This week, I got to spend 3 days on set doing background, which was really cool because I love being on set, and because there were stunts, so I got to watch and learn a bit and get reacquainted with some cool people.
My first day not on set, I headed downtown for a Toronto Ninjas meetup, which is the name given to the people who use Bonnie Gillespie’s wealth of information. It was awesome to catch up with some fellow actors, make new friends, find out about interesting events or classes that are going on, and just talk about acting and the industry. I had to leave early for a dry run at Michener, but even that was a lot of fun.
I went home and worked on my new demo reel, which is looking amazing. And by worked on it, I mean I watched what my super talented friend had put together for me and told him what I thought, so I can have an incredible demo reel that I am really proud of.
That night, my roommate and I went to audit Lewis Baumander’s acting class. I saw some familiar faces, and some great performances. It was really interesting to see him work with the actors and have some great discussions with us. Last, but definitely not least, he seemed like a hardworking, genuine, supportive person, which is nice to have in a teacher, or anyone you work with.
On Friday, I tried the lunchtime Jiu-Jitsu class, and received my first GI. I did karate as a kid, so I’ve had kimonos, but this is me as an adult, not just dabbling in something sport-related, but actually committing to it and investing in it. In myself. It’s just another ‘costume’, but to me it’s huge and exciting and I’m really happy about it. Like I’m a part of something
I rushed home after class to shower so I could make it to Anthony Meindl’s workshop. His studio was one of the places I trained when I was in Los Angeles, and more than just attending classes, I absolutely loved auditing his masterclasses, so I was really glad to get to watch him work again here in Toronto. His enthusiasm and love for actors and storytelling is incredible to be around, and it is inspiring to see how simple things can elevate and bring truth to a performance. A fellow Toronto Ninja performed a monologue and she was heartbreakingly beautiful.
Now the title of this post refers to ‘that girl’ in an awesome way. I mean, I definitely would have rolled my eyes and thought ‘that girl’ was crazy, back in the day, but now that I am becoming her, I have to say she is so much more than that. (but yeah, obviously crazy) You see, after more than 12 hours on set and getting up long before the sun, I headed to Jiu-Jitsu classes on both Monday and Tuesday. Hour long workouts used to be my max, and I especially enjoyed the warm up and cool down parts of them. These days, when the hour class ends and they ask if I’ll stay for the next hour and a half, I’m like “Of course.” I am bruised all over and finding out what it’s like to roll with people who don’t take it easy on me because I’m a girl and I’m new, but I am loving it. I am loving the way it makes me feel when I’m done. In general, and about myself.
On Saturday, I went to my first ever parkour class at the Monkey Vault. It was with a teacher and 2 other women, who had each been coming off and on for the past 3 years. We started with easy things, like vaults, then the obstacles got higher and higher until we were scaling walls. There was a rod to hang on to, but I haven’t always had that much faith in my own strength, and if my arms had decided to give out at certain points, I may have tumbled to my death. Or a brain injury. Or at least a lot of pain and some broken things.
This summer, I told a new friend who is really awesome in the stunt community that I wanted to be a badass and do my own stunts and stuff. He was really supportive and on board, until he asked, “Are you afraid of heights?” and my answer was, “Yes, but I do it anyway.” That wasn’t good enough for him.
Over the past few months, I have been discovering that a lot of the things that scared me were because I didn’t think I could do them. I have already shared how having trouble lifting myself up while tree trekking made me train to do pull ups so I could go back and not be afraid anymore, and it’s like this for a lot of things. It’s scary if you think you can’t do it, but if you know (or trust) that you have the strength to catch yourself, it’s incredible what you can accomplish. I mean that metaphorically, but also literally.
I was ‘that girl’ because after staying after parkour class to ‘play’ until my arms couldn’t hold me up anymore, I drove to 4 points for the boxing bootcamp. On Sunday, everything hurt, but rarely have I ever felt that fierce and accomplished. Part of me is terrified that this is some phase, or burst of motivation that will fizz out and disappear soon, but I am so excited to be becoming THAT GIRL, who goes to the gym instead of home to sleep after a long day, who does more than one workout in a day, who does the things that scare her and pushes her limits until she is doing things she only ever dreamed she could.
“This is a door. Kick it open and come in.”
“I think the greatest thing our industry does is erase the lines in the sand, we should keep doing that as the world tries to make them deeper.”
-Both from Guillermo Del Toro