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Quotespiration # 17: Jennifer Lawrence

“There are actresses who build themselves, and then there are actresses who are built by others. I want to build myself.”

– Jennifer Lawrence (Award-winning Actress; holds the record for youngest performer to have been nominated for an Academy Award three times)

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Quotespiration # 15: Meryl Streep

“I think the most liberating thing I did early on was to free myself from any concern with my looks as they pertained to my work.”

Meryl Streep (Award-winning Actress; holds the record for most Oscar nominations in Hollywood history)

You’ve got to let it go. It’s not about you, it’s about the character and the story. You can’t do them justice if you’re preoccupied with yourself and how you look. Sometimes easier said than done, I know.

There’s an unequivocal beauty in raw honesty.

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Quotespiration # 13: George Burns

“Everything that goes up must come down. But there comes a time when not everything that’s down can come up.”

– George Burns (Award-winning Actor; one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned Vaudeville, film, radio and television)

Time is of the essence. If you’re going to pursue a dream, do it now while you’re still young and lively and daring! The rest can wait, they’re not going anywhere.

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Quotespiration # 12: George Burns

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”

– George Burns (Award-winning Actor; one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned Vaudeville, film, radio and television)

I know it’s not easy when you have to worry about bills, rent, mortgages, food on the table, tuition or class fees and societal expectations on top of all that but I truly believe with the right balance and determination, you CAN find a job you enjoy that provides you with all that and be able to support your dreams financially as well. Sleep is for the weak anyway…(says the girl who was a hibernating bear in her previous life) :).

Ask yourself this, “How much do I really want this?” and “Can I live a full, happy life if I don’t have it or stop pursuing my dream?” If you can live a fulfilled life without it or through other things, then by all means. At the end of the day you are the one who has to live with your decisions, so do what you can within your means and do what makes you happy.

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Naaaaailed It.

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And it feels so damn good.

Had a very successful acting class today. I’d been a little worried that I might’ve emotionally worn myself out in the process of figuring out my character and wouldn’t be able to “go there” when the time came. On top of that, I was exhausted. Didn’t get much sleep the night before so I felt like a zombie. I would’ve way much rather have crawled into my bed than go to class. On top of THAT, it was a scene from a movie that I’d watched the shit out in the past, which makes it harder for me to make it my own rather than mimicking how it was done in the film.

((I am really tired though, so not everything I write may make sense! Formulating sentences is quite the task right now, but I know I have to get this out tonight cause it just won’t be the same tomorrow.))

Knowing all the above, I told myself on my way to acting class to relax and not to psych myself out with a bunch of expectation. Expectations of getting the scene ‘right’, expectations of it playing out a certain way. Expectation kills creativity, after all. And I’d done my homework so I knew the emotions were there, it was just a matter of whether they’d surface or not when I needed them- and sometimes they just don’t! Sometimes the elements just don’t line up. You can’t be too hard on yourself if you know you’ve truly done the work.

Before my scene went up, I did a quick meditation- if you could even call it that. It was more like a deep breathing exercise (eyes open) to ground myself and find where I’d left my character. To find her sadness from within. I still wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go there, but at least I had the tools. One of those tools, by the way, having a good listening ear. Really listening to what the other actor is saying to you. How can you react to something honestly if you’re not even giving yourself anything to react to??

So before you know it, I’m starting my scene and everything falls perfectly in place. My voice is strong, the emotions (betrayal, sadness, desperation) surface in all the right places, tears are falling freely, and I’m really listening, connecting with the other actor. Eyes were glued. Compliments were showered.

I’m not really one to toot my own horn about these kinds of things. Something within me just doesn’t allow that or feel comfortable with it. But the point is, I nailed it. 100%, no regrets. And that feels freaking good, especially when I didn’t think I’d be able to get there at all. I surprised myself and that’s awesome.

Just goes to show how far grounding yourself, really listening to the other actor and doing your homework goes. Homework to me is:

1. Knowing your lines to a tee. At the very least, the essence of the lines. What is your character trying to say? So that even if you forget your lines and don’t get it word for word, you still get across the same meaning. Plus knowing your lines means you aren’t scrambling for them, thus freeing you up in your body and performance.

 2. Really analyzing and embodying who your character is as a person- who are they at their core? What drives them? What makes them who they are that makes them say the lines that are written?

3. Understanding what their role is in the scene. What was the story the writer wanted to tell in this scene, and what part does your character play in that?

I’m sure there are many other things as well, but that’s the majority of it. And I’m pretty sleepy, so if I think of anything else that’s important I’ll write about it in a new post. But seriously guys, if you’re doing all those things and whatever else you consider ‘homework’, then you’ve got the magic formula. All you have to do is trust that everything you need is already set up there for you.

You’ve just gotta open yourself up to it.

Sweet dreams, all you lovely people. xox. I’m going to pass out now.

The Aspiring Actress.

Say No to the Americano.

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I’m sure most of you already know this, but for those of you who don’t, this is one worth remembering.

DO NOT CONSUME CAFFEINE BEFORE AN AUDITION.

Not even 4 hours prior. Just. Don’t. Do. It. Trust me. Would I lie to you?

And this is coming from a girl who can fall asleep after a strong cup of Joe. I know it smells so good and it’s so tempting in the morning, especially if you’ve had a long night or week. But to be honest when it comes time to it, the adrenaline from auditioning will be enough to energize you through your audition without the additional help.

See I’ve found that this miraculous thing happens before an audition..where any trace of caffeine in your system will somehow find its way to make merry friends with your nerves. The end result? Disastrous. And no amount of meditation in the world is going to save you from that situation.

The immediate energy you give off when you walk into the audition room will be: crazy, jittery, nervous, all over the place. Whereas, of course, you want to go in calm, collected with high but steady energy.

You end up tripping over lines because your lips can’t catch up with your brain, or vice versa.

OR nailing your lines…at the speed of lightening.

The only time I would recommend it is if you’re going in for a sitcom-y role. Then have it all you like. I personally still wouldn’t do it though. But that’s just me.

And there you have it.

Do you have any funny over-caffeinated/over-excited audition stories to tell?

I’d love to hear them.

The Aspiring Actress.

Okay, maybe just ignore this one…

It’s always a strange experience being on set. Each set is like a completely different animal. Some are cuddly, fuzzy, and you never want to leave. Others you can’t wait to get out of. All of this comes down to the actor-actor and/or actor-crew chemistry. It’s something I’ve always struggled mastering. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a total people person! But in an industry that’s fuelled by egos and arrogance at its worst, it’s not always the easiest task. It can often times feel isolating. For myself anyway.

Since I mostly do indies, I’m just going to say I feel that I’m just not an artist’s actor. And what I mean by that is I’m not “cool” in the sense of being eclectic and obscure. I don’t have a naturally grunge-y, edgy look without the help of make up and leather jackets. But the thing is, I’m a total closet quirk. I’m just not the kind of person who wears it on my sleeve. I don’t walk around brooding or being weird in a “cool” way- it all just happens…IN MY HEAD and trust me when I say I can brood with the best of them.

But mostly I’m just me. I’m an actor. Sometimes I’m bubbly, sometimes I’m melancholy. Sometimes I say weird shit. But I’m more or less just a normal person. This does not appeal to the masses of hipsters and artists I meet on the indie film scene. I know, I know. I shouldn’t care. As long as I can do the work, right? But I’m just saying…it’s not fun feeling like the outsider on set.

On the a positive note, some of them LOVE me! Maybe it’s not so much an actor-crew thing but just a people thing. Not everybody gets along and you’re not exactly on set to make friends, are you? I should probably get my head out of the clouds on that one.

But enough of that. I also find it hard to connect with certain actors. On one hand, I have no problem speaking to a room of 300 people and make fast friends at parties. On the other hand, I clam up and lose the ability to come up with or say anything remotely interesting or witty when I feel intimidated.

Why I even feel intimidated beats me. It’s not like I work with celebrities or even half-recognizable people (oh god, I can’t even imagine what that day will be like if it ever happens). Without sounding arrogant, I would say I am on par with my peers talent-wise. So what is it about *certain* other actors that turns me into an awkward, bumbling twat? Hmmm. Their unwavering confidence.

I realize I’m still at a stage in my career where I haven’t gained enough confidence as an actor. Despite having worked on more indie projects than most of the actors I meet, getting endless compliments (grain of salt) and having roles written for me, I still feel like the new kid. The stuttering kid who is eager to please, eager to learn. I am STILL eager to learn but the former is such a far cry from who I really am as a person.

In my personal life I’m opinionated! I’m bold! I’m funny (sometimes…maybe unintentionally). So what is this phenomena that happens when I’m around other actors my age?! It’s frustrating! How can the difference be so vast!

I often wonder WHEN I’m ever going to get to a point where I can tell myself, “Okay. You officially have a voice that matters. You are no longer an amateur. You’re an equal. Who cares what these people think.”

I’ve never been the type of person to need approval from those around me. Not since middle school anyway.. but seriously. Is this the needy actor side of me that NEEDS the verbal reassurance??? No. Can’t be. That’s terrible. …ugh.

Maybe it’ll take getting onto a nationally televised show? A big budget movie production? Adding another 21 credits to my resume?! Going to a prestige film festival?? Signing onto a major agency???? Perhaps I’m just doomed to forever be an insecure actor. Not insecure in my work (no, no, no) but who I am as an actor, err, person. I mean the only time I feel consistently confident is when I’m actually ACTING and in character. Because..well it’s not me.

What I wonder is, how are all these people so confident? Where does it come from? Why can’t I be like that?

Maybe I needed to be hugged more as a child. Maybe people are more open and warm on big budget productions…I know, don’t laugh. A girl can dream. I’ll wait to have those dreams crushed another day.

To be honest, I’m probably making it sound a lot worse than it actually is. There are plenty of sets and plenty of days where I feel completely comfortable and part of a mini-family. It’s just the neurotic moments/days/nights/weeks that turn me into this neurotic mess. No wonder I stopped journalling.

God. I’m such an obnoxious actor, aren’t I? I apologize, guys. And thank you to anyone who put up with and read the entirety this silly neurotic actor rant. If no one ever reads this, then at least I got to get it off my chest. Maybe it’ll take some of the crazy with it. There’s nothing like a good vent after all.

Sigh. Just another thing for me to add to the list of things I need to work on I suppose: STOP being so neurotic.

WISH ME LUCK.

The Aspiring Actress.

Here’s a cute little comic strip to make up for it all:

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