have plenty of clips available online. But I'd like to get cohesive reels together. At least one, but preferably have them sorted into a dramatic reel, a comedic reel, and a commercial reel.

Start my 401K: I am an adult. I should probably act like one. And save money like one.

That seems like plenty to start with, right? I'm pretty psyched to make all of this happen.

What about you guys? Do you have any resolutions? Any extra goals I can steal and claim for my own??

Cursing While Professional, the Blog Post! - "What's the point of having 'fuck you' money if you never say 'fuck you'?" - Billions

I'm coming to the end of the One on One Advanced Industry Workshop. And every class we've had has been valuable, I've learned a ton about being artistic in the business, and I've met tons of wonderful people. That is all 100% the case.

All throughout, though, I've been getting consistently similar comments about my performances. "Your work was great, you just need a little more confidence and it'll be there!"

Well, that advice was confusing to me, because I kind of think I'm the shit.

("What? Did Emma just curse in a professional forum for the first time??" Yes, I did. Lookit me, using profanity for a specific effect instead of, as anyone who knows me casually has heard, allowing curses to pour out of my mouth like chocolate syrup from a Hershey's bottle.)

And then last night, it was phrased in a way I had never heard before that cleared everything up and lifted the veil from my eyes.

"You're very likable, and the people behind the table will like you. But I felt like I could just blow you over. I need to see you dig in and be able to fully own a space. I need to believe that you're not desperate for me to like you, that you could say 'fuck you' and walk out if you wanted."

Holy crap. That's it.

It's the ability to say "fuck you."

Because I have thought very highly of myself for quite a long time. I am intelligent, talented, clever, confident, interesting, creative, and pretty. I know I'm an extraordinary woman.

What I never realized is having this knowledge is just step one.

It's not knowing that "I am enough." It's about being able to say that it doesn't matter whether or not I am enough, because I'm gonna do it anyway. I am an actress. And fuck anyone who isn't on board with that.

---

Wow, this is the fastest I've ever written a blog post. It just... came out exactly how I wanted it!

Also, I've redone parts of my Actress page! It looks much neater and prettier now! So head on over there and take a gander! It's bizarre how much work went into making it look elegant and simple.

All-You-Can-Read Blog Buffet!

Okay, so much has happened that today, instead of getting one long argument of a blog post, you're going to get a bunch of mini posts, all rolled up into one! More long form Weekend Update than, you know, Last Week Tonight.

Because you guys, the past couple of weeks have been absolutely insane. I didn't update last week because I was shooting for three separate projects, running to several auditions, and barely finding time to eat and sleep amidst all of that. It was all excellent fun, and I loved it, don't get me wrong! It was a short film and two webseries - Lactose Intolerance, Twisted Tales, and In Retrospect, directed by my friend Amanda Jane Stern, if you want to look out for them! - and they're all hilarious. But overall, it was also exhausting. If you had told me ten years ago that I'd be a massive workaholic who would willingly wake up at 6:30 AM for her job on a Sunday, I would've thought you were insane. But that sure is what happened this past weekend.

All of that has made me think a lot about how I spend my time, though, and what's worth it. For instance, every day that I don't have a paying gig, I'm at home working at least eight hours a day on either the business of being an actress, or writing scripts with roles I create for myself. And all of that is absolutely worth it, and it's the reason I've been cast in about three things within the past week! But sometimes I know I allow myself to get involved with projects, or let myself get put in social situations, where I would feel rude for declining. Especially if I know I would hurt somebody's feelings if I wasn't there, I will almost always turn up. But I've also been exhausting myself recently, and it's making me consider that maybe I need to drop some of these projects and friendships that are no longer serving me. One phrase I've tried to keep in mind this year is "don't set yourself on fire to keep others warm," and I've been working to remember it because it's a thing that I oftentimes do. It's a process, it's not something I'm going to snap to and start cutting people and things out of my life just like that. But it's something I've been considering recently. More of a way of trying to think about what I'm actually getting out of everything into which I put my valuable time.

Don't worry, the people and projects I'm thinking of aren't you and yours!

I've been thinking lately about romance and dating as an actor. This is a topic I'm sure I'll go into again, in greater detail, at some point in the future. But, I won't lie to you guys, I've been a little bit romantically lonely for a while. And I say that fully understanding that I don't have the time for a relationship. 99 times out of 100 I will place my work above a significant other. And I have a lot of work. And I don't doubt that choice. I've even tried to, but it's what's right for me. I would hate myself if I lost out on my dreams because some boy or girl distracted me. And if/when something really is right, I'm sure we'll be able to work something out. I look to the relationship Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer have as an incredible inspiration: They both have their own stuff to do, but when their schedules coincide they always choose each other, and they're still very happy, loving, and supportive. I just also know that that's a lot to ask of someone, and it makes me a little sad how difficult it is to find someone who interests me, who I like, and who is willing to put up with all of the baggage that comes with me and my work.

Finally, on a similar but much brighter note, I've been thinking lately how much I appreciate and value real friendships, and how good it is to hold on to what I believe in. Without going into details, I recently had a friendship that I have had to fight for over the years validated. And it's been giving me the warm fuzzies ever since when I think about it. It hasn't been turbulence-free, but because we both refused to let go and insisted on loyalty and perseverance, it's really paying off now, and I appreciate it.

So, you know, that's cool.

Some exciting stuff is coming up this week, so I'll be back to my single-topic, long-form blog posts soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this short form style! Because now that it's what I've written out, it sure is what I'm sticking with.

Self-Promotion for Creatives - "I think writers are the most narcissistic people. Well, I musn't say this, I like many of them, a great many of my friends are writers." - Sylvia Plath

I've been thinking a lot recently about the lines between self-promotion, letting people know what's important to you, letting people know what you want, and conceitedness/self-centrism.

After all, we all know those posts that actors make on social media that go somewhat along the lines of "On set for #ProjectWithAVagueTitle! Find out more about it at www.link.com!" and have a selfie of them attached with them in hair/costume/makeup. Or posts by writers that all have the same joke: "Just Googled 'skin color after being strangled with that string people use to tie up meat. I'm a writer, it's for a story, I promise!" And I feel for people who make these posts, especially because I've made them myself. It's difficult to let people know that you're working, get them excited for your next project, and let them know what that project is in 140 characters or fewer. But it's also so desperate to prove that you can Live The Dream that it always turns me off. Like, congrats on working, and I'm excited for the people who are doing it! But when you have a Twitter feed of almost nothing but these posts, it gets old, and nothing stands out.

Having noticed this, though, I know I've gone too far in the other direction. I don't like to post things unless I've got something to say, or an interesting/funny way to say it. That means that if you go to my Twitter or my Facebook feed, you'll find that it's actually pretty funny! You'll also find that I just haven't posted about the things in which I've been cast because there are only so many ways to post "Been cast in this thing and I'm super excited for it!" Of course, that also means that if a casting director were to visit either page, they wouldn't know about all of the work I've been doing recently.

Here's another issue I've had with self-promotion on social media: I absolutely hate to sound like I'm bragging or self-absorbed. Probably because I am a little narcissistic and self-absorbed. But it means that I miss out on letting people know about things that are important to me. For instance, it was my birthday the other day. And I really wanted people to acknowledge it because my birthday is kind of a big deal to me. But I also didn't want to have to ask them to acknowledge it, or tell people about it at all. I just wanted them to know. Turns out, people aren't mind-readers. Don't get me wrong, I had an excellent birthday, I managed to let it be known a little bit beforehand that it was coming up, and tons of wonderful friends reached out to me on the day to wish me a happy one. But it was still a concern for me in the days leading up to it.

I can't say I'm entirely sure what the solution to all of this is, but I do have a theory. My theory is based on watching the people who do manage to do self-promotion well. And I think the key to it is to have something to say. It can be small, but it has to be there. Desperately thrusting your accomplishments into the void and hoping that somebody notices is not useful to anyone else. But neither is keeping them all to yourself. It's about offering something to the people who might end up actually listening, be it a joke, or a continuation of a discussion, or even an argument presented in, say, a blog format. It's just about giving people something to engage with. That's my theory, anyway.

And so, all of that said... check it out! This past week I did not one, but two spec commercials with NYU - I'm pretty close now to having a commercial reel together! I got cast in Play-Prov with the Alan Chan Comedy Team, and my first rehearsal with them is tonight! And I'm going into pre-production on Just the Tip; I have a director and a producer, and now we're looking for grants so we can have funding for the short! (And you have no idea how much it makes me giggle that I'm the executive producer when I always swore I'd never be an executive-type. It also gives me a massive power trip.)

...See, I may grandstand, but there really are only so many ways to convey this kind of information

EMMY NOMINATIONS!!

Emmy nominations are out!! So... that means it's time for me to post all of my predictions! I won't bother writing out a whole introduction. You know what the Emmys are. If you're new to me and you're just joining from Telemazing, then you should know that some of my predictions will have analysis underneath and some won't. Also I'm mostly just doing the biggest awards (series, lead and supporting actor and actress, all in both comedy and drama), and a select few other categories that just interest me. So. Yeah. Let's do this!

Things in Bold Italics are the Categories
Things in normal text are regular nominees.
Things in italics are my winner predictions.
*Things with an asterisk are series/people I don't think will win because of industry politics or some other reason, but are good enough that they should.

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange is the New Black

I feel like this one is pretty obvious. It was Mad Men's last season, and the Emmys love giving awards to shows as they're on their way out. It's all about examining a Complicated White Male (which the old, white, male Emmy voters love) in the sixties and seventies (which the old, white, male Emmy voters miss). Add that to the fact that the finale was a huge television event that is still discussed so it's pretty present in the average culturally educated mind, and it makes Mad Men a pretty clear choice to win.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Louie
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep

Similar to Mad Men winning Best Drama, this is Parks and Rec's last chance, especially since it has never won for Best Comedy! It's also a show that's all about love and friendship while still having something to say about politics and domestic and foreign policy, and the Emmys love a show that has an opinion on something outside of its own overall plot arc. Besides, it's a show that just has tons and tons of heart. I think that Veep and Louie are also excellent series, Modern Family has won pretty much every year for the past several years, and Transparent is straight up a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka, Jill Soloway). But Transparent, Louis, and Veep will be back again next year, Modern Family has had it's due, and now it's time for Parks and Rec to get the recognition it deserves. (And if you've also read Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, then you'll understand why I really want her to get her pudding.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill
Bloodline - Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn
House of Cards - Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood
Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper
The Newsroom - Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy
Ray Donovan - Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan

Did you know that Jon Hamm has never won an Emmy for his portrayal of Don Draper in Mad Men, even though it's a career making, and beyond that, iconic performance?
If you've read any of my analyses in this post before this, you already understand why I don't think that'll be the case anymore after September 20th.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Empire - Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon
Homeland - Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
House of Cards - Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
How to Get Away with Murder - Viola Davis as Annalise Keating
Mad Men - Elizabeth Moss as Peggy Olson
Orphan Black - Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosmia, Helena, Rachel, and Krystal

Does this really need analysis? The pretentious elite (of which I fully admit that I am a member) that make up the Emmy voters (of which I fully admit that I am not) have finally discovered Orphan Black, and now Tatiana Maslany is going to get her dues.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
black-ish - Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson
Episodes - Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc
House of Lies - Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan
The Last Man on Earth - Will Forte as Phil Miller
Louie - Louis C.K. as Louie
Shameless - William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher
Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman

Between how Transparent just cleaned up at the Golden Globes earlier this year, and the fact that the show is literally just a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway), while it may not win Best Comedy, it can certainly give this award to Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Maura with grace and humanity, and not a shred of the self-righteousness that comes with an actor who is trying to Make a Point instead of tell a story.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
*The Comeback - Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish
*Grace and Frankie - Lily Tomlin as Frankie
*Inside Amy Schumer - Amy Schumer as Amy
*Nurse Jackie - Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Parks and Recreation - Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
*Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

Guys, this one was actually really, really difficult. Literally any of these women could win, and I would totally understand it, and there would be a part of me that agrees with it. I actually came really close to choosing Edie Falco to win this one as Nurse Jackie is also ending and it's one of those comedies that is really more of a dramady than a comedy. But... she's also won the award for this role already (not to mention previous wins for The Sopranos) and I really think this is the time for Parks and Rec. But really. This is such an over-the-top strong category this year with each of these actresses turning in strong, heartfelt, moving, and hilarious performances. This pick was really, really difficult.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantrout
Bloodline - Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn
Downton Abbey - Jim Carter as Mr. Carson
*Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
The Good Wife - Alan Cumming as Eli Gold
House of Cards - Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper

Alan Cumming has been consistently nominated for this role. And this year The Good Wife got mostly snubbed. And the Emmys don't really have love for high fantasy. Alan Cumming has been pretty present in the culturally conscious mind after his run with Cabaret earlier this year, and then co-hosting the Tonys with Kristen Chenoweth. There's no one in this category I'm especially excited about, aside from Peter Dinklage (who would really be winning more for his performance last season than this one; he was excellent this season, but he just shone last year in the trial and the finale especially) so... it's pretty much just that it's Alan Cummings' time.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Downton Abbey - Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates
*Game of Thrones - Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Game of Thrones - Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
The Good Wife - Christine Baranski as Diane Lockheart
Mad Men - Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris
Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren

I know I just said that the Emmys doesn't usually have love for the Emmys, but dude, Cersei's walk of shame. That's the kind of scene that'll be shown in Lena Headey's lifetime achievement awards. I also want you to believe me when I say that it hurts me physically to not be putting an asterisk next to Emilia Clarke's name because she is my khaleesi but for this specific season there are other performances that are stronger than hers. Not to say that hers isn't wonderful and strong. Just that there are others that are stronger.
And yet you'll notice that my choice to win wasn't either of those two, but Uzo Aduba. And there are two reasons for that. First and foremost, because she deserves it. Her Crazy Eyes is touching and heartfelt and painful to watch because it's so personal, real, and you can't help but feel for her. I want to make it clear that this is the primary reason. Because she's really good. Also because the other reason is you'll notice how all of my other picks so far have been white people. I genuinely do believe that I picked the actors who had the best performances in their categories, but especially since this one is a pretty tight race, I think the Emmys will want to avoid the bad press that the Oscars got from having a whitewashed list of winners and make sure to have at least a little diversity there.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt
Girls - Adam Driver as Adam Sackler
Key & Peele - Keegan-Michael Key as Various Characters
Modern Family - Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon
Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh

The pretentious intellectuals who vote for the Emmys love Veep. And Tony Hale is an alumnus of the acting school I currently attend. (Yay The Barrow Group!) But... I couldn't give you a real reason I chose him over any other actor here. There are pretty much an even number of reasons why each actor here would or wouldn't win. Andre Braugher is excellent, but the show overall is more about laughs than getting deep at any point about people and the human condition. (And I say that as a huge, huge fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.) Adam Driver is having an excellent, public spotlight-y kind of a year, but nobody is really talking about Girls, specifically. Keegan-Michael Key does really intelligent, interesting sketches on Key & Peele, but sketch performers almost never win outside of a variety series category. The Emmys usually love on Modern Family, but maybe people are just too sick of it winning everything for it to win anything this year. Tituss Burgess has created a colorful, complete character in Titus Andromedon, but not necessarily a complex one. I just... can't think of a reason Tony Hale  wouldn't win. So... he's my pick to win.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory - Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler
Getting On - Niecy Nash as Denise "Didi" Ortley
Modern Family - Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Mom - Allison Janney as Bonnie
Saturday Night Live - Kate McKinnon as Various Characters
Transparent - Gaby Hoffmann as Ali Pfefferman
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhees
Veep - Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer

Transparent. Is. A. Gift. To. Us. All. From. The. TV. Gods. (Aka Jill Soloway).
Don't get me wrong, I love Allison Janney in anything and everything she chooses to do. Same goes for Kate McKinnon. And Jane Krakowski never won an Emmy for Jenna Maloney on 30 Rock, so I think she should get one for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Next season. But right now. Transparent is a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway).

...This, by the way, is the point where I'm just going to go and bring up a few select categories that particularly interest me for whatever reason. Just so you know.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
*Drunk History
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Portlandia
Saturday Night Live

So the asterisk this time doesn't mean that I think Drunk History should win over Inside Amy Schumer... it's really more my way of calling attention to what an awesome series it is, especially if you're a fellow history nerd.
But I think this is really where the fact that Amy Schumer is this year's "it" girl is super gonna come in clutch. You know, that and the fact that the show has been insightful, clever, and feminist as well as funny.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
The Comedians - Mel Brooks as Mel Brooks
Inside Amy Schumer - Paul Giamatti as Juror #10
Saturday Night Live - Bill Hader as Host
Saturday Night Live - Louis C.K. as Host
Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jon Hamm as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne

Well, by this point you already know that Transparent is a gift to us all et cetera. But I also want to throw out there that watching Bradley Whitford in anything is just an incredible lesson in acting. So watching Bradley Whitford in Transparent... guys, he's incredible. I wanted to stay away from opinions in my analyses because saying that actor in a particular role is "good" or "bad" is subjective and almost never helpful to true understanding of a someone's position. So I will also say that his portrayal of Marcy is subtle, funny, eye-opening, and heartbreaking. Even as we watch his scenes from Maura's (Jeffrey Tambor) point of view, he slowly brings the audience along to experiencing his world through his eyes as well. It's big and bright and exciting and quiet and intellectual and new. And guys, he's wonderful.

Outstanding Main Title Design
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Bosch
Halt and Catch Fire
******Manhattan
Marvel's Daredevil
Olive Kitteridge

I haven't seen all of these series, and so I haven't seen their opening titles. I haven't picked a winner here because I'm just straight up not qualified to pick a winner among all these shows I haven't seen. In fact, you might even say that I've only seen one out of the six shows listed here. I just really like Manhattan and wanted to point out the one category in which it was nominated for an Emmy.

Okay, this blog post took me literally three hours to write up. I nearly did it last night after I got home at one in the morning from seeing Me and Earl and the Dying Girl before realizing what a dumb idea that would be. (That movie, incidentally, totally wrecked me in the best possible way.) So now I'm just gonna stop.

But what do you think? Do you agree with me?? Why???

(Guys, I'm really excited about the Emmys.)

Social Media for Actors - "Sorry! It's at the cleaners, along with my Prada hoodie and my f*** you flip flops!" - The Social Network

Does the quote totally fit? No. Do I care? No. Is that because I think, as it's from The Social Network, it's close enough to fitting? Exactly.

Today I want to talk about social media and the extent to which actors are "supposed" to use it.

On one hand, pretty much every actor I've ever admired says that we all need to get off of the internet and just do things! That they don't have time for things like Facebook and Twitter, they're too busy doing things in real life. And that's pretty simple and straightforward. Great.

On the other hand, every expert and coach whose articles I've read in Backstage or anywhere else has said that actors absolutely have to have and actively update a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et cetera, otherwise Industry Professionals will never discover us. Which is... also pretty simple and straightforward.

And neither of those viewpoints has any room to incorporate the other.

So you see the dilemma here.

Personally, I like social media. Maybe it's because I'm a pretty huge gossip. I try not to spread negative rumors, but I always want to know everything. And social media makes it so much easier to see what's going on in the lives of my friends. Plus, it's good for a 30 second break in between tasks. Go to Facebook real quick, see what new statuses people have posted in the last couple of hours, then move on to the next thing. I take pleasure from it.

But the ugly side of social media is how it can try to claim literally all of your free time. I will fully admit, for instance, that I kinda hate Facebook Messenger. Like, I will use it to message people when I don't necessarily have their phone number, or they're in another country, or something like that. It's useful. But I also have nearly 20 unread messages waiting for me in my inbox there. I'm sure I'll respond to them eventually. But that takes so much time, and there's an immediacy to it that I really dislike. Maybe it's just me? But I always feel like, unless they're offline when I send the message, I have to stay online and have a full blown conversation with them. And I don't have the time for that. I'm only on Facebook for 30 seconds in between tasks, after all.

I think you can also see how I'm not that great with professional style social media with how I update this blog. It's supposed to be every Thursday. But the keen observer will notice that I missed last week. And that today is Friday. I'm supposed to grow my readership by being consistent. But I was busy in meetings all day yesterday! What's a girl supposed to do?

I'm sure there's some happy medium to be found between always being on social media and never bothering with it. After all, it looks like this internet thing is here to stay, so it clearly has to be more about rolling with the punches and incorporating it well instead of trying to be above it, or pretending it doesn't exist or matter.

Sorry, guys. There isn't really a final point I'm trying to make with this post, or thesis I'm trying to prove. It's not as simple as "rape is bad" was for my last post.

How rare is it that someone writes "sorry it's not about rape"? I mean, it's good that it's rare. But still. Weird, man.

Seriously though, I live and function best within rules and boundaries. They can be rules and boundaries that I set for myself. But scheduling and guidelines are some of my best friends. If you have any good ones for using social media, I'd really love to hear them.

Oh man. I wrote that and thought about it and now my next post may be another musing, but on the value of rules, schedules, and guidelines. Am I a grown up yet? Am I boring yet?

Rape Culture and the Entertainment Industry - "Every two minutes, someone in the US is sexually assaulted." - RAINN

So, there's a certain point where, as an actress, I have to expect to be treated as an object designed only for sex and the pleasure of men.

No, scratch that. There's a certain point where, as a woman, I have to expect to be treated an an object designed only for sex and the pleasure of men.

And that's wrong. And it is preventable. If only men would pull their collective heads out of their own asses and notice it.

Now boys, before you get started on how "I would never do that!" and "not all men are like that," I need you to understand that I know. I have a father and a brother, both of whom are wonderful human beings and would never so much as look at a woman sideways if they thought she wouldn't want them to.

But also oh my god can you please sit down, shut up, and listen to the experiences of women without editorializing when you know as little about it as Jon Snow does about anything? (Which is to say, if you don't watch Game of Thrones, that you know nothing.)

No, stop, I don't care how much you think you know, boys. If you haven't been twelve, walking down the street with your mother, and had some guy lean in too close, whisper that he wants to fuck you, and grab your ass, (or have a comparable story) then you have no idea what it's like.

Last week, I went to an actors networking event, and I was chatting with this guy. He seemed interesting enough, and it was fun conversation, until he uttered one of the worst possible phrases to say to a feminist: "there's no such thing as male privilege."

Here's where I'll admit that I was impressed with him: He still thought that he had a snowball's chance in hell of getting into my pants even after he said that.

Well, naturally, I argued. I told him how few rapists ever see the inside of a jail cell. I told him about the girl at my school (my school which is known for progressiveness and social justice) who was raped, actually managed to have legal charges pressed against the guy who assaulted her, only to have the DA ask what kind of underwear she was wearing at the time, as if it mattered. I told him my own stories stories of times, even as a young girl, that people would yell sexual things at me as I walked down the street so I've never felt safe walking alone in my life. And his response to all of these, even my personal accounts, was "I find that hard to believe."

He said so because he believes that, as a pretty woman, I can talk to and therefore make career connections with anyone, and it'll be much easier for me than it would be for a guy.

Let's put aside for now the fact that the idea of a guy doing less well than a pretty woman in a business situation is complete crap.

Let's even say that it is easier for me to talk to people. And that my ease doesn't come from the charm and charisma that I have worked very hard to cultivate over my life so I can be a social butterfly instead of the shy kid I was in grade school. And that my ease also doesn't come from the excellent education I have worked very hard to attain. That my ease comes only from my looks. Even then, I have a hard time meeting people who want to do more than sleep with me. I have a very difficult time meeting people who want to be my friend and colleague, because they all see me sexually and romantically.

When I look at casting notices for projects that have characters in my demographic (women, 18-25) almost every character I can apply for is a male character's girlfriend who is sweet and supportive of everything that he does. Sometimes I can mix it up with the bitchy ex-girlfriend. These roles, of course, always require nudity. Male roles are plentiful, varied, and meaty. They're troubled, they come from interesting backgrounds, they're funny, they're poignant. But the women? No. We're pretty.

Don't believe me? Just watch. (Or, rather, read.)

And that's the less dark side of sexism in the industry. I haven't even touched on the thinly veiled porn, the women who feel forced to scenes with a level of nudity with which they're not comfortable, or anything like that. I'm not mentioning Bill Cosby, what a horrific monster he is, and how much it hurts that that's the case. Because I don't really want to talk about literal rape right now.

Just rape culture. Just the idea that women are pretty objects who receive everything like they're kindness coins that men put in so they can get sex out. And how, at all levels, the entertainment industry perpetuates this.

And, more than that, the men who do it who don't even realize that they're part of the problem because they're just trying to tell a good story, and they don't think about how they're treating the women.

Which is, in a nutshell, male privilege.

Don't get me wrong, I love the entertainment industry. Just like I also love academia, even though a disgusting number of universities have been cited now for Title IX violations. But that doesn't mean that it's problem-free, and this is one of the biggest ones.

Unfortunately, I could never convince the guy I was talking to of any of this. He continued to refuse to believe me when I told him about how regularly I personally experience sexism and bigotry. He wouldn't pay attention when I told him that stories like this are nothing new or exceptional in the slightest. He wanted instant sources when I gave him statistics like these. And these. And these. And these. And these. And these. And these. And he essentially just decided not to do the right thing, because it is far more difficult for men (especially white, cisgendered men) to acknowledge this hard truth than it is to pretend that that's all other men, other women, not connected with them at all.

For the record, it is always connected with you, boys. You may not have ever slapped a woman's ass, or groped her without permission. But I promise that your mother has had her ass slapped and been groped. So has your sister. And all of your female friends. Please remember that next time you look at them.

And that's literally it. I know, amazing, I'm writing a blog post that actually has a fully thought out point/answer/solution this week. But that's it right there. I'm not asking you to personally end sexism across the world. That'd be unrealistic and dumb of me. I just want you to be aware of it.

Like, instead of talking about how shallow an actress's performance was, try looking at the character she was written first. Next time you hear some guy complaining about Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy, actually tell them how not cool that is. Next time you tell someone that an actress must've slept her way to the top, how about you just... don't.

I know that this blog doesn't have a super high readership right now. I know that just about everyone reading this is intelligent, aware, and that I'm kind of preaching to the choir. I know that there are tons of other, similar blog posts out there about sexism. But I feel better for having said it, and I know that this post is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed, and that there will come a day when all our labor is returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have... and I feel better for having said it.

Thank you, John Green, for the best, most dramatic way to put things.

Oh, and if you're the guy I was talking to and you're still reading this? There are your damn statistics. I decided I didn't need to go out of my way for a sexist jerk and personally email them to you. And if you still think you have a shot at talking me down from this and "hanging out" again at some point, then screw you. Or, rather, go screw yourself, because I'm not doing it for you.

Here, have my favorite cat video, because that was one heavy blog post, man.

Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Projects - "But when I see how sad you are, it sorta makes me happy!" - Avenue Q

I had a whole, long, interesting post about social media written out. It didn't vilify social media, nor raise it up as the answer to all of my self-promotion problems. It was simply a discussion of when I am able to post to social media, how useful is it really when I'm already doing work, et cetera. It took a long-ass time to type out.

Guess what simply disappeared when I tried to post it??

So eventually, you're going to get a post that I would love to start a discourse about the uses of social media as millenials become professionals.

Today, though, you're going to get a much shorter post about another issue creatives face. Nothing too complex, but just something I've been thinking about recently.

What do you do with projects when you're proud of your work, but you know the overall product just isn't good enough for you and your brand?

(For the record, this isn't about anyone with whom I'm currently working, or with whom I have recently worked! So if you're reading this and you think it's about you... it's not.)

I've seen projects ranging in distribution from short films made by friends to full on broadcast TV shows that have just been embarrassing as a whole. And just... what do you do with those when you have them? I know I certainly have projects where I know I performed well in them, but I can't link anyone to the final product because it's nearly unwatchable, even for me.

And just... what do I do with those? That's a genuine question; I really have no idea. I did the work, and I want to be able to show off that I'm being cast in a wide variety of projects. But how do I link people (as in, industry professionals) to those projects without looking like a damn fool?

If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. This post is super simple because I have absolutely no answers, or even anything close to answers. Even though it's so super awkward when it happens to you.

Even if it's mildly hilarious when it happens to somebody else.