holidays

New Year's Resolutions - "I hope that in the year to come you make mistakes." - Neil Gaiman

Happy New Year! January 1st may be a cosmically insignificant date, but I still think it's amazing and very cool that we as humans took the coldest, darkest part of the year and chose to make it about rebirth and new beginnings.

Let's talk new year's resolutions.

Like last year, this post is going to be about the resolutions I made for 2017, how I did with them, and the resolutions I've got coming up now for 2018!

2017 Resolutions

2017 Resolutions

Move to Los Angeles: Done!
See 2+ New Cities in the USA: I'm probably cheating a little bit by including Cooperstown, NY since it's not in the spirit of traveling like I had meant, and I technically went there when I was very young, but it was still new to me, so good enough! Cooperstown, NY and Detroit, MI.
Increase my Future Financial Security (401k/IRA, credit score) (fuck you money!): My savings took a pretty big hit from moving across the country, but my credit score is way better now (in that it exists) and, in the spirit of the resolution, I've started saving money again, so I'm counting this as a win.
Get a New Doctor and Have a Check Up: Done!
Be the Blood of the Dragon: Every year I give myself one resolution that I know I can accomplish, mostly for the funny, but also so I can know for sure that I'll accomplish at least one. In 2015 it was not to get anyone else pregnant. In 2016 it was to take less BS. This past year, it was this, because this quality of fire and leadership is a) something I greatly admire about Daenerys in Game of Thrones, and b) want to have. I feel like I let myself get walked over a little bit too much this year, though. There were some aspects of my life in which I really took charge and made things happen and was a leader, and some in which I really didn't. So I don't know about this one. I wouldn't say that I didn't do it at all. But just that I wasn't really consistent with it, either.
Get at Least One of the Following: Agent, Manager, or Union Status: Well, I'm still unrepresented and non-union. The bright side is that moving out here made it very clear that I am not yet ready to be SAG, although I could definitely join AEA. And while I don't have representation yet, I've done heavy research into agencies, and I'm working towards it. So I guess I fulfilled the spirit of the resolution, if not the actual letter of it.
Finish at Least One Feature-Length Project: Nope. Didn't do this one at all. It was maybe a bit too ambitious of me to hope that I could write a feature around producing multiple other projects and moving across the country, but at the end of the day (or, rather, year) I just... didn't do it. Oops.
Simplify Your Material Life: So, so done! I got rid of a ton of stuff this year.
Have/Complete Monthly Goals: I just... didn't do this one, either. After February I decided it couldn't really be a priority. I think that was misguided of myself, but it's what happened.

So... a mixed bag on resolutions for 2017. Some great successes, but not entirely enough follow through. It's unfortunate because I know I can do better. But the year is over now. Meaning that it's time to move on to 2018!

2018 Resolutions

2018 Resolutions

First of all, can we just appreciate how much better the camera quality is on my new phone??

Produce 2+ New Projects: I need to start creating my own work in LA. I also find that I like producing, particularly when I get to produce shows for charity, so they don't have to be huge works, but it's my new favorite kind of volunteer work, and I want to make it happen!
Apply for the Fulbright at LAMDA: Did you know there's a Fulbright available to study classical acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art? The odds are pretty against me, the way they are with any Fulbright, but the opportunity to study humanity and performance through classical theatre in London at one of the most long-lasting and prestigious schools of drama in the world? How could I possibly not go for it?
Start a Retirement Account: Pretty self-explanatory. I'm 25. It's time.
Travel to Two New Places (Domestic OR International): I didn't specify that they have to be cities because there are places I want to go that aren't metropolitan areas, like Joshua Tree and the Grand Canyon. I know traveling new places will be a little difficult from here on out since I'll also be going back to New York a couple of times a year, and that'll be a bit of a financial/time drain. But I have every faith that I can make it happen, especially if I don't limit myself to cities!
Be More of a Bitch: I'm pretty concerned with how much people like me. A little bit too much so. I need to start standing up for what I want, even if that goes directly against what someone else wants. Some random dude talking to me when I clearly just want to listen to music/read a book? Tell him. I think someone isn't pulling their weight in a group project? Let them know. I think there's a line to be walked between being nice, kind, and polite, and being direct, firm, and a little bitchy about getting what I want, and this year I am determined to find it.
Take 3+ New Performance/Skill Classes: I realized I didn't take a scene study class at all in 2017. At first I was saving up for the move, and then money was tight, but god I am aching for a class and community here in LA. My training is slipping and I can be better. So I will be.
Get my Driver's License: I never could spell "license" without a spell checker. But this resolution is also pretty self-explanatory. Over the past six months I've proven that I can get by in LA without a car. But it'll be nice to have the option to rent one. Especially since this is a thing that teenagers can do, and I still can't.
Finish 26 Books: There's too much to learn in the world to not be reading more than I have been.
Have/Complete Monthly Goals: Recycling this one from last year. It was a good idea to make sure every month is productive, and I want to give it a more serious try in 2018. This month, I'm going to get my CA Driver's Permit, solidify travel plans to New York since I didn't get to go home at all over the holidays, and reach out to some commercial agents on the west coast.

So what do you guys think? What are your resolutions for 2018? Do we have any of the same ones? I'd love to see if anyone else has any good ones that I can steal for myself!

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.

Gratitude and Moodiness - "I am a MEDIUM person! I should get to go to a medium place!" - The Good Place

So I know it's Thanksgiving weekend, but it's been occurring to me how difficult it can be to practice gratitude. Primarily because I've spent a fair amount of the past few days being kinda jealous.

I've been surrounded by people who care a whole lot for each other while some of my closest friends went away or stayed on the east coast for the holiday. I know a few people who have traveled to London, while I've started to get the bug to go back there. I miss New York. My current day job isn't paying me the kind of money I'd need to get all the things I'd like to get and do all the things I'd like to do. You know, basic stuff.

I think the point isn't to try to fight it, though. This feeling, however unfortunate, is part of the human experience. It sucks that it's happening now, at the beginning of the holiday season, but it just is what it is. And by accepting it, I can also appreciate the things I do have. I had a wonderful Friendsgiving last night, I have my health and my beautiful house, I have some money in my savings account, even if it's not as much as I'd like, and overall, I'm generally more happy than not. Even if I have a computer keyboard with a sticky "c" button, or I'm missing New York and the people in it.

Maybe it's not a coincidence (god, that was a terrible word to write with my "c" key) that all of this is happening as I'm bingeing The Good Place. It's the appreciation for the balance between the good and the bad. Everything is a gray area, and nobody is perfect.

Or maybe it's just that I'm moody in my first holiday season away from home. Or it's because I had nightmares that kept waking me up all night last night. I don't know! The human experience. Isn't it exciting.

Regardless, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones and good food, and I hope you have something special ahead of you as we move into the winter holidays. No matter how I feel today, I'm still psyched for them.

 

"Come on brain, think of things." - Lin-Manuel Miranda

I'm gonna be honest with you guys. I have no idea what to write about today.

There's the ever-relevant topic of politics, but that's already been talked to death, and I don't know what I could say to make people more politically active other than "do it". So that's pretty boring.

I've been thinking a lot lately as I organize a fundraiser staged reading of Almost Maine for the ACLU about how hard it is to do things and how many details there are to something that seems like it would be simple. But I've already written about discipline, and beyond that it's just kind of complaining about the hard work it takes to do something that I love.

I just finished a new short film called Lesbihonest, and I don't know that I'm allowed to post it online for everyone to see. I've been submitting it to contests and festivals, and I know that sometimes there are rules about not publishing your entries before they screen there or are rejected. But there's nothing interesting to anybody else about me posting on Instagram about having to look up rules and regulations.

Valentine's Day was this week, and since I'm single, I spent it mostly reveling in self-love and love for my friends. I used things that made my face all soft and pretty, and I ate chocolate, and got myself a smoothie, and went through Insta liking my friends' couple photos. But nothing, like, special happened.

I dunno, guys. I think it's just interesting how you can do a ton of things over the course of a week, and when someone asks what you've been up to, the answer has to be "nothing." Like when we actors post a regular selfie on social media with the caption "Super excited for projects in the works!" because we're not allowed to post anything more concrete, or our content isn't social media-ready yet. We want to share how hard we've been working and we want validation for all the little things we've done, but we don't have anything real to share yet.

The real MVP of that is Lin-Manuel Miranda. He spent seven years writing Hamilton. Damn.

So, in conclusion for this post, I want to be super clear. I was grasping at straws. I couldn't think of a single real topic for this week. And I still humble-bragged about my production of Almost Maine and Lesbihonest, along with comparing myself to Lin-Manuel Miranda. The self-love thing on Valentine's Day clearly worked.

I hope you all have had a productive week, even if you also can't figure out anything to really say about it!