Friday, July 30, 2010

JOY... ya dig?

So, a few weeks ago I mentioned, in teensy tiny little print, that I had a HUGE announcement to make...  and then I never made it.  Whoops.  I was so excited, and so, well, overwhelmed, that I commented on Facebook and told all my friends and never actually got around to posting on here.  So, some of you already know this, but for the rest of you, here goes...

I have been chosen as a Season 3 guest writer for the brilliant website, Stratejoy!

 Those of you that know me in person, or those of you that have been reading this for a while, know that I've gone through a few whopping breakdowns and major life changes in the last few months... ok, years.  I like to call this my Quarterlife Crisis, and it generally makes me feel like a big, bad, good-for-nothing mess of a loser.  Well, guess what?  I'm not as alone as I thought I was.

Stratejoy is a company created to help women in their 20s & 30s, specifically (though I think anyone of any age can benefit from it), get through their Quarterlife Crises.  It's a "tribe of gutsy girls" who are willing to delve into the tough stuff, the questions like "what do I want out of life," and face their fears to come out on the other side happy, whole, and with a game plan.  It's literally Strategies For Joy.

So, you may be wondering - um, hello, self-proclaimed mess of a loser, what makes you fit to write for this site?  You can't even get your own shit together; how are you going to help others do it?  no, you weren't wondering that?  well, the devil's advocate in my brain was, so I'm gonna answer it anyway.

That's the beauty of it.  Because I'm going through it myself, I can help others get through it too, and show them they're not alone.  It gives a purpose to this crisis outside of my own personal growth.

And, I'm super excited to have even MORE reasons to write, which I love to do and had let myself stop for years.  So I hope you all will follow me on Stratejoy, as you do here and on Escape Hatcher, and that you'll also read what the other 5 AMAZING women I will be writing with have to say.  And, if all this Quarterlife Crisis talk sounds parallel to your own life, please check out The Joy Equation - I'm starting it this week and think it's going to do me heaps of good.
I can't tell you how excited (and grateful & happy) I am for this opportunity and for how it will help me grow!  See you on the other side of this QLC!

xo! n.

Monday, July 26, 2010

In with the popular kids

Last night I took a chance and went to a Hollywood philosophy club meeting.  I didn't know anyone there; I was invited by a guy I met for about 5 minutes on set.  I've been terrible the past few years about going out to things alone - if no one will come with me, I usually make up some excuse for not going.  I know, it's terrible.  But since I've recently decided I have nothing to lose in LA and am trying to live fully and say YES to opportunities, I went with an open mind.

At first, I felt like I was 16 again, tagging along to a "cool kids" party.  Everyone was so stylish and Hollywood and skinny.  They all knew each other.  I was reminded of the high school kid I used to be, who shopped at thrift stores to have a style of her own so she wouldn't be compared to the popular girls and protected herself from rejection with dry humor.  I was sitting there, self-concious, in her figurative Doc Martens again.

And then I remembered that I'm NOT that girl.  I'm a woman who has lived and loved and made friends all over the world, and I'm good with who I am.  I may not be LA-perfect, but I have a lot to offer.  And so I smiled, and I introduced myself, and I made conversation, and I was comfortable and I made friends.  And, as usual, everyone was really nice and I had a great time.

Sometimes I just need to have a little more faith in myself.

Today I am so grateful and happy for:
~ new friends
~ owning who I am
~ saying yes with an open mind

xo! n.

 [photo source]

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2months 2make it

I know, I know, it's like middle school up in that title.  (U R 2 cute 2 B 4gotten!)

My friends are amazing - especially the kick-ass Sarah, whose couch I've been on for a full 2 weeks now - for letting me crash with them, but my back and neck are starting to feel the effects of couch springs & flat pillows, and I'm kinda over living out of a suitcase.

not me.  [source]

I've decided, if you couldn't tell by that last post, to give this industry & city one more chance.  One more chance to put me in movies, one more chance to bring me some happiness.  Do you like how I'm putting the pressure on them, not on myself?  :)  I'm still wary of committing to a full year in LA, but I've decided to stick around for two months & see what happens, see how I feel.  No, I'm not expecting to book something crazy big in that short time period, but I would like to get an agent, start auditioning again, and feel good about it all.  If I'm still miserable, I don't want to be stuck here.  If things are going well, I can stay longer.

I already know that if this doesn't work out, I can still be happy.  I've already come to terms with creating in other ways.  So I have nothing to lose.

Therefore, in an effort to ditch the suitcase & settle myself for a little bit (I am a Taurus after all, I need a home space), I have found a two month sublet!  It's a room in a house in Eagle Rock, and it's got enough closet space that I can keep all my boxes there.  The house is very bachelor-pad-messy but it's got a yard (wha!) with lemon tree (what!!) and a hammock (WHAT!!) and a back porch that stretches under my window, and I'm already imagining flowerpots and herb plants that I can see from my desk.

not my garden... but it could be!  [source]

The people seem nice, the price is right, and if I like it there, I can stay longer.  So that just suits me fine for now.  In a week, I will have a place from which to take life one day at a time...

Today I am so happy and grateful for:
~ free couches
~ new places
~ nothing to lose

xo! n.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The YES Factor

New Escape Hatcher post up!  Read it here.
Sometimes it's terrifying when plans change but saying YES to the unexpected can lead you to things that are better than you ever could've planned.  Let go & say yes!

xo! n.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My True Hollywood Story

I asked for the strength to trust.  I asked for the Universe to make it clear.  I asked for life to be better than I can imagine.  I got what I asked for.

Arriving on set Friday, I was led to my trailer - yes, my own trailer with my character name on the door, a full couch, microwave, TV, DVD player, refrigerator, vanity, and full bathroom with a shower.  As the AD closed the door, saying "I'll be back in a few minutes to take you to hair and makeup," I had a silent freak out, mouthing OH MY GOD and jumping up and down as quietly as possible, giggling uncontrollably.  I am here.  I am actually here.

I went to hair and makeup, meeting the awesome ladies there, talking and silently going over my sides while in the chair.  Then to rehearsal where I met the male lead and the director - somehow not feeling the butterflies I'd expected, somehow feeling calm and confident.  We set my marks & then it was lunch, touch-ups in hair & makeup, and getting into costume.  I took advantage of the floor space & full-length mirror in my trailer, practicing my lines & setting my own marks for the props I had to use, until I felt comfortable.  Then to set, where of course it's "hurry up and wait."  I sat in the director's chairs marked "cast" and made friends with everyone who came by.  I was just loving being there.

NOT where we were filming {source}

We started filming with the end of my scene.  I got two more lines.  After a couple takes, in the interim, the director came up to me and said (paraphrased):  "Can I be honest with you?"
Me (nervous, but smiling): "Please do."
     "You are the only person in this cast that I did not handpick.  You are the only wild card.  This is my life; making movies is my passion, and this is a good movie.  You're in a good movie, do you know that?"
     "Yes.  And I'm so happy to be here."
     "Well I've been watching you, and... you're talented.  You're doing good work.  So keep it up."
     "Thank you.  I will."  And then I fainted. 
No, just kidding.  But after the next take, I did, off-camera & away from everyone, do a silent little happy dance.  And I realized in that moment this is where I'm meant to be.  I can do this.  I'm good at this.  And I haven't felt that way in a long, long time.

We filmed all day.  I spent a lot of time talking to the other actors, the two leads, who were friendly and interesting and treated me completely as an equal.  By the time we got to the bulk of my lines, it was 1am and everyone was exhausted - no one had patience for the new girl, the "wild card" to mess around with multiple takes of the scene.  This was it - my trial by fire.  I had to hit it.  Without getting into too much technical detail, I was put into a relatively complicated setup involving multiple marks.  A few years ago, I might not've been able to handle it & they'd have had to do lots of takes or break the scene down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

The pressure was on.  I wasn't even nervous.  I hit all my marks, took my direction, and we only had to do 4 takes.  I killed it.  Drove home that night buzzing with adrenaline and unable to shake that feeling, that quiet, insistent voice in my head: this is what I've worked my whole life for.  This is what I should be doing.

 A film set, NOT our set.  {source}

Production had the weekend off.  I was back on set bright and early Monday morning, greeting everyone with a smile and getting smiles in return.  I walked on set for rehearsal and got a huge hug from the director.  During some of the plentiful downtime, chatting with the male lead, he suddenly turned to me and said, "you were really good on Friday.  Really good work.  It was remarked on multiple times by multiple people."  All I could choke out through my all-consuming smile was a shaky "thank you."

Later, I met one of the producers, who is the main reason I'm even in the film.  He insisted the set photographer get a picture of us together and we had a nice long chat.  He's the only one who knows I was planning to leave LA & he just looked at me and quietly said, "I hear you're doing a good job; I think you'd better stay."  At lunch, he and one of the other producers invited me to sit with them and told me they want to arrange a meeting for me with a big casting director; they want her to meet me.  I sputtered out, "that would be amazing, thank you."  Then the director sat down & asked me about myself.  I told him, we reminisced about the Southeast, and then he told me, very seriously, "I don't bother with untalented people.  You are talented.  And on top of that, you have a great attitude.  I want to keep in touch when this is over."  Is there a better complement in this town?  I don't think so.

Back on set, we filmed, I ran back and forth as my nervous secretary character, and lost a shoe at one point, which is my only chance at the blooper reel.  The director introduced me to a lot of the people on set and "psssss"d me over during filming to watch the monitor.  The film looks beautiful.

At the end of the day, the director gave me his contact information and a big hug, and I floated away thinking, if I had imagined this day, I would have giggled at myself because it's just too much good stuff to happen at once.  But it did happen.  And I was ready for it.

People say, "luck is when preparation meets opportunity."  I am at that intersection and I am infinitely lucky to be here.  All the years of classes and feeling like I was throwing money away have paid off in this moment.  Even if nothing else ever comes of it, I did this film and I did it well.  I have that to be proud of.

So, I might not be moving away just yet after all.  Maybe I just needed to realize that I don't need this in order to fully accept it.  Maybe I will stop planning and just see where this goes.  Los Angeles, you've made a hell of a convincing argument...

 L.A. on a great day.  {source}

Today I am just so dang happy and grateful.

xo! n.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

man oh man.

LA is really making it hard to leave.

I've been back for about a week now, slumber-partying on the couches of my lovely and tolerant friends, puttering about aimlessly like a bored kid on summer vacation.  My scenes in "Atlas" were scheduled to film yesterday and today, but at the last minute were rescheduled for Friday and Saturday so plans have changed yet again.  I am completely and utterly in limbo.  Completely and utterly at the scheduling mercy of an industry I thought I had finally pried myself free from.

And today, after my friend C showed me some of his favorite places in LA - all in the part of LA that is so me, the part I would probably have lived if I'd come to LA on my own - I heard from some friends that they're producing a play & would like me to be involved.  Suddenly I'm thinking of a little house in Eagle Rock with a hammock and garden, in walking distance to coffee houses & vintage shops, doing Shakespeare again and getting a day job with an event or production company.  Suddenly I feel like I've been being melodramatic with all this moving talk and hey, why DO these opportunities keep coming up?  Is the universe trying to tell me something?

 me, on a literal path, thinking of my figurative path ~so philosophical... (taken by C)

But the truth is, I haven't liked who I am in LA.  I don't like the way this city & this industry in this city makes me feel about myself.  I will never be talented enough, pretty enough, thin enough, successful enough... for LA.  And I realize that's my faulty thinking, not a fault of this place, but I don't think it's something that can be easily fixed.

C took me today to an ashram, up in the mountains, overlooking the whole city.  It's hot as hell today but actually quite clear, so we could see the skyline of Los Angeles, almost all the way out to the ocean.  I never dreamed it could smell so delicious, so near the heart of LA, as it does in their garden.  We literally stopped to smell the roses.  At the ashram, there is a well where a famous yogi used to meditate, and you're encouraged to make a wish.  I know you're not supposed to tell your wishes for fear they won't come true, but I'm going to share mine with you...

 me at the ashram, smelling a lotus (taken by C)

I wished for the faith to trust where my life is leading me, and that it will lead me to better things than I could even imagine.  Immediately, I felt a lightness, a calm joy, and I knew everything would be ok.

I don't know where I'm headed and it stresses me out, but I'm trying to just trust and take it day by day.  This is a scary time in my life, and yet, I'm positive I'm one day going to look back on it as one of the most amazing times of my life.  I just gotta appreciate it for what it is.  And trust.

Deeeeeep breath.

Today I am so happy & grateful for:
~ sundresses on hot days
~ coffee shops with outdoor wifi
~ comfortable couches
~ flowers

xo! n.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't Worry...

New Escape Hatcher post up!  Read it here.


I've been feeling bad about the good things and letting myself stress when I want to be enjoying things.  Do you ever catch yourself worrying when you should be happy?

xo! n.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

purple mountains majesty

Last day of my little CA vacation, first day of the vacation-ish big unknown that is my life for the next two months...

Mom and I had a fantastic 4th of July.  It involved no fireworks, no BBQs and hardly any drinking, but there was nothing un-American about it.  We went kayaking off the Santa Barbara coast (we wanted to kayak the Channel Islands, but all the tours were booked up.  It was beautiful anyway) and then horseback riding up into the mountains.  Then we had dinner at a little Thai restaurant where we overheard our server say she'd just gotten back from Thailand that morning!  The next day, we drove out to Joshua Tree and have been hiking in the national park for the last two days.  It is just beautiful here... massive and impressive.  And wild.  We stumbled across Native American cave art!  Not roped off, no signs or anything, we were the only ones around & I literally did a double-take.  And so much wildlife - a herd of mountain bighorns (goats?), lots of scurrying lizards, chipmunks, and teensy birds, and even a long-eared rabbit, hiding under a palm.  It's peaceful here... though I couldn't live here, it kind of makes it hard to go back to the high-beam LA energy...

I have to be back in LA by 11am for a costume fitting for the movie tomorrow, so we're going to have an early night tonight & get up and on the road before any human should have to be awake.  Which is exciting and sucky all at the same time.  Then Mom leaves Friday, and it's couch-hopping for me...

Oh BUT I have some very, very awesome news!  ...that I can't share with you just yet.  And nope, it's nothing any of you will guess so just consider this your cliffhanger...  :)

I am so happy and grateful for:
~ the calm of the desert
~ air conditioning
~ being safe in our room & not out under Joshua Tree boulders when today's earthquake hit!
~ opportunities for honesty and connection

xo! n.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer Lovin'

My mom and I are on the California coast.  We've driven past America's amber waves of grain as they undulate over mountains to strikingly contrast the western blue sky.  Low, lush acres of spinach fields blur by, and squatty orange trees follow twisting grapevines like old men with arthritic backs.  We chase the Pacific ocean as it endlessly rolls in and out.

Winery after winery beckoned us like the sirens of drunk driving in Paso Robles.  We watched kiteboarders literally fly in San Simeon.  Hearst Castle made us nostagic for times we never lived in, yet assured us of our own good taste.  The cold pacific wind teased my skirt so passing motorists might catch a glimpse of my non-matching panties along the Cambria coast.  San Luis Obispo made us lovesick with the scent of lavender and wary of the kids smoking pot next to us as we picnicked in the park.  The sun caught us as we biked along the beach in Santa Barbara and we went to bed red and itchy, but achy in a good way.  A fourth of july parade cartwheeled and sputtered down the streets of Carpinteria to welcome us to town.  We've window-shopped to appease the nesting birds inside us; we've sat in the sun with glasses of wine and comfortable conversation; we've slept to the freeway's lullaby.  We've spent many hours in the car, under the watchful guard of flagpole-thin palms, leaning slightly to the west as if willing the ocean to speak.

We are dangling our feet off the edge of the world.

 Santa Barbara coast

Today I am so grateful and happy for:
~ mom
~ sun
~ bikes
~ love

xo! n.
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