The best friend mindset

5 Jul

Our minds are really incredible things. I have been reading a lot of articles lately about the difference between successful vs non-successful people, or even hot vs not hot girls (horrible title, but the article was really good) and they all seem to imply that a huge part of it is due to a shift in mindset. Which means that I can work as hard as I want, but if I don’t think I’m good enough and I don’t think I’ll make it, then I probably won’t. Unless I am auditioning for a really shy person with absolutely no self-confidence. Then I would nail it. But, as far as my life in general is concerned, I would much rather be the successful and confident person, so I am working on making the shift.

Carolyne and I are kind of working on it together, planning to do all kids of exciting things that we don’t normally do, which would force us to get out and interact with people. We will still be having lots of froyo and going to the movies, I hope, but I am definitely noticing a shift in our goals, which used to be entirely acting career related, but now encompass life goals and awesome vlogs about jewellery.

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Tuesday’s class with Suzanna was smaller than it usually is, which always means we will go over. Since we think we have extra time, we always get to talking and sharing career advice and end up taking longer than if we had 2 more people to go through. Still, I love the discussions about background work, agents and brunch places :)

We only did our new scenes, so I was Julia Roberts’ character from August Osage County. I always feel intimidated when it is a big role like that, so I tried to work really hard on the lines and know where they were coming from, but then I forgot my line in the first take and spent the next ones trying so hard to mess up the lines that I forgot to live the life and connect. It got better by the third take, but I think I would have to work on it and go again to do it justice.

July 1st was Canada Day, but it was also the launch of Camp Nanowrimo, which I think I already explained is another opportunity to write a book in a month, but this time you get to decide how many words you think it should be, instead of having to get to 50 000. I was slightly ambitious, and put 75 000 as my word goal, so I have spent most of my weekend writing to get there. I also binged on a few netflix shows, but made it to 18 000 words so far, so I think I’m doing pretty good.

After finishing the new season of Orange is the New Black, I figured I would catch up on the last two episodes of The Mindy Project, and was excited to see Laverne Cox in one of them. She was a slightly over the top stylist, but she said something I found really meaningful. Mindy was being really hard on herself and thought she was fat and unattractive, so Laverne’s character pointed out that she would never talk to her best friend like that. She would be supportive and loving and tell her she looks great. Then she reminded Mindy that the person in the mirror is her best friend. Mind blown. And back to my theory about the mind shift. I need to stop bringing myself down and talk to myself like I would my best friend.

You get a lot of chance to binge on netflix when you are trying to reset your sleep cycle to prepare yourself for a few night shoots in a row. And sometimes, you get a message from a guy who saw the picture you posted to say you were available for said night shoot. A guy who is filming a pilot and thinks you would be great for it. Meeting with him is one of the many fun things I have planned for this coming week. I also heard back from the guy I had auditioned for a while back, who sent me a script and asked if there were any roles that interest me in it. Looks like I will be spending a few days on set at the end of July :)

“If you carry yourself with confidence, and you move through the world with your head held high and your shoulders thrown back, you don’t need to be a double-zero.”

-Gabrielle Union on body confidence

Scenes and Writing

25 Jun

It turns out that when I have too much time to go over something, I over-analyse it. I mentioned last week that I would do an experiment for class this week, and see how awesome I could be if I worked on the backstory and internal going-ons in the scene since I was already familiar with the words. Luckily, I can take direction, and knowing the words meant that it wasn’t a problem to change things from the way I had seen them. The verdict is that I definitely want to learn my lines as quickly as possible, so that I can get into the emotional journey and the moment before and so on, but I will be taking a different approach for how I work on the text after the lines have been learnt.

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As always, it was really fun to act with Carolyne, which we get to do so rarely. I had to get used to playing a slightly dumbed down character, and Carolyne was also going against type. It was lovely playing off of her and quite the experience.

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There was only one scene that I wasn’t in, so that was the one I filmed and it was really good. Very emotional and with accents as well. Apparently, I absolutely have to see Moonstruck now. The last scene was Picture Perfect and I had 2 really small lines to deliver, but we still sat at the table with the people doing the scene, pretending to small talk and such. For next week, I have a scene from August Osage County, which is kind of intimidating, considering who played the roles in the movie, but also really exciting :)

As for yesterday, it was a holiday here in Quebec, so I got together with a bunch of fellow Montreal writers and we all worked on our stories in a cafe. I can’t tell if what I am adding to the story is making it better or worse, but it was nice to hear about other people’s writing process, learn how to write a query letter, have sociological debates and get asked my opinion on psychological backstories :)

“You can fix anything but a blank page.”

-Nora Roberts

More Spanish and a Day on Set :)

23 Jun

I think there must be some kind of a Spanish role in my near future. After part of my audition being in Spanish on Saturday, I went to set on Sunday and spent a majority of the day talking to my friend from work in Spanish. He was very nice and said my Spanish was good, but in perfect honesty, I think I need to work on it more. I still remember most of the stuff we learnt when I was in school, but I am realizing that we didn’t cover every day conversations. We got the basics and what you would use if you were travelling, but not much as far as having long conversations. He recommended I get myself a Spanish boyfriend, since that is the best way to learn a new language, but for now, I’ll stick to watching movies and reading books :)

When I wasn’t with my friend from work, I was with a friend from class. We talked a lot about our careers, training and aspirations, but also found time to share weird animals facts. It’s one thing to spend a few hours a week in class with someone, but I like getting to know them outside of class as well. Possibly making real friends instead of just classmates :)

Other than a day on set, I have been writing, spending time with family and actually doing handstands (with help) in yoga class. I also walked and swam in the pouring rain today, so am looking forward to a nice dry afternoon of writing and prepping scenes for class tonight.

“Mientras se gana algo no se pierde nada.”

(As long as something is gained nothing is lost)

-Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Write-Ins, Auditions and Plays :)

20 Jun

So far it’s a lot of baby steps, but they will all add up, right? I am referring to my commitment of doing something every day that makes me slightly nervous. And it wasn’t really a question, because there are already things that made me nervous when I started, but don’t anymore. Such as yoga class. And trying to do the crow pose. Or a handstand. Nowhere near succeeding at either of these, but I am giving them a solid effort. And going out with people for supper afterwards :)

These past few days have mostly been spent editing and adding to the book I wrote last November, but today I did things a little different. There is a facebook group for Montreal writers who participate in Nanowrimo, and I have been a part of it in the sense that I read all the conversations and see all the write-ins and parties they host, but I had never actually made it to one. Until today. We were only two of us for most of the time, before another girl showed up just as I was about to leave. Still, it was really nice to be with like-minded people. Writing is a pretty individual activity, unless you are co-writing something, but it was interesting to hear what she was writing about, and then to try to explain my book. Not that I am writing a really complicated story, I am just really bad at summarizing it. My brother will tell you I have a knack for explaining plots in a way that makes you not want to read or watch whatever I’m talking about. Something I will need to work on so I can get things published :)

After the write in, I went to watch a Fringe show. I keep meaning to go to all kinds of Fringe shows, but usually manage to talk myself out of it. This time, I bought my ticket ahead of time. A friend of mine actually wrote and stars in the play, and I have been hearing her talk about it through the research and the writing and the grant applications, so I absolutely had to see it. And I am really glad I did. It was funny, entertaining, touching and made me want to come home and find out more about this woman, and maybe about other women like her. It boggles my mind what she was able to bring to life with a footnote for a starting point. I saw their final performance, but if ever you have an opportunity to see In Search of Mrs. Pirandello, go see it :)

Finally, I went to a Casting Call for a webseries. I was relaxed and excited in the waiting room since there was nothing to prepare and I knew the cold read scene by heart after a couple of read-throughs. I had more than enough time to find the motivation for every line, give myself an imaginary backstory…Then I got into the audition room and had to fake it ’til I make it in the confidence department. Before doing the scene, they spent about 10 minutes or so asking me questions. This part was in French, which I am completely fine with, but they didn’t just ask the standard questions, like “Tell me about yourself” or “What have you been up to lately?” When I said I liked to write, they asked what I was currently working on, what writing meant to me, whether I was afraid of being rejected if I tried to publish and so on. I have basic Spanish on my CV, so she asked the next question, about what kind of role I would like to play, in Spanish. It was a very interesting audition, where every answer brought more questions. It was truly like they were interviewing me to be a part of their group rather than auditioning me for a role. Which was scary and exciting, but I think I like that they are taking so much care in selecting who they want to work with. In the end, the scene went really well both times we did it and in the fluster I answered every question honestly, so whether I get a part or not will mostly be determined by whether or not they like me. Kind of terrifying, right?

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Circles, Tapes and Classes

17 Jun

Before I share what I’ve done this week with you, I wanted to talk a little bit about Lean In Circles, just because I said I would and then forgot to in my last post. Sheryl Sandberg, after writing the book, launched Leanin.org, a non-profit organization that encourages women to lean in, as well as gives them the tools to do so, through community, education and lean in circles. The website has all kinds of really interesting stories and videos, as well as a section where you can find Lean In groups in your area. According to the website, “Lean In Circles are small groups that meet monthly to encourage and support each other in an atmosphere of confidentiality and trust.” If you are thinking that sounds like an amazing idea, then I am with you. If you or someone you know would like to join (or start) a Lean In circle, preferably in the Montreal area, leave a comment or send me a message as I would absolutely love to be a part of a circle and share that support and inspiration :)

As for what is new with me, on Friday I sent in a self tape for a project I was really excited for. It was something new for me, because it was to be a reporter or a host of a newsbulletin instead of an actual character, and the subject matter was not only something I’m familiar with, but something I studied. As the callbacks were today and I am not there, I know I didn’t get the part, but I am choosing to look on the bright side, and try to be better next time. I did the lines over and over again with my dad, then decided to launch at 85% when I still felt something was off, even though I couldn’t put my finger on it. CNN has been on intermittently at my house since then, and I realized that my issue with the self-tape was that I was trying to imitate news reporters and hosts, instead of just being me. I was creating a role instead of bringing myself up to the plate. I am not saying I would have gotten the part if I had realized this sooner and been more organic. My mom even had this whole conversation with me about how sometimes you don’t get the part because you don’t look like what they had in mind, even if your performance was amazing. I love her so much for this and for everything else she does. My point is just that for me to survive in this industry, I have to do my best and then let it go. Thanks to this experience, next time my best will be better ;)

A lot of my time recently has also been spent editing the book I wrote last November. It turns out that I get two free paperback copies of the book as part of the winner goodies with NANOWRIMO, which is awesome. I was on the second draft and figured I would just keep editing it and making a new draft every few months until I was satisfied, but now I have a deadline of June 30th, so I am working really hard on getting that done. As hard as writing a book in 30 days was, I think editing it is a lot harder.

On Sunday, I went to bootcamp with my cousin in the morning, then a group of us went to yoga in the afternoon. I have been trying to get out more so that I can meet people and have more occasions to lean in and be slightly nervous, and these were excellent opportunities. Everyone at the bootcamp was super nice and friendly, and I love having people to go to yoga with instead of just doing it alone in my basement. I slightly overdid it and people have been laughing at how I walk these past few days, but I still think it was worth it!

After my exercise classes and family supper on Sunday, I was surprised by two things. There was the Game of Thrones finale, which we won’t talk about, but I was also pleasantly surprised to receive an email from someone I had auditioned for in the past. Sometimes after an audition, I will get an email saying I was great and they would love to keep me in mind for future projects, but I just wasn’t the right fit for the role. It’s nice of them, but I always assume it’s a standard email to soften the blow of rejection. In this case, he must have meant it, because he sent me the script of the project he is currently working on, and told me to let him know if there are any roles that interest me. I will probably still have to audition and go through the process, but it’s really nice to not have to submit yourself for something. To actually have them contact you and ask if you’re interesting of being a part of their project…major confidence boost :)

Yesterday I finally saw Carolyne for the first time in at least a month, though it feels like ages. We caught up and are trying to plan some fun things to do this summer, so if anyone has any suggestions, I am open to hearing them. Speaking of Carolyne, she has started a blog and vlog on jewellery, something she is an expert on. I have the presents to prove it ;) There is only one post at the moment, but a new one comes out every Thursday, so if you have or buy jewellery (which pretty much includes everyone, right?) then you should definitely check her out!

Blog –>   http://petitequenyne.blogspot.ca/2015_06_01_archive.html

Vlog –>  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLThPa1Gts97P9psI0hkBsI3v7oDVU4c7w

After meeting with Carolyne, we went to class with Suzanna. After a month away, it was really nice to be back. It was a mix of old and new students, including an old friend from a long ago Tom Todoroff weekend. She is absolutely the sweetest and it was really nice to see her again, and to be in class with her. An added bonus this month is that my scene is with Carolyne :) We actually have 2 short scenes from the same show, and we switch roles between scenes. It’s actually really fun to see each other play the opposing characters. Also, since the scenes are so short, I already have my lines pretty much memorized, so I have decided to still spend time on the scenes every day this week, so I can see what I can do when I don’t have to work on the lines, but only on connecting. I’ll keep you posted.

“Confidence in your talent is powerful and depends mainly on your willingness to be supportive of yourself.”

“Strong, notable credits are extremely beneficial, but all credits show experience – no matter what they are. They show that you’ve worked.”

-Carolyne Barry

Lean In

12 Jun

While I was on vacation, I read a book that Sam had originally lent to my mom. I had been hearing a lot about Lean In and figured it was time I read the book that started it all. Or at least the longer version, called Lean In for Graduates. It was the first book that wasn’t for school or offering acting advice that I still felt I needed to take notes.

Until a few years ago, I had never really thought of feminism as something we still needed, especially not for myself and the women around me. I don’t think I had ever consciously thought that I was missing out or getting less because I was female. You see, I grew up surrounded by really strong women and aside from a gender stereotype that saved us girls from having to work outside in the dirt and garbage at the family business, I don’t think we were ever prevented from doing anything, or treated as less. We were encouraged to study hard, dream big and do whatever would make us happy. In the office of that business, we had a sign that read “Do you want to talk to the man in charge, or to the woman who knows what’s going on?” Even though my grandfather was the boss, we knew he couldn’t do it without my grandmother, and so did he.

It wasn’t until I was reading Lean In that I started to see all of the things that we do to ourselves to prevent us from reaching the top. Emma Watson’s He For She movement has been raising a lot of awareness on the fight for Gender Equality and how far we have left to go, but I hadn’t realized how much I stand in my own way. I often feel like an imposter, I put my hand down when the question period is supposed to be over and if there are people who aren’t able to sit at the table, I will most likely be one of them. I can’t go through everything Sheryl Sandberg mentions in the book, because I think everyone should read it, but almost every example she gave, I thought “I do that” and I had never even noticed before.

Luckily, the book didn’t just make me realize that I have been holding myself back, it also inspired me sooo much, so I wanted to reach for the stars and keep going. I wanted to want to run a Fortune 500 and be president and be a perfect example of leaning in. The book isn’t saying that every girl should aspire to those things though, it just suggests that we shouldn’t be afraid of making those kinds of goals, and then making them come true. I still want to be an actress and a writer, so being a CEO wouldn’t make me happy. But, playing a strong and powerful female president could be fun. Writing female characters who aren’t restricted by gender norms and stereotypes opens a world of possibilities. So, I am tailoring the inspiration to fit my dream, and the book is definitely on my mind now when I come up with stories or read a script.

The book itself was absolutely amazing, and hasn’t left me since I started reading it. Not only is Sheryl Sandberg one of my new heroes, but I have been watching commencement speeches and TED talks and anything I can find to keep the momentum going. One recommendation in the book is to “Do one thing every day that makes you slightly nervous.” The day after I finished the book, I started trying to do that, and keeping note of those things in my journal at the end of the day. Sometimes I felt silly with what I came up with, but they were things that made me nervous that I pushed myself to do. The other day I was about to go to bed and hadn’t done anything yet, so I signed up for a class that sort of scares me. Yesterday instead of just lending my cousin my car, I went to Ottawa with her and a bunch of people I didn’t know to interview a politician for the Science and Policy Exchange. I only started this about 2 weeks ago, and already I have stood up for myself more and said yes to experiences I probably never would have tried.

My biggest fear when I finished the book was that the feeling I had, of being inspired and wanting to conquer the world, that it would pass when I got home and was faced with the real world again. So far, I am no less motivated or encouraged, and I am so excited to see where I can be after I keep this up for a month, a year or even a decade.

To sum it all up, the book is amazing, and you should all go out and read it. There were parts that made me laugh, parts that made me cry, but most of it made me think and dream and finally pushed me to seriously work on cultivating the self-confidence I lost when I was growing up. I might fake it until I make it on that one, but at least I now feel confident that I will truly make it.

“Proceed and be bold.”

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

The Road Trip

9 Jun

Yesterday I got back from the most amazing 3 week road trip with my parents. I got to cross some new places off my list, finally made it to New Orleans, then discovered Nashville, as well as a few things about myself. Here’s a little recap.

Philadelphia

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Our first stop was really short, but we got to see the Liberty Bell, and I climbed the Rocky steps, with a few victory poses along the way. This was also the start of the BGB’s 10 Day Challenge, which was harder than I had expected it to be, since so much of our time was spent driving and exploring. Although I enjoyed the whole thing, my favorite part was the writing exercises, because it really led me to discover my strengths, my passion, my obstacles, and why acting is so important to me. The free challenge is over now, but I think the audio is still available on their website.

Washington

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I had already been to Washington on a school trip back in hish school, but I still wanted to see everything and hear it all again this time.

Savannah

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This is somewhere I had never been before, and my dad didn’t quite understand why my mom and I were so interested in this town, especially when we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to see. It was just a beautiful, historic southern town, like the ones we are shown in movies. Seeing it in person, Savannah is breathtaking. The historic district does kind of make you feel like you are stepping through time, with all of the beautiful squares and the houses that are preserved with historic accuracy. We ate along the water at a place called the Bayou Cafe where we tried crawfish for the first time. The entire meal was delicious. We also took a ghost tour, which is maybe something I might believe in, but definitely not something I expect to see on a tour. Still, I really enjoyed hearing all of the stories from the past ;)

Florida

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This was the original destination of our road trip, before we extended it. We came with intentions of swimming, relaxing and…that’s pretty much it. This is where I finished the 10 day challenge, and discovered Lean In for Graduates. The book inspired me so much that it will be getting it’s own post in a few days, but reading it really changed my perspective on a lot of things. I also read a book called Resistance, written by a friend I went to school with, which inspired me to really work on publishing one of my own stories. In the end, Florida was relaxing, with lots of reading and swimming and shopping and visiting Downtown Disney and Universal City Walk, but it also got me inspired and excited for what comes next :)

New Orleans

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This was the stop I was most looking forward to. I have been trying to find someone to go to New Orleans with me for quite some time, and put it on my list of 30 by 30 specifically so I could make sure it would happen. Although it wasn’t like I had pictured it to be, it is still definitely something to see. Everything we ate was delicious, and we got to see a wedding parade our first night there. As far as exploring went, we took a lot of streetcars and walking tours, sometimes in the rain, but it was so hot that we were okay with getting a little wet most of the time. On our last day, we went to Cafe du Monde for breakfast, explored the French Quarter on our own, and took a boat tour where I met Michael Raymond-James, who was a pure delight and ended the New Orleans leg of our trip on a very high note :)

Memphis

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We had two main things to see in Memphis; the National Civil Rights Museum and Graceland. We got to see both, and I spent the majority of my time in the museum chocked up and trying not to cry in public. Maybe not the happiest place to be, but definitely worth a visit if you find yourself near Memphis. It just gets you thinking and hopefully makes you feel things that will lead to doing things.

Nashville

This probably turned out to be my favorite stop. It was the one my mom was most excited for, and we listened to country music during about 90% of the trip to prepare for this city and the concert in the next one. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time there, but we made sure we saw the biggies. Our first night there we went to the Grand Ole Opry for Rascall Flatts, Chase Bryant, Gloriana, the Gatlin brothers, etc. That was the first time in Nashville that I wished I could sing, but it was definitely not the last. The next day we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame, which has these recording studio booths where you can record yourself singing a selection of songs. This reminded me that I am not meant to be a singer, but also made me really wish it wasn’t so. We also checked out the Ryman, but our favorite part of Nashville was definitely the Bluebird Cafe. We went to the early show, which had 4 songwriters in a round, singing songs that they had written. It’s a really small venue and we were a lot of people, but it didn’t feel crowded, it felt intimate. We had never really heard of the 4 artists beforehand, but we ended up knowing some of their songs, and the whole experience just blew me away. I wrote the names of all of their songs on my napkin to make sure I could find them, and loved being able to go up and actually meet them after the show was done. My original interest in the Bluebird came from watching Nashville, but it became my favorite part of the trip on its own merits.

Ohio

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We came to Ohio so my dad could go to a Memorial Golf Tournament, so my mom and I hung out and went to the movies on the first day. We saw Aloha and Spy, which was absolutely hilarious, pretty much the whole time. If you haven’t seen it yet, go! We told my dad that if he felt left out and wanted to go see it, we had no problem watching it all over again ;)

When we found out we would be spending time in Ohio, my mom and I also found something more interesting for us to do, and got tickets for the 3 of us to go to the Dierks Bentley Sounds of Summer concert. I am a huge fan of lyrics, which lets me love songs from all genres, as long as I like the words, but Country Music often tells a story, and I love that. Canaan Smith had the first set, then he came out to talk to some people and was super nice to let me and some other people get a picture with him. Maddie & Tae were inspiring and Kip Moore interacted with the audience so much that we were treated to a live proposal from a couple in the pit. Dierks Bentley was the cherry on top, singing all of our favorite songs, sharing stories and doing a double encore. We also witnessed a whole lot of tailgate parties. Maybe next time?

Home

And now, today is the first day of the rest of my life. I had an amazing vacation, but this is where I take everything that I have learnt and give my dream my all. I made a deal with my mother that if I am not a working actress by the time I’m 30, I will find another career, and I don’t know what that would be, so I need to make this work.

If anyone is interested in forming a Lean In Circle (more about that in my next post), or a Mastermind Group (kind of Bonnie Gillespie’s version of a Lean In Circle, but for actors (or entrepreneurs) instead of for women), leave a comment or message me. I don’t know about you, but being accountable to someone definitely pushes me to do and be more than me on my own :)

“Keep on climbing though the ground may shake, keep on reaching though the limb might break. We’ve come this far don’t you be scared now, ’cause you can learn to fly on the way down.”

-Maddie & Tae

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