Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Year of the Horse

The Year of the Horse is a time for all people to go forward confidently in the direction of their goals and dreams.

March. 2014. This weather sucks. It's definitely coming in like a Lion. Ugh.

Outside of the crappy weather, this has been a pretty awesome year thus far.

Some career surprises. Some twists. Some turns. Some new developments.

It didn't hit me until this past week, that it's been a year since I started production on Velma. Part of it was due to timing, part of it due to money, and part due to my own confidence. After finally getting the guts to believe in my own work again, I resumed operations on the project. Got a new crew, a new location, and a cast that's just as eager as they were before. Plus, I have some new sketch ideas and characters in mind for the show. I'm gonna be quite the busy bee this spring and summer.

Speaking of busy, I recently got accepted in to the Improvisation News Studios Conservatory 6-month intensive program. Starting at the end of this month, I will be studying every weekend sketch and improv, and performing every 5 weeks. After the 6 months is up, I will get the chance to audition to be a company member, at which point I will be performing every week. Plus, they'll help me with my promotional materials, my social media presence, and help me find representation.

I look at it this way, this is probably where I need to be to get on the correct path.

It's no doubt that I'm being watched by some really important people. It's just the people I'm trying to reach out to to represent me, aren't the right ones. If I continue writing and creating my own work, the right ones are gonna seek me out.

Case in point:  A few weeks ago, I got an email from Michael Swenson from the Catalyst Department at Viacom - that was surprise numero uno. He sent me an email from YouTube. So the story is, his team saw my Key and Peele parody video, liked it, and wanted me to be a part of their Fandamonium project that they'd present to their shareholders. I was like "What the what?! Friggin Viacom saw my stuff?!"  Long story short, I went over to Viacom, shot an interview blurb for the project, and that was it. Who knows if I'll ever get the chance to see the footage. Mike said it may end up on the web some time at a later date. Shoot, it doesn't matter to me. Some folks at Viacom saw my stuff. Hot Damn!

Anyhoo. Another example started over the December holidays:  Greg and I went to Jessica Care Moore's Kwanzaa party, and I got the chance to meet actor/director Vondie Curtis-Hall. I very much have to thank my liquid courage for granting me the courage to go up and talk to him. He told me about a project that he's doing with singer/songwriter/playwright Stew, co-creator of the semi-autobiographical rock musical on Broadway, Passing Strange. When he told me that, I just lit up. I offered to sing, dance, whatever, just to be a part of the project. He gave me his number, and we've been texting, emailing, and most recently, voicemailing back-and-forth, regarding updates on the show. This past week, he left me a voicemail letting me know that the show will be going up this fall at The Public Theater, and to remain in contact with him, and he'll figure out a way to get me in front of those folks to see if, when and how I can be a part of the show.

Stuff is becoming clearer to me now. I see how all the puzzle pieces fit. I understand what things are working, how and why.  And what things need to be broken down, what needs to be let go of, what needs to be redone, all to make room for what's better.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Harvest Time in the Land of Fun and Awesomeness

This has been an awesome year for me. I had the pleasure of working with some awesome people, and on some awesome projects.
Earlier this year, my husband and I went  to a free stand-up comedy seminar at Gotham Comedy Club, to promote the Manhattan Comedy School.  If we had had the money to spare, we both would have signed up for the classes. That’s beside the point though. One of the speakers/former students/comedians said something that really stuck with me, “Everybody gets a turn.”  It doesn't matter when you start.  As long as you start, and keep going, despite your fears and doubts, you will get your chance to shine. I’m not a comedian, but I do love writing and performing comedy, so I applied that advice to my acting career.  This has been quite a long journey, and I’m beyond happy that I made it to this point, and I’m even more excited to make it to the next phase of this journey, whatever that may be. I have a strong feeling that it has something to do with the sketch comedy and sitcom world...

Since doing the "PSA:  Boobs" sketch earlier this year, I've gotten the itch to do and be a part of more silly and fun projects.  A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that Key and Peele were running a fan remix contest, allowing their fans to do their interpretations of some of their current or classic sketches, and a lightbulb went off.   Below is my version of their classic "I Said Bitch" sketch.  It's also on FunnyOrDie.com, and I hope to get it on CollegeHumor.com next.


On an awesome side note:  I discovered that Jordan Peele retweeted the link to the sketch.  

To say I was excited about the news, was a gross understatement.

This was my husband when he found out...

By the way, the boob sketch is now over 1 million views. :-) 

Back to our regularly scheduled musing, already in progress:

This summer was good because I had a long term temp assignment that allowed me to cover the costs of my materials, seminars, workshops, etc.
Outside of performing in a theatre festival recently, I've put my energy into seeking representation. Of all the agents and managers and agents I've met with this year, I feel more comfortable with and more strongly about my brief meetings with Paula Poeta and Ingrid French. I just sent out my postcards and pray that this will begin some very strong and fruitful business relationships.  It's time to go from getting daily and weekly calls from temp agencies for work, to getting daily and weekly calls from my agents and manager about gigs I've booked and will book.
I'm now a part of a bi-coastal writing group, and recently reconnected with comedienne Robin Montague, and hopefully we can develop a writing circle here with some other talented funny ladies.
Before I sign off, here's a little something my husband and I did for shits and giggles on Halloweeen:

Time to say goodbye to 2013, and kick some ass in 2014 and beyond. :-)


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Then, This Happened...

What an awesome summer!  Fun times with friends of course, and I had the pleasure of traveling with my hubby.  We went up to WA to visit extended family, and had a much needed weekend getaway in Provincetown for some yummy seafood and awesome sandy beaches.

After months of praying and patience, both my husband and I got great boosts in our incomes and careers.  On top of getting some celebrity pub for AntiBling, my husband got a new job as a Project Manager at a Architectural Millwork firm, and one of the 5 huge projects he's working on is Carnegie Hall.  As for me, from August til now, I've received some great career surprises:  I discovered that I'm on the cover on a bridal webzine;

featured in a SamsungTV web promo;

I was called in by Jodi Angstreich from Laura Rosenthal Casting to audition for a Time Warner Cable commercial;
and a sketch video I did with a couple of my FLW castmates is featured on FunnyOrDie.com, Cheezburger.com, CollegeHumor.com, HuffingtonPost.co.uk, and is nearly at 1 million views on YouTube.

Also, I've made it my main focus to network and build relationships with the heads of network TV.  This past week, I just completed a 2-week class with Clint Alexander.  And later this month, I'll will be taking a 4-hour workshop with Clint, Trey Lawson, Janet Murphy-Butler, and Rori Bergman, and then a 2-week class with Trey Lawson.

Last year, a fellow actor, who is doing really well right now in the indie film circuit, gave me some awesome advice, which has really stuck with me. I know there are a lot of actors who spend so much money on 1-day workshop intensives, and then complain about not getting anything out of it. My actor friend told me to save my money and take the classes with the casting directors that are two weeks or more, because they'll have a better chance of remembering me and the work that I can do, and if I'm on point, it'll boost my chances of being seen and/or cast in future work.  He also said it'll make a world of difference between it being a 20-year journey to make a mark versus a 5-year journey. Guess which path I'm choosing... :-)

Everything is falling into place in the most awesome way, and I'm in a constant state of joy and gratitude. And I know as long as I keep pushing through the way that I have, that this time next year, I won't be trying to get work, I will be balancing my schedule with all the work I've gotten and will be getting.

Happiness is this!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why Is It So Darn Hot?!

Things I learned this week:  Just because it's cheap, gluten-free, and nearby, doesn't mean it's good. Buyer's remorse every time.  So why am I a glutton for punishment?  It's too damn hot to go more than two blocks around here.  I purposely wore light-colored, loose clothes, walked only on the side of the street where there was shade, and still felt like I was suffocating.  I'll bear the frigid cold a/c for another 2 hours til it's time to go home, just as long as I'm not a sweaty mess when I get there.

I tossed and turned quite a bit last night, like I did this whole week.   Not easy to get a comfortable night's sleep in a small Brooklyn apartment with little ventilation.  We have a good a/c in our bedroom, but it's not strong enough to cool the whole place.  So anytime any hot air from the rest of the apartment creeps in (mostly because our cats hate closed doors), it get very stuffy.

I woke up an hour before my alarm because I dreamed that I missed it.  Man, I hate when that happens.

I was able to get back to sleep briefly but the damage had already been done; I knew I'd need some extra strong coffee to get through at least half the day.  It's not even 4pm, and I'm already getting the gluten-free taco itis. Oy. 

On an uplifting note, our editor sent us two versions of the rough cut of Velma.  That shot my excitement and energy level up 15-fold.  

And later tonight, my hubby and I got passes to a live taping of Mike Tyson's one-man show, Undisputed Truth, directed by Spike Lee.  I'm not big on getting photos with celebrities but I sure as hell won't turn down the chance to take a pic with Iron Mike if the opportunity presents itself.  I mean, to be that up close and personal with the face tattoo, who would pass up that chance?  But for some really odd reason, I have this image of him coming up to me all sweaty (like straight-from-a-fight sweaty), and he'd smell like corn chips, bbq ribs and Cristal.  

Yes, I know I have a very vivid and crazy imagination, but I think the 97 degree heat has fried my brain more than usual.  I'm definitely gonna need to take it easy this weekend.

It hasn't even been summer for a full 30 days, but it feels like it'll be over as soon as I really get to enjoy it.

The good thing about it still being summer, is the traveling Greg and I will be doing, and hopefully that'll include a couple of trips to the beach.

Also, I'll be completing the intro/theme song for Velma, launching episode 1, prepping for episode 2, and getting new headshots in a couple of weeks.

I figured out a way to not stress during my career journey:  I eliminated my self-imposed deadlines, and am doing everything I've wanted to accomplish and achieve at an even pace.  I feel more focused, disciplined, and clear-headed.  Nothing rushed, nothing half-assed or mediocre.  I'm keeping everything high- and professional-quality.  And if that means taking more time to get things right and/or at top form, then so be it.  I know the end result is gonna be spectacular, and definitely something I can be proud of, e.g., my music, Velma, my package/portfolio, etc.  I'm going at this full force, and there is no room for crap or half-assedness.

Hm, I think my coffee just kicked in...

What's going on now & What's coming up:
  • Rough cut of Velma
  • Fine tuning the Velma intro and theme song
  • Velma trailers
  • New headshots by Lauren Toub of LTShots Photography
  • Upcoming performances with Fighting Laughter Warrior at Dark Horse and Legion Bar
  • Launch of Why I Love Brooklyn radio podcast with my husband Gregory Malcolm

Monday, May 20, 2013

Labor of Love

Well, I've reached my Saturn return (Yayy, me!)...

And another wonderful year of wedded bliss (Yayy, us!)...

And now it's time to prepare for the summer...
A month ago, I put into motion something wonderful.  A awesome labor of love known as Velma

Velma has been in the works for little over a year, and everytime I think about how awesome everyone is that helped me get to his point, I just get so elated and filled with joy. I would not have gotten here without the awesome people behind me.

A little background: Around the beginning of last year, there was word about the re-launch of In Living Color. Actors from all over, were uploading audition videos onto the interweb.  I saw an interesting video that someone posted on facebook, and I was like, "Sheeet, I can do that!" 

I came up with the character of Velma, who is the mixture of some interesting folk I've encountered here in Zoo York, wrote a sketch, and my awesome buddy, Bill Johnson, co-starred in it, and helped me shoot it.

As the Universe would have it, there were some hiccups in trying to get the sketch burned onto a DVD, then sent to the proper channels to be considered. Instead of freaking out, I meditated on what really was my motivation for putting this character out into the world. Did I want to just do this one audition, and be done with it, or did I want to explore, and really see where this character and her world could take me?

After doing more research on the progress of the reboot, I learned that the project had been cancelled.  I was glad that I didn't put all my hopes and dreams into one basket, and knew that the hiccups from before, was just the Universe's way of showing me that better things were coming.

I made sure to remain on the radar of the casting director, Amber Bickham, 'cause well, you never know...And I began work on what to do, and where to take Velma next.

One rainy afternoon, I met my friend, Guy Shahar, for coffee, who told me he wanted to do a project that was funny, crazy and inappropriate.  I showed him the video of the sketch, and the rest is history -- or history in the making, I should say... :-)

The pilot for the webseries is shot, we're now in pre-production, and I'm looking forward to the launch... :-)

About a week ago, I was (half) joking with a friend about how cool it would be if there was a VelmaCon in the near future, with folks dressed up as Velma and other characters from the show: A revelry of geekdom as far as the eye can see...

Ahh, my inner geeky child (I'm still a geeky adult lol) is smiling :-)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring Finally

Back from my weekend trip home, and I just needed one day to recover. Now it's back to business.

We've set a shoot date for Velma, and are ambitiously going to shoot two episodes. If the scripts are tight, the actors (including myself) are on point, the equipment is set up beforehand, and the crew knows exactly what they need to do from point A to B, we can knock it all out.

I feel like I'm playing a balancing act though. Money I'm putting into this project, can also go toward my package e.g. new headshots and classes with casting directors. Can I do both?  Do I want one more than the other?

I had an interesting dream last night. I'm not sure where I was, but I was talking to some young women about how I had been working, shooting promos for BET, and I wasn't sure if people liked it or thought I was good.  And one of the women said, "Don't worry about that. Don't just be good, be great at what you do."  I got this sudden burst of energy and confidence, and later on in the dream, found myself unintentionally booking a gig because someone overheard me singing Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools".

I know that once I stop worrying about HOW things are going to happen, and just KNOW that they will happen, the path will be more visible.  It's like a daily exercise, or meditation or mantra.  I see it, and I feel it, so there's no room for failure. I'm human, so I'm sure I may make some mistakes along the way.  But the goal is set and clear.

This is the first day in a few days where I've had some peace and quiet, and time to be still and reflect and refocus.  Not that I've lost focus; my business-mind has just taken a little break.  It's good though 'cause I know if I don't give myself a break every once in awhile, I'll burn myself out.

This blog entry is really about me musing and reflecting, and less about all the things I've done this past month.  All that will be listed on my website.  How-some-ever (a lovely word courtesy of my grandmother), I have been diligent in cultivating my relationships with casting directors:  After Amy Gossels's awesome class, she asked me and another actress if we'd be interested in assisting with camera work in castings or classes. I was like "Fuck Yeah!" Of course, I didn't use those exact words, mind you.  Also, Beth Melsky and Donna McKenna are now following me on Facebook, and Laura Rosenthal Casting is now following me on Twitter. I make it a deal to check the casting websites at least twice a day.

I am no doubt on a mission, and plan to bask in my achievements very soon. Man, I can't wait for bikini weather!

Friday, February 22, 2013

28 Days

February. Black History Month. Valentine's Day.  And some other stuff that happens along the way.

This has been a pretty "quiet" month for my husband and I.  It definitely hasn't been dull.  With our two wacky personalities, there will never be a dull moment in our household.  Anyhoozle.  With the flu bug that's been going around, energy levels have been kinda low.  I haven't really had the energy to attack the city as I normally would have.  For the sake of my health, I passed up a few networking and FW party invites, but I definitely know it was a wise decision in the long run.  I just looked at my calender for next month, and I have something booked almost every other day:  rehearsals, meetings, classes, auditions, performances.  This month's "down-time" is so I can be fully energized for next month, 'cause I'm definitely gonna need it.

I did a short temp gig this week, and am grateful for the extra cash.  Between Valentine's Day and our friends' wedding this week, my husband and I shelled out cash like we were millionaires already.  Shoot, no regrets though.  We had a blast, and it was well worth it.  Love period is worth it.  Even though we're not millionaires (yet), we got together with our friends and partied all day and night on Tuesday to celebrate our other friends' wedding like none of us had jobs or a care in the world. It's funny, 'cause we really didn't.  You get twenty-something folks in their 20s and 30s to take over a restaurant in Tribeca in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, you know it's something special.

There's something truly mind-blowing when you reach a certain age and all your past hang-ups, worries, anxieties, and fears either seem really, really small or nonexistent.  When I compare this time of my life to my college years, I think "Jeez, how nerve-wrecking that was!"  Yeah, I had a blast, but I don't want to go thru those times and feelings again.

I sometimes get impatient and think, "Aargh, why is everything moving so slow?" or "If I push myself to do XYZ, things will be different."  But then something will click and I think, "Nope, everything is happening the way it's supposed to."  I have to remind myself that other peoples' journeys are not my own, that other peoples' paths to their own "success" is different than mine.  What is meant for me is bigger and better than what I can imagine for myself, and that everything will happen in its own time.  I have my Vision Board.  I use The Law of Attraction.  I'm all about Creative Visualization.  I'm not gonna lie though, I often wonder "What's next?  What surprises are out there waiting for me?"

When I get out into the giant bubble of stardom and fame, when I'm out there on the stage or the big screen, what stories do I want to tell? What's my iconic moment?  What will be my most memorable performance?  Who will my audience be?  How will they see me?  How do I want to be seen?  These are some deep questions, and I know those answers and moments have yet to come.  In the meantime,  I will enjoy this "quiet" time, and bask in the joy and love from my hubby and friends, and in the knowledge that these are the best years, and they only get better.