Get a life!

As a committed actor, you spend a lot of time focusing on building your career, obviously. Between classes, networking, marketing yourself, auditioning and actually acting in film or on stage, you can easily slip into a familiar routine or stagnant rut. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the importance of your growth as a human being. Actually, it is vital to you as an actor.

So, what to do about it?

Go out there and do new things for the first time! Feel the excitement of learning something new! Do you have a hobby? Nurture it, don’t neglect it! If you’re not into your hobby anymore, find a new one. Meet people outside of your usual circles. Travel and see other parts of the world, observe other cultures. Volunteer! Always pick your brain with a new challenge, like learning a new language or just memorizing your friends’ actual phone numbers! (Personally, I don’t think I know anybody’s phone number by heart, except for my husband’s and parents’ over in Germany). Get out of your comfort zone! Get a life outside of acting! How else are you going to gain any experience for future roles?

I’ve heard all this preached quite a few times and said my ‘yeah, yeahs‘… Easier said than done, right? But with a little discipline and determination, you can do it and stop finding excuses not to. No money for traveling abroad? Well, we live in a beautifully versatile country. Make it a road trip and take a travel buddy with you. Plan a route and go for it. Mark a weekend in your calendar and commit to it! You’ll find the cash for gas and transportation. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Trust me! For example, I always wanted to see Mayan ruins in Mexico and it took me three years of online research, planning and saving money, but it was the most spectacular and exhilarating vacation I’ve ever had! Those memories will ‘feed’ me until my next big adventure.


“What fear of heights? What dark cave below?” (Can you see the fear in my face?) *gulp*

If there’s a WILL, there’s a way. It’s as simple as that.

However, if your life gave you some seriously bitter lemons; or maybe your outlook at the moment doesn’t hold much promise for anything ‘fun’ – don’t despair! Even shitty experiences have their value! I worked at two seasonal jobs last year and at times it sucked so bad it made me cry. Seriously! Both jobs were in areas of expertise completely foreign to me. One dealt with lots of kids and the other with retail…in a mall…during the holidays. Yep. I took those gigs on to (hopefully) learn something new and to support my acting habit. I did my best, looked for the positive (wherever possible) and ‘endured’, but I was so glad when it was over. As bad as it was back then, I did gain some knowledge and learned lessons that I wouldn’t have otherwise. And guess what, those experiences also came in handy for some recent acting gigs!

So, what are you waiting for? Are you motivated? Good! Now let me get back to my online courses teaching me about my DSLR camera. I’m trying to have a life here ;)

Packing an ‘actor bag’ for the set

I worked on a short film last week, and the night before the first shoot day, I scrambled around the house getting my ‘actor bag‘ together. Now, I already have one semi ready, but each acting gig is different and the bag needs to be updated accordingly. It doesn’t help that I sometimes cannibalize the bag for an overnight stay at a friend’s place, camping or other short trip – and then forget to put everything back.

Every time I try to figure out what’s still missing, I tell myself I need to make a permanent list that I can refer to next time (don’t get me started on my obsession with lists…) So, let’s do this now!

Here’s my pack list for a film shoot. If you’re an actor and have your own list, feel free to share yours or any other tips you may have. I’m sure I’m still forgetting a few things…

Most important: Your script, notes, driving directions or map (don’t rely solely on your GPS). Your wardrobe (if not provided on set), a warm jacket (never fails to get cold somewhere, somehow). If you’ll be in rough terrain, bring some sturdy shoes. Your phone and charger (car and wall charger). Shades, a hat and SUNSCREEN for body, face and lips! And of course stuff from your purse, like wallet, ID and keys; or just the whole purse all together.

Essential: Your own make-up and hair stuff, if there is no MUA on the set. Your own healthy snacks and water, just in case… I’ve gotten seriously hungry on the drive home late at night/into early morning on previous shoots. I always carry glucose tablets. Your ‘mood’ music, earphones. Camera (I love taking photos! Make sure it’s ok to take pics on the set).

Don’t forget: Personal hygiene products, deodorant and breath mints – very handy on a long day, and your fellow cast and crew will appreciate it.

Murphy’s Law: A mini sewing kit, safety pins, lint roller. Mini flashlight, Advil, contact lens solution & extra contacts, re-wetting drops, band-aids, nail file. Arnica gel, throat lozenges, allergy meds and Airborne.

….and remember it’s not just the material things you need to pack:

Your mindset: Bring your A-Game, a positive attitude and energy! KNOW that you are prepared and ready. Most of all, have fun!

Ok, then!

That’s it, right? What am I forgetting?

Early vacation, cleared head, now diving back in.

I had a little early vacation when my parents came from overseas to visit for a month and we went on a little roadtrip. Well, not so little. We went from Cali to Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and back. Yup, did the whole shebang – Meteor Crater, Canyon de Chelley, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde, Arches National Park, Four Corners and most awesome of all ‘The Wave‘ in the North Coyote Buttes (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument)!!! I was lucky to get permits online about 5 months ago. Just amazing!

Mom and I ‘riding’ the Wave – I’ll never forget this!

So…what does it all have to do with acting? Not much. Well..I DID watch a few actors reenact the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. See? There was some acting there!

No, seriously – and I’m sure most of my fellow actors agree – sometimes you just need to get away from it all! No scouring casting websites for gigs, no auditions, no classes, no networking, no emails, no (gasp!) internet.
You have to clear your head sometimes, get out there, do something new, see something you’ve never seen before. Explore, travel – go on an adventure and find yourself again!

Of course at first I was wondering how many opportunities I ‘missed’ by not being ‘on the grid’ and it took me a day or two to get out of that mindset, but then I relaxed into my new situation; and I was in a different world. I think as an actor you NEED stuff like this – to grow and to experience new sensations. If not, where else is inspiration supposed to come from? It also helped me reconnect with my parents and I now see our relationship in a new light. Two birds, yay!

But, that’s all over now and I’m back. Vacation is over. Time to get crackin’ again!

So, I signed up on two teams for the 48Hr Film Festival and started attending their meetings. One of the teams is almost the same crew that worked on ‘Vincent‘ – we all stayed in touch and were eager to work together again. Love it!

Speaking of ‘Vincent‘: Director Nicolas Simonin is back from Cannes, where his previous short film ‘Derailed’ was screened. So, we (Nicolas, actor Jonno Roberts, yours truly and a skeleton crew) filmed a few pickup shots in my place and later that night at that gas station again. Talk about Deja Vu! It was actually really fun and fast and Nic was happy with the footage. Post production continues..

Found out I got a new imdb credit for ‘Where are the Fans‘. WoOT!

Also found out from director Mark Allen that his horror feature ‘Man Alone‘, in which I’m slated to play a journalist, is on hold until 2012. Bummer. But that’s how it goes – film financing is tough these days!

But the good news is, ‘Witch Creek‘ (dir. Neal Hallford), another horror/supernatural feature, is on again! Supposed to shoot this summer.

Zombie Man‘ is in post production. I was asked to do an interview about my experience on the set, which was really fun to do. I think it will be included on the DVD (well, part of it, I’m sure, since I probably rambled on for a while, heh).

That’s the latest; now off to search for more gigs! Tschüss!