A Hustling Actor

Monday was the official start of my no-carbs to get down to competition weight, so every time I had a craving, I put it down in a list of foods I would have once the competition was done. Our subway stop happens to have a Cinnabon inside, so even though I have never gotten one from there before, on Monday it killed me as I headed to my Standardized patient work. We did 3 scenarios and although it was definitely weird to have my partner play my husband in the first 2 scenarios and my father in the 3rd, I think it all worked out in the end.

That night we only went to the 8 o’clock class of BJJ, but I was put in for the last bit of situational rolling of the 7 o’clock class. When our class actually started, the competitors went off to one side, then we drilled while the others did technique. We did our guard passes, take the back and back escape, collar chokes, kimura sweeps and bridge and rolls. I was with someone newer, so I did a mix of what the competing adults were doing and what the competing kids were doing.

I chose her for the first roll at the end of class, and while I don’t think either of us got any submissions, I definitely didn’t hustle like I should have. I was too busy avoiding the blue belts, (and getting kicked in the head) which won’t actually be an issue at the competition. Then, I went against one of the teens who is competing. I got an Ezekiel and a collar choke, but he escaped my armbar and didn’t let me get my kimura on him. He’s also definitely going way too easy on me. Next, I went against one of the adults who isn’t competing, and tapped prematurely for things I usually don’t even tap for, because I was worried about getting an injury before the competition. Before last I was with a blue belt who went super easy to let me work on things like getting out of bad positions, which wasn’t quite competition hustling, but was really nice. Finally, I was back with my training partner, who submitted me with an armbar. Which sucked because she doesn’t usually submit me. And I can argue that it was because there were blue belts in the way that prevented me from doing my escape, but I also think I didn’t hustle enough and kind of deserved it.

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On Tuesday I knew I wouldn’t be making it to class, so I lifted in the morning, then headed out to my standardized patient work. We’re not allowed to talk about the scenarios or what happened, but I will say that #metoo was a huge topic of conversation today, and it’s incredible to see the difference even a year makes. Perhaps I was keenly aware of it because after work I headed to Hot Docs so I could hear Tarana Burke, the original founder of the #metoo movement, speak. It was a special treat from the TAWC committee for my involvement with the Content Development Sessions, and there were a lot of the ACTRA women there. It was a thought-provoking, inspiring night and I am so glad I had the chance to be there.

Once my evening was over, I headed to the gym so Arsen could drive me home. Having officially switched my weight class registration that morning, there was no going back on the no carbs and strict diet to make weight. Knowing this, he had meal prepped for me a recipe that he fixed so it would be delicious but have none of the things I wasn’t allowed. #bestboyfriendever

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On Wednesday I woke up with keto/no-carb flu. My body is definitely not used to no carbs and no sugar so it retaliated by making me tired and nauseous and sick. Luckily, I had myself a banana and powered through because I had work to do. I had to finalize things with the director for our content development session on directing and watched the final cut of a movie I shot the summer before last (it was cool because the script was changed after I filmed my scenes, so I had no idea how it ended).

By the way, I say I powered through because it sounds dramatic for the blog, but you need to be healthy. I actually called my coach, told her how I was feeling and she gave me more details into what I was allowed to be eating and how I should be compensating for the lack of carbs in my diet. Like eating a lot more protein and vegetables. I did not just keep starving myself and hoping it would go away. But I didn’t give up either. I just readjusted my plan to make sure I could perform and make weight. In a healthy way.

I went to both classes that night to make up for the fact that I didn’t go the day before. We were only 2 adults at 7, so we were paired together for lots of escapes from positions like side control, 100kg, knee on belly, which are super useful to know, because I am always stuck in those. We did some situational rolling, then I had a few rolls with guys that are a lot newer, and younger than me, who I don’t think usually submit me, but each did tonight. So not so confident going into the 8 o’clock class.

I was paired with another competitor and we worked on our takedowns and submissions and sweeps and just all kinds of things, but not in the easy way where you demonstrate that you know the technique…we did it in the hard way where you try to do the technique while the other person tries to not let you. Like when you’re rolling. Which isn’t my strong suit.

One of the guys I rolled with that night was newer, but really strong, and maybe because I was more experienced than him (and because I submitted him a few times the last time we rolled), he actually went really hard. I’m used to almost all the guys being stronger than me, but they usually also know technique better, so I feel safe that they know what they are doing every step of the way and won’t just use force half-hazardly. I don’t know about his weight and size versus mine, but I do know that I did not enjoy it, and it was the first time during jiu-jitsu where I teared up and kind of wanted to cry once it was over. I didn’t, but I can’t explain why I felt that way. Maybe I was overwhelmed by the competition and the lack of sweets in my life, but it was the first time I wasn’t smiling. I was really quiet when I mopped the mats, went shopping and drove home. It wasn’t until we were alone in the car and I told Arsen what happened that I felt better. Not that the guy did anything wrong, but admitting that I had felt that way? I don’t know.

On Thursday morning I had a job interview, then went home to prepare for an audition for a show that is currently airing (by watching a few episodes. Which is a good and a terrible idea sometimes). Then I got ready and headed out for a commercial audition. I can’t wait until I am doing so many of these that they don’t faze me at all and I know exactly what I am doing. I had prepared my lines 2 different ways, whether they were going for a more ‘uplifting commercial’ or ‘gravity of the situation’ vibe. When I got in the room, he asked me to do it 3 times per take, in 3 different ways. By the end, I repeated the line about 9 times and I think only 7 of them came out as what I wanted them to be and 2 were more like…how can I make this different than what I have just been doing? I do think 7 out of 9 isn’t bad, but I am also grateful for this learning experience, so next time I’ll prepare more variety and won’t be caught off guard.

I went home and got ready for some background work, then rushed to Ayisha for a 5 minute self tape. It was a single line that I had already done my homework for, and 5 minutes was literally all I had before I needed to leave for Mississauga. Luckily, I went to the best, so we got a couple of takes, got a slate and I was out of there before my parking even ran out.

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The background work ended just before 3 am, so I let myself sleep in on Friday, then spent the morning preparing for my audition that afternoon.

It was a very interesting kind of audition, because while you usually have a script that you get to discover and make choice and make your own, this time the script was from an episode of something that is already out there and has already been done. Without giving details, it’s kind of like there was a movie they were turning into a tv show, and you know they want you to match the person who played your character in the movie, so you watch it and see that your audition scene in pretty much word for word what happens in a scene in the movie. When I went to Ayisha to work on it, she had told me to copy what I saw in the movie. When I met with her, she tried to tweak things based on what the script said, so we ultimately decided to pretend we had never seen the movie, and to make the character mine, to the best of my abilities. We ran it a bunch of times, finding different levels and motivations before I headed to the audition.

Even though I was nervous about the audition, I was also so excited to be in a casting office again, auditioning, and I was confident in the work that I had done. I went in the room, did the scene once, she told me I did a good job, thanked me and I was out of there.

I did get a bit of a “that was it?” feeling as I was walking out, but I stumbled into a friend and left feeling more like a working actor than I have in a while. Maybe working isn’t the best descriptor…a hustling actor. That’s what I felt like. Someone who hustles and makes things happen/their dreams come true.

That night we went to BJJ class for a special session with Endeavour rehab, where they showed us a bunch of warm ups and exercises for our competition the next day. I made some snacks for the competition and then we went to bed, as ready as we could be.

“Victim means you succumbed, but survivor means you overcame.”

-Tarana Burke

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