Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Inspiration is Afoot

Hi Everyone,

Where does inspiration come from? I am always surprised when a thought pops into my head that excites me and gets my blood flowing just a little bit faster.  It is always at the most inopportune time, of course.  I am driving in the car at 70 mph, taking an order at work, in the shower, in the waiting room just as my name is called, I can go on and on.  But, sometimes I am exactly where I need to be to sit down and work through the inspiration and that is such a gratifying place to be.  To be so excited and full of life that drives me to act, write, paint, draw, call, talk, email, see, and most importantly, do something.  It is always the little things that we do that manifest life changes that we could never imagine.

I never imagined in my wildest dreams, that I would give myself the chance to move to Los Angeles to try and make it on television.  I never imagined I would be writing, acting, and making things happen for myself.  I never thought of looking at myself as a business.  I never thought I could be so lonely, following my dream.  I never thought I could be so happy.  I never thought I was worth it.  Until I moved to Los Angeles to follow my dream and I began writing, acting and making things happen for myself.  I started looking at myself as a business.  I have been lonelier than I have ever been, but the happiness I feel when something falls into place makes the loneliness feel temporary.  And there lies the inspiration.  The kick in the butt that keeps me excited and moves me forward one small step at a time.

Most of my inspiration has nothing to do with acting, it has to do with living.  I get a thought to call a friend I haven't seen in a while, or a pang to join a pottery class, because I always wanted to, the need to meditate and calm down, or excitement over a blind date, and I try and incorporate living into my life.  This past week hasn't been the most easiest of weeks.  I have had to make some hard decisions out of financial desperation, that I could see as a negative, but I choose to see it as positive outcomes.  There is a cycle to everything and it is this cycle that keeps us guessing and gets us to do something.  I think I just found out where inspiration comes from...

Until next time.  Stay safe.

All my love,

Tara

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Back to Square 2

Hi Everyone,

So my showcase didn't pan out the way I had hoped but it was a fantastic experience nonetheless.  Each agent really liked my glasses, which I had decided to make my "character".  Since I wear these two toned glasses that my friend Bonnie calls, Caramel and Chocolate almost everyday it doesn't seem right to present Tara as someone who doesn't wear glasses.  Also they each said either good job or nice work, but at this time I am not someone they would like to represent.  That's okay.  There are other agents in the Los Angeles pool and I will knock on each of those doors.

I was disappointed this afternoon reading over the evaluations, just because of the rejection of it.  Then I heard myself say, "They gave you feedback. Keep the glasses. You will find the agent that will appreciate you for you and help you."  So I know now, I have to get new headshots that play off my quirkyness and go from there.  Thank you God for the starting point!  At least I know what direction I am going in now and it makes me feel at peace with it all.

I also found out I got cast in Cyrano de Bergerac and they want me to be a sword fighter, which I laughed my ass off about after my stage combat audition :)  Oh the irony, of the life of an actor, seriously!  I am also playing a nun, which is awesome!  I have always wanted to play a nun since watching The Sound of Music when I was a little girl.  Maybe I was a nun in a past life?  Holy Molies!  Can you imagine?  Probably you can, so nevermind :)

Until tomorrow.  Take care.

All my love,

Tara

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I've Done All I Can

Hi Everyone,

So tonight was the culmination of all the stress I have been putting on myself for the past week to impress agents at some of the biggest agencies in the business.  It is amazing to me how much more confident in my ability and my work I am now, then when I graduated the acting conservatory.  This showcase was a spitting image of the showcase we had when I graduated, but this time around, I feel good about all I did.  I seriously worked my butt off rehearsing in the bathroom, my bedroom, in the car, the shower, on my Mac, while working out, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner for the past two weeks.  Also, the group commercial we rehearsed for hours yesterday and had the ability to film it so that we knew how it came across to the agents tonight.  I did everything I could possibly do to be okay with any outcome that comes around from it.

When I graduated SFT, I was unsure about my monologue, I didn't have the balls to say anything and I lost interest in it by the first month of working on the piece before graduation.  By the time I had to perform the piece, there was nothing, I didn't feel anything, I had worked it to death and didn't want to do it anymore.  Plus, I also didn't think I was worthy of an agent or a manager at the point in my acting "career".  I was still very insecure in my craft and longed for more class experience.  In hindsight, I am glad I had NYC to do that.  I had the best acting teacher, who nurtured me and criticized me in a way that made me grow as an artist.  That is how I see my acting career as an artistic journey.  Most of the time I am not practical.  I am not realistic.  I am dramatic. I am poor.  I am a dreamer.

This is why L.A. is a great place for me to be.  L.A. has no time for dreamers or dramatics.  L.A. is the place for the artist to shine.  To become the artist I have ever imagined.  There is no room for procrastination or wishy washy decisions.  It is seriously a business here, there is no time to cultivate artistic integrity here.  You either have it or you don't.  Because of my immersion into this culture I have noticed a stronger sense of getting things done!  I am going to be on a television show.  That is my only reason for being in Los Angeles.  That is my ultimate goal as an actor.  To be a series regular on a successful sci-fi (preferably Joss Whedon or Chris Carter) show.  I have to become SAG.  I have to write my own scripts and film them.  I have to get an agent.  I have to believe that all this hard work and poorness is worth it in the long run and I firmly believe that it is!  Because I am prepared.  I am willing.  I am and will work my ass off.  I am going to do my job and make my dreams come true.

Until tomorrow.  Take care.

All my love,

Tara

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanks Madeline Kahn!

Hi Everyone,

Today is my day to learn patience.  People are driving too slow for me, others are hitting my aggrevation button and they don't even know it, and I just want to take a nap.  Since I can't take a nap, I have decided to go over Madeline Kahn quotes from all my favorite Madeline Kahn movies and I feel this feeling of nostalgia that makes me sad, but I have a smile on my face because no matter how many times I hear her say a line, I can't help but laugh or smile.

My all time favorite Madeline Kahn movie is Clue.  My aunt taped it off of HBO in 1986 because she was the "rich" aunt that could afford HBO then and my brother and I would watch it everyday along with the Ewok movies she taped too.  We played the VCR tape so much that we erased the movie.  In the end my brother and I would recite the lines while squiggly lines distorted the picture and the dialogue was said in s...l...o...w...m...o...t...i...o...n.  I am thankful for the memories and for Madeline Kahn!  I have a big meeting tomorrow that I don't want to go into and I my lack of patience is my little devil trying to make something more dramatic than it is.  It's a meeting.  It isn't the end of the world.  It is a time to shine!  And Madeline Kahn makes me feel that I can!

Until tomorrow.  Take care.

All my love,

Tara

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Little Things in the Grand Scheme

Hi Everyone,

Oh boy!!! I can't stop laughing at myself!  I just had my first stage combat audition for Cyrano de Bergerac and I did awful, but I can't stop laughing about it!  Last year at this time, I would have been beating myself up over the failed audition, but tonight, I can't stop laughing about it and being joyful to even have the opportunity.  I took fencing in college, which really means that I stood with an epee in the en garde position most of the time and moved back and forth one or two steps depending if I was winning or not.  Most of the time, I was not because I didn't take it seriously enough and would giggle when someone "got" me.

Tonight I just had the urge to enjoy myself, no matter what.  So in the two hour span I got to catch up with friends I haven't seen in a while and I got to meet new people.  Also, I got to fake sword fight without hurting anyone even though my partner and I looked like we were going to hurt ourselves unintentionally LOL!

I feel as if I have turned into someone else.  As I mentioned yesterday, happiness and gratitude are a new concept for me.  I don't always have to be smiling to be happy.   I don't always have to be doing something to be happy.  I don't always have to succeed to be happy.  I just think a wonderful thought about myself and it makes me feel full.  Makes me feel that this moment is all I need.  I don't feel that all the time, but when I consciously make the effort to do so, I feel like this is it and it's a good place to be.  There have been so many wonderful things happening to family members, friends and friends of friends that has renewed my faith in the little things.  None of us know what one little thing will turn into that can change your life forever and I have been hearing and witnessing stories of this kind in droves in the past 6 months and it is so inspiring and hopeful!!!!

I don't know if I will get a role in the play, but I had a wonderful time auditioning for it and I haven't been able to say that in a loooonnnng time.  In the grand scheme of things I don't know what this experience means, but it could be the start of something wonderful!!!!  Stay tuned!

All my love,

Tara

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gratitude Prayer

Hi Everyone,

I have a little grin on my face as I sit here, trying to put the thoughts I have in my head onto the screen in front of me.  I am grateful.  Plain and simple.  I was talking to my friend Aida, today and we were so thrilled to be where we are right at this moment.  We both were in NYC working together at a perfectly fine restaurant trying to make it as an actor, but it didn't feel right.  Then we both move to L.A. and we are getting things done, we are getting feedback, we are making things happen for us.  It is like night and day the differences between our lives 2 years ago compared to today.

Happiness is a foreign concept to me.  It has always been something that is God-like or it must be what heaven is.  As a child, teenager and young adult I always prayed for things I wanted, things I set out to do assuming it was something that if I was a good enough person I would be deserving of, it wasn't until after my Peace Corps experience and my struggle with failure that I began to change my prayers.  Maybe if I say thank you for all the things I have and maybe if I thank God for the life I long to lead, or thank Him for my future I see in my head, maybe just maybe I will feel as if it will come true.  By reciting those prayers of thanks, my dark cloud became grey and then even white and for the first time in my life, I felt a spark of happiness.  Happiness isn't something others give me, it is a gift I give myself.  This week I lost my way a bit, but I have been quick enough to understand that and I am feeling more grateful by the day.  Thank you!!!!

All my love,

Tara

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Hope the Words Come to Me

Hi Everyone,

Oh, blog how I have missed you!  In the past year since I stopped posting everyday I have become complacent in my writing.  I don't see that as a bad thing, sometimes I burn myself out, but then it is times like these that I feel the need to get back into writing everyday because it has always been a part of who I am.  If you look in my closet there are notebooks, diaries, folders filled with paper covered in words.  Some of those words tell a story, some of those words make no sense to a stranger, and some of those words are my soul making itself heard.  My life from my first diary entry, when I was seven,  dated May 20, 1984, said it all, "Today I made my first holy communion.  I looked like a bride.  It was a good day.  I will write tomorrow.  Tara"  For the first few years of those diary entries, I wrote them as letters.  The next entry is still one of my favorites.  It is a story in which I write a letter home because I am at summer camp and my brother gets kidnapped and I figure out how he was kidnapped.  It isn't a very exciting entry, but my brother was "brave and horoic" and I "kept my cool and knew exactly how to save him".  I have no idea how I saved him, or how to spell heroic, but I filled a full page with words that excited me for a moment and made me feel as if I had a purpose.

Words, stories, history, life experiences have always excited me.  I always want to know how someone got to be who they are, by their experiences.  I like to hear the words they choose to describe themselves and the stories that they feel define the person they are.  I know that is my favorite part about being an actor, figuring out how this character became this person.  What is it that makes them who they are?  How does a character describe themselves?  Over the decades I have changed my description of myself, but one word has never changed and that is hopeful!  It may be naivete or delusion this hope I hold onto, but I firmly believe that life can't always be as disappointing as it is.  There has to be something better, if not for me, for someone else.  I have to believe that dreams come true, or I wouldn't be where I am.  I have to believe that I have a shot at being the "Tara" I write about.  Maybe if I keep writing about this "Tara" I envision she will become real.  A lot of people call me romantic or in my own little world.  I write because I have to, it calms me, it puts everything into perspective, it heals me, it lifts me up.  I write for the pure joy of it, even when I am pulling out my hair trying to figure out the word that would best describe something.

Is this my true purpose?  To write?  I don't want to commit to that possibility.  It scares me.  I don't feel as if I could be as creative as some of the greats out there.  Maybe books aren't my forte.  Maybe I can do human interest pieces on strangers, but how does one go about such a thing?  How does an idea take flight and become something totally unexpected and fruitful? This is where my feelings of hope pop up.    I am not one to force things to happen, I feel as if I lose something of myself when I do that.  I have learned to do things that feel right for me, that just because I want something badly doesn't mean that I will do anything to get it.  I like my dignity.  When I write I don't expect anything to come of it.  When I do put the pressure on myself to write a script or a play I dry up quickly.  I have to psych myself out and tell myself that nothing will come of it and then all of a sudden I have ideas flowing and my fingers hurt from typing.  It is a very strange game I play with myself, but it works.

So with a little trepidation I have decided to write everyday again on this blog.  I don't know what will come out of it, but I hope that you will follow me on my journey and enjoy the crazy that sometimes comes out of me.  It should be an interesting ride that I HOPE is everything I've imagined.

All my love,

Tara

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dream Compass

Hi Everyone,

It has been a loooong time since I have written anything of late.  And lately, I have been missing the daily routine of writing.  Have you ever felt as if your life is changing before your eyes, but it is so minute that you can't catch what it is that is changing within yourself to accept the life changes?  I am going through this phase as we speak.  It is hell, to be honest.  I am working 6-7 days a week, I haven't found a new roommate yet, so I have those financial worries everyone has at the moment, because of said roommate situation, I am unable to audition for any theatre productions and I don't want to spend money on classes and the like until I find a new roommate.  I am also fighting within myself because one of my dearest friends is having her first baby at 37.  I find that whenever one of my closest friends has a baby I have to work hard within myself to not let my envy and jealousy take a hold of my heart.  PHEW!

That said, I feel this infinite hope within myself that my day is coming REALLY soon.  This past week I played a game with myself to see what would happen.  I have been pretty miserable at work because I haven't really made time for myself and I don't like when I am miserable at work, because everyone notices and I know that I am not myself.  So this past week, I listed all the lessons my parents taught me as a child that they drilled in our heads and I am very embarrassed to say, I haven't been following to see if maybe something will change.  This is the list I made up:

Rich and Martha's Life Lessons

1.  Always smile even if you don't feel like it, it will make you feel better.
2.  Always stick up for yourself.  Do it politely.
3.  Never say hate, there is no room in your heart for hate, maybe dislike.
4.  Get over it.
5.  Say good morning to everyone and be polite, you never know when you might need their help.
6.  Say Thank you and Your welcome.  It goes a long way.
7.  Laugh at yourself, it's worth it.
8.  Be silly.
9.  Respect your elders.
10. Listen.

I will be the first to tell you that, I had to remind myself everytime I went to a table to be sure to say, "Hi.   How are you?" and smile.  It was difficult at times, but I smiled through it.  I also learned that I let a lot of people get away with saying biting remarks to me that eat away at me during the shift.  It was a revelation to me honestly.  I hadn't noticed how I let people take from me and I don't stick up for myself. I did this past week.  And by doing so, I politely told the man I didn't appreciate the tone he took with me and his friends applauded.  I then found out that the group of friends have talked to him about the way he treats restaurant staff and I was the first person to say anything to him.  They came in two days in a row after that and requested me.  I also met a wonderful Scottish man, Stuart who introduced me to a bunch of people in the business because he took a liking to me. He thought I should know some more people.  These little moments have been a savior.  Personally, I am feeling really insecure about my acting.  I haven't been on stage since March and I haven't taken a semester long acting class in a year.  I feel as if my acting muscle is weakening and it scares me.

It also scares me that last month I had commercial auditions for 3 weeks and I didn't get a callback or book it, so now since I haven't had an audition in a month, I feel as if I might never get another audition. But I still hope.  I still long for the dream to come true.  I am turning 35 in 30 days and I am trying to come to grips that I have let my life get away from me.  I am not sure how.  Everything I envisioned as a child, has not come true...yet.  I always envisioned being married, with kids that are my own and adopted. I always envisioned having an acting and writing career that was successful and fulfilling.  I always envisioned myself being true to myself and feeling full, living near my family.  In reality, I am a struggling actor, like 90% of all actors.  I write constantly, but have made no money off of it.  I date, but haven't had a meaningful relationship ever.  I work at a job that makes the ends meet which I am grateful for, but it is a struggle to find the meaning in it sometimes.

I was given a second chance to be an actor 10 years after I had given up on the dream and I've been wondering a LOT lately, why was I given that second chance?  Why am I not further in my career?  What didn't I see or do?  Why am I still struggling?  I try and go through my life and the events that have shaped it and I can't find a common thread yet.  I've been reading the book, The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  It is a scientific look at the stories of successful people.  For example, The Beatles, wouldn't have been the Beatles if a Hamburg, Germany promoter traveling to London looking for bands to play in Hamburg clubs to entice more people in, didn't meet a man from Liverpool who convinced the German promoter to take bands from Liverpool instead.  Because of that coincidence, the Beatles learned how to play a crowd 7 days a week 8-9 hours a day for two years which equaled 10000 hours.  Gladwell says it takes someone 10000 hours to become great at something.  This book has made me a little depressed just because of the coincidences that have happened in Bill Gates, The Beatles, Mozart, Steve Jobs, etc lives that made them able to do what they love and build on that skill to become the people they are.  But after I read those stories, I feel an huge spark in my soul that tells me not to give up!!!!  That if I keep going my dreams will come true!  I seem so close to my destination, but I haven't gotten over the hill that lets me see my dreamscape.  I just have to keep going and find the little light within myself that believes that everything I am doing and have done was meant to be and has to be so that when it all comes together I am ready!

Until next time...

All my love,

Tara

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Was Asked a Question that Threw Me for a Loop

Hi Everyone,

For the past week and a half my life has been pretty hectic, with work, auditions, visiting friends and life in general.  For the first time in my acting career I had 5 auditions in one week and I was so excited.  I was excited that someone called me in!  I was excited for the opportunity to be put on camera!  I was excited that if I booked 3 or these jobs I would get paid!  Not much, but it was something.  As I went to the on camera auditions I had to remember what I learned in conservatory and also remind myself to take control of my audition.  During the first one, I forgot to take control.  During the second one I took control and I had a blast.  I was very proud of that audition.  The third audition is all about my look so I put on my makeup and dressed nicely like I normally would, except I wore boots instead of sneakers.

Then I had my theatre auditions.  One of the auditions is for the company I am member of and I am disappointed to say that I didn't bring my A-game to that sucker and I should have.  It is funny now, because I don't feel comfortable on the stage anymore like I do in front of a camera.  I lose my energy and become stiff with anxiety over cold readings on stage.  It baffles me, because I was inspired to be an actor from being on stage.  I got a rush whenever I would get a laugh or applause and now I feel stiff and unsure which is very foreign to me and I am trying to wrap my head around it.

Last night, Jen and I went to see Twelfth Night at The Knightsbridge Theatre.  I wanted to see the production and cheer on a fellow company member.  It was a wonderful production and I got a kick out of the actors that played Toby and Feste.  On the ride home, Jen asked me, "Who was your favorite  performance?" and I told her.  She then asked, "Do they inspire you?" and I got emotional when I said, "No" and realized that I have only been inspired a handful of times while here in L.A. and four of those were because of nature and the world around me, not because of a performance.   Jen then asked, "Don't you get inspired in class?" and again I replied, "No, because it is all technical.  There is only one person in my class that consistently works her ass off to give a good performance and when I watch her, I say to myself "I'm going to be better than you".  That is my inspiration.  But it isn't.  It's jealousy and competitiveness.  Which then made me realize that all classes in L.A. are technical.  How to act on camera, how to break down a scene, how to audition, how to be still and show emotional vulnerability in a closeup, but there are no classes that deal with the art of acting.  The methods of acting.  The soul of working off another and being open to what comes.

My acting has suffered.  I have to commit myself to morning exercises in meditation and character work, but all I long for is the repetition exercise from Meisner.  I miss my class in NYC and being inspired by them to be an actor.  I never felt jealous or competitive in the sense I had to be better than them.  I trusted them and I knew that if we worked hard and let ourselves be, we would be the best.  I was inspired to write, paint and create because of performances I saw in class.  When I went to a show in NYC whether it be Broadway or Off Broadway I knew it was going to be magical!  There has only been one show I have seen in Los Angeles that excited me and felt like magic!  That makes me sad.  It makes me sad, because I love NYC for reasons I didn't count on.  I miss certain aspects of it and if I go back it won't be the same.  I am sad, that Jen's question opened my eyes to what has been eating at me lately.  Sometimes it feels better to live in denial.  I love L.A. for it's own reasons too, but I am going to be 35 this year and I feel as if I need to make decisions in my life that lay down the latticework of my future and I keep going back and forth on what I want.  When will I have peace?  Why can't I be an successful actor and a woman with a husband and kids?  When I dreamt of being an actor this wasn't it.  I have never been so poor in my life.  Why is money and the lack thereof always a problem for me?  And all my life questions played in my head from Jen asking, "Do they inspire you?"