Clearly my blog has been on hold for...a while. But just so no one thinks I'm not updating my website or that it has become defunct in anyway, I just wanted to post something random so you all know I'm still here ha :P I'm just really bad at blogging.
Friends, for the last four months, I have been working on this wonderful Catholic collaborative filmmaking project called 8 Beats and we are having a launch party on Sep 16 from 4:00-7:00pm at Apanas Coffee & Beer in the Domain.
There are 8 teams around the US and Canada making 8 different short films, each of them inspired by a different Beatitude. These films are films that go to the heart of the person, that deal with people's struggles: struggles of faith, of persecution, of seeing their own beauty. And the people involved in making these films have heart, passion, skill, and drive. We aren't even to pre-production yet and the process has already been so rewarding and fulfilling.
I am line producer/production manager for the South Region, or Team Texas, as we affectionately call it. Our short film, "2AM Lullaby", written by David Kang and directed by Sean Schiavolin, is based on the Beatitude, "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." (Dave and Sean are the men behind the Humanum series)
Please come to our launch party, support our film, and have a great time meeting some really passionate, really faithful Catholic artists! Facebook event here and Indiegogo Page here
2AM Lullaby Synopsis
"At an old theatre in Austin, TX, a burlesque performer sings a nightly lullaby to herself after the glitter has faded and the makeup has been wiped off. A night janitor from far away secretly hears her song as he works alone. A chance encounter between them will forever change how they see their lives."
This is a rather sad post to write. I was all set to perform in a A Streetcar Named Desire like my last post stated. I was really, truly very excited about it. Its an amazing part and an amazing screenplay. The characters are very broken and complex, and their stories are important to tell.
After a couple of months of rehearsals, the director and I spoke and it became clear that I was not going to be able to provide him with what he needed to achieve his vision. It was his decision, but we both agreed it was better that he recast the part. I don't particularly want to go into details; I don't think it would be appropriate and I don't want anyone misunderstanding the situation.
I misunderstood what he was going to need from me for some of the scenes, and when we realized this, we had a couple of really respectful conversations. He told me exactly what he wanted from me on stage and gave me the time to think about whether that was something I could provide. He didn't have to do that; he could have recast me without explanation. But he didn't. He respected me as an actress and as a person.
Dealing with all of this for the show made me realize to a deeper degree than I had before how much vulnerability and emotional intelligence it takes to be an actor. When I realized I couldn't give him what he needed, at first I thought that meant I couldn't be a successful actress, because I couldn't be as vulnerable as he needed me to be. But, fortunately, he gave me the time and space to process it, and I realized its not that I can't go to those places of emotional vulnerability and emotional intelligence; its simply that I have certain lines I can't cross. I think we all do.
Its really very unfortunate that we didn't realize the miscommunication when he cast me in the part, that we didn't realize his vision would cross some personal lines for me. I definitely learned a few lessons in all of this, and I came to respect the director for how he handled the situation. He saw me as a person, not a thing, not a robot. He saw how hard I was working on my craft and how hard I was working to meet his vision. I'm really grateful to him for that.
The situation didn't stymie my passion for acting; if anything it gave me more confidence in it.
If anyone wants to go see the show, you can find tickets here. Showing Sep 8-30 at Sam Bass Theatre in Round Rock, TX. The cast and crew are pretty great people and talented, too, and they're going to put on a good show.
Here I've been blogging for months about all this acting I've been doing and you, my poor friends (and dare I say it - true fans?), have hardly been able to see me in a darn thing. Well, wait no more! I will be playing Stella in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. Performances will be in September at Sam Bass Theatre in Round Rock, TX.
We have rehearsals during almost every weeknight and we commit about 10-15 hours per week in preparation! I've been exploring my character during my acting classes and it is exhausting but also exciting and so interesting. As wonderful as Kim Hunter was as Stella in the film version of Streetcar, I am excited to bring my own style to the character.
I'll keep you updated on show dates, but save at least one weekend to come see me!
Okay, friends, I've got these fancy shmancy new postcards of my face. In an effort to keep my name and my look out in the great big wide world, I ordered postcards with my headshots! If you would like to see my beautiful face on your fridge every day, just let me know, and I'll mail you one. Although there is one condition: whenever you have a guest over and they ask , "Who is that stunning woman?" please let them know that I am an incredibly talented actress and filmmaker and am often looking for new projects and collaborators. Send them to my Facebook pages and have them "like me" on social media just like you "like me" in real life! And you can go ahead and tell them how kind, sweet, and intelligent I am while you're at it. ;) #ego
If you've never been an extra before its pretty fun. Well, usually. If its a huge production, being an extra can kind of feel like being cattle: you munch and munch on grass (aka crafty) and then eventually you are slowly corralled toward the set.
Ha - its not all bad though. Last fall I worked as an extra on Robert Rodriguez's Alita: Battle Angel and got to walk right past Jennifer Connolly while on camera. I later watched her from afar while she performed her scene. I've always thought she looked so elegant in her films. The way she carries herself is so formal and yet soft. I think it must be quite the advantage to her career: she gives off this aura of authority and beauty by having amazing posture and moving with grace! So, yeah, I creepily watched her from a distance to see how I can learn from her.
Working as an extra on smaller productions offers a very different experience. I don't get to stare - excuse me, admire - famous Hollywood types, but I do really get to hang out with some talented people and watch them work, which, for those that love to observe (like me!) that can be pretty fun! In the last several weeks I've gotten to work as an extra on couple of different Rooster Teeth productions. The second one in particular was a great time because it was in the comfort of the AC on a very hot day!
I also had the pleasure of meeting some very fun people! Shout out to Ryan Smith (Rooster Teeth junkie and Operations Manager at CBS Austin) , Shane Ramirez (actor and filmmaker), and Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen.
Two of the episodes recently came out. The series is called "Million Dollar But..." and a few people chat about getting a million dollars but in return they have to do these terrible or disgusting things. Would you take the money or not? Videos are posted below. In the episode with Grace Helbig, keep an eye out for me at 1:37, 3:32, 3:56. In the episode with Hannah Hart, keep an eye out for me at 1:00 and 4:21.
I did not realize until recently the intense following that Rooster Teeth has! Since I'm working on my own series concept, potentially to be a web series, I'd really love to pick the brains of one of the founders or perhaps a sales or marketing manager or the like: whoever focuses their attention on distribution. Its one thing to make a film; its another to get it seen. But that is a blog post for another time; there is so much to be said on that.
Since Rooster Teeth makes web series and since they got their foot hold into youtube before youtube was really even a thing, I am sure the founders have a great deal of insight on the subject. So, if anyone knows the distributions manager at Rooster Teeth or any of the founders and wants to introduce me so I can pick their brain and ask for advice on how to distribute my own series, let me know! (I'm serious). Thanks, y'all!
And since there is a Friends reference for everything:
Ross walks into Central Perk with a huge stack of newspapers.
Ross: Hey, you guys. I got some bad news.
Phoebe: Well that's no way to sell newspapers. Why don't you try, 'Extra! Extra! Read all about it!'
It has been some time since I was blogging on my site! Shame on me. But I am back to it, and setting myself a goal to blog a certain amount each month! I'll keep that goal to myself in case I fail so I'll be the the only one to know I messed up! ;)
I am officially back in the acting game, having recently signed with Variant Talent in Austin, TX. I promised one of my acting professors in college that I would never stop acting. I took a hiatus for a while to develop my writing, directing, and producing skills. But the acting itch has always been with me. I am going on auditions and excited for the doors this is going to open for me. (One of my new headshots is below: Thank you Kathy Whittaker for your amazing photography!)
I also have several short films/web series that I am writing. Keeping those ideas to myself until they are more firmly established, but in the meantime, here is a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, from which I am gaining some inspiration for one of the projects! Thank you Bill Watterson for your inspiring and hilarious genius!
If you haven't read my previous post on my excursion to Scotland, you can read it here. This is part 2 of a wonderful trip.
As if we hadn't gotten enough fresh air already, in the afternoon, Rob and I took a small tourist cruise. We first took a rather expensive bus trip 20 minutes to Queensferry and then arrived on our boat. Rob and I were one of the first to step on board, and as we did, I asked one of the employees a quick question. He had been in the middle of counting all of the passengers and he joked that I had interrupted him. Five minutes after I was seated, the employee came up to me and had me walk passed all the passenger, using his counter to double check the number of passengers! I definitely appreciated his laid-back nature!
The cruise itself was wonderful. The River Forth has so much history and a lasting heritage. We passed by an old Augustine monastery on an island, which if we had taken the earlier cruise, we could have explored. We learned of WWII battles that took place there. We passed under the famous Forth Bridge and saw the UK's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth. We even saw a grey seal sitting on a buoy right next to the boat! As a 'Seale', I was ecstatic. The commentary on the cruise was excellent, although hard to hear since we were sitting outside with the wind.
The next day was our final full day in Edinburgh and we didn't actually spend it in the city! I was torn between two things: visit Edinburgh Castle, which would have been a great historical trip or visit the University of St. Andrew's in nearby Fife. When I was in high school, I was accepted to the university for my bachelors but opted not to attend because they didn't have the program I was looking for. I had long wanted to visit and here I was, so close to it.
Rob and I took a train to St. Andrew's and explored the town. It was a nice break from city-life. We had brunch at a great cafe, which, to be honest, felt supremely American. In fact, sitting in a nearby table was a group of American girls who I assumed must have been university students. Americans were everywhere.
Afterwards, we walked through the town and came to the ruined Cathedral of St. Andrew's. I have been to many old churches, but to walk through one in complete ruins, to stand before what was once the main altar, to pass by the old graves was a truly humbling experience.
As we walked through the town, we stumbled upon the main building for English studies for the University of St. Andrews. This is where I would have spent most of my time! We entered, I explored, and I knew this was an experience I could have had, but as I looked up an down the list of the classes, my mouth only watered a little bit. Ultimately, I was very happy I didn't attend; I was able to have different experiences instead.
Since we missed out on exploring Edinburgh Castle, we spent about half an hour exploring St. Andrew's Castle instead. While much, much smaller and missing a lot of walls and a roof, it was very neat to explore. The castle was a real battleground during the Reformation: in an attempt to take the castle, the Protestants began to dig a tunnel, but the Catholics found out and dug a counter-tunnel, meeting the Protestants underground and battling it out. This was the coolest part of the castle: we got to crouch into the tunnel and walk through! Very cool.
Before we had to catch our bus, Rob and I stopped by the golf courses to see where the sport began. This was literally walking there and walking back, just so we could say we'd seen it! We also grabbed some hot chocolate from the cafe where Prince William and Kate Middleton often went on dates, North Point cafe. Unfortunately, the service was slow, but otherwise I loved this place because it felt so down-to-earth and because they have the most delicious salmon bagel I've ever had! If you go, be sure to get the bagel with salmon, mango chutney, bacon, and cream cheese! Delicious.
After much needed relaxation in St. Andrews, Rob and I returned to Edinburgh and our trip was at an end. We enjoyed scotch, shopping, a hike, a cruise, and all that St. Andrew's has to offer. It was a jam-packed adventure. Next time, and I do think there will be a next time, I'll explore Edinburgh Castle and St. Giles Cathedral. Edinburgh just has too much to offer for such a short trip.
About three weeks ago, I moved back to Austin, TX after living in London for two years. It's a difficult transition back in part because I had grown so accustomed to frequent excursions to unknown towns and cities. I went to Oxford, Canterbury, Bristol, Dublin - just to name a few. I have as yet not written about any of those travels, which is unfortunate because those trips carry the potential for travel-blogging GOLD. But, it's not too late; I'll begin here:
Just before I came back to the US, I went on a short trip to Edinburgh, a trip which meant I had finally set foot on all of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom. I had only about three days and I jam-packed it with activities. The trip began with a five hour train ride from London to Edinburgh, which, if you've ever taken the train through the UK countryside you will know is absolutely part of trip. The beauty of rolling hills, the seaside, the farmland, the sheep, the small cottages, and distant ancient-looking churches! Knowing the the journey back would be by plane, I enjoyed this train ride as much as I could, but I was also anxious to set an itinerary for the time in Edinburgh.
My boyfriend, Rob, the loyal companion that he is, was happy to acquiesce to my insanity as I pulled out my phone and began researching the best things to do in Edinburgh. I knew we couldn't do everything but I was determined to be informed so I would know what I was missing out on. After reading through a list of a the top 25 activities in Edinburgh and researching the most Scottish of whisky bars, I wrote down all the ones that struck our fancy and slot them into the itinerary where I could find an opening. By the time we got off the train, our schedule was arranged to the T, with multiple options for things to do depending on what we felt up to at the moment. Although we didn't do everything on the list, what we did accomplish was an amazing feat!
After we arrived and while we waited to meet a friend, we walked up and down the Royal Mile, a historic section of Edinburgh with a host of tourist shops, jewelry booths, and the beautiful St. Giles Cathedral. Nearby was Victoria Street, a curved road on a hill with a host of quaint shops - books, candles, clothes, antiques, etc. Sadly, most of the stores were closed when we arrived, but it was nice to do some window shopping and one store, which was unexpectedly open late, sold some wonderful natural soaps (I bought one that smells exactly like honeysuckle - no regrets here). Both the Royal Mile and Victoria Street were perfect for some meandering; it was a very chill (and chilly) evening.
Later in the evening after we met up with our friend, the three of us stopped into the Whiski Rooms, a classy whisky bar with large oxblood leather booths, wood wall paneling, and a comfortable yellow lighting. If it had a few cigar chairs and some bookshelves filled with leather-bound classics, I could've imagined myself in the headquarters of a gentleman's cigar lounge. As it was, however, the Whiski Rooms felt like the perfect combination between modern and classic, between young and old. I highly recommend this classy bar, located just off of Market Street and near Prince's Street Gardens. My friend and I both enjoyed a Godfather, my favorite drink - a shot of amaretto and blended Scotch on the rocks. Although I enjoy Scotch on its own, to my rather naive tastebuds, the sweetness of amaretto with the pepperyness of the Scotch is wonderful.
For the following morning, I managed to convince Rob to climb Arthur's Seat, the highest of several hills. We woke up at 6:30am, took a cab to the base of the hill, and hiked in the semi-dark. The hike wasn't too difficult, and the path is pretty clear. It took us 45 minutes to get to the top; as planned, we arrived just in time for the sunrise. We saw several people come and go, but we just watched. We watched the sun rise, creating soft blue and pink in the clouds. We watched as the sun seemed to strengthen, waking up the world with fiery orange. A hike up Arthur's seat is absolutely recommended. And if you can do it at sunrise, so much the better.
This, more or less, marked the halfway point of our trip. It was so full of adventures, I can hardly fit it all in one post! So please bear with me and I will continue my tale shortly.
Update: You can find Part 2 here
I am a filmmaker, actress, writer, and travel-lover from Austin, TX. I'll use this blog to post updates about my work and reviews about films, my travels, and related topics.