Yet another post about me learning something from children.

There is a phrase that I think about a lot. It takes many forms, but because I love a good prayer, my favorite wording is:

God grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man.

I make this request to God frequently, because frequently, I feel like I did something wrong. So I have to tell myself that it’s all in my head, and this prayer-phrase is very motivating in that regards. But anyway, this isn’t what I meant to write about. Get out of my blog, Men!

This week I realized that while man confidence is advantageous and all, I would rather have the confidence of a middle school girl who hasn’t yet fallen off the cliff of Childhood Revelry into the tempestuous waters of Adolescent Confusion and Trauma.

This was solidified for me during a shoot on Monday at a middle school in East New York. My friend Stephanie was directing a series of promos for an upcoming pilot, and asked if I minded jumping on set for the afternoon. My task: to block a short fight scene.

I’ve directed a lot of kids. It requires stamina. And a lot of breathing from your diaphragm. And yep, these gals were just as deafening as every other group of kids I’ve worked with. But there was one major difference: they somehow managed to be great listeners, too. Not just to me, but to each other. Even through all the teasing and the verbal digs, they managed to be accepting, patient, and extremely creative. Sometimes, without even speaking, they would all erupt into the same dance. Or one girl would start quietly singing, and then suddenly they were a choir.

I hardly had to yell at all. In fact: I found myself mostly listening.

A good actor will take a look at a script and flesh out the world surrounding the lines. They will get in front of a camera, or on a stage, and think: what would I do in real life? And then they will find a way to inject that real life into the scene. Atmosphere will roll, the audience will be transported, and we will all live on a different planet together for 15-130 minutes, plus any residual feelings. Easy, right? Not in my experience.

This takes confidence, which is very hard to find. So when these kids jumped right in and put their own spin on it, creating a fully fleshed out and tremendously entertaining scene, I was honestly kinda jealous. They even added a little moment before the scene started, which is something that many grown up actors don’t think to do even after dumping a hundred grand into an MFA.

Their confidence came from an organically childlike place  -one of wonder and adventure- but it was ever so slightly tinged with the dynamism and resolution that comes with being a woman.

What a powerful combination.

working from home

One very tough thing about working from home is that I have to keep stopping to put my face on the cat.

The problem with this has less to do with my cat allergy and more to do with time management.

Time management is hard for me, because I always think I have NO time, when in fact, I have loads of it, and I spend much of it pacing around convincing myself I’m running late.

So I have come upon a little aphorism: You always have more time than you think you do.

And I say it to myself and I chill the fuck out.

Unless I’m at the post office.

Another thing about working from home is that when I’m here I feel a great need to clean everything.

The irony is that the apartment is almost never clean. I often find myself looking at piles of junk I have strewn about the living room, scratching my head and wondering where my day went because: Didn’t I vacuum and do laundry and organize the books today? Alas! Where did this pile of junk come from?

So another maxim I rely upon: Art before dishes.

I stole this one from a book that I cannot reference because I can’t remember the book. Please know I did not come up with this saying.

Lastly, it is tough to work from home because I believe there are small bugs in my apartment that bite me while I’m trying to sit at my computer, and ONLY when I sit at my computer.

Nobody else believes these bugs exist, but here I am scratching away even though I have not burrowed my face in ANY cat fur recently because I do not fit under the bed.

This leads me to perhaps the most important little mantra I have for myself, being:

Slightly unhinged people also have a best self, and it should be embraced.

xoxo

busywork.

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“But I have so many PLANS!!!” – Me, procrastinating.

I’ve spent SO much time reading about actor marketing lately, and it is sucking the life out of me. The problem with an abundance of resources is that I feel like I spend so much time preparing to market myself, that I’m not actually doing anything tangible.

I had this teacher who used to talk about the Nike School of Acting- Just Do It.

Hardy, har, har.

This website will be forever developing and adapting, on the account that I will be forever learning. Also, this isn’t really where my talents lie.

The same teacher also said that knowledge may be power, but it won’t get you anywhere if you lack experience. So I’m going to stop reading about stuff and strike out on my own.

(Note to self. Dig out acting journal from 2009, find actual quote about knowledge).

I’m so excited! Boy it’s warm in here- it must be from all the steam I built up!