dani gets her mind read

Obviously, Britt is the one reading my mind, as always.  For example, last week, Britt talked about her Sunventure during the Portland summer fake-out, and the fact that she bought a ukulele and started learning Speechless by Lady Gaga.  I would include this incredible song in this post, but I did that before, and I don’t want to be redundant.  But the mind-read-y part is that I have been learning Speechless on the guitar and singing it nonstop for about two months now.

GET OUT OF MY HEAD, BRITT HARRIS!!  You better bet that once Britt and I are reunited in LA you will be able to catch us butchering covering so many rad songs at so many open mic nights.  

I was MIA from this Blog-Land last week, since it is finals time in Grad-School-Land.  And in my particular Grad School, that means culmination performances, lots and lots of rehearsals, and 0% down-time. In the chaos of it all, I started to get a little stressed, a little scattered, and mental static started to build up and cloud my mind.  

Not only had I not been writing in Blog-Land, but I wasn’t writing at all.  Just at the right moment, I got an awesome article in my inbox from Britt called “Why you should write daily.”

Stop reading my mind, Britt!!  

…Actually don’t stop.  Ever.  Please. (***By the way, what happened to you Lindsay?  You used to be so great!  Come back to us! )

*Sigh* But seriously it is kind of amazing to me just how quickly I start to lose my mind when I get lazy or fearful and consequently refuse to engage myself in true self-expression.  And I don’t think it’s just me, I think it’s true for all of us.  Creativity leads to self-knowledge, which leads to universal knowledge and a better understanding of humanity.  Without that progression, it is easy to get lost in a vortex of misapprehension and/or self-deception.  It’s easy to lose sight of what is real and true, especially in a society filled with so many distractions and demands on our attention.  We owe it to ourselves to be creatively engaged, and I owe it to myself to write.  

So, with that, I missed you, Blog-o-Sphere!  However, I’m not ABOUT to share my journal on the internet.  A lady needs to keep one or two secrets!  Instead, let me explain my absence by telling you what I’ve been up to this week:

1.

Making a film!  My degree is definitely focused almost entirely on theatre, but we have a class called Freeplay which involves, well, FREE PLAY but it’s all film.  Everything we do has to be entirely written, acted, shot, and edited completely by us.  For this project, the challenge was for all 11 of us to write, act, shoot, edit 1 project.  We were inspired by this rad NY Times article that our instructor Ntare showed to us, then we came up with a premise that could get all 11 of us into 1 film.  We each developed a character, improvised a bunch of material, came up with a structure, and then shot and edited it.  The full thing is like 15 minutes long, but here is a chunk of it.  

I ended up doing a lot of shooting and editing, so you won’t see me in it a whole lot, but it was a total blast and I’m actually really proud of it, considering that I had almost NO experience with film at ALL at the beginning of this semester, and I had certainly never edited a damn thing in my life.  The idea behind Freeplay is to learn by experience and to empower us to create our own work in another medium besides theatre.  

2.

Clownin’ around!  Clown class with Matt Walker has been aaaaaawwwweeeeessssssoooooommmmmmeeeeeee.

photo 1

3.

Rehearsing “Don Quixote.” We have spent the last few months creating this play together completely from scratch, using Cervantes 940 page novel as our source material.  It has been distilled into a 99-minute imaginative adventure created with just our bodies in a black box theatre.  This is us doing a company line-through outside a couple of days ago. 

photo 2

4.

Getting 5 shots!  

indiashots

I don’t know why I’m making the same face in this picture as when I was a clown, but I’m assuming it’s because I had just gotten 5 shots.  Not “taken” five shots, but “gotten” five shots.  Although I totally got a fever from the flu shot that night and felt/acted completely drunk.  It was kind of awesome.  

Why might I get 5 shots, do you ask?  Because in 21 days I’m going to India!!! 

I. am. so. excited.  

Holy mackerel. It has been a challenge to stay focused on all of the tasks at hand during these last couple of weeks with my trip looming like a beautiful shiny lotus flower at the end of the month.  Thankfully, I haven’t really had time to sleep, and therefore I haven’t really had time to think about things beyond the day-to-day.  

As of today, I have 3 culminations down and five to go.  Time to keep acting, keep writing, and keep sane. Let’s get it!!!! 

dani talks new beginnings

SPOILER ALERT:  I’m going to India.  I have over a billion new faces to see, sights to soak in,  and discoveries to make.  My mind has been filled with anticipatory daydreams like this:

Ladakh, India

Delhi, India

Rishikesh, India

GAHHHHH INDIAAAAA!!!!!!  Just to keep you in suspense, let me start at the beginning by saying that this has been a pretty freakin’ rad week full of new beginnings.  Maybe I’m riding the wave of Britt’s new-birthday-year.  

My Week

Last week I pulled two all-nighters shooting and editing a project for my FreePlay class–which means me and Sedale and Amaka losing our minds together by trying to figure out how to make a ten-minute short film about a woman who gets pregnant by her foster sister’s husband.  And then the three have to figure out how to build their lives around this baby. 

My ensemble also finished writing our first draft of our staged version of Don Quixote.  Which means after weeks of playing around we have officially started the laborious process of birthing our first artistic baby as an ensemble. Which makes me think of the very first time I heard the story of Don Quixote…

Aw Wishbone!  Nothing is imPAWssible!  However, I WISH I could post a video for you guys of Clown class on Friday, because we started playing around with the trampoline for the first time, and DAMN!  Talk about new beginnings.  It never ceases to amaze me how many self-imposed limitations I have been operating under for my entire life.  But every time I come out of clown class I realize that I’ve done 10 new things with my body that I never even thought possible.  It’s wild.  

But not as wild as these ferocious kittens!!

Image

Doris the Kitten. March 2013

Linus the Kitten. March 2013

Linus the Kitten. March 2013

That’s right!  My house became the home of TWO KITTENS this weekend!  In a stroke of pure genius, my housemates decided to adopt two kittens full of nothing but spunk and snuggles.  Meet Doris and Linus, my new animal friends.  I played with them allllll weekend long and there was cuddling and purring and it was all pretty magnificent.  

When they first came home and we opened the cat carrier, two curious and cautious little noses protruded out into the wide world, followed by four little paws.  After some tentative sniffing, the little guys ventured out of their carrier and explored their new space.  Within half an hour they were romping and exploring with utter fearlessness.  I thought, “Hmm… this will be inspiration for this summer, when I am in India!  Streetwise and cautious up front, followed by fearless exploration and wise vigilance.”

Full circle, y’all!  Prior to meeting my two new feline housemates, I met up with my friend Tarah Pollock to purchase two roundtrip tickets to New Delhi, India.  Meet Tarah:

Tarah Pollock March 2013

Ooo!  So sassy!  Work it girl!  A couple of months ago, Tarah was telling me about a friend of hers who is a monk in Northern India, and how he had invited her to travel to Ladakh, India this summer for a festival.  He had told her to bring a friend and see The Siddartha School, which he helped to found.  Tarah is a second-year actor in my MFA program, an independent lady extraordinare, and a complete badass. She also happened to be in the market for a travel-buddy, and my hand shot into the air faster than you can say “HOLY-SHIT-TAKE-ME-WITH-YOU-YES-PLEASE”

Turns out, India is super cheap once you’re there, so we decided to spend two months there–studying yoga, hiking, and hanging out with kids in Ladakh.  

Check, ch-check, ch-check, check it OUT!

New Delhi Confirmation

Before I came to grad school, I promised myself that I would spend at least a portion of my summers traveling.  Once I’m done with school, it will be more important to focus on career stuff and money stuff and all that jazz, so I figured that now is the time to travel, to harvest experiences, and to be a 20-something-year-old girl.  

I’ll be updating this here blog as much as possible while I’m there, and on the weeks that I can’t, Britt and I have some tricks up our sleeves to keep you entertained.  So this week, I feel deeply grateful for the opportunities I have been given and the many blank pages that I have left to write on.  Thanks for sharing the journey, loves.  

Oh WAIT!!  I almost forgot!  HAPPY PERSIAN NEW YEAR!!  Today is the first day of Spring, as well as the new year in Iran.  THAT’S why it feels like a time of new beginnings.  Happy Spring Everybody!  Wow. My goodness.  Look what happens when I start to pay attention. Things make sense.  Love and light, y’all!

the beginning.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember how things start. Often, if I trace a thought or conversation back far enough, I astound myself by the seemingly arbitrary moment that spurred the whole thing down a rabbit hole of crucial experience. I think about this a lot with relationships too. Like how I met Dani.

I don’t remember the first moment of meeting my best friend. I just remember, as a junior at the University of Portland, one of my comrades telling me that a rockstar freshman drama/music student was in the performing arts department now. She was beautiful. She was talented. She was outgoing. She was hilarious. She was… blond.

“It’s like… she’s you! But younger.”

Hmmm.

See, I (Dani) showed up at University of Portland and everyone kept calling me Britt because it is very easy to confuse the two of us.  I simply did not argue with the mixup, because I was totally flattered.

I didn’t know how to take that at the time. How could I? Me, a 20-year-old girl defending her drama turf? Come ON, people!! But let’s just say… it didn’t take me long to discover that this beautiful, talented, hilarious, blond… FORCE…was the other part of my very SOUL.

Dude.  I wish I could see myself through Britt’s eyes sometimes because I am SERIOUSLY not that cool.  And Britt, if you edit this out later Imma mail you a box full of poop.  Goddamnit.

Also, we have to stop jacking each other off!  Everyone already knows we’re in love! Okay, okay.

But anyway.

Nearly every moment is a beginning for something. A reason to make something, connect with someone, find a new piece of yourself.

So how did this blog begin? Let me take you down the rabbit hole, by sharing something that is relevant to the mission statement of twoevilactors in that we talk about acting career stuff.

Part 1

(Britt and Dani have a bitter bitching session over g-chat, instead of actually doing their office jobs.)

 May 17, 2012, 1:11 PM

Dani:  dude. I just went on an “audition” and I am real frustrated. it was for a commercial.

Britt:  oh gaaawwwd

don’t worry, i totally suck at those too

like… HORRIBLY.

I’m just Awkward City all over the place.

Dani: I don’t know what it is! Oh my god that makes me feel better.

It’s just YUCKY and AWKWARD

and it makes me feel so inadequate for no reason.

Britt: i feel the SAME way. seriously. every. single. time. and yet somehow, sometimes, the job works out.

Dani: It just feels like… “Why am I here? What do they want?”

Britt: what was it for?

Dani: It was for a sports commercial. I got the audition because I ski.  But they had us come in tight athletic wear and I just kept thinking that instead of looking at my yoga pants and analyzing my thigh thickness they should put me in a god damn parka and watch me ski.

Britt: HAHAHAHHA

See, I would watch THAT commercial.

Dani: lol. GAWD. thanks for listening, babe. I was SO stressed out by this nonsense.

And it paid SO WELL. And I can never get that out of my head when I’m there. “Omigod this job is for SO much money and i’m sooo broke”

Britt: oh sweetie!! i’m sorry you were stressed. I know, the money thing is really hard to get past. it will sabotage you if you’re not careful. i can’t stop thinking that any time i have a callback for guest star for a TV show or something… totally ruins it, makes me get in my head if I think about it. money sucks. being poor is pretty fun, right?

Dani: It’s just comforting to know that you have these thoughts too, you know.

Dude you and I are ALL OVER the internet right now.

Britt: I KNOW!!!

Dani: g-chat, gmail, fbook

Britt: WELCOME TO MY PRODUCTIVE WORKDAY

…IF THEY ONLY KNEW!

Dani: This is it!!!!!! Why do they pay me?

ROFL

OH my god trying so hard not to laugh at my desk

Britt: ME TOO

ROFL WAFFLES

let’s move to LA now and go to the beach

Dani: okay!

done.

Britt: sweet.

Part 2

(11 minutes later. Britt and Dani decide to start a blog and Britt returns a weird collection of items which she borrowed from Dani.)

May 17, 2012, 1:22 PM

Dani: Scroll to the bottom of this blog post and watch the video  myfavoriteandmybest.com

Britt: is this the blog you were telling me about? i’m going to follow it

Dani: It is! Oh it’s so good!

What are some of yours that you follow?

(Britt proceeds to list quite a number of blogs)

Dani: oooOOOOOOOooooooo

Britt: yaaay bloooggsss

you are so awesome to have a blog. i always think i would absolutely suck at it

Dani: Thanks man. It’d be cooler if I was more on top of it. I’ve kind of lost the sense of what my niche is.

I don’t think you would suck at it at all!  I would LOVE to read your blog!

I bet it would be hilarious.

Britt: hahaha yeaaahh…

we should have a joint LA blog when the time comes

who WOULDN’T wanna follow that shit?!

Dani: YES

Britt: hehehe

Dani: It would be badass! And soooo confusing to those who don’t know us.

Britt: YES!!

Dani: We could both be the evil twin.

Britt: ooooo love the way you think

Dani: It would probably be equal parts diabolical and inspirational.

like you. and me.

Britt: i agree

exactly

i love us. it’s dumb how much i love us.

Dani: hahahaha!!! I love this idea!!!

Britt: ME TOO!!!

oh! and don’t let me forget to give you a bunch of your crap from my apt tonight! i don’t want to forget since i will be staying in this other place all week

Dani: oh yeah!

right on.

Britt: you know… in case you need your stapler… or strainer… or boob cutlets… all of which i have…HAHA

Dani: LOL!!

I actually do need all of those things.

Simultaneously.

So I can have big tits while straining and stapling.

….that sounds like a weird porn.

Britt: HOT

million dollar idea right there

dammit D, I am supposed to be working!!

i am so bad at working…

god we are the worst

Dani: haha! yeah okay I REALLY have to work now.

Britt: ok ok me too!! talk later !! xo

——

And thus, the seed was planted. The idea was born. Two and a half months later Dani left for Los Angeles. Five months after that, we started this blog.

Yup, I love this girl.

Back at ya, strainer-tits.

//

gypsy life

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings poster

As soon as I arrived at the airport a few weeks ago and watched my housemate drive away, I felt more like myself than I’d felt in months.  My bag was packed, I had the bare essentials, and I was plunging into the adventure that is traveling.  Britt and I have talked a lot about being gypsies, and it’s certainly true that as long as I’ve known her she lives out of her car half the time, and I have moved every three months for almost two years now.

It’s true. I do use my car as a locker.

I think I’ve always had a strange desire for impermanence. Also– why does the word impermanence have such a negative connotation?! I want things to grow and move and shift and change. I think it’s awesome. And thrilling.

I agree!  Probably the first questions that people ask you when they find out you are pursuing a career in acting are, “How are you going to make money?” and “What about job stability?”  These are good questions!  But honestly, the idea of knowing what my career will look like over the next 20 years is just as terrifying to me as the prospect of instability may be for you. 

I’ve tried the whole “GetYourActTogetherYou’reAGrownUpNow” thing and it doesn’t really work for me. The parallel between “stability” and tying yourself to a single place has never made much sense to me. I’ve always found my truth in mobility.

I think I’m the same way.  I feel centered when I am in transit, my thoughts become crystallized, and I know exactly who I am and what I want. 

I don’t know if it’s something in my DNA, if my ancestors kept pushing further and further away from the cradle of human existence until they ended up in the Wild West of the United States, and now I can’t help but feel that inherited urge towards locomotion.  Or maybe  it was backpacking through seemingly endless mountain ranges with my family as a kid and feeling that our freedom was only limited by how self-sufficient we could be.  And when you’re out there in isolation staring at a trillion stars you can’t help but also feel yourself in your truest, most naked form.

Romantic notions aside, this urge toward nomad-dom is one thing that has drawn me to pursue acting as a career.  The professional theater actors I know spend a lot of time on the road going from regional theater to regional theater around the country and sometimes around the world.  Film actors get to shoot all over the place.  …That’s what she said. 

That is what she said.

One of my most peaceful and self-aware moments has been in transit. In 2009 I took the train from San Diego to Irvine, CA. I spent the whole ride with my face glued to the window, drinking in every whirling landscape. I wanted to explore everything. As the sun went down outside, I wrote in my journal: “There is something so liberating in not having a plan”. I don’t know what it was about that moment, but from then on I was constantly dreaming of motion. I took this snapshot in a moment of euphoria and have not been able to get the image out of my head since:

8418_533808302014_29302252_31678389_93643_n

The more I am in motion, the more I am alive. The more I move, the more I write. The more I sing. The more I laugh. The louder I get. The more things make sense. 

I would like to leave you all with a visual of me and D’s victorious wandering moments.

Dvictorious

Dani, victorious, conquering a mountain.

oregonfail

Me, fighting like hell to get the eff out of the Oregon Coast and to someplace warm. Yes, that is a stuffed animal in my hand, (dont’ worry about it).

I can’t help but think that this desire for transience is what draws us to a creative life. And with all of these unknowns, I have to say…I’m pretty damn excited about it.  

//

We are BORN!!

Hello bloggernetsphere, I am Britt.

And I am Dani.  We are lady-gypsy-actors.  And we have things to say.

…Mostly to each other, but we hope that you will take something from our thoughts too. We are pursuing careers in a field with no roadmap. This is frightening, exhilarating, confusing, and liberating, and we are so thankful to have each other as partners in crime. We are adventurers.

Since the creative lives we have chosen have no roadmap, we hope that this blog will serve as both a survival guide and an invitation to come on this adventure with us. 

Meet my friend Britt.  She is a blond powerhouse of a woman who is simultaneously hilarious and deep, witty and crude, awkward and beautiful; a wayward wanderer and the most loyal of friends.  She’s pretty much the most charming person I’ve ever met and she is the sun that lights up my world.  Britt is currently living in Portland, Oregon and conquering the world of indie film, fearless theatre, and artistic badass-ery in the Pacific Northwest.  Check out her website at www.brittharris.com for deets on her professional life.  Check out this blog for all the juicy stuff. 

Meet my Dani. She is my beautiful chosen-sister, hero, and finisher-of-sentences. Her fearless spirit, immense talent, and infinite love for this world inspires me daily. My favorite thing about her? How she can make me laugh until I pee. My least favorite thing about her? That she lives so far away from me. Dani is currently located in Los Angeles as grad student and Resident Super Hero at USC, pursuing her MFA in Acting. She works approximately 935 hours a week and could tame a unicorn with relative ease.

Thanks for tuning in!  We look forward to sharing our adventures with you. 

With love from your new partners in crime who are both the Evil twin,

two evil actors

Jack Kerouac