Let’s do the Time Warp!

It’s been 3 months now since I’ve graduated from grad school.  I’ve done almost no acting.  But… ….Today, I have a rare day off, and it makes me reflective as F***. See how reflective I am??  SO REFLECTIVE! So I started … Continue reading

britt learns stuff about LA

I’ve been in this fair City of Angels now for two whole weeks.

…How do I feel, you ask?

Okay, well actually I can get on a plane and fly away, Ms. Poehler, but THAT IS BESIDE THE POINT.

The point is … I am overwhelmed in many ways, but… I love it here. I am learning so much about myself and this city, and about myself IN this city, everyday.  It’s magical.

SO! In light of my new-found Los Angelinan WISDOM, let me share with you some of the things I’ve learned about LA so far (you know, ’cause I’m totally a local now):

Bob… Bob… BOB!!

Here are the things I have learned about LA:

-One should have at least $20 worth of quarters in the glovebox or drink-holder at all times. Those good old-fashioned parking meters still exist. Y’know.. .the ones that only take quarters? The ones located by the beach you happened to go to and therefore are your only option? Yeah, those.

-Trader Joes is a way of life. If you don’t have a TJ’s in your neighborhood, there is pretty much no reason to live there.

-Everyone is beautiful here. Sometimes I just stare.

-The “Waze “app is a god-send.

-You must plan your life around street cleaning. If you happen to live in a structureless vortex like I do at this time, you’ll at least know what day of the week it is because of your street cleaning parking violation paranioa.

-People are reeeally into juice here. $12-kale-coconut-elixir-of-life juice. I’m not against it. It’s just… give me twelve dollars please. So I can consume it.

-LA Parking signs make the SAT feel like cake.

are you fucking KIDDING me?

 -People wear long-sleeves/pants/winter-wear when it is 75 degrees outside. I was really proud of myself when I wore my denim jacket over a tank-top in 73 degree weather the other day. (…See?! I’m a LOCAL.)

-There are more parking patrol cops here than there are purse dogs. I know this is hard to believe.

-Every coffeeshop in Los Angeles has a group of actors sitting next to you bitching about their auditions and agents and acting classes. Or bitching about their lack of these things.  -I am pleasantly surprised at how walk-able certain neighborhoods are.

-More often than not, traffic is traffic for no reason. Was there an accident? No. Was there a stalled-car on the highway? Nope. It’s just right-of-passage to spend an hour on the onramp to the 110. “That’s the only way it’s fair to everyone,” says the Universe.

-In the desk-job hunt, telling a potential employer that you’re an actor is not too far away from telling her that you’re a leper-werewolf-umemployable crazy person. Perhaps you should work at In-N-Out instead.

-I don’t get how everyone has so much money… and I have none. It simply makes no sense. -I found these fun things on the Interwebs that tell me all about the Best Restaurants in LA, LA Neighborhood Stereotypes, and Things People Say About LA (my favorite: “Los Angeles is like San Diego’s older, uglier sister that has herpes.”), so now I feel like I know everything.

-LA is Serendipity. I have had many serendipitous encounters and experiences so far and it fuels my belief in this place. LA is a current. You can fight against it or you can go with it. And in my limited experience so far, “going with it” is really the only sustainable choice. And going with this current makes for a very exciting ride.

Here are the things I have learned about myself, in LA:

-I am very very white and one day I will be a different, tanner shade of white.

– I fucking love my neighborhood. Silverlake is DA BOMB. I claim it in the name of REAL (Portland) hipsters. (I will show them the way.) -Going on Facebook makes me feel incredibly homesick. 

-I would die without a smartphone and GPS on said smartphone.

-I have been sneezing and breaking-out like a mofo since I got here. I’ve been told this is normal. I guess this poor little Northwesterner is having trouble adjusting to the air quality!

-I need to watch more TV. Seriously. It’s my job now.

-I don’t know how I went through this much life without a Bluetooth.

-Oddly enough, I’ve been doing more hiking here in LA than I did in the Pacific Northwest. I guess I took it all for granted…?

– I love the street art here. There is so much to look at, everywhere. From the most beautiful, intricate mural, to harsh graffiti, to a simple doodle of a robot on the sidewalk– there are so many stories being told. I want to document more of my discoveries as I find them. photo4photo8

-I need a separate allowance for coffee. And for gas. And for parking.

-Some nights I will experience an overwhelming low or anxiety, then experience a day-long high upon waking the next morning.

-I can roll with it.

-I have my team. It is so essential to know that people have your back. I am so lucky to have my team here. You know who you are. I am so incredibly grateful for you.

But mostly, I have learned that this whole adventure is about me finding myself here. Finding myself in Los Angeles, getting to know myself in a scary new place. Being calm and clear in the midst of all this crazy. Yes, I’ve had freak-outs and breakdowns and “WHAT AM I DOING”s. Yes, I will continue to. But more so, I have moments of extreme clarity and purpose and know that I am where I need to be. I am fortunate enough to live a life full of big, beautiful love, even in a brand-new place. And that is pretty awesome.

You know what else is awesome?! WHAT I DID THIS WEEK! 🙂

My Week:

Much of this week was spent job hunting (and I got one! Thanks, Accountemps, Los Angeles!), reconnecting with friends in the area, and spending quality time with my TEAM (once again, you know who you are and I love you!). I am also constantly basking in the utter joy of knowing that I am living in the same city as Dani (come November 1st, Dani, Suzzane and I will have our own place TOGETHER!). Holy. Crap. So rad!!

I also got to visit my family! My mom, dad, and brother spent this past week in Palm Springs for vacation, which is only two hours away from where I live. I drove out last Wednesday and stayed for a day and a half for some for some good, quality FAM TIME.

The drive to Palm Springs from LA

The drive to Palm Springs from LA

Our backyard!

Our backyard!

Sibs.

Sibs.

A beautiful desert flower that Dad and I spent time admiring together.

Beautiful desert flowers that Dad and I spent time admiring together.

This week also brought me some incredible beach time:

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livin large with matching pedicures.

with THIS lady:

the SUZ!!

the SUZ!!

We “studied” and “did work” all day long in our sandy ocean front, beach-towel office:

Productivity at its finest.

Productivity at its finest.

…But mostly we just talked about kombucha and men. (Typical.) I could get used to days like this.

I’ve also been doin’ a lot of hikin’! I have gone with Scott and Gertie the Puggle a couple of times to Elysian Park and went on my first hike up to the Griffith Park Observatory with Mr. Tim True:

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Leave it to a couple of Portland kids…

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…to hike in LA on a gray day.

I also saw American Werewolf in London screened at The Hollwood Forever Cemetery on the night of a full moooon! Ahhroooo!! I went with Scott and Suzzane and it was awesome.

photo5The event is called Cinespia and it is my favorite thing that I have experienced in LA so far. They even had Elijah Wood DJ-ing the event, because why not?! It was so cool. Let’s do it again.

Whew! So.

I have been in LA for two weeks now. I’m surviving. I’m having fun. I’m getting work done. I think I’ve earned the overpriced juice that I’m going buy myself after I finish this post.

I keep finding places here feel like home; pockets of the city that feel like mine. Sometimes it’s a new-to-me bar, a friend’s living room, or a familiar coffeeshop that I had visited before the move here.

One of these places is a coffeeshop Suzzane and I frequent called Mornings Nights in Silverlake.

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When I was getting work done there yesterday, I noticed that I was sitting between an advertisement that says “you belong here” and a sign hanging above the door says “welcome home”. I took a big breath and exhaled. I felt really happy in that moment.

I can’t wait to see what the next two weeks here will bring.

All of my love to you, my friends, I so adore you.

~britt

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. 🙂

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

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…

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…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