Giving Thanks

Today I see lots of posts on social media about Thanksgiving and thought I’d add my own two cents, for what it’s worth.

Gratitude – I believe it’s not something to celebrate just that ONE day. I meditate every day and add gratitude to my daily thinking. It has helped me in so many ways, it’s hard to explain. I believe it has eased my anxiety and insecurities and helps me maintain perspective and even a dose of happiness. Yes, there are days that I wish, I could..wish, I had, wish there was more of this, less of that. THAT’s when I remind myself of what I have, what I am and what I’ve accomplished as well. Of course there’s always room for improvement, but you have to balance that inner dialogue with those reminders.

A year ago, during Thanksgiving dinner with friends, I was an anxiety-ridden wreck. I had been plagued with daily heart palpitations and SVT attacks that resulted in ER visits. I had made my decision by then to go ahead with the cardiac ablation procedure and was nervous about THAT on top of it.

Today I look back in literal ‘heartfelt‘ gratitude. I’m grateful for the docs, nurses, surgeons that helped ‘fix’ me, the medical science and technology that made it possible for me to heal, and friends and family who were there for me throughout that difficult time. I’m grateful for finally having had the confidence to get back on a transatlantic flight and see my overseas family again. I’m grateful to have the confidence to get back to the things I love without the constant worry and fear of my heart acting up. I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to continue my main passions: acting, film and visual art.

This is just a glimpse of my gratitude. There are too many things to list and I won’t bore you with the details, but my point is: There is something to be grateful every day, even if it’s “just” waking up to a new day!

thankyou

 

Anyhoo, lots of cool stuff has happened since my last blog and I promise to update on here soon. But for now, I got a big old food shindig to get ready for!

Have a great Thanksgiving and make it a great day!

Heeere, money, money, money!

A few weeks ago, the San Diego Film Consortium kindly asked me to be part of the “How to use Crowdfunding to Fund your Film” panel at one of their networking events. I’d never done a panel before, so I prepared as much as possible beforehand and dug out my to-do lists and other notes from the time I did my own Indiegogo campaign. The panel was fun and I had a great time giving my two cents and answering questions. Afterwards, I was about to throw away my written notes when I realized they might make a helpful blog. So, here we are!

If you want your crowdfunding campaign to work, it takes a lot of preparation and work. I did loads of online research and googling for tips, etc,  before I started mine. I started blogging about it before it even started.

• Do it as early as possible! Run it while you develop your project, before you start pre-production. Remember, it takes 30 days (or longer if you have the time) for the campaign itself, and then up to 2 weeks to receive all the funds once it’s ended. So, give yourself 6 weeks and be aware of that timeframe for your film in development or pre-production. If you rely solely on the funds for pre-production, then you really need to do it early. Most campaigns start with a bang, then fizzle out for a while and then have a last minute surge again before they close. Time your campaign to people’s paychecks. Also consider the time of the year (before Christmahannukwanzadan and right after the New Year is tough). Mine started September16th and ended Oct 16th, which gave me enough time for pre-production up until the shoot day on November 8th (about 3 weeks).Screen Shot silly 2014-09-14 at 7.17.22 PM

• Make a video! Use humor if possible, depending on your project. For me, making the video itself was a lot of work: write the ‘script’, find the location(s), co-ordinate it with your co-star, talk to the camera, be yourself, show that you’re passionate and excited about it, film it, edit it (don’t get me started on THAT), upload it (I used Vimeo for the video upload) and then share the hell out of it!

 

• Figure out how much money you need – break it down and explain. Location and insurance, food & beverages for the cast & crew ate up most of my budget. Keep in mind post production costs! Things like DVDs, cases, poster prints, promo material and most importantly film festival submission costs!. I definitely should have, and could have, raised my fundraising goal just for the festival submissions alone, lol! Those fees add up!

 

• List and introduce your cast and key crew (if you have them already lined up) – especially if you have ‘Names’ attached. Have your cast and crew spread the word, too!

 

• Figure out the perks for your contributors, make them original and try offering many different options and levels. Keep in mind delivery options (shipping costs), order them in time if you need them custom made (Zazzle, etc).
perk
• Make updates on your campaign page to keep people engaged. Add new perks midway through when the momentum usually lags, use photos or video.

 

• Use as much social media as possible, FB and Twitter are a must. Email your friends/family who are not on social media.

 

Most important: Keep your promises – deliver your perks! Update, update, update! Even after the campaign. Let them know what is happening to your film. You may want to do another campaign some day and people remember! They remember, too, if they got ripped off. Don’t be one of those filmmakers!
Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 11.26.22 AM
So, there you go – I hope this helped! Feel free to share this with your filmmaker friends or other future fundraiser peeps!

Good luck! :)

 

 

I ‘like’ you, you ‘like’ me..

…we are happy ‘family’!

Happy, fake and useless family created by algorithms, that is.

meh

Lately I’ve seen a rise of FB pages, groups and other websites that promote sharing links amongst commenters and members in order to click on ‘Like‘ for their respective profiles or pages. An actor acquaintance of mine spends hours ‘liking’ other people’s IMDb or FB pages in hopes that the same people return the favor. Hours!!! In the past, I let myself be guilted into taking part in this madness (in one case, I was actually forced into it unless I wanted to be dropped from their ‘clicklist’), but found it to be such a timesuck that I quickly dropped it like a bad habit. Needless to say, I’m not on that ‘click-list’ anymore. Oh snap! Silly me! I’m sure my acting career is plummeting at the same accelerating speed as my plummeting STARmeter rank! *sigh*.

Those are hours I’d much rather spend working on a monologue, writing a scene or meeting an ‘industry’ friend in person. You know…in real life….with real people that I actually like…for real. I’d rather go out there and audition; or better yet, make friends on a film set or stage after (hopefully) doing a great job.

Oh, but it’s for marketing yourself and putting your face out there“,  blah blah…

I get it, but really? Wouldn’t you rather have people like you for you? For your talent and what you actually do? Call me naive, but I’d rather not beg strangers to ‘like’ me on a page that isn’t even part of my own website.  If I ‘like’ somebody online, it’s because I actually do. Or I’ve actually seen their performance and loved it! Sometimes I wish there was a ‘love’ button. There are so many other, interactive and fun ways to put yourself out there!

Don’t get me wrong – I spend a lot of time on the internet myself (helloooo….blog much?) and I use the amazing array of info available on such sites as ActorsAccessCastingAbout and yes, even IMDbPro, but this whole ‘I like you, if you like me’ thing just feels icky to me and I’d rather spend my time in a more productive way.

If I’m wrong, please educate me! I’m sure it has some use, somehow, right? Otherwise, why would people do it? Or is it just a fad? People being ‘sheeple’? Seriously, anybody with real and concrete insight, please, please tell me how an IMDb STARmeter ranking is important to me; or how the number of ‘likes’ is useful to me as an actor (besides stroking my ego)? Much appreciated!

Meanwhile, I’ve got some casting notices to peruse. Toodles!