britt talks not enough time

So yeah, for those of you following along at home, I missed my weekly (Monday) post this week…whoopsie! Better a day late than never, right?

Just as Dani described in her last post of feeling upside-down (both metaphorically and literally, the yoga-genius), I too feel as though my whole life has been turned on its head and my concept of time has been thrown out the window. Things in different areas of my life have begun to spin out of control (for better or for worse) and take on a life of their own. Time speeds up and then slows down and then takes off at the speed of light again, hardly allowing me time to catch my breath.

This week, I’ve been experimenting with time. How can I make more time for things that are important to me? For relationships that are important to me? Is “being this busy” making me a selfish person? Sometimes I feel like it. I am so lucky to have so many amazing people in my life who love and support me and I hate feeling that I am neglecting them. Or maybe this is simply The Exhaustion talking, turning me into a stressie-guilt ball that is constantly bouncing off the walls to stay awake. But in a time when things are taking off career-wise, you are expected to answer that call, right? Put everything else on the back-burner? Put some relationships on hold…or get rid of them all together? Brave the change alone? Is that what you are supposed to do? I don’t know.

I have no idea anymore.

Yesterday was my last “official” day of work at my desk job for four weeks (I am an accountant, mind you, so this is a “big deal”). I am taking time off to shoot for the feature film, Birds of Neptune. I’ve never taken a leave of absence from my job like this before, and I must admit–it makes me nervous. If someone can take over my duties for a month, that means I am replaceable… right? Eeep!! Don’t think about it Britt, just take the jump! One day at a time.

One day at a time. That was the name of the game this week. One moment at time. Let’s catch up, shall we?

My Week

I’m pretty sure that I didn’t get a decent night’s sleep (mostly by choice, but let’s also remember that I’m living with four college boys ) all week. But I need to tell you… at this point in time, I wouldn’t change a thing. Sometimes you to push through weeks like this before you are able to see some incredible pay-off.

This week, rehearsals for the workshop of Amir Shirazi’s musical, Crumbs is in full swing with the cast!! How exciting.

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This whole process has been truly fascinating. Each evening at rehearsal we have had a revised libretto to go over, new music to learn, and new material to feel out as an actor. It’s like being at theatre camp!! It is so fun. I love being able to see new work take shape and to observe the playwright’s process. I am honored that Amir allows for my input and to be a part of this experience. We are all excited to share this beautiful project with an audience next weekend.

Birds of Neptune begins shooting in six days and we have been working hard this week with rehearsals, photo shoots, costume fittings, music rehearsal/studio sessions, and me trying to learn how to roll my own cigarettes. Bam.

with actress Molly Elizabeth Parker

(c) John Campbell w/ Molly Elizabeth Parker

It is exciting to see the designers and crew added into the mix, to see the art department come in and change the interior design of the house/set while we are rehearsing in it… I can feel everyone and everything buzzing with anticipation of its first official shooting day.

I was lucky to get called in to audition for NBC’s Grimm again this week for two different roles. And thanks to some great coaching and a day off of work, I got called back for both roles!! That was an exhausting couple days (I was trying to meet a payroll processing AND audit deadline at my day job at the same time… when it rains it pours, right?). No dice for Grimm yet, but each time in the room is a step forward.

I also had the incredible fortune this week of booking two commercials: one shoot on Wednesday for a South Dakota car dealership with r-west and one shoot on Friday with R2C Group. This gave me some peace of mind money-wise, as I am nervous to leave the stability of my day job… ah, thank you Universe! Just what I needed. And hopefully a good tax return along with that. ūüôā

And as I rush to get this post out in-between things today, forgive any typos, poor sentence structure, and/or just flat-out Crazy Person Talk, okay? Thanks friends. Oh, how I love you.

… it’s a working day.

Love,

britt

hot and sweaty

Ha!  I bet you thought this post was gonna be sexxxxual.  PSYCH!  

Nice try, suckas.

But wait… what exactly are we talking about here, Dani?

Well, Britt…this post is actually about this guy:

Bikram Choudhury photocredit: bikramyoga.com

Bikram Choudhury
photocredit: bikramyoga.com

Ohhhhhh BIKRAM! How I love you!! And your crazy hat!

SO HOT! ¬†Hmmm… Wait a minute, we can make this sexier… ¬†Let’s go with this:

Bikram Choudhury, age 17

Bikram Choudhury, age 17
photo credit: bikramyoga.com

Ooooo that’s much better. Nice work, D.

Why thank you, Britt! So this guy is a yoga guru who used yoga to completely rehabilitate his mangled knee, and thereby came up with an absolutely insane brand of yoga all his own. ¬†Bikram Yoga, practiced at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and at least 40% humidity, is 26 yoga postures practiced in a specific order so you can get fresh, oxygenated blood to the deepest, darkest, most forgotten regions of your body. ¬†You have to arrive to this 90-minute class 15 minutes early, and stay 10 minutes afterwards, just to lie there in “dead body pose” and let your body acclimate, making this whole thing a two hour experience. ¬†And there’s only one rule in Bikram: YOU CAN’T LEAVE THE ROOM.¬†

I remember hearing about Bikram¬† and the “YOU CAN’T LEAVE THE ROOM” rule for the first time. I remember thinking, “What the hell?? Is this some kind of torture method disguised as yoga? No thanks.”

Actually, I was looking at Bikram’s website, and he ACTUALLY calls his yoga studios “torture chambers.” ¬†Aren’t y’all soooo excited to go out and try it???

The whole experience sounded like an ordeal to me and I don’t do too well in the heat anyway. Needless to say, I never considered giving Bikram yoga a try¬†until Dani mentioned to me she was practicing it.

What sold me about Dani’s¬†experience was how certain poses unlocked certain emotions for her–for example, experiencing an impulse to laugh or cry –and I am incredibly fascinated by how our emotional life can be triggered by our bodies.¬†As an actor, my body is my instrument.¬†I often find it difficult, as many actors do,¬†to lift my guard (both emotionally and physically, in the way I carry my body), to¬†let go, and¬†to release my too-firm grasp of control. Bikram presents an incredible opportunity to simply let go. And the results you get from pushing your body to the limit and practicing the mindfulness¬†of the present moment (meditation,¬†yo!)¬†are incredible.

¬†I couldn’t agree more!! ¬† With all of those things!!! ¬†¬†You HAVE to let go of control and just exist in the present moment, because the physical intensity of the experience gives you no other choice. ¬†If you start thinking about whatever wacky-ass pose you just attempted, you will get disheartened/distracted; if you start future-tripping and wondering how long the torture will last, you lose all hope. ¬†Any distraction will cause you to compromise whatever posture you are currently in, and therefore lose the essence of the whole experience. ¬†It is the most delicious torture. ¬†

But wait, let me back up to how I first got into this whole yoga thing:  Groupon, bitches!!!!  In Fall of 2011 I tried Bikram yoga for the first time by plunging in for the recommended 10 days in a row, and I felt like a new human being afterwards.  I went like crazy  to Vancouver Bikram Yoga for the rest of the month until ye olde Groupon ran out, and I was totally hooked on this yoga thing.  Each class literally felt like a 2-hour trip/spirit quest, and taught me so much about myself, mind, body, and soul.  

It looks like little something like this: 

Notice to the left of the “Salted Pretzel” is the “Wind Removing” pose. ¬†That is ACTUALLY the name of that pose, and it ACTUALLY literally squeezes the farts out of you. ¬†Bet you never thought about that before! ¬†Next time you have a big burrito before a big date, make sure you remove some of that wind before leaving the house. ¬†Thank you, Bikram!

Seriously. One time I was in class and the gentleman next to me farted¬†an¬†unrealistically loud fart. In 6 months of taking class, I had never actually heard some one rip one. And especially not like that. It was… alarming. No one acknowledged Fartzilla¬†of course, but¬†he then¬†proceeded to let out gigantic farts throughout THE REST OF CLASS. One after another. Long, loud, sustained farts. There must of been, like, at least 15 farts joining us that session. It took everything in my power to keep from losing it. I’m sorry, but I had to let you guys in on that one… I’m not about to suffer through that memory alone. (You’re welcome.)

Oh my God I’d never heard that story! ¬†Daaaaaamn! ¬†Well I bet that guy had such a great date that night all fart-free and glowing with health and wellness. ¬†FRIENDLY TIP: ¬†If you do choose to go to Bikram, leave plenty of time to completely reassemble yourself before going out on your fart-free date afterwards. ¬†You will sweat more than you ever thought possible in this class. ¬†

Yes! But Bikram is sexy so that should give you extra points.

No, seriously, it is.  I mean you saw the picture of young, studly Bikram.  Sexy!  Despite all of the sweating and farting.  God we are making this sound so appealing!!  Well good luck on your hypothetical post-Bikram date.  Hooray dating advice with Britt and Dani!!  

For the record, I don’t regularly practice Bikram yoga anymore, since it is rather cost-prohibitive without ye olde Groupon. ¬†However, at least twice a week I go to normal yoga classes at my favorite place in all of Los Angeles,¬†YogaVidala¬†up in Los Feliz. ¬†Actually, it was really the intensity of my experience with Bikram yoga that turned me on to all yoga, and since then I have been having a blast exploring all the different schools of thoughts and ways of practicing. ¬†If you live in LA, have never tried yoga, and DON’T want to try it out in the Bikram torture chamber, come on down to YogaVidala on the last Saturday of each month at 2:00 p.m. for a FREE Intro to Yoga class. ¬†If you are anything like me, and even if you’re nothing like me, it will probably totally change your life.¬†¬†

Without a doubt. It changed mine. Even if you only get into the studio every once-in-a-while (the situation I am currently living in), your body remembers this stuff. It lives in you. Like your farts.

…Until Wind Removing pose removes them.¬†

So venture forth, new Bikram Yogis! Fart no more! Spread the Good News! Be free!

Your beginning-yogi-partners-in-crime,

~Dani & Britt

dani talks upside down

It is legitimately pouring rain and cold right now in Los Angeles, California. It is very confusing for us all here at USC. Suntanned bleach-blondes are taking the tags off of that-one-super-cute-jacket they bought six months ago, bros are staring out the window with saucer-sized eyes and clutching their skateboards, and most of the Asians are prepared with umbrellas. That last one’s not a stereotype, it’s just a fact. This topsy-turvy weather is kind of fitting though, because I am feeling a little upside down, backwards, and turned around myself. Maybe it’s because, like Britt, I find myself frazzled from exhaustion, but MAYBE it’s because I spent more time upside down in a headstand yesterday than I’ve ever spent in my life.
44 weeks ago, I pinned this onto pinterest:

As you can see at the bottom there, I set the goal in that moment to do a headstand within a year. Come to find out, I had no choice but to accomplish this goal! This crazy dude named Jerzy Grotowski came up with this series of movements called The Cat, which I was taught by Andy Robinson within the first month of being in grad school. The Cat is kiiiiiiinda (emphasis on KINDA) like vinyasa yoga for actors. DO NOT quote me on that. DO NOT tell Jerzy Grotowski I said that. Let me go on with this backwards and upside down explanation by saying that the video below is NOT of the cat, but it IS of some Grotowski physical theatre movement craziness:

No need to watch the whole thing–you’ll start to get the idea of where I’m coming from here. The Cat just involves a couple of shoulder-stands, a headstand, and some back-bends, among other things. But let me tell you, I was the remedial kid when it came to all of this being-upside-down-craziness. I was not that kid on the playground trying out cartwheels or tumbling around the jungle gym. I wasn’t even that kid flip-flopping around in the pool. Dani and planet earth have a very strong relationship, and I don’t take naturally to this whole flirtation with gravity. What the hell do we have feet for, anyway? For standing on the ground, y’all!

Well, you may be asking, “Who cares? This is weird. Why do you have to stand on your head to be an actor?”

…You don’t. But man oh man, is it valuable to be discombobulated, to be afloat, to not know your ass from a hole in the ground. It never ceases to amaze me how much can be learned by being pushed to my limits, by free-falling. You’d think that I’d be used to it at this point in the school year, but not a single day passes when I don’t have to summon up my strength in order to lean into the scary places, allow my weaknesses and cracks to show, and expand beyond my self-imposed limitations. It’s not just a physical challenge–it is mental, emotional, spiritual, all of it. There is a lot of fear to be conquered in learning new things and surprising yourself. I am proud to say that, thanks to yoga class on Sundays, I can now hang out in a headstand for a whole minute! And now the challenge is set to conquer handstands and cartwheels in Clown class. GAHHHH it never endsssss. So again, you may be asking, “What is the point of all of this? How is it possible that people can go to grad school for this?” Actors definitely have a reputation for being self-indulgent, “dramatic,” overly emotional, narcissistic, whatever.

Let me put it this way. You don’t go to the movies to see the day that Meg Ryan didn’t check her email, drank a half a bottle of wine, and woke up the next day still hating that arrogant bastard from work and learning NOTHING about herself! You go to the movies to see this:

…I have NO excuses why I chose that movie for my example. Whatever y’allz, I’m sticking with it. I’m sleep deprived and I’ve been standing on my head! Suck it up and watch the trailer for this mediocre late 90’s RomCom!! Geez.

Anyway, you go to the movies to see the day that Meg Ryan falls in love with the witty guy on the internet and realizes that it’s her coworker and maybe they both need to swallow their pride. You don’t go to a play to see the day that Hamlet’s Dad was still alive and they all had meatloaf for dinner, you go to see the play where Hamlet sees his dead Dad’s ghost and realizes his whole world is upside down, backwards, and topsy-turvy. We don’t pay actors to tell stories in which they are comfortable. We pay them to deal with change, with imbalance, with challenges. We want to see people facing obstacles and we want to learn from who they prove themselves to be by their actions.

So this week, all the work in my program and all the work in my yoga class has left me feeling a little bit scattered, a little bit off balance, a little bit upside down. And I think that’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.

In Wonderland, not in…like…Tulsa.

(…Sorry, Tulsa.)

britt talks where to look for freedom

In the¬†past couple weeks I have been desperately searching to find a place to land, some space in my life¬†to settle, and a less chaotic rhythm to fall into as I adjust to an ever-changing routine. In the midst of big life¬†changes¬†and plans and crazy life surprises¬†one after another, it’s been hard to find some peace.

When I start to get life-tired and overly emotional from wearing myself too thin and neglecting sleep¬†(which has been quite often over the past few months), I try to assess what I can cut out of my life–how I can give my heart more space to live in a place of happiness.¬†So, true to Britt-fashion, I made a list of my current obligations before bed the other night.

What I found was an overwhelming list of¬†ingredients to a¬†budding dream life… a life that I have been trying to position myself into for years (minus the desk job, of course). In scanning my list, an overwhelming feeling of gratitude washed over me. I thought to myself, “Holy crap, I am fucking exhausted, broke, and overworked, but…my hard work is getting results.”

I can’t deny¬†these results,¬†and not just tangibly– but in my quality of life. I am SO much happier than I was a year ago… I am constantly surrounded by the most beautiful and supportive people on the planet. I am spending time on projects that fill my soul and challenge me as an artist and inspire me to be a better human. My life fucking ROCKS.

Making this list like, woke me UP. It energized me. It’s¬†like feeling the burn after a good workout and celebrating that hurt. That good, sweet hurt that tells you that you’re going in the right direction, that you are making progress. That is what this exhaustion is for me right now. And I want to celebrate it. This uprooting and constant movement I am experiencing is somehow giving me more freedom and exhilaration than I have ever experienced. I love it.

So Exhaustion, my dear friend, I thank you. With you, I am finding my freedom.

My Week:

Dear Exhaustion, let’s tell these folks what wonderful projects have made you a constant in my life lately!

This week has brought me much excitement with rehearsals starting up¬†for the premiere¬†of “Crumbs,”¬† a workshop of the original musical from¬†composer/playwright Amir Shirazi, directed by Avital Shira.

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CRUMBS is a prequel to the Hansel and Gretel fairytale that explores the question, “What could compel a father to cast his children out of their home and abandon them in the woods?” Written in the wake of the loss of Amir’s father, CRUMBS takes those experiences and more on a journey into new territory with a family broken by loss, yearning to rebuild their family from crumbs. It is a beautiful journey of love, grief, and what it means to rebuild family — or tear it to pieces. I cannot talk-up this project enough. Amir’s music is incredible– it fills my heart¬†up to the brim to work on such beautiful words and notes. I¬†am honored to work alongside such a talented cast and production team!!

This week also brought the excitement of a successful and sold-out opening night at Theatre Vertigo!

(c) Gary Normanactors: Andy Lee-Hillstrom & Nathan Berl

(c) Gary Norman
actors: Andy Lee-Hillstrom & Nathan Berl

I have been working on The Velvet Sky¬†(producing duties) with the company for months now and it is always such an amazing feeling to see all of that hard work pay off. I’m truly proud of my dear company and the high-quality work it continues to produce, no matter how overworked we all are. And speaking of hard work, MANY hours go in to producing a show in a company with eleven resident¬†members and no artistic director. That’s right, this little commie company worked¬†hard into the dead of the night this week to prep for the show…

photo2photo1

…but we had plenty of pizza and beer to keep us happy, so it was totally worth it. Go Team.

Rehearsals for¬†Steven Richter‘s feature film Birds of Neptune¬†is ramping up, as we locked in the shooting dates for March 4th-22nd. Eeeeeee! I have been lucky to get to play with many musical toys to prep for this role (my artistic wet dream fully realized):

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But I think what I am most excited for right now is the opportunity to take a month off of my day job to concentrate¬†fully on these¬†creative endeavors.¬†For this four-week period of time, I will be entirely–financially–self-sufficient as an actor.¬†Uhhh… what?!¬†This stint of artistic oasis rarely happens, so I plan to enjoy the hell out of my four weeks of Dream Life.

As I reflect on this stint of awesomeness, I realize that all of this insanity and uncertainty is what brings me the most joy… and it offers me great freedom inside of it. I am the master of my own universe. (Watch me, I’m getting all WOO WOO¬†again.)

Every day I’m discovering how and where to look for freedom.¬†See you on the other side, Cubicle.

~britt

happy valentwins day

That’s right people. It’s Valentwins Day today. A day when Dani and I will publicly¬†profess our love aaallll¬†over the Interwebs (as if that wasn’t the point of this whole freaking blog anyway).

Please take a moment to take in this monument of our love, in chronological order:

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VALEN-TWINS!!!!

love9

love8

love7

love2
love1

Oh my GOD so much love happening!! It is impossible to look away!! ¬†It’s like the sun. ¬†As you can see, the flame is still burning. ¬†We’ve been honeymooning for years now, and it doesn’t look like the spark will ever fade. ¬†HOT! (…So many mixed metaphors/puns right there.)

In honor of Valentines/Valentwins Day, a time in which we celebrate the ones we love, here are some love montages for you to enjoy:

1.) DISNEY LOVE MONTAGE!

2.) Elephant love!

3. ) Portland’s very own….ISAAC LAMB’S LIP DUB PROPOSAL! (that’s right, that guy’s my buddy)

4. ) The follow-up to Isaac’s proposal to Amy and celebration of love, YES TO LOVE!:

Is anyone crying yet? Because I am currently weeping tears of joy at my desk.  Dude, I wept like a baby at my desk when I first saw that.  Fuh real.

Crying-Gif-2

And to you, our friends, who take the time 3 days out of your week to read the crazy babble we write on here… we love you. We thank you. You are incredibly attractive and we want to date you. ¬†All of you. ¬†At the same time. As long as you all keep it on the downlow. From each other.¬†

X’s and O’s,

Britt & Dani

dani talks USC

So I was realizing recently that while my twoevilactors¬†partner-in-crime does a lovely job of posting about things relevant to our mission of chronicling our acting-career-journeys, ¬†I tend to get real philosophical when I’m writing this here blog and talk about abstract concepts. ¬†Well, as Britt and I often say to each other:¬†‚ÄúEverything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable.‚Ä̬†¬†–Twyla Tharp¬† …Part of the joy of writing is for us to digest the things that feed us artistically, and the world at large offers a whole lot of food for thought, so I get distracted.¬† I’m like a kid in a philosophical candy store.¬† …Actually, a kid in a philosophical candy store would probably be pretty miserable.¬† He’d be like, “Where the hell’s the candy?¬† This philosophical candy SUCKS!”

…Moving on…. Have you ever thought to yourself, “What the hell does Dani do with her time?” ¬†Well wonder no more, dear friends! ¬†

I’m in the MFA Acting program at USC. ¬†What does that mean, you ask? ¬†The longer version of that sentence is “I am working on my Master of Fine Arts in Acting at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California.” That means that after getting my liberal arts Bachelor’s degree in Music and Drama, I took a year off from school, did some acting (and worked some day jobs) in Portland, then went back to school to complete this three-year-long master’s training program. ¬†

Actors all have different needs as far as what kind of training they want/need to get, and how much time they want to spend in classes and/or training programs.  It can be kind of a contentious subject, actually.  Some people think it is a waste of time, some people see it as absolutely necessary, some people think that it is a sign of weakness, some people think it is about artistic integrity, etc.  

What I can say with certainty is that this training and this program are exactly right for me as an artist and as a human being at this time, and I feel so lucky to be where I am. ¬†I wanted to get more training because I felt like, although I had had some success as an actor, my approach to the work felt inconsistent, incomplete, and unreliable. ¬†I threw myself into the work and sort of hoped for the best. ¬†And I really take this work seriously–I think it is valuable to society. I think storytelling is important and I want to be good at it.¬† I am going to stop myself RIGHT HERE before I get super “meta,” and take a leaf out of Britt’s book to tell you a little bit about…

My Week

For the past 2.5 weeks, two of our core instructors have been out of town auditioning folks for next year’s incoming class, leaving us first-year MFAs to a Shakespeare intensive with this guy Rob Clare.¬† He totally exploded my understanding of Shakespeare and made my brain melt.¬† In a very, very, good way.¬† One highlight was working on:

The Merry Wives of Windsor 
(photo: googleimages)

with my shockingly gorgeous classmate, Kimberli Alexis Flores, featured below.

Image

moment captured by Amador’s smartphone.

She is standing on the shoulders of my homeboy and my very first scene partner at USC, Amador Plascencia. ¬†On Fridays we have Clown class with the hilarious, formidably talented, and casually ingenious Matt Walker, featured in this picture in the maroon pants. ¬†He is teaching us brutal-clown-honesty and badass-stunts. ¬†I don’t have any pictures, but like Kim, I got to be hoisted in the air and climb all over my classmates for a couple hours. ¬†It was glorious.¬†

This weekend was the opening weekend of the MFA Class of 2013‘s Three Play Rep! ¬†The third year MFA actors each year rehearse three productions which they run in repertory for over a month starting …NOW. ¬†That means 6 performances a week of three different shows, which means months of rehearsal and a lot of hard work. ¬†They are an incredible ensemble, and an inspiring example of where my class will be in Spring of 2015. ¬†Check out these sexy beasts, and check out their website: dirtythirteen.com¬†

I get to be at almost EVERY show of the Three Play Rep, working as concierge to the patrons or working on tech. ¬†The first years do this so that we can get an idea of what our lives will be like when we are in our third year. ¬†Actually, most of my classmates are not at so many of the shows…. My shockingly gorgeous classmate Sedale Threatt, Jr. and I are working as concierges, because we love our third-years so very very much. ¬†Check out my classmate Sedale, cuz he’s super hot. ūüėõ

sedale and amaka

photo credit: Michael Bernardi

Sedale is going to hate me for that. ¬†Suck it up, Sedale, it’s all a part of the master plan!! ¬†BWAHAHAHA! ¬†(Sedale and I are evil geniuses. ¬†Don’t even worry about it. Britt, I promise it won’t interfere with our plan for world domination.) ¬†In that picture he is staring lovingly at my main squeeze, the beautiful Amaka Izuchi. ¬†

You will notice that the lovely photograph above was taken by Michael Bernardi, another one of my incredible classmates (there are 11 of us total), who has a great eye for photography, film, and editing. ¬†He has gotten to flex this muscle in a class we have called “Free Play” in which our fearless instructor Ntare Mwine facilitates our class in filming, well, whatever the hell we feel like filming. ¬†It’s FREE PLAY y’all!!! ¬†I love my life!!! ¬†Our last project was to film a “documentary” about professional-league Hide-and-Seek players. ¬†Check out my segment as Beverly “Blackout” Smith, professional Hider. ¬†Shot and edited by the incomparable Michael Bernardi. ¬†

danidrunk

So there you have it!  Those are some of the faces, sights, and sounds that light up my world.  More to come!

britt goes viral

The Internet is a strange place.
—-
You may recall my mention of a short film project I was shooting with Chris R. Wilson of We’ll Fix It In Post Productions¬†in my last post. The film starts out with this introduction: “Cleverbot.com has been touted as one of the most advanced artificial intelligences ever. The website allows users to chat with the A.I. Cleverbot. But how good is it, really? I sat down with Cleverbot and collaborated on a movie script. What follows is a movie written by a machine.”
—-
Chris emailed me about this idea on a Wednesday night while I was pleasantly tipsy enjoying a Backfence¬†PDX¬†event with my friend Suzzane.¬†The whole concept sounded hilarious to me at the time. Or maybe the booze made it seem like a funnier idea than Sober Britt would have thought. But whatever,¬†I¬†promptly¬†emailed¬†back, “I’m in”. Thank you, two pitchers of McMenamins Ruby Beer.
—-
We woke up early that Saturday morning and drove out to a forest East of Portland in the freezing cold. We¬†put on crazy costumes, talked in crappy English accents and exclaimed complete nonsensical dialogue while hikers looked back at us in shock at a distance. The six of us shared a bag of Lays chips (thanks, craft services!) and¬†I mistakenly sat on Zach Persson’s PB&J sandwiches (which he’s probably now selling on e-Bay) and we¬†successfully wrapped in a few hours. It was rad. ¬†‘Twas¬†a perfect Saturday¬†to¬†run around in the woods with your friends doing crazy shit. I drove home happily afterwards to a warm shower and a three-hour nap.
—-
But what came of all this was kind of insane.
Our little video about artificial intelligence blew up and in under a week achieved over 117,000 views and was written-up by popular blogs and news sites such as reddit, mashable, Daily of The Day, The Laughing Squid, Animal New York, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post.

Cleverbot

Cleverbot his/herself even put us on the home page of their site! Hello! Nerd Alert!
Cleverbot Home Page
My favorite media quote reads: “Cleverbot wrote an amazing short film called “Do You Love Me”. It’s Academy Award material.¬†And, Cleverbot? The answer is yes, obviously.” Thanks, Buzzfeed! Oh, Internet, where will you take me next?
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Seriously, Interwebs, you be CRAY.
—-
So, at the risk of beating this video to death….here is this Virus of a Video¬†in case you missed it. Cause you know what? Eff it.¬†I¬†am going to enjoy every second of this 15 minutes of fame.¬†Once¬†I¬†move to LA, I may very well drop off of the grid and into the soul-sucking¬†abyss that is the inner-circle of actor hell forever…Ever..everrr.. .(Echo echo)…
…just kidding.

Not kidding. Sort of kidding. Maybesortofkiddingidontknow. Whatever, Just WATCHIT.

And although the explosion of this video in Interweb-Land made me waste many an hour sitting at my desk at the ‘ol day job this week, I was up to some other shit besides Robot-Cinema as well:
My Week

Rehearsal and prep work for the feature-film Birds of Neptune have been keeping me pretty busy. As indicated by the photo below, I think I had a bit too much fun at our makeup/camera test this past Saturday:

Molly Elizabeth Parker & I are sisters in real life, apparently.

Molly Elizabeth Parker & I are sisters in real life, apparently.

Seriously, we are escapees from the asylum in this one. Aaaand to cleanse your palate from that frightening image, here is a less-frightening one:
(c) John Campbell

Photo by John Campbell


I was also lucky enough to get back on the horse for NBC’s Grimm¬†this week. I auditioned and got called back for a guest star who was… in her 30’s. Seeing as how I’m¬†playing an 18-year-old in the movie I am working on currently, I have no idea how I come across in terms of age for casting anymore. Maybe this is a good thing. I don’t know. Mostly I am just constantly having an identity crisis. Typical actor.

In other news, the show I am producing with my theatre company (Theatre Vertigo)¬†is in tech! I am so excited for The Velvet Sky¬†to open this weekend. It is going to be a beautiful and jarring journey. And all¬†y’all Portlanders should go see it.

Anywhoo… my mind is exploding with all of the crazy-awesomeness that is¬†my life this week.
tumblr_inline_mg19idHdoj1rnbgkp
…Yup, kinda like that.
And all of this¬†busy kind of makes me forget that I am living in a closet in my brother’s basement.
I’ll take it.

Best of luck in your journeys this week, my friends!
~Britt

nerd alert

Dani and I, we be nerds.

Whilst chatting during our usual I’m-Driving-In-The-Car-Let’s-Conference-Call¬†thing that we do, Dani and I started talking all NERD up in here.

I think that it started when I said something to Britt¬†along the lines of, “Dude, it’s funny how we (us, people) are always like ‘ERMAHGERD** MY LIFE IS ENDING’ when really, our lives are constantly beginning.” ¬†And then I said “Duuuuude it sounds like I’m stoooooned,” and the conversation quickly¬†spiraled¬†out of control as we talked about the possibility that human life¬†expectancy¬†could be extended to 150 years and which specific humans we thought might survive partial bionic conversion and how being part-android would really only be available to rich white men and how most archetypal evil geniuses are rich white men, etc., etc.¬†

I wish I could simply re-enact the conversations that we have for all of you . I mean, how cool would it be to have a device that would download our full conversations from our brains and¬†then¬†transcribe them into written word?¬†Then we could¬†simply¬†transfer said convo onto this blogsite. Ka-bam! No more re-inventing the wheel here. [Yeah, Britt! ¬†No more of these puny fingers and keyboards slowing down our thought vomit!]¬† …Dani and I should be able to upload our real-life conversations directly from our mouths and brains to the interwebs. ¬† Now THAT’S how nerds think, people! And let’s be real…we often talk about some pretty interesting (and profound!) shit.

Welllllll I dunno exactly how profound we get, but I LOVE being a nerd. ¬†I think being a nerd means just being totally out of the closet about the cool things that tickle your brain in all sexiest ways. ¬†I mean… the things that get all your brain juices flowing in imagination land. ¬†In that spirit, Britt and I are gonna nerd out so hard right now. ¬†Ready, set, GO!

Okay, D, what is your ideal nerdy double-feature?? I need to come out about my obsession with these two films–which I prefer to watch back-to-back:

Fifth Element Serenity

Ooooo solid choices, B. ¬†Mine are more questionable, and I haven’t yet watched them back-to-back, but in the spirit of being open about my nerdness, here goes. ¬†

220px-Aeon_flux_poster  

Let me just say that I know Aeon Flux got HORRIBLE reviews and is not in the same league as 5th Element or Serenity but IT WAS AWESOME and everyone can just leave me alone with my bad taste. Also, Ender’s Game is the beginning of one of my all time favorite sci fi book series, and the movie is currently in post production. ¬†I am SO EXCITED. ¬†

I’m going to be “that guy” right now and totally nominate myself for the Nerd Of The Month Award. This photo should do all all explanation you need.

Cleverbot Home Page

my face= the face of cleverbot.com

Yup, that happened. I will now skip my acceptance speech (you’re welcome), take my 7-ft-tall-gold-calculator-statue award, and gracefully leave the stage. Thank you, Internet.

I will second that nomination, dear Britt! ¬†Partially because I want to get my paws on that 7 ft-tall-gold-calculator-statue and flip it upside down and type HELLO in majestic gold font, but also because I do declare that you are indeed the Nerd of the Month! Britt was in a video directed by¬†Chris R. Wilson written by A MOTHAF***IN’ ROBOT. ¬†Chris R. Wilson is being interviewed by¬†HuffPost Live alongside the creator of Siri for the segment “Artificial Creativity”. So many nerd points!!

And also I just like taking picutre of things and putting cats on them. I’m pretty sure that counts for Nerd.

 purpledrankcatcatpunch

I’m gonna go ahead and round out this post with this ridiculous, un-scientific video of a Dancing Gigantoraptor, in honor of the fact that scientists recently figured out the true color of a dinosaur called¬†Archaeopteryx,¬†and that it had iridescent black feathers. ¬†COOOOOOL.

**ERMAHGERD:
c4b.jpg

dani talks musicians

There are many, many reasons why I admire Britt as an artist. One of them is this recent viral nugget, which is AWESOME.

Another reason, which you can see in this video, is the fearlessness and dedication with which she encounters her creative work. ¬† The thing about acting is that it is hard to forget you’re doing it while you’re doing it. ¬†It’s hard not to watch yourself in your head while you’re doing the thing that you’re supposed to be doing. (…My brain just imploded.) ¬†But Britt beautifully gets lost in the imaginative joy of it all. ¬†

I was reminded of this quality of Britt’s the other week when she mentioned her song-writing adventures with her brother, which will be happening a lot more now that they are ROOMIES!! WOOOOO!!!

 Have any of you out there in internet-land ever tried to write a song and totally failed to?  What was it that stopped you?  Even if you are in an empty room with no one watching, it takes a lot of courage to just express yourself freely, especially using music.  EVEN IF you have the courage to be honest enough with yourself to allow your truth to come out, EVEN IF you can own your point of view enough to express it: It is so easy to stop yourself, to judge your own skill as a musician, your voice, your rhyming abilities, whatever. 

I have never successfully written a song. But I do have a lot of musician friends, and I can’t express how absolutely precious it is to me when one of them pulls me aside and says, “Hey I just wrote this song–can I show you?” ¬†This means that my badass, fearless friend has let something awesome coming pouring out of their soul, and I admire the hell out of it. ¬†For example, I had the great “misfortune” of growing up with a very talented musician for an older brother. ¬†In his current band, he writes sweeping, masterful 7+ minute long instrumental post-rock songs with Red Hands Black Feet, which I will now shamelessly pimp out: ¬†

redhandsblackfeet.bandcamp.com 

If you have 7 minutes of leisure time in your life, they will take you on a soul-soaring journey.  Also, their album is free for the downloading.  PIMP.

In the spirit of admiring musicians, check out this excerpt from Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1986 commencement speech at Bryn Mawr, which I have been obsessed with lately:

“Early this spring I met a musician, the composer Pauline Oliveros, a beautiful woman like a grey rock in a streambed; and to a group of us, women, who were beginning to quarrel over theories in abstract, objective language – and I with my splendid Eastern-women’s-college training was in the thick of the fight and going for the kill – to us, Pauline, who is sparing with words, said after clearing her throat, “Offer your experience as your truth.” There was a short silence. When we started talking again, we didn’t talk objectively, and we didn’t fight. We went back to feeling our way into ideas, using the whole intellect not half of it, talking with one another, which involves listening. We tried to offer our experience to one another. Not claiming something: offering something.

How, after all, can one experience deny, negate, disprove, another experience? … People can’t contradict each other, only words can: words separated from experience for use as weapons, words that make the wound, the split between subject and object, exposing and exploiting the object but disguising and defending the subject.

People crave objectivity because to be subjective is to be embodied, to be a body, vulnerable, violable.”

Over a year ago I was having lunch with my friend Will, a mountain of a man, and I was seeking his advice about something; really floundering for words and struggling to communicate.¬† He just looked at me with this sort of empathetic amusement in his eyes and said, “It sounds like you’re not accepting the validity of your experience.”¬† Those words have been resonating with me ever since.¬† As our good friend Ursula says, “How, after all, can one experience deny, negate, disprove another experience?”¬†¬† Musicians and songwriters, in a huge way, accept the validity of their experience and turn that into art.¬† I think that’s what all artists do, and it’s especially why I admire songwriters so much. ¬†They offer their experience as their truth. ¬†Here’s some more Ursula:

“Singing is one of the names of the language we never learn… Yes, but it can be speeches and science, any use of language when it is spoken, written, read, heard as art, the way dancing is the body moving as art. …you hear the coming together, the marriage of the public discourse and the private experience, making a power, a beautiful thing, the true discourse of reason. …This is their baby, this baby talk, the language you can spend your life trying to learn.”

That is what I am doing with my life.  I am trying to to learn this unlearned language, and offer my experience as my truth.  This blog thing is a part of that, so thanks for reading.

Imma have to end this post with some Gaga.  Whatever else you may say, she is artist who owns her point of view and turns it into some awesome shit.  Hot damn.  

britt talks moving into her bro’s basement, part 2

It happened, folks. I did it.¬†I moved into a closet-sized dungeon room in my 21 year-old brother’s basement to save money to move to Los Angeles. This photo is for Mom:

ROOMIES. Me, bro, and Severus Snape (he goes where I go).

ROOMIES. Me, bro, & Severus Snape (he goes where I go).

…Nothing but trouble, that’s for sure.

I left this glorious studio apartment with city skyline view¬†in SE Portland (let’s pretend I made my bed in that photo):

MyApt   bye bye apt

For this 100 sq. foot room in a college house (go Pilots):

closetroom2 closetroom3

closetroom1

(thank you to the lovely Suz for looking hot in above photos)

And because I am a badass, I pimped out the closet-room to look like this:

sultanpimpden2 sultanpimpden1

That’s right, this girl will be on Cribs next season. Check out that sick gold Sultan-curtain I have for a door. Who needs a door when you can fly straight into your room on your magic carpet? A door is clearly unnecessary, so fuck that. I would like to think that all of this basement-dwelling is prepping me for the Ultimate Basement Adventure when I move into Dani’s¬†place in Silver Lake. I shall be reining Queen of the Basements!!

seriously, don't mess.

seriously, don’t mess.

With every dollar I save on rent and every college party I live through while creepily squatting in the basement as a post-collegiate troll, I am one step closer to being prepared to make The Big Move. Eye on the prize, 25-year-old girl living with four 21-year-old boys, eye on the prize.

I am impressed that I could execute a move in the midst of such a busy time.¬†I couldn’t have done so without¬†my amazing friend Suzzane¬†helping me move car-fulls¬†of my crap across town. And yet, in the midst of this moving extravaganza¬†and 32 hours at the day job, I was still able to sink my teeth into the juicy FUN stuff of BrittLife¬†that keeps me keepin’ on.

My Week

Rehearsals for Stephen Richter¬†‘s new film Birds of Neptune¬†have become even more exciting as we are mere weeks away from production. I cannot wait to for this story to be told.

(c) Reverie Films, 2013,concept image

(c) Reverie Films, 2013,
concept image

I also had the pleasure¬†of working with the genius¬†goofballs from We’ll Fix It In Post¬†on a short called “Do You Love Me”. To tell you anything about it would be a complete spoiler. So… you will just have to check in with me¬†next week to watch. That’s right, those crazies work fast!

734181_10151463310896399_1712763042_n

(c) Chris Wilson

——————————-

…Beware, as I am also a crazy that works fast. In¬†just under¬†two-weeks time I have successfully made a move happen and¬†created a solid financial plan with 9-month budget to get debt-free and saved up to move to a new city. But I know the hardest part is yet to come. Sticking to that financial plan¬†will be¬†a bitch.¬†Eye on the prize, Harris, eye on the prize.

Back at my brother’s–er, my¬†house–, I walked up to the back door to use my new key for the first time.¬†As I walked past, I¬†couldn’t help but realize that I had never seen the backyard during the day-light hours. Behold…. the Backyard of Broken Dreams.¬†I spied¬†a large table broken in half and¬†defeated on the lawn, several PBR¬†cans, a (surprisingly upright) barbecue, and several dilapidated plastic chairs strung about on the grass. It’s likely that a stampede of wildebeests crashed through my poor brother’s yard. And¬†that’s not really something you can plan for in the Northwest.

I walked inside and¬†informed my brother’s roommate of the backyard situation, as any good and caring sister-roommate does: “You guys have a lot of broken furniture¬†and crap in your yard.” To which my new roommate responded, “Yes,¬†there is¬†a lot of broken furniture and crap in…our¬†yard. It’s your home now too.”

3…2…1…Awwwwww!

“ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONEOFUS!!”

And the Post-Collegiate-Troll-Squatting-in-the-Basement’s heart grew three times its size:¬†¬†“It’s my¬†broken furniture too!! And my backyard!! And my home!!”

I do have life outside of the golden curtain of¬†my sultan den… and it will be glorious. As reining Queen of the Basements, I say¬†it shall be so.

Basement cat