Thursday, June 20, 2013

An Actor's Plea

Dear Industry Professionals - Casting Directors, Directors, Producers etc.,

I realize I may be shooting myself in the foot by saying this, but I feel like it needs to be said.

I find it interesting that actors, in many ways, fall at the bottom of the Hollywood totem pole.  And yet, without actors, this industry wouldn't exist.

Here's what I know:  I know that, as an actor, it's my job to be prepared.  I need to show up on time and with a positive attitude, with strong, interesting choices, with confidence, and memorized sides.  I should look the part, and dress accordingly.  I should probably have a headshot on me.  I should allow for traffic and parking.  But I also know that I'm a human and therefore request the following 3 completely reasonable things:

1 - You expect me to be on time, and that's fine.  I don't think it's unrealistic for me to expect the same thing from you.  I know things happen, and being 10-15 minutes behind is no big deal.  However, when I have to wait more than an hour (and I've waited over 2 hours on occasion), that's unacceptable.  I'm trying to balance a day job - sometimes more than one - with auditions, and a social life, and sleep, and I can't always take 2 hours out of my day because casting may or may not be behind.  Please have more respect for my time than that.  If not, then please don't complain when I'm half an hour late because President Obama is in town.  And if you are ridiculously behind, I might suggest that keeping us posted on what's happening, and having a plate of cookies for auditioners goes along way toward alleviating the understandable frustration we're feeling.

2 - If I forget my headshot, don't freak out.  I don't think I've had anyone ask for a headshot in the last six months, so you'll forgive me if I've gotten out of the habit of carrying one around with me.  I know I should, but sometimes I don't.  It's not the end of the world.  You have me on film.  I promise that I'll do my best to make strong enough choices in the audition that a headshot is basically pointless anyway.

3 - Wardrobe expectations should consist of what I might reasonably have in my closet.  I'm not a wardrobe department, so things like "lab coat", "police uniform", or "chef's coat" are, in my opinion, not my job to provide.  If you want to see that, have it available for use at the audition. I can do things like "casual" or "business" or even "western", but if you want something specific, please ask the wardrobe department to provide it.

As an actor that is nowhere near the A-list, I feel like I am forced to be a Hollywood doormat.  I just have to nod and smile and be nice.  I can't express any legitimate concerns or frustrations for fear of being "that actor".  However, you constantly tell me that we are all on equal footing and so I'm requesting these things as a colleague.  Please consider them.


Struggling actors everywhere

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chastity's back y'all!

I present the 4th Annual Chastity Party:  Dipping Chips Instead of Hips.

The spread and peeps gettin' crafty

First prize crafty winner - a limerick:

(There once was a young man called Cassidy
Who decided to practice chastity
He lasted 'til noon
When some girl named June
Offered to give him a hand with it.)

Second prize - pipe cleaner warning sign:

First prize chastity belt:

Second Prize Chastity Belt:

White Elephants were sparse this year.  Here was mine:

White Elephants also included such gems as party poppers, and a latch-hook kit.  Thanks to everyone who participated, it was a great evening.  Already looking forward to next year!  Though, of course, everyone hopes to be ineligible by marriage by that time.  ;)
A special shout-out to Sister Tullis from the ward for bringing by her married-person contribution.  Thanks for your support!  And for the delicious dessert bars.  
Stay chaste my friends!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Scads of books.

I'm a pretty avid reader - 46 books last year. At the end of last year I picked 3 books to share that I had enjoyed reading. We're not even 4 months into the year and I already can't narrow it down to fewer than 5.  So I decided to share early.  Here are some recommendations for you:

Willpower:  rediscovering the greatest human strength
by Roy F. Baumeister & John Tierney

A book about willpower - imagine.  Seriously though, this was amazing.  It talks about the science behind willpower - and most notably strategies to increase yours.  What I found most fascinating is that studies show that we have a limited supply of willpower in a given day.  And we use willpower for all kinds of things - not just the traditional resisting of temptations.  We use it for all kinds of decisions.  That knowledge really can help you to make sure you're using your willpower at the right times. Luckily it talks about how to shore up that limited supply gradually.  Definite recommendation on this one.

Born to Run
by Christopher McDougall

A book about running.  It's a loosely narrative non-fiction book that follows the story of a secluded people in Mexico called the Tarahumara.  They're the greatest long-distance runners in history.  What I found most fascinating/helpful were the interwoven chapters involving the science of running.  That we're biologically engineered to run.  That running shoes have basically destroyed our natural running form.  I even started making fresh corn tortillas for nearly every meal because of this book.  I have also started running again.  I stopped because it was killing my knees, but then I read about forefoot-strike running, and barefoot running etc. and decided to just go for it.  Significant, and immediately noticeable improvements.  Check it out.

by R.J. Palacio

This is a fictional children's novel that tells the story of August - a boy with severe facial deformities caused by a bizarre twist of genetics.  He starts his first year of public school in the 5th grade and things progress and you'd expect, but end up - predictably, but delightfully - on a much more positive note.  I'm something of a crybaby, but this book had me weeping.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Not-so-dirty 30

I turn 30 this year.  30!  The big 3-0.  In a month, in fact.  I was thinking about what kinds of adventurous, fun, exciting, momentous things I wanted to do for this milestone.  Travel Europe?  Host a killer dance party?  Cruise?  Skydiving?  Unfortunately my current financial situation won't allow for much more than a really tasty dinner and a movie at Rave on $7 Tuesday.  I'm really okay with that, but I still want to make some kind of a positive impact on the world.  Two thoughts:

A little over a year ago I read a blog about a lady who, for her birthday, did one random act of kindness for every year she'd been alive.  I LOVED that idea.  Then I read some research that says random acts of kindness maybe aren't the best because rather than feeling kindess, people feel skeptical.  Also, a lot of the acts of kindness involved things like leaving a big tip for a waitress, or buying dinner for people in line behind you.  As I said, I don't have lots of funds.  So, I will probably still look for opportunities to open people's doors, and offer a friendly smile, but may leave "placing random gift cards around Barnes and Noble" for another day.

Late last year, through a series of clicks on the internet that I could in no way replicate at this point, I happened upon a website for a charity that does something with clean water in Africa.  They had a button on their page labeled "dedicate your birthday".  The purpose was that instead of getting presents, you dedicated your birthday to donations for their project.  I saw that and thought, "What a cool idea!"  And while I understand the great need for clean water in Africa (I was in a PSA for it, after all), I believe that to truly make the world a better place you need to decrease the suck and increase the awesome, and I really live more on the increase the awesome side of that equation.

So here's the plan:  If you were planning on giving me something for my birthday (or even if you weren't), instead I'd like you to pick a charitable organization of some kind and make a donation.  Here are a few of my favorites:  "Teachers ask.  You choose."

We all know that education is not the most well-funded of programs.  Teachers are constantly in need of supplies.  Donors Choose allows you to be part of the solution.  Teachers from around the country request money for things like books, art supplies, field trips, science equipment etc.  The website is set up so that the teachers don't handle the money, and they update their profiles with how their supplies etc. are being used.  All kinds of accountability, and you can feel safe knowing the money is going where it's needed.

Kickstarter is a website where artists of all kinds can go to get funds for their artistic endeavors.  Everything from short films to CDs.  Artwork to books.  Find a project you like and help it get funded!

Story Pirates is an organization that I'm involved with, as many of you know.  They take stories that elementary students have written and turn them into musicals, plays, and even short animated films.  They also teach workshops on writing.  This does all kinds of stuff for kid's confidence, creativity, etc. etc. etc.  It's pretty cool stuff.

The great thing about these websites is that you can donate as little as $1, or as much as you want.

If you're more of a "decrease the suck" kind of person, feel free to donate to clean water in Africa, or medical supplies in the Amazon ( is a great place to find stuff in this arena).  Either way, find an organization you feel passionate about - or even just one that you like - and make a donation.  Small or large.

Lastly, leave a comment with where you made your donation, or what kind of project you funded (i.e. if you went to donorschoose, tell me about the project you picked).  You don't have to say how much you donated, cuz that's kinda tacky, but I would like to know what kinds of things people are donating to.

Let's make the world a better place!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New and Improved!

New year blah blah blah, reflecting on life blah blah, resolutions blah.  Here are mine for 2013

Be more spontaneous/goofy/crazy/awesome/fearless.

I think I have a pretty fun and/or exciting life, but I feel like I kind of let myself coast a lot of the time.  I want to do more fun/crazy things.  Spontaneously go to the beach just to build sand castles.  Buy a model rocket and launch it.  Do kitchen science, wear a stick-on mustache to dinner, have a glamorous night out, turn the sound off on a movie and assign everyone a character, build a fort, dress as a superhero and run around the mall, wear my red galoshes, organize a flash mob, sing carols in random places, fly a kite, throw a theme party, have a water fight, get on outta my comfort zone etc. etc. etc.  I have these friends in my life who just live to the fullest extent they can.  I read about their lives and think, "Man, I wish I'd been there."  I kind of want to be someone that people say that about.  And of course you're all invited to come with me on any/all adventures.  So let's make some fun things happen eh?

Study the life of Christ more fully.

I phone in my gospel study a lot.  A lot.  It's no bueno.  There is a full, hard-back set of the Messiah Series by Bruce R. in my house.  I'm going to read it this year.  The whole thing.  On a rough estimate, that's somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 pages a day.  Most days I have more than enough time for that.  So I'm gonna do it.  I figure if I can bust through the entire Harry Potter series in a week, I can probably tacke the Messiah over the course of a year.

Do more things outdoors.

This goes along with being more crazy.  I live in a wonderful part of the country.  It's almost always sunny and warm and there's tons of stuff to do.  There's really no reason I should spend as much time as I do sitting around looking for something to do.  I want to go hiking, spend a significant amount of time at the beach - there's also no reason I should have a farmer tan as a opposed to a regular tan - go paddle boarding, go sailing, read at the park instead of my front room.  I want "fresh air"* to be a daily occurrence.  And I've never been to Catalina Island, so...

Volunteer more.

I have enough free time that I should really get involved in more volunteer opportunities.  I'm part of an organization called "The Art of Elysium" that volunteers at local children's hospitals and the like.  They do art projects, improv games, music etc. etc. etc.  It's pretty cool, but a lot of it is far far away from where I live.  I still do it, but I'd also like to look for some opportunities closer to home.  Specifically I want to see about being a baby cuddler at a local hospital.

Start my own traditions

I still have a couple of traditions that I participate in with my family back home, but for the most part I'm my own family.  "A family of one" as they're preaching in my ward these days.  I want to invent/discover/find/start some traditions that I can incorporate into my life from this point forward.  I already have a pretty rockin idea for probably Thanksgiving weekend.  And the Chastity Celebration may have to make a come-back this year.  So many options.

Work on my own film projects.

I'm working on some ideas for an educational web series (to hopefully turn into a successful TV show involving ridiculous amounts of syndication and merchandising etc. etc. etc.), maybe some collaborative and hilarious ukulele music videos with a friend of mine.  Along with some other ideas I have.  I want to be more proactive about my career, and I think this'll be a good way to do that.

Other things I might add to my list:  getting a pen-pal, cuddling more, dating**, learning/writing some songs on my ukulele, trying surfing, giving up soda.  If the funds allow I would also like to take some classes in improv, art, voice, and tap dance; travel to Florida and/or New York; buy a new car; adopt/buy a pet; and get an ipad mini.

It's a lot, I know, so if anyone would like to help me out with any of these goals, or participate in them in any way please feel free.  Let's make this a crazy awesome amazing year!

*The air outside my house in LA is probably actually less fresh than the air inside my house, but whatever.