Friday, May 13, 2016

I'm in a Play!!

I'm pleased to announce my return to the theatre! I will be playing Samantha in the off-off Broadway production of "Ceiling Art," by Brittany Tomkin. The show is being produced by the AlphaNYC Theater Company. I can't wait to start rehearsing!



Thursday, March 31, 2016

Letting Go of Fear; My Biggest Confession Yet as an Actress

I'm writing this post in hopes of letting something go so I can move forward in my acting. I have a confession; I'm afraid of getting an agent or a manager. Yep. I'm a weirdo. It's so hard for me to admit that, because it is a step in any actor's career that eventually becomes necessary in order to reach the next level. Getting representation is something every actor strives for, works for, and yearns for. It is a milestone that can open doors. And yet, I am afraid. And that fear is holding me back. What am I so scared of?  I'm scared of someone else being in control. I'm scared of having a new relationship that I have to build. I do care deeply for people but I am not the best at actually nurishing my relationships. It's very easy for me to wrapped up in my own little world and I've mentioned before that I am very much an introvert. And in a professional relationship there are many do's and don'ts. (Btw, I hesitate to use the word "introvert" because it's the trendy thing nowadays but I fit the description in almost every sense. Also I'm glad there is now awareness for those who can relate.) 
I'm also afraid because since I put my faith in God above all, I have many restrictions in regards to things I can do even though I'm "acting." Like, how can I meet with someone whom I want to represent me, and then say, "I won't do this, I won't do that, bla bla ba..." My fears have kept me from attending industry workshops or really trying to get representation. But I'm tired of this fear holding me back. I have to take risks and step out on faith. Good thing that I am weak but He is strong. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#thestruggleisreal A Poem for Aspiring Actors, Artists, and Those Who Support Us

Had such a busy year last year and now I feel like I've hit a plateau and the next move is confusing in my mind. #thestruggleisreal 

I seem to have lost most or all motivation to do anything acting related. (Including writing this blog......sorry for the long absence.) #thestruggleisreal 

I feel like I'm always stuck. #thestruggleisreal

Goal deadlines come and go unmet causing feelings of depression. I'm hard on myself. #thestruggleisreal

Struggling with my belief/faith in God and His plan for my career. I know I cannot make it on my own. #thespiritualstruggleisreal

Seeing fellow actors reach milestones ahead of me isn't always easy. While I'm genuinely happy for them (each and every one of them deserve it,) I wish I could get there too. 
#thestruggleisreal

Being size 6 when other actresses at my level are size 0-2. I run, but I also love to eat darn it. (And with these hips I'd be happy being a four.) #thedietstruggleisreal

Feeling like I suck and that I'm the worst actress in the world and feeling like I don't deserve success. #theconfidencestruggleisreal

Projects I work in get postponed and some may never get restarted. Which really stinks if I've fallen in love with my character and the script. #thestruggleisreal 

Projects I work in get postponed and when they start up again my hair has to match each character. Like in one film my hair is much longer while in another it's short. What if we start filming again at same time? I really don't want to get recast. #thecontinuitystruggleisreal 

People asking me why I haven't been in anything big or "where is the money?" Ummm hello! That's what I'm aiming for but it ain't that simple! #thepridestruggleisreal

Having to work extra hours to pay for things. Ugh. (Of course I'm very grateful I'm able to do this but sometimes, just, ugghh!!) Headshots and classes are expensive! And I still haven't been able to save that friggin' $3000.00 to join SAG though I've been eligible for years. I get close, but something always comes up and this year I am determined to not put anything on credit. #thefinancialstruggleisreal

Not having an agent yet. #therepresentationstruggleisreal 

Not having booked my first national commercial or co-star role on a network tv show. #thestruggleisreal

Having to get up early when I want to sleep till noon!! #thenotamorningpersonstruggleisreal

Wanting to do fun things but then remember I need that money for all my actor things. #thestruggleisreal 

Wanting to do fun things but then remember I have a shoot the next day and I need to look fresh. #theimnotaspringchickenanymorestrugglesisreal 

Having to post updates and successes regularly on social media to show that I'm relevant since I'm not famous yet, but it still makes me squirm. #thedontwanttolooklikeanarcisiststruggleisreal 

Feel like I'm less than because I don't aspire to be on Broadway. (Although my background is in theatre.) #theyourenotarealactorifyoudontdotheatrestruggleisreal  

Feel like I'm less than because I'm not a triple threat. #thecompetitonstruggleisreal 

Yet another anniversary approaches at my day job. While I'm proud of the company I work for, the goal is always to be able to make a living with acting only. #thedayjobstruggleisreal #8years 

Not being an outgoing person yet having to build this business. #theintrovertstruggleisreal

I just want to be at home all the time; cozy, comfy, and cuddling with my husband and cat. #thehomebodystruggleisreal 

So there you have it, the struggle is really real. And I feel as though it goes deeper than a struggle this time. I've had thoughts and feelings of giving up on my dream that I've never ever felt before. And this phase has lasted longer than it ever has. If you've read my posts you know I always end on a positive note or give myself a solution or goal to sort my issue. I don't have much to say this time but just know this...I wouldn't be writing this if I had given up. I wouldn't be getting new headshots this week if I had given up. And I for sure wouldn't be working extra hours at my day job to pay for a new acting class if I had given up. For awhile I'm gonna make smaller goals for myself each day so I don't get overwhelmed, depressed, or burnt out. Like for instance, my acting related goals for Monday were simply to start this article and share two posts on social media. I'm hoping that strategy will eventually bring me back up to full speed. What else can I do? I love acting. 

#thestruggleisreal 

But alas, I press on. 


(Cast, crew, and supporters of the short film I was in, Robin, at the Winter Film Awards Film Festival in NYC last weekend. Even fun things like this I have to push myself to attend lately. I'm so glad I did. To me it was another small victory and sparked some inspiration in me.)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

An Actress's Journey; 2015

It has been a crazy, wonderful, busy year so far. I just wanted to briefly post a few highlights since its been a while since I've blogged. I thought it would be easier and more interesting to make this a picture diary starting from January. So please enjoy!! And please note that many of the projects mentioned can be found on Facebook. Thanks!!

From the world premiere of Matt Hahn's feature film Tiger Lily, at Anthology Film Archives in downtown NYC. This is me with the film's main actress, Jackie Mulvaney. I loved playing Juniper in this suspense thriller.

A shot from the staged reading of Jade Bryan's pilot, The Two Essences. We performed at Treehouse Theatre in NYC.


Okay so these last two don't have anything to do with acting but the experience was unforgettable to me. The company I work for, Yves Saint Laurent Beauty, sent us all to Los Angeles for a training and it was amazing!! That was  my first time in California and it was everything I had imagined it to be. I loved hiking in Runyon Canyon Park! It was special too because not only did my team win an award, but I was personally recongnized in my company's national business planner for my work.










Me as Doctor Layla Green in the short sci-fi film "Robin," by Miguelina Olivares. The short is a teaser for what will very soon be made into a feature.


For the past few months I've taken on one of my greatest roles yet in the feature film, The Yearly Harvest. Written and directed by the accomplished Ryan Callaway, the film is based on his 2008 novel of the same name. I was blessed to land the leading role of Jin Madison, a journalist whose quest to discover the truth behind the origins of Christmas traditions leads her down a dark path. The book was republished this year with me as Jin on the front cover. How cool is that?! We wrapped filming a couple of weeks ago.

Had the pleasure of once again working with impressive director/filmmaker Matt Mahler in this year's 48hr Film Projcet.






Jade Bryan's The Shattered Mind has made it so far into 6 film festivals!! The pic from above was taken during the Manhattan Film Festival at the Players Theater in downtown NYC. I'm so proud to be a part of this film's journey!

Set pic from a TV show I recently began working in called Scriptless MD. I'm so happy to join the 2nd season. Like the title implies, the show is entirely improvised. The 1st season, known simply as Scriptless, is currently airing on a couple of local channels in New York.

Quick selfie I took on set of the short film, "Mr. Suit," which I shot recently on Rossevelt Island. I loved how makeup artist Jodi King did my hair and makeup.

So that's a brief glimpse into my 2015 thus far. I have a few more projects coming up and I can't wait to share those as well!! 


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Long Days, Long Waits; That's Indie Set Life

2:27pm- Here is a sample of my current life. Today I am shooting a cool web series in which I have a small supporting role. My call time was 9:00am. I was here by 8:30am. We haven't shot any of my scenes yet. We are blessed with an amazing location and are filming in this huge broiler room of an hospital. As awesome as it's gonna look on film, down here it's hot, the air is thick, and there is no cell reception (don't ya hate that feeling?). And can I tell you something? I'm pretty used to it all by now. This is indie film set life. I'm pretty happy just to have a chair to sit in, a bathroom near by, water, and an electrical outlet so that I can at least make sure my phone is charged. The fact is there is still no other job that I would rather be doing right now. My favorite things to do in these situations? Go over my lines, submit to castings (when I get reception that is, grrrrr), meditate, and nap. Oh, and take pics when it's allowed.

   (The broiler room of the hospital where
    we shot in Brooklyn. Looks pretty cool
    right?)

3:45pm- Okay I'm back! We just had lunch which was muy delisioso! (We ate at an Hispanic cafe.) So it's almost 4:00pm and I'm still waiting to shoot. I'm enjoying my coffee and I'm still feeling great. The point is that when being on set you must have a lot of patience. Because if you don't, you won't enjoy the experience. (And that's one reason why you should only pursue acting as a career if you deeply love it.) And when you are finally shooting who knows what conditions you may have to endure; from the freezing cold to the boiling heat. AND never make plans for after shooting; you do not know when you finish. Trust me. You never finish when you are scheduled to. (Maybe sometimes, but it's film and there are too many variables involved.) Acting takes extreme dedication. So my advice for when you are waiting to shoot is to relax and take in the entire experience.  Realize where your are. You could be enduring a shift at your soul crushing day job. (Okay, I know that's dramatic and not necessarily true for all actors.)
    (Actress Michele Q. Williams getting 
     into character)

5:33pm- Right as I ended that sentence I was summoned to set. And still had to wait a hour for me to get some work in. And the room we were in felt like a sauna. And I sweat buckets. And it was still fun. What I had wanted to finish saying was, take in the whole experience. You are where the magic happens. You are someplace special. Relish it. When you see the finished piece it will all be worth it. And the experience you gain also makes the endurance worth while. 
   (Peeping up through the catwalk at 
    actors Marie Nathan and Chandon
    Sethi as they film a scene)

7:04pm- I still don't know when we will finish. I'm not going to lie. Today is turning out to be a tougher day than I anticipated. Extreme conditions can challenge even the most focused and enthusiastic of people. 
   (Figuring out lighting and stuff with 
   director Kelvin Guevara and director of            
   photography Jordan Rennert)

9:38pm. Still going. Getting a migraine, but still going. I'm actually reading what I wrote earlier and taking my own advice. It's working. Also being able to text my husband on my break to get some encouragement helped too. They say we will be done by midnight. I'm not sure though. Lol. The heat is truly affecting everyone here. Still all good though. 

10:43pm- Still working guys!! Some of the scenes are being postponed (not mine). The Excedrin I took hasn't fully kicked in and I don't think it will by this point. :-( 
   (Okay this isn't from the broiler room 
    shoot, but I wanted to get a pic in of
    Darryl Davis who did sound and also
    acted in the series. Photo credit goes 
    to Michele Q. Williams)

3:16pm the next day- No we didn't work all throughout the night it's just by the time we were finished I was too drained to update the post. The last hour of the shoot was extremely difficult for me (and I'm sure all of us) as my migraine had worsened and I was beginning to feel nauseated. But somehow we all pushed through and got what we needed because, well, there was no other choice. We finished about 12:45am and I got approximately 1 1/2 hours later. I definitely woke up dehydrated after sweating all day yesterday. Lol. I'm now currently waiting to be picked up at the train station so that I can film my last scene. 

Yesterday was probably one of the toughest days I've endured as an actor, but looking back now all I can think about is what went right and just how blessed I am for this opportunity. 
    (Me as smarty pants tough chick
     Wagabriela)

     (A few cast members with the creator 
      of The Great Internet Swindle, Tom
      Khan. From left to right: Michele Q. 
      Williams, Chandon Sethi, Ian Stults,       
      and Tom himself)

   (My second shooting day was much                        
more relaxing, quicker, and cooler)

Monday, September 15, 2014

How I Let Go of Each Audition

I think it takes a lot of practice and experience to learn how to and be able to truly let your auditions go. Especially if it's a role that you really wanted or felt connected to. And even more especially if things are slow. It becomes easier and easier with time as you realize there will eventually be another one if you stick with it. For me, understanding that what's meant to be mine will be mine helps. I also have certain things I do right after an audition to help me put it out of mind. I wanted to share a few of those, which is particularly appropriate because I just got out of an audition for a film that had a script and concept that I loved.

1) Focus whole-heartedly on my very next task whether it be going to work, cooking dinner, cleaning the litter box, or finding my way way back home. 

2) As soon as I catch myself analyzing any part of the audition I stop. I just stop. It's pointless. This is something else that takes time and practice. That being said, in the moments right after the audition is over I do think it's neccessary to note anything of importance. Like significant notes about the production team in case you are called in again or things that you learned worked or didn't work. But after that initial evaluation everything else can drive you mad and bring you down. 

3) Make sure that once I have saved any contact information from the production team I delete any emails or voicemails pertaining to that audition. The heart doesn't feel what the eyes don't see. (Or something like that.) I won't throw away any physical sides or scripts yet, but I do tuck them away in one of my acting folders. 

4) Look for more auditions of course!

5) Focus whole-heartedly on any acting related thing coming up including auditions, classes, screenings, events, rehearsals, and shoots. 

6) Write in my blog or do something creative. 

7) Remind myself that getting the audition in the first place is a big deal and means I'm doing something right. 

8) It also helps to literally sing the words "let it go" while imitating Frozen's Elsa. Yes, you have to mimick her movement from that scene as well. Trust me, you will feel much better.

Update 05/13/2016

I wanted to add something else that has been helping me to let go of each audition; I now keep a handwritten audition log. I write down every detail I can think of about the audition. Those include what the project is, names of all involved, location, and pay, I even include what I wore and which headshot I submitted. After I write all the details, I am sure to add how I felt about my performance overall and things I could do better next time. And then of course, whether or not I ended up booking the job Many industry pros suggest doing this and I have to say it has helped me a lot, not only with letting go of each audition, but also with my confidence. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How I Chose Acting as My Career; and When Things Really Clicked for Me

I thought it would be fun to do a post about how I got started in acting and when I finally understood what being an actor means. 

The Beginning:

If you have by any chance read my bio on IMDB you know that I actually began by doing a few church plays when I was a kid. I didn't yet know that I would one day want to pursue acting as a career, but I always had so much fun; especially when I discovered the magic of being myself. After one particular performance, when I was a pre-teen, I received several compliments about being such a "natural." This prompted me to take theater classes at school the first year they were offered as an elective. (I think it was seventh grade.) It was when I started these classes that I made the firm decision to be an actress when I "grew up." And no matter how nervous those classes made me I pushed through and always tried to do my best work. I believe I was also kinda influenced by one of my favorite literary characters; Jessica Wakefield in the Sweet Valley High series. Lol but it's true. She was everything I wasn't. She was thin, blonde, popular; and she wanted to be an actress. I always thought that was "so cool." So when I discovered how much I loved acting too and how special and happy it made me feel, my mind was made up; there was nothing else--and still is nothing else--that I wanted to do. Of course, when I was that young I thought for sure I would be famous by the age of 24. I also thought that I would be a size double-zero, living in a Hollywood mansion, and engaged to Jonathan Taylor Thomas. (Or maybe by that time I had moved on to one of the Backstreet Boys. I can't remember but it was definitely post my love affair with Zack Morris. Yes, I'm totally aging myself. The beautiful thing is that I DON'T CARE!)

So, I took drama classes in junior high and all through high school. Acting class always made me nervous, no matter how much I loved it. I knew I had talent, but I was extremely shy and found it difficult to shine. It wasn't until the year that I graduated from high school that I began doing community theater. I'm not sure why. I wish I would have begun sooner. I just don't think I really knew much about it or how to approach it, so I just stuck with school plays. Also, it took me years to understand the work that really goes into pursuing an acting career. In many ways, I consider myself a late bloomer. 

I worked in several plays while living in Virginia. Each one meant something very special to me and even though I've come to realize that I enjoy acting on-camera much more than on-stage, I know that my background in theater is priceless. It's something that I will always be proud of and grateful for. (My preference for acting on-camera doesn't mean that I don't submit for play castings if a role is suitable for me!) Quickly too, I decided not to go to college or a fancy acting school. I made the decision to rely on my experience; to start at the bottom and work my way up; and to take classes at studios when needed. (Please note that this is not the right decision for everyone!)

NYC vs. LA:

Eventually, working in plays became not enough for me. I wanted more opportunities. I wanted more accessibility when it came to pursuing my passions and that meant that I would have to make a move to a bigger market. At the time that I moved the only obvious choices were New York City and Los Angeles. Even though when I was 13(ish) I imagined living in Hollywood, when it came to the time, I was completely obsessed with Manhattan. I went for the first time on a school trip when I was 17 years old and fell madly in love. I knew I would love it though. In fact I chose that trip to New York over my class ring. (My parents couldn't afford both.) It made sense completely that I would love the energy of the city and all the tall buildings. I was always bored in VA. Even as little girl I was fascinated with the downtown area of Roanoke, the city in which I lived. Roanoke had one "skyscraper." Now known as the Wachovia Tower, it stands 21 stories tall over downtown Roanoke. We lived on a hill and riding the bus home after school there was this one spot where I could see that tower. Everyday when the bus got to that spot I would stretch myself a little higher to make sure I got my daily glimpse of the building. I was in elementary school at the time. 

Also, being an impatient night-owl who highly desired convenience, NYC seemed perfect.  

The Revelation: 

Once I moved up here though it still took years for me to pursue acting hard core. I still didn't see the amount of work and hustling that needed to go into it. I thought it was good enough to work in a project here and there and to take break afterwards before starting the next. Like, when I booked something, I wouldn't even look for auditions until the production was completely over. Even when I did look for castings, I didn't get many auditions. I couldn't even get auditions for student films. Then, when I got married I barely even thought about acting. I didn't audition for a whole year and a half. I still wanted to do it. At least, I still told people I wanted to do it. But I had kind of given up.

Thankfully, I eventually felt the urge to get back to into it. My husband was one-hundred percent supportive and gave me all the encouragement I needed. This time around things were different. I started getting more auditions and bookings than before and one project seemed to lead to the next. Which in turn motivated me to start hustling more and to work as hard I needed to. I don't know why it was different this time. It didn't seem like I had changed. I had the same experience. I was using the same headshot. I was using the same casting sites. Maybe it's because I truly realized my deep love for acting in it's absence; I let myself be naturally drawn back into it without even thinking about it. Maybe it's because persistence really is the key. That, I can say now without a doubt. When people ask me when did I get started in acting, I tell them when I was a child, but I didn't truly start pursuing it until a few years ago. 

Sometimes I wonder if it is unhealthy how much I love acting because I feel like I'm utterly obsessed with it! But love is the reason I pursue it now and whole heartedly. Not only because of how much I love the craft, but also because I want to be a blessing to others. And I want to glorify God with everything He has given me. 

   (A picture says a thousand words, and 
   this one says I'm happy doing what I 
   love.)