what it means to be LA. (britt edition.)

People are all,

“Heeeey Britt, it’s so cool that you’re a Big Time LA actor these days. Your life must be soooo exciting and glamorous. Show us a little bit of that Red Carpet Slice O’ Life!” **

To which I say:

(I’ve seen the edge of my Soul and it is Dark.)

XO,

Britt

**actually, I’m pretty sure no one has ever said this, ever.

**But, I am wrong, and you have in fact said this, or want to say this, please approach me. You are good for my ego and I love you.

someday we will be reliable and consistent. like your poops.

Trying to get Britt and I to do something with any level of consistency is like trying to tutor a puppy in math. 

Actually I do that. Only with children, not puppies. 

No difference.

P.S. I literally just google imaged searched “puppy math” and this was the first thing that popped up: sadpuppy2 AHHHHhahahaha!! That puppy doesn’t know how to use that calculator!! SOMEBODY TEACH IT!!

AHHHH hahaaa, I KNOW!!!

…Okay okay, okay, but truly — trying to get Dani and I to do something with any level of consistency is like trying to teach a horse how to ride a bicycle. 

Why would a horse need a bicycle?  Horses are faster than bicycles to begin with. 

I don’t know about that. 

Dude have you ever googled “horse bicycle”?? It’s awesome!!

Horscycle. As old as time itself.

Horscycle. As old as time itself.

Horscycle. Available today!

Horscycle. Available today!

horse

Horses CAN ride bicycles. We need a new metaphor for this post.

That unicorn made that bike its bitch.

That unicorn made that bike its bitch.

Weren’t we supposed to be talking about something? (…And way to out-do me with Ye Olde Google Image Search, Dani, you asshole.) 

Hehehe I AM THE GOOGLE MASTER!!  ….Ahem. CONSISTENCY!!  Like the kind you experience when you take Metamucil every day or the consistency of what happens every time you stick a paperclip into a power outlet. 

Ah, yes. That. Trying to get Dani and I to do anything with consistency is like….

KnifeSocket

Make this stop.

…Does this visual metaphor even make sense anymore? Also, I saved this image on my desktop as “KnifeSocket”.

BRITT!!

What?! DANI!!!

We have an important message to share. This is the whole reason why we are trying (and failing) to write this post in the first place… so that we may write other posts!! And eventually take over the world!!

Sigh. Yes. Discipline. Consistency. Being a (*stifled laugh*) Grown-Up. Blah blah.

We, Dani Larson (and *stifled laugh* Britt Harris) vow to be better Evil Twins and to bring you more consistent Evil Blog Posts starting now, this Month of March, in this Year of Our Lord, 2015. 

And if we fail, we will still crawling come back to you. Remember how we posted three times a week for a year then straight-up didn’t post for fifty-two weeks after that??

Yeah. We remember that too. 

We will do better.

(c) The Incredible Allie Brosh

(c) The Incredible Allie Brosh

Because we love you.

(c) The Incredible Allie Brosh

(c) The Incredible Allie Brosh

And we love us.

(c) The Incredible Allie Brosh

(c) The Incredible Allie Brosh

See you next time we do stuff. 

WHICH WILL BE SOON. 

Mark. Our. Words. 

Love,

Dani & Britt

dani talks preparation

Word on the street is that grad school is hard. But you know what I hear is even harder than regular grad school?   Med School.  Now, I’m not a medical professional, but I assume that the reason for that … Continue reading

britt is a working actor

Oh my god ohmygod ohmygodohmygod, you guys… everyone…. Dani’s back!!! And I left my day job!! And I’m moving to Los Angeles!! Like, SOON!!

…And pretty much all things in life are magical. I mean, the world was gifted Shark Week AND a new episode of Breaking Bad and I am constantly hopped-up on Kombucha and free coffee I get at rehearsal. Need I say more?! My heart is happy and my head is full of to-do’s that I actually WANT to DO, and I wish that I didn’t require sleep so I can max out my days with Limitless Rad.

My weekly schedule right now is this: noon-6pm rehearsal, 6 days a week. Time before and after this is used for personal projects, misc. film work that comes up, WORKING OUT AND TAKING CARE OF MYSELF (gasp!! I’m even doing acupuncture?!!!), LA move prep and spending time with friends. You guys, I am living the dream. I am a working actor.

Okay– back up– record scratch moment– I hate that term. I dislike the term “working actor” as much as I dislike the terms “networking” and “moist”. I can’t really explain why, it just sounds pretentious and/or that I have something to prove. I don’t. I just don’t know how else to explain it. So! I will grit my teeth and proclaim to you, I am a working actor. And you know what? That’s pretty fucking hard to do in Portland, Oregon so I’m going to allow myself this cheesy moment. All though 2013, I’d say my income breakdown was 50/50 (acting income/accounting income) or 60/40, so to drop off the accounting part right before I make The Big Move feels pretty good. Cause god knows I’ll be working a million shitty jobs to survive once I get to Los Angeles.

So let me catch you up. This is what I have been up to the past week or so, my friends:

My Week:

This week brought the close of The Tamer Tamed with Portland Shakespeare Project. It was a fun, energetic last couple shows where, on my end at least, there was plenty of this:

PSP-TamerTamed-0384-130723-M

and some of this:

PSP-TamerTamed-0052-130723-Mand lots of this:

PSP-TamerTamed-0338-130723-M

and maaaaybe a little of this:

PSP-TamerTamed-0193-130723-M…that’s right, I’m an insane person.

Which brings me to my next topic. The 48 Hour Film Project. It was during this past weekend where I broke through to a whole new level of insanity when I was up working for 35 hours straight.

It went like this.

On Friday, I worked my last day at my day job:

Exhibit A: Feelin good so far.

Exhibit A: Feelin good so far. Adios, cubicle.

then went straight from the office to the kick-off event for the 48 Hour Film Race, where, clearly, I worked VERY hard:

Exhibit B: We picked sci-fi for our genre. And I drank cheap beer.

Exhibit B: We picked sci-fi for our genre. And I drank cheap beer.

I went from to the kick-off event to set, where I remained from 8pm Friday to noon Saturday. During this time, I “helped” with pre-production:

Exhibit C: This is me "helping" our screenwriter draft the best sci fi story the world has ever seen.

Exhibit C: This is me “helping” our screenwriter draft the best sci fi story the world has ever seen.

we shot all through the night:

Tired actor faces at 2am. When we wrapped our FIRST shot of the night. Oh boy.

Exhibit D: Tired actor faces at 2am. When we wrapped our FIRST shot of the night. Oh boy.

And after getting dirty from rolling around in an haunted warehouse, sprinting for my life at 6am for the benefit of an octocopter shot, and falling asleep on the toilet at 8am (not my finest hour), we started to capture the story we wrote:

Exhibit E: CINEMA.

Exhibit E: CINEMA.

And then, at noon last Saturday, on my 32nd hour, we wrapped the day and I headed straight to my 1pm call for the Portland Shakespeare Project show, where I felt a lot like this:

Exhibit F: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.

Exhibit F: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.

And yet… I somehow survived. And, dare I say, I MORE than survived. It’s like I had an extra energy/emergency-focus tank somewhere in my brain that I finally had access to tap into. I didn’t know I had that in me. I felt kind of invincible after all of that. And on that 35th hour, after curtain-call of the show, I headed promptly back to the green room backstage and fell the F asleep on the couch. After my nap I drove home and slept for like, a million hours. It was awesome. One of the top 10 sleeps of my life.

Now… things have been crazy but fanTASTIC. And after last weekend, my life has been on a more structured track as I started my new job at Artists Repertory Theatre!! This week marks the completion of Week 1 of the rehearsal process for The Big Meal, and I am having a blast. This play is SO FUCKING GOOD, you guys. I can’t even… I can’t even handle it. And just LOOK at how hot and awesome and amazing my new family is!!

The cast of The Big Meal.

The cast of The Big Meal.

…Told you. I am pretty jealous of myself right now. They are all beautiful people and I love them.

Oh!! And–in closing– I finally got my silly reel done after a million years of putting it off, so here it is! It is a bit (okay, maybe a LOT) CrazyPants, but what else would you expect from me? Enjoy!

https://vimeo.com/71462770

…And I don’t know why this vimeo is just showing up as a link right now, but I’ll fix it later. I gotta run. Anyway. Until next time!

I love you all!!

sharkweek,

~britt

britt loves lists and summer work.

Welp, summer is really starting to sizzle here in Portland, Oregon.

Summer drinking, ACTIVATE.

Okay, well…not so much, actually. Okay, well maybe a little bit. But things are exploding here in Britt-World!  My days now consist of running around like a crazy person in the hot hot heat trying to juggle various life commitments while everyone in the Rose City loses their minds in our time-sensitive PNW sunshine.

But oddly enough, in the midst of this busy time I have put more emphasis on taking time out in my day. And you know how hard this can be for me. But–Le GASP!–I am allowing myself time to sleep in, exercise, reflect, write, and simply rest.  And I’ve been learning a lot about myself during these moments alone.

Specifically:

~I talk to myself a lot.

~I love lists.

~I have a very expensive addiction to kombucha and kale chips. This makes me sound like a huge hippie. So be it.

~When caffeinated, I am just… better.

~If I am not careful, I can send myself into Emotional Cray-Spirals (remember GCOES?! Yeah, that.)

~I have the best friends in the world. Period. Hands down, no contest.

~I am a compulsive documenter. (I bet you’re surprised.)

~I love to celebrate. I’m not sure that I am capable of bottling my enthusiasm for certain things. (Food, sharks, music, acting schuuuuf, laser-cats…)

~I’m pretty sure I can fall asleep anywhere. I tend to fall asleep any time that I stop moving, really.

~My spirit animal is a SharkMeow (that is a cat/shark hybrid, for those of you that couldn’t crack that code).

~I suck at listening to voicemail but I leave really long rambly-ass ones for others.

~I love hard. And then I future-trip hard. I need to learn to chill in that department.

~ I dislike the term “networking”.

~Chocolate is its own food-group in my food pyramid.

~I often catch myself not breathing or holding my breath for no reason. That is probably bad.

~Food and music are the way to my heart.

~It takes two seconds to make the bed. So I should just do it. And it makes everything better. Everything.

~I am incapable of sitting still at a desk all day and it is unreasonable for me to be expected to stay focused in that kind of environment.

~Running often and eating well make a huge difference.

~I am more of a risk-taker than I thought.

~I dance in my car. I don’t know how I make that work, but I certainly do it a lot.

~I really notice Dani’s absence since she’s been in India. I miss the crap outta that girl. And I think that next time she travels there, I will go with her.

~I have not traveled much in my life and I’d really love to. I think I am a wanderer by nature.

~I think everything counts a little more than we think.

My Week

This week, things really began to ramp up with no real sign of stopping until I relocate to the City of Angels in October. This an incredible feeling. It also makes me feel kind of manic and scattered at the same time. But mostly, I’m just trying to relish this situation I have found myself in. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried. In fact, I think that’s why it’s working out. Because I didn’t plan it.

This week I got to shoot on three different projects that were incredibly exciting to me, all with people I adore working with.

The first shoot I worked on was for a short directed by Zen Freese called “King Disk”. Below are some rad BTS photos from the shoot:

_MG_4661_zps2d9b04d1

(c) ZF Creative

_MG_4541_zps58b358ff

(c) ZF Creative

_MG_4740_zps4db7f709

(c) ZF Creative

_MG_4749_zpsac6c63f3

(c) ZF Creative

I also began work on a project with Mr. Glenn Scott Lacey and Mr. Steven Dempsey of Americonic Films. These are two of my favorite people to work with in the whole entire universe. And the universe is BIIIG, people. THINK ABOUT IT. The project is entitled “Quietus”, and I am more than excited to tell you more about it soon. Stay tuned!

"Quietus", (c) Americonic Films

“Quietus”, (c) Americonic Films

I am also thrilled to be working with Fantini Cinema on a web-series called “Acting Out”:

(c) Fantini Cinema Photo credit: Galvin Collins

(c) Fantini Cinema
Photo credit: Galvin Collins

The series is about a bunch of actors. Need I say more?! It is episodic comedy at its best.

Written by Marc Steele and directed by Jana Lee Hamblin (and brought to life by, if I may say so myself, a TOP NOTCH group of comedic fucking actors!!), I didn’t need much convincing to hop on board a project as rad as this. I am having a blast with these people.

So, in short, 8 shoots in 7 days for various projects have been keeping me pretty busy. And happy. This coming week I will jump back on to the theatre bandwagon when I continue rehearsals for The Tamer Tamed with Portland Shakespeare Project.

Oh! And I got new headshots from my dear Gary Norman. You like?!

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

…pretty much. And for fun-zee’s, here is the hand-to-headshot, featuring Gavin’s hand:

(c) Gary Norman Photography

(c) Gary Norman Photography

Aaaand, thank you, Gavin! …Dick.

Peace, Love, and Shark Week,

~britt

britt talks cubicles, ke$ha, and getting enough SUN

Last you heard from me I was cracking out on sunshine and recovering from a stress-induced lizard-woman disease. (I know, I know, I am so attractive sometimes.) But you know. Just trying to keep you up to speed here. Trying to keep it real.

Anyway.

The SUN! Oh god, the SUN!! It was so beautiful and so fleeting! And then the rain came back! And then the rain left again and then the sun came back! And now we are BACK with a second round of Portland Summer Fake-Out!! BOOM!!

portland summer meme

As if my last post wasn’t enough of an indicator for you, I kind of lose my shit when the sun comes out. And all of the baaaack and forrrrrth with this hot love affair between PDX and the sun has really been toying with my HEART. It has been getting more and more difficult for me to stay focused at my day job when the sun is blaring through the windows and skylights (and thank goodness for those, let me tell you, I’ll take vitamin D where I can get it). My restlessness has become overwhelming and my ability to sit still for more than ten minutes is now a thing of the past. I find that I have been taking far too many walks during my work day for it to be considered acceptable.

Oh look, where am I walking to? The Broadway Bridge? Whoops! I am accidentally NO WHERE NEAR my work anymore...

Oh look, where am I walking to? The Broadway Bridge? Whoops! I am accidentally NO WHERE NEAR my work anymore…

Ohhhhh the many distracting qualities of clear blue skies…

Staying cooped-up during the daylight hours (and being expected to sit down and stay still for so long) is difficult for me. And it’s not just during the sunny days. It’s pretty much all the time. I’m discovering that being an office-monkey is becoming more and more unrealistic for me…

OMG OFFICE-MONKEYING!

My girl Dani once kept a blog devoted entirely to the topic of Office Monkey-ing and office humor from the perspective of an artist trapped in a corporate environment.

Okay… perhaps “trapped” is a strong word… Or, maybe not, actually. But you know what I’m talking about, right? For a creative or an especially social person, or for someone who needs to work with their hands or on their feet to be productive, cubicle life can be damaging. I know at least for me, it zaps my energy in a very odd way. The whole right brain/left brain switch often leaves me feeling off-center and scattered if sustained for too long. And don’t get me wrong… I am SO thankful for my job and its flexibility with my schedule and the comfort of a regular paycheck, but… I have to at least be honest with myself and acknowledge what truly drains me. Is this schizo-lifestyle sustainable? Who knows.

But get this. Cubicle life can zap my energy, sure… but it also makes me act out in odd ways as if to creatively compensate for all that I am repressing for 9 hours a day…

Exhibit A:

Once upon a time, when I was fresh out of college, I worked at a prestigious public accounting firm called Deloitte & Touche. Yes folks, I am also an accountant. It is still, in fact, what I do for my day job now. It’s hard to believe… I know. But just go with me on this one. Anyway. While I worked at Deloitte and had no time for creative outlets in any capacity, I may have gotten a little too cray in the workplace.

One of the clients I had as a first year auditor made this fucking rad commercial:

And this one:

Let’s just say I was obsessed with the absurdity and amazing-ness of their advertising. Once I discovered these commercials on the ‘ol youtube-s, I simply could not let it go to save my life. I could barely focus on the work that I was there to do. What was to come of this? Let’s just say that it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, because….

This is me, circa 2009, as an employee of Deloitte:

soy sauce betch

Now. How I got a hold of this costume is not important. What is important is that I did this on a dare and put my whole auditing team to shame with my epic awesomeness. And let’s just say that the Managing Partner of Deloitte may have seen this photo… and for a hot minute I thought I was going to get fired over the thing (as I suppose this wasn’t the most professional attire to audit in while at the client’s corporate headquarters), but… instead it went down in Uncle D history. This moment captured on film was the very peak of my auditing career and I am proud.

I also asked the CFO of Yamasa if I could be in their next commercial. “I want to be a Yamasa girl,” I told him. He said he’d think about it.

Four years later, I am still waiting for that phone call… sigh. One day, folks. One day.

Ah, cubicles. You make loco.

I don’t even remember what I am talking about anymore. Mostly because I have been sitting at this very desk for too long already. Perhaps I have nothing else to say about cubicles and their side-effects.

Okay, so… what the hell have I been up to outside of the cubicle this week? Well, there’s been some stuff…

My Week:

This week brought about the last week of “regular” rehearsals for Aloha Say The Pretty Girls with Theatre Vertigo.

aloha

Britt Harris and Beth Thompson
(c) Gary Norman

And now…. dun dun DUNNN… we are in full-on tech/dress mode to be in gear to open this Friday. It is ON, people!! This means we finally got to move into our theatre (after rehearsing in our small ghetto rehearsal room for a couple of weeks and then a week of rehearsal time in the lovely Oregon Children’s Theatre space):

our theatre! finally! GLORY.

our theatre! finally! GLORY.

And then TECHPOCALYPSE finally began. During which time our director went to the ER for 6 hours. Don’t worry, she’s fine. Just passing a kidney stone, no big deal. But we got this. We’re working our shit out. Just another Vertigo tech.

Techomplishment.

Techomplishment.

And as if komodo dragons, mummys, babies, hot ladies, men turning into lizards, portals and Santa Claus weren’t keeping me busy enough (when you see the show, you’ll get it), I made another whirl-wind trip to Seattle on Friday for a film audition at 1pm,

drivenerd

i’m so cool right now, I even caught myself off guard.

…only to zip back to PDX by 5pm for a commercial audition (which I booked!! Yay! Good thing I didn’t end up canceling that one…). But it was so beautiful and sunshine-y the whole drive and I was heavily caffeinated, so it was awesome. I blasted  Ke$ha* (go ahead, judge me, I don’t give a shit) and ran lines with myself the whole time. It was a million times better than being stuck in my cubicle all day, where I run lines/sing Kes$ha in my head. Like a crazy person.

*I’m sorry, but how could you now love her?!

So anyway. Speaking of Ke$ha. Next time you hear from me I will be in Los Angeles with my most amazing Dani. Okay so maybe that has nothing to do with Ke$ha but the thought of knowing where I’ll be in a week makes me just as excited as:

See, that glittery ho gets me. I love you Ke$ha.

I think Ke$ha might be my spirit animal. I’d like to see someone try to put her in a cubicle. Mehtinks it wouldn’t end well.

stay crazy with me betches,

~britt

me time

If you’ve read this blog before, you have probably read a few posts about a problem that Britt and I often encounter as actors/functional adults; a problem that may be the biggest challenge of choosing to make the arts your career path:

CRAZYBALLS / NOT-ENOUGH-TIME

Preach, sister.

Britt and I are both doggedly pursuing art as a career, which means we end up living double-lives in the meantime.  There are the “adult-y” things we have to do to make ends meet and there are the creative projects that we fill our lives with in order to stay artistically alive.  This equals a ton of man-hours of work, which is why I kind of giggle when I hear this attribute stereotypically assigned to artists:

LAZINESS

And THAT is bullshit!! Some of the most independent, hard-working, entrepreneurial folks I know are artists (including my Dani and Yours Truly). I often think of artists as ninjas… and you KNOW those ninjas trained their asses off to learn how to be badass and invisible. While also paying their ninja bills somehow.

south park ninja

Damn straight, Britt!  THIS is the truth people:

good-things

So true. And doing all of the crap we do, while trying to stay sane and be functional and decent human beings at the same time, is quite trying at times.

So my lesson of this week has been that IT IS OKAY TO TAKE SOME “ME TIME.”  Okay, yeah, it is somewhat trite, but seriously, I have to remind myself of this or my busy-ness will start to chip away at my sanity. 

IT IS SO IMPORTANT!

Honestly, some days I just feel like:

When really, I want to be more like:

See? Cat Ninja. This cat ninja is kicking ass and working shit out. Probably because she allows for plenty of cat-Me-Time when not out kicking major dog and gopher ass.

Damn straight! According to my half-assed research on the internet (AKA googling it), cats spend 13-16 hours of their day sleeping.  Straight up SLEEPING. That doesn’t count the time they spend eating cat food and stretching and licking their balls.  I’m not about to publicly divulge how much time I spent this week eating cat food and licking my balls (too far? maybe), but let me give you an example of how I carved out some time for myself on Monday..

Dani’s super-special-me-time Monday:

  1. Get up in time to go to class (skip workout and get a full night of sleep)
  2. Go to movement class,
  3. Use the three hour break to LEAVE CAMPUS (gasp!), go to BIKRAM YOGA, and spend too much money on this absurdly delicious sandwich at Atwater Village Farm
Raw Falafel Burger by Nelson's Living Gourmet. Literally the tastiest thing I have EVER put in my mouth. (That's what she said.)

Raw Falafel Burger by Nelson’s Living Gourmet. Literally the tastiest thing I have EVER put in my mouth. (That’s what she said.)

4.   Come back to campus for 3:00 p.m. scene study class, feeling rejuvenated
5.   Stick around campus for rehearsal until the sun is long gone from the sky

Way to go, D. I’m proud of you. You are self-care MACHINE. And that falafel burger looks AMAZING.

Dude.  It seriously was. No joke.  Although, damn girl, I feel like part of the whole “me time” thing is not over-committing myself, and saying no when I need to.  When you take care of yourself, you are better able to do the work that you DO commit to.  I just read a great article by David Cain on Thought Catalog about being conscious of the things that you commit yourself to doing, and how they take up space in your head and heart.  

I also found this little gem especially useful, courtesy of Justine Musk:

25-Ways-To-Say-No-Web-SQ-300x300

You should really do yourself a favor and check out the entire post by Justine Musk. Some of my favorite Badass Reasons to Say No (which I am sure I will use in the near future) include: “I’d rather stick needles in my eyes” (#3) “or your eyes” (#4), “My schedule… is up in the air right now. See it wafting down the corridor” (#5), and “I would love to say yes to everything, but that would be fucking stupid” (#15).

I would also like to give a special shout-out to reason #23, as it explicitly states hotswetymonkysex as a Badass Reason to Say No to things. And you know how Dani and I LOUURVE talking about hotswetymonkysex.

Hell yeah!  We are trying to get as many horny teenagers to read our blog as possible.  Too far again?  Maybe. Yes. Definitely, yes. 

…It’s never too far.

Anyway, remember to take care of your hot selves this week by doing some hot and sweaty bikram yoga, eating tasty food, and saying NO to people when you need to. 

Yeah, back the fuck OFF, world!! Britt and Dani told me to take some Me Time!! (You’re welcome)

live-long-and-prosper-tee-shirt-cbs114bLove and kisses,

dani and britt xoxo

dani channels her inner gypsy power

Dude. So before, when Britt and I talked about being gypsies, I was being somewhat facetious. I mean, yes, I do tend to move around a lot and I do really feel like myself when I’m traveling, but am I really a gypsy?

I mean, technically I’m not.  Technically I’m German and Swedish and Irish.  But let’s think about this for a second! Humanity started in Africa, right?  So my ancestors migrated from Africa so far North into the cold frigid Northern European lands that they lost all the pigment in their skin and became weird crazy Albino humans.  You know, like me and Britt.

vintage_cute_blond_curl_baby_smiles_with_toy_horse_postcard-r5c02ee1c523945e88a091ebcaa7e6fa1_vgbaq_8byvr_512

“I’m gonna eat this horse!”

Then they got pissed off from being so damn cold all the time and so got on some boats, put on some silly hats, and pillaged a bunch of other people.  Even then they weren’t satisfied, so they moved all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to America. And THEN my predecessors STILL were too antsy to stay put and migrated all the way across the continent to the wild wild West.  So maybe my ancestors weren’t gypsies but they were some nomadic mofos!

Johnny Depp as a gypsy in Chocolat

Don’t look at me like that gypsy-Johnny!  I’m not trying to insult you!  This is SCIENCE, yo! ………Okay let me try another angle on this……

I would be lying if I tried to say that the movie Chocolat is not, to this day, one of my favorite movies.  Maybe it doesn’t have the reputation of The Godfather, but it does star Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Lena Olin, Alfred Molina, and Johnny Depp, which is an incredible lineup. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s about a French/Mayan woman with a nomadic soul who moves to a conservative French town and tries to open a Chocolaterie. Of course, she meets a gypsy and falls in love, blah blah blah.

But watching this movie as a kid, the thing that called to me most achingly from the movie was the concept of this North Wind. Whenever the North Wind blew, something in (the main character) Vianne’s bones told her it was time to move on to the next place, and she packed her bags and moved on, forever. It was a sort of blessing and a curse: She had to abandon any relationships she’d built, but she also got to fulfill this deep primal urge to move on to whatever’s next.

When I was a kid in Boise, my absolute favorite time of year was the Fall. Literally, the North Wind started blowing: the air turned crisp and fresh, the leaves turned, and their was a sense of campfires, hot cider, and impending winter on the way. The winds of change started blowing, a new school year began, and the frigid winds promised that snow and holidays would eventually come.

Extrapolating this out to my adult life, for the past two years, I can’t seem to stay in one place for more than three months, on average. At first I blamed it on circumstances of living situations, on being in my 20’s, whatever. But this Spring I came to realize that, damn. It might just be Me. I think it’s in my blood.

“That’s deep, Dani.”

Awwww Thanks, empathetic Oprah!  You’re the best.  But as soon at March 20, 2013 rolled around, Spring officially became the Season in season, the Santa Ana winds started up in LA, and I started feeling antsy as fuck.

It makes no sense. I LOVE everything I am doing. Lately, the ole Grad Program has been piling on material, and every time I get another scene or sonnet or project or whatever to work on, I get a sick pleasure out of adding it to the pile of stuff to memorize. But another part of me is waking up in the morning and making the same damn drive to the same damn parking structure and trying to force myself to eat the same damn healthy foods and be such a good girl with such good habits and LOSING MY MIND.  Routine is killing me.

I’ve come to realize that I literally have NO habits. Good or Bad. I have tics, maybe, mannerisms, but habits?  Not really.  I think I am incapable of doing something consistently. I can do anything with a Puritanical discipline for two or three weeks. Then I get bored and distracted and feel restricted. So I guess I have a bad habit of not having good habits. Or I habitually break habits.  

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Curses!!

But here’s the thing that this realization has helped me realize… (Shut up, y’all, I didn’t major in English.)  I can actually turn this quirk to my advantage!  You know why?  Because there are only 3 1/2 weeks left in the semester!!  WOOOOOOOO!!!!!

tumblr_mh9h4kstQA1qhg3z2o1_400If you had talked to me a week ago, or even two days ago, you would have encountered an antsy, dissatisfied, grumpy chick whose mind already had flown across the globe to India.  But no more!  Today I am re-framing my life:  3 1/2 more weeks of hard work, then 3 weeks of preparation, then 8 weeks of India!!  I can do anything with Puritanical discipline for 3 weeks, remember?  So maybe that’s the secret for me.  I’ve just gotta bite off life in 3 week chunks, so I can really be present in devoting myself to whatever I am doing.  It is incredibly empowering to me to acknowledge the fact that, maybe my inner nomad starts to call to me with the change of seasons, but that also gives me all this great energy to pour into my work.  

So with that said, I have no choice but to leave you with this song.  I’m not a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, but baby, I was born to run. 

dani talks discipline

I had to laugh at myself when I wrote the title for this post.  As someone who has totally gone off the rails of our TwoEvilActors blog posting schedule in the past couple of weeks, where do I get off talking about discipline?

But I had kind of a revelation yesterday!  It goes sorta like this…

1.  I can be kind of a brat.

2. Living in the moment doesn’t mean being attached to the moment.

3.  Discipline isn’t about pushing yourself when you feel driven, it’s about pushing yourself when you don’t want to do something, or when you feel like you can’t.

Let me unpack this a little bit.

1:  Being a brat:…

This one time, my friend Phil and I were at Shari’s preparing to enjoy a feast.  Sitting in the booth behind ours was a family with a 2 year old child, and this kid had somethin to SAY about it.

The kid’s Mom, with the patience of a Saint, was trying to get the kid to simply sit in the booth.  As the Mom tried to gently slide this little punk down the vinyl seat towards the window end of the booth, the kid fought with all four limbs like a spider monkey and articulately said,

“I DON’T WANNA SIT THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Phil and I, in our very actor-y way, were absolutely fascinated, not annoyed by this little banshee-monster-devil-child, but fascinated.  Such free self-expression!  Such lack of inhibition!  That kid had the stupidest objective in the world but by God she was pursuing it heart and soul.  One of us, I don’t remember who, leaned forward and said,

“What if adults all acted like this whenever they had feelings?”

And then we both lost our minds.  The world would go to shit, and nothing would ever get done.  But a lot of the work that actors do is being in touch with those impulses and allowing them to live.  After all, most stories that we tell through film/theater/television are not about the day that you repress or redirect your true feelings about your wife/best friend/bosss, they’re about the day that you let loose and then have to deal with the consequences.

Living In The Moment

The point is to find a balance between allowing your impulses to live but making choices about how you want to act on them.  Both as an actor and as a human.  

…What I’m trying to say here is that I KILLED A MAN.  BLOG CONFESSIONAL TIME!!

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Just kidding!  No I didn’t.  …..Or did I?  This blog IS called Two EVIL Actors…..

…But seriously I didn’t.  I really shouldn’t joke about these things.  On to the next thing!

2.  Being in the moment without being attached to the moment…

Those that know me can attest that I’m really not THAT MUCH of a brat, and that I have never killed a man.  But for me, and I think for all of us, “living in the moment” can be kind of an intense experience…

Think about it: if you really allowed into your conscious experience everything going on in your body, mind, soul, emotional life, etc. for even ONE moment, it would be a lot to process.

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Noooo!!!  Don’t freak out little owl!  Here’s the beautiful thing about the whole concept of “living in the moment”:  There’s always another moment!  You’re never going to run out of moments.  Just because you allow yourself to truly go through an experience doesn’t mean you have to get attached to that experience and spiral down into an abyss of panic, fear, depression, or murderous rage.  Just breathe.  A new moment is waiting to rush into you.  Literally.

3. Discipline is for the times when you DON’T feel motivated…

Since last we met, dear readers, I had an overwhelming whirlwind 3-day trip to Boise, Idaho (my place of origin), came back to LA sick as a dog, and slammed into the first week of the last half of the semester like a hurricane.  Last week was a difficult one, but oh my GOD did I learn a lot.

First of all, despite the physical and mental stress I was under, my work actually reached a new level in my classes.  In the process of training, whether you are training to be an actor or a distance runner or whatever, the progress can feel painstaking and gradual on a day-to-day basis.  Rob Clare, our Shakespeare instructor this semester, told us, “Shakespeare isn’t hard–it’s just gradual.”  And this lesson applies to all kinds of rigorous training.  It is gradual.

And one day you might wake up and be totally sick and deeply exhausted and it forces you to just surrender to the experience and you realize, “Oh my God.  I can just trust myself and let go and all of my hard work will still be there.”

And then a week later you wake up still totally sick and exhausted but you discipline yourself to show the fuck up mentally and physically and you realize, “Oh THIS is what discipline is.  It’s putting in the work every single day whether you feel like starting or not.  It’s trusting that on the other side of the pain or exhaustion is a new experience, and it’s worth it to get to the other side.”

Before, I viewed “discipline” as being motivated to do hard things.  But for me as an actor, I think that discipline is the thing that grounds you in the practical WORK part of being a creative professional when you really feel like being a brat.  

Again, it’s a balance.  Creatively, it’s a balance between setting up a structure in which you can do the work and just allowing yourself to exist in the moment and follow your impulses.  Personally, it’s a balance between disciplining yourself and indulging yourself…

That’s right y’all, I’m ending my LATE POST ABOUT DISCIPLINE with a message of self-indulgence.  I’m a work in progress, people, and maybe I feel like being a brat today.  

Have a great Wednesday night, friends.  Treat yo self.  

D