Monthly Archives: March 2010

Fear of Falling (two down, infinate number to go)

Alright, I did it!  I survived my first improv show.  Improv 101 at Upright Citizens Brigade is over.  There were some good times, there were some bad…but all in all, I am damn proud of myself!  I entitled this blog “Fear of Falling” because I was afraid of falling on my face. (And I was reprising the “overcoming my fears blog” from last summer)  But I did not fall on my face.  I trusted the process, I stepped out, and my teammates took care of me as I did them.  This stuff they teach actually works!  Next up, improv 210 on Thursday nights starting this week.  I am so excited!  This level focuses on “game” the entire time.  The game of the scene is hard to explain, in my opinion.  Now, seeing that I don’t totally understand it myself, I’m not sure if I’ll be the best person to explain, but i’m the only writer on this blog so my explaination will just have to do.  Here is a brief sentence that might clear it up.  Ask yourself the question “what is weird or strange in this scene?”  Then, “if that is true, what else could or would be true in this scenario?”  Now, “how can I heighten these circumstances?”  That is game.  That is about the best I can do at this point.  Finding the game is the trick to improv because once you know what the game is, you can join in and play the game, and that is really what it’s all about right?  Playing games…like a child.  Remember?  I mean how many times in our adult lives are we really given permission to just play?

After the show we all went over to one of my classmates houses in Venice.  On my way there, while I was in bumper to bumper traffic on the 101, I got an itch in my nose.  Since I am sick and have been for the last 3 days, my sneezes are extra big and seem to be coming in packs.  I sneezed, my eyes were forced shut for probably 3 seconds, and when I opened them to try and recover, I slammed on my brakes but it was too late.  I rear ended the guy in front of me.  We slowly made our way to the shoulder to discuss what our actions would be and I did something that I don’t often do.  I prayed.  Hard.  Loud.  Repeatedly.  He got out, took a look at his bumper, tapped it a couple of times, and then declared… “das ok.”  “Really?”  I asked.  “Yah, yah, das ok.”  “Thank you sir,”  I thankfully replied and got back in my car, beaming with joy.  I made it to Jonathan’s exactly one hour later and could really only stay an hour or so.  I was really hungry and wasn’t feeling great.  On the way home I called a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and we decided to go for dinner.  Nothing like an incredible meal to make me feel better.  We met at Firefly and sat in the bar.  I had the best steak tartare I have ever tasted in my life (seriously people, this dish is epic!!) and was able to stay awake because Nick is so entertaining.  As soon as I got home I crashed and slept 12 much needed hours.  Here are a couple of pics from the restaurant.  You can see so well thanks to the amazing flash on the iphone…

Oh and I almost forgot to tell you.  On Thursday, my friend Katie Hines and I took a little road trip about an hour and a half north of the city of angles to Lancaster, a place that seemed to be straight out of a Steven King novel, to see our friend Alec James in the tour of Cabaret.  The show was great, one of the best emcee’s ive ever seen, and then we went to Denny’s and trashed it up over pancakes, sausage, and hash browns.  SO fun! 

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Chicken Soup for the Anxious Soul

Tonight I am staying in and making my favorite chicken and rice soup.  Very simple; carrots, celery, can of tomatoes, chicken, thyme, and 6 cups of homemade chicken stock straight from my freezer.  So easy, so good, so healing.  I am a little under the weather.  I think it is due to stress.  I must say that I rarely get sick and when I do, it is usually only for a few days and absolutely tolerable thanks to my kick ass immune system.  I owe that to all the raw milk and homemade chicken stock I eat 🙂  no, seriously…that stuff is magical.  Look it up.  I also haven’t been sleeping very well lately.  I suffer from mild anxiety.  Well I call it mild because I don’t want to alarm myself, and I am also self diagnosed.  I don’t know what else you would call it if it isn’t that.  Over the last week I have been preparing my records for the tax prepareres and working overtime babysitting.  It is the last week of my 101 class at UCB and tomorrow we have our class show.  That, my friends, is the catalyst of the recent decline in my health.  I am nervous, and when I get nervous I have dreams.  Lots of dreams.  Dreams of improv scenes going awry, dreams of improv teams at UCB, dreams of specific improv actors at UCB who I happen to hold in high regard.  Over and over these images come to me and I toss and turn all night.  Dont get me wrong, I love my improv class.  I feel more comfortable now than I did on the first day, and I have accomplished something that I thought I never would.  Prior to this I have never taken an improv class or workshop in my entire life.  In fact, I deliberately avoided them like I do hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.  (For those of you who do not know, I avoid these things at all costs.  They are terrible for you, and unfortunately are found in almost everything you buy in the supermarket, along with a plethora of other ingredients that you can’t pronounce.  Don’t believe me, go ahead, see for yourself…)  During class I repeatedly made myself volunteer and go first for many exercises.  This was terrifying, but needed to be done.  Now, at the end of the 8 weeks I feel confident enough to take the stage.  There is just one catch…you are not invited.  Sorry.  I won’t be moved.  To get up there in the first place is such a huge step for me, that I don’t need the added pressure of knowing people are coming to see me “perform” improv.  I don’t feel like I am “performing” improv yet.  I feel more like I am simply “stumbling through” improv, so I see this as rehearsal, and you don’t get to come to rehearsal.  When 201 is over, I promise I’ll invite you all to that show.  Until then, I have to do this alone.  I’ll let you know how it goes…

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Like a Child

This is how little boys play…

And this, is how the girls play…

And when i leave the kids and go hang out with my friends, this is how we play at UCB…

Play more.  Like a child.  If i could incorporate the feeling of those first pictures into my work in the last picture…i’d be a better performer and more free, artistic soul.  So that is my prayer today, to encorprate more play in my life and in my work.

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Mi Casa

My sister has been asking for pictures of my house for, I don’t know, like the entire year I have lived in it!  But I didn’t have a camera so I couldn’t upload any pics for her.  Thanks to my new iphone, that almost died last night (that is another story), I can now put my newly acquired, computer savvyness to use and download her some sweet pics!  Funny thing is, I’ll only be living here another month and a half, but I promise to put up some pictures of the new place as soon as it is secured.

 

Bella and i hang out on the front porch.  I read, and she eats avocados and chases rocks.

This is truly the best time of year in California.  It is cool in the mornings and at night, it rains about once every two weeks and the days aren’t too sunny.  If you are lucky, you’ll even get an overcast day every now and then.  Although we are in the waning days of it, I really love late winter in California.  Soon it will get hot…and dry…and relentlessly sunny and I will long for the east coast springs I took for granted while I had them.

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Two Cuties and a Handful of Almonds

…is all I’ve had to eat.  I seriously didn’t think about it, that is how stimulating my day was.  I had my triage at Lesly Kahn today.  It was a fantastic experience.  I arrived and was promptly asked to remove my shoes…awesome.  I filled out my forms and, along with about 12 others, was led upstairs to a small office lined with windows and stocked with loads and loads of chi.  We all sat on a huge sectional sofa and chatted for a while.  Then, one by one, we told a bit about ourselves and did our scenes that we  had brought.  Lesly coached us and briefly touched on some of the things that she believes will improve our acting.  After incorporating those things, our scenes all greatly improved and I was totally sold on this woman.  She is wise, to the point, seasoned, honest, and passionate about what she believes in, and I need a piece of that!  I am going to take the intensive there at Lesly Kahn and we shall see where it goes from there. 

After that, I drove to the other end of Hollywood and went to a seminar at the SAG Foundation on actor reels.  I learned a ton, and it would take too long to touch on it all but here are some highlights.  Feature you, not other actors.  Don’t run over 3 minutes (generally, and shorter is better.  Make your reel as long as your material is good.  Good material will be brought down by mediocre, and mediocre doesn’t look better next to good)  Sound is everything, sometimes carrying more weight than content.  The end.

So, before I knew it, it was 9 o’clock and I hadn’t eaten all day.  This is going to go against all that I believe and all that I preach but…I had jack in the box.  Ugh I know right?!  So sick!  but I was freakin starving and i couldn’t help it.  Now, just as I suspected, I have a stomach ache so I am having some sleepytime tea, and trying to wind down.  Such a great day.  I hope to have more days like this.  I met some amazing, beautiful, brave actors today.  I met a powerful teacher that I hope will help me become a better actor and book some jobs.  And I know more about what needs to be on my reel than I did 6 hours ago.  I hope you all have some accomplished days this week.

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simply put

I didn’t sleep last night.  It’s only 10:30 here and i have already had one breakdown in the middle of the bank.  It is amazing to me how quickly i can go from great to totally depressed.  It’s raining here, which would usually make me happy, but today i am just sad.  That’s all…

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CRAZY busy

Oh my goodness its been so long!  I am so sorry i havent been around, its been a pretty busy week.  What’s been going on?  Well in a nutshell, i did some babysitting last weekend, took Bella to the dog park a few times, took a surprise trip to gjelina with an old friend, and took some awesome acting classes.  Here are a few pics from the past week…

Babysitting was particularly delightful this weekend.  Nona and i had a dance/karaoke party to some of the greats…you know, The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, and Britney Spears, complete with hairbrush microphones.

Sunday i made my favorite chicken stock and my favorite chicken and rice soup.

I went grocery shopping and bought the most beautiful tulips…i think tulips are my most favorite flower 🙂

The acting classes i took were unbelievable.  I audited two classes by Carole D’Andrea, a singing class and an acting class.  Although, i would classify the singing class as an acting class because she puts emphasis on the telling of story and the meaning of the words within the song.  I have honestly never walked into a more loving, safe, creative, supportive and productive environment in any acting class i have taken in LA so far.  This one is a keeper!

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