Perks of Being a Wallflower + Logan Lerman

This doesn’t really have much to do with anything per se, but I just spent my morning re-watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie and just HAD to say this.

I’M IN LOVE WITH LOGAN LERMAN.

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And it sounds ridiculous even to me because I have never ever ever understood fandom and fan-girling over actors. I’m not one to really swoon and obsess, also he’s younger than I am and I know he’s kinda short. But damn. I CAN’T HELP MYSELF!! There’s something about his eyes. Sigh.

So there. I just had to get that out there. I love him. He’s awesome. At the very least, I would love to work with him one day. Girl can dream. It’ll happen.

But on a different note, Perks of Being a Wallflower is probably one of my current favourite movies. It’s the kind of movie I would’ve so connected with (even more) when I was in high school. It would’ve been nice to have that. It touched upon a lot of issues that I think many teens and young adults can relate to. Having to deal with your sexuality as a teenager and what that means, how prevalent sexual abuse is and its emotional impacts, emotional/mental abuse in relationships, physical abuse, experimenting with drugs, the loneliness of being a teenager or an outsider, the loneliness you can feel no matter how many people you’re surrounded by if they don’t understand you, complex relationship dynamics between friends, family and lovers, mental illness, rejection, the list goes on. I don’t know how he did it but the director (Stephen Chbosky) managed to capture such depth within the story and in all the characters that while I was watching it I felt like I was there, like those could’ve been my friends, that could’ve been me. It probably was.

I also don’t have enough praises to sing about the actors. Everybody did a phenomenal job. Not ever in a scene was a character flat, boring or one-dimensional and they also managed to stay believable throughout the whole movie- which is not always easy to do when it comes to such a relatively young cast. And even though Emma Watson’s accent does get a little shaky (also what American uses the word shag? I wonder if she ad-libbed that one), the emotions were there, and you could see that she was there for her co-stars emotionally through the vulnerable moments, and that’s really what matters at the end.

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Of course to tie the story and characters all together, the soundtrack was just impeccably put together. Every track held the essence of the scenes and just elevated the entire emotional impact of the movie for me. It took me along on its journey. In fact, I have the soundtrack on coloured vinyl. It really is amazing. You know a soundtrack is good when every song brings you back to an exact moment in the exact scene from the movie.

I also appreciate the fact that the movie took its time, it wasn’t rushed or dragged. I didn’t leave full of questions about apparent plot holes or character inconsistencies. So many movies these days have such great ideas but for whatever reason (actors? script? music?) just never quite arrive “there” with me emotionally. I know the impact they’re trying to make, but they often time fall short, the story feels empty. So it’s a nice to see a movie that does make it happen. A movie that isn’t just made for entertainment, but is a story that effectively illustrates and highlights parts of humanity, and manages to make it relatable to its viewers. That’s what movies are supposed to be about, aren’t they? Dissecting humanity and the human experience and giving us an up-close look.

I do wish, however, that they’d left Nina Dobrev’s abortion scenes in the movie. It showed such a sweet and touching dynamic between brother and sister. It also would’ve really helped in illustrating the chemistry between herself and Logan as siblings that I think was a bit lacking in the movie cause she was hardly in it. It’s also nice to see that Nina is capable of showing a slightly broader range and playing a character outside of the one on The Vampire Diaries. From what I understand this was a ratings issue, so I do understand. And there’s always the director’s cut!

So that is all I have to say. Perks is a beautifully vulnerable movie that I would recommend to anyone. If you haven’t seen it or read the book, do give it a go when you have the chance. I promise you, you won’t regret it. It also gives me hope as an actor that there is still meaningful material out there, and hopefully I’ll have the luck of getting to be a part of those projects one day soon.

Happy Friday, everybody 🙂

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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Quotespiration # 3: Marilyn Monroe

“Acting isn’t something you do. Instead of doing it, it occurs. If you’re going to start with logic, you might as well give up. You can have conscious preparation but you have unconscious results.”

– Marilyn Monroe (Award-winning Actress and global Hollywood icon)

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Quotespiration # 2: Albert Einstein

“I’m thankful of all who said no to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.”

Albert Einstein (Theoretical Physicist and renowned genius; Nobel Prize winner, founder of the Theory of Relativity)

To hell with the nay-sayers, I always say.

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Namaste.

I previously wrote about how important it is to ground yourself into your body in order to do good work. So I’d like to share with you a little trick I’ve picked up that has really helped me open my channels up as an actor.

One of those things is yoga.

Yoga, more specifically the meditation portion of yoga, has helped me recognize how it feels to be in that place of openness that is vital to any actor. Luckily, there are other ways you can also achieve this without having to contort your body into weird, foreign positions- in a room heated to 40 degrees if you are a fan of the HOT variety like I am.

Simply give yourself 5 or 10 or how ever many minutes you need to close your eyes and centre yourself into your body. It’s something everyone of all races, ages and religious beliefs (or non-religious beliefs) can do, and if this is something you already do, then good for you! Go make yourself a tea and plop yourself down for a good ol’ session.

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As for the rest of ya…

There’s no need to get cheesy about it. There are no prayers, chants or ohms necessary. All you need is a comfortable space to sit, wherever that may be (I personally prefer to do this on the floor) and get into a comfortable position. I like to sit cross legged. Easy enough, right?

Slowly try to clear your mind but it’s okay if you can’t in the beginning or if you’re having a particularly hectic day. Eventually you will be able to. Draw all attention to your breathing. Take your time as you breathe in deeply, feeling your lungs expand and your body fill up with all this energizing oxygen goodness. Then exhale, and with that let all of your troubles, doubts and judgements follow.

Don’t think, don’t judge, just do! I’m doing you a favour, trust me.

Clear yourself of all the negativity in your life. Always be aware of your body, how you’re positioned, how you feel (not how you think you should feel). Try to sense all of the life and positive energy that is surrounding you, just waiting to be tapped into and drawn from. Bring it in and feel this newfound energy course through your body. Continue to breathe in and out consciously.

Eventually the point is to reach a place of peace and heightened awareness, away from your troubles. A place where ego doesn’t exist. Remember to always stay conscious, you’re not supposed to be falling asleep here.

Keep doing this until you feel you’ve like you’ve gotten what you needed out of it or until you’re so bored (that’s okay too) that you can’t possibly sit a second longer. Open your eyes and feel your body float back down to its core and firmly plant itself onto the ground. Sometimes this is even better than a cup of coffee after a long night (BEEN there).

It’s also remarkable how rejuvenated and open you feel afterwards, even if it felt like the whole time you were so in your head. Chances are, you were probably less in your head than you think. It might take a couple of tries, but when done right, you’ll be ready to do some of your best work from this place. Your body is open, grounded, your mind clear and empty of worries and self-sabatoging thoughts, all you have left is to simply be. You are your own blank canvas. Recognize this place. Remember how it feels. You’ll find yourself returning to it easily without having to sit and meditate for 10 minutes, which is handy when you’re on set and meditating in the middle of the room might garner some looks.

Even if you feel this doesn’t quite help ground your work, it’s certainly a good way (and what I do) to recharge the batteries and relieve some stress in your personal life- and when your instrument is tuned up, so is your work.

And hey, if you enjoy this practice and feel comfortable with it, go ahead and throw in some candles and meditation music. HAVE AT IT. Whatever it takes to make you feel awesome afterward.

Hope this helps in some small way.

Love & Light,

The Aspiring Actress.

Welcome to the [aspiring] Actress Chronicles. (cont’d)

I’m what many would consider still very “green”, although not completely useless (or so my mom says).

In the past year and a half, I would say I’ve accumulated quite a fair amount of knowledge within the industry through personal experience and learning from others around me who have been in the industry for quite some time. During this period, I’ve also added 21 indie and student film credits to my resume. All speaking, non-background roles.

This is my way of learning by doing, which I prefer over spending 4 years at theatre/film school. It is my opinion that in most cases, schools tend to suck the creativity and fun out of the arts- not that it doesn’t have plenty of its own merits. It’s perfectly okay if you disagree!

Currently, I am attached to 2 ongoing low budget indie projects, with particularly high hopes for one of them (fingers crossed). So all in all, I’m not doing too badly for someone who’s only been at it for such a relatively short period of time but there’s still a lot for me to learn and a lot I haven’t experienced.

When people ask me why I got started in acting and film, the cynical side of me assumes that they are expecting a vapid, shallow answer because nobody takes aspiring ‘actors’ seriously. Whether that is true or not, there’s still a sense of discomfort I feel when asked that question because I feel I am more likely to give an inadequate, generic answer than give the long-winded but personally meaningful answer that they probably don’t care to hear. However this is my blog, so I can type as I please!

As a child, I was extremely creative and sensitive even though my environment wasn’t the most nurturing place for either of those traits. I’ve always been the type to get lost in stories, be it on screen or in the form of novels- I was obsessed with all mediums of story telling and the art of creating new worlds. I have also always been very self-aware, self-reflective and have a deep-rooted interest in how people work, why they do what they do, understanding their motives and emotions with the propensity to people watch for hours on end- hence why I also almost chose to go into the field of psychology. I’ve written almost all my life- they say that writers are actors who are just too shy. Well, I used to be shy and consciously worked on out-growing that trait for years…and before you know it, ta-da! An actor was born.

Now that all of that has been said and done, these are my goals for the next year:

– Audition MORE for everything I can get my hands on
– Attend more workshops and networking events for actors
– Get new headshots (ones that I like this time so as to not waste $500 AGAIN- more on that another day)
– Put a bomb ass demo reel together (maybe I’ll post a list of potential scenes in another entry)
– Score one of the city’s top agents/agencies (I don’t care about rosters and agency size, I care about clout and whether the right working chemistry is there)
– Take up a bunch cool new hobbies to add to my “skills” (take THAT every-one-who’s-ever-put-me-to-shame with their vaaaaast “skills” list on their resume…you know what I’m talking about)
– Maybe lose like 30 pounds (no, I promise I don’t have an eating disorder nor would I ever promote it, this is all very honest criticism from a health, personal and career standpoint)
– Blog about my journey regularly, even when there’s nothing to blog about
– Inspire myself through this blog, if not other people

Love & Light,

The Aspiring Actress.

P.S. Part of becoming a great actor is by having a rich life outside of acting, so while acting is my passion and dream, I also have interests in other areas such as business and entrepreneurship that I will probably also be chronicling. …maybe I should’ve just named this The Chronicles of a Twenty-Something Female. ..Hmmmm.