Hikes, Trains and Prophecy

Monday morning my mom and I went for a very early morning hike, then I went home and wrote for a bit before we tried a new Body Pump class with my aunt. I did not like the class, at all, but I must have gotten a good workout because my thighs hated me (and stairs) for days afterwards.

I spent the afternoon cooking and doing a bit of writing before going to hang out with my grandparents. After supper I hung out with one of my new favorite people for an hour or so, definitely overstaying my welcome, but it made my day/week/year/life.

When I got home I watched American Ninja Warrior with my parents. This show is so inspiring and really reminds me that I need to up my game and start training again.

On Tuesday I did background in a spa, where I spent half the day reading a magazine in a lounge chair and the other half writing books on the floor in the hallway. I don’t need much to be entertained, but I do need to see the words I am writing.

That night we watched Otherhood when I got home and I really enjoyed it. It’s the kind of movie you should watch with your mom on mother’s day if you’re lucky enough to have her. After you’ve remembered to call her and bring something to let her know how much you love and appreciate her of course.

On Wednesday the weather did not cooperate with our hike, so I stayed home and wrote before a little family outing. I spent more time with some of my favorite people, then had lunch with mostly the same group, plus or minus a few people.

Wednesday evening my brother and his fiancée had me and my dad over for supper while my mother went out. It is always good times with them, but I also learned a lot about my father that I did not know. I had bits and pieces, and knew things that would imply others, but never put it all together. I basically discovered that he is amazing, and I am beyond lucky to have him as my dad. To have two parents who love me unconditionally and support me in all of my endeavors…I don’t think I always deserve it but I am eternally grateful.

On Thursday my mom, my aunt, my cousin and I hiked Mont-Tremblant. It took us a little over two hours and I tried to keep up with my cousin who is taller and in way better shape than me, but it was hard. The views were incredible and the company was top-notch, but I think I need to do it more often. It’s a beautiful and fun way to get a workout in 🙂

Once the hike was done, we went to Mucho Burrito for supper. I only mention this because you might be thinking, like me, that they have burritos and rice and refried beans and a bunch of heavy, TexMex food. I didn’t explore the entire menu, though I’m sure they have all that, but they also have delicious bowls. I had half-rice, half-quinoa with beans, chicken, fresh corn, pumpkin seeds, fresh peach salsa…it was fresh and yummy and I would definitely recommend.

I took the train back to Toronto, meeting a man from Poland and getting some writing done, even if I accidentally got a rear-facing seat and slightly got carsick. I have yet to take the bus for my back and forths, but the train was a wonderful way to spend nearly six hours writing instead of listening to podcasts and singing along to the radio.

On Friday I got to have breakfast with the boyfriend after being away forever, then got a bunch of writing and admin stuff done before going to set for 2:30. It was at a studio and a really nice set to be on, but a short DAY shoot turned into working past 2 am. It just goes to show that you never know what to expect. I made new friends, caught up with some old ones, got some writing in and even did some knitting. A very productive day, if I do say so myself.

On Saturday I mostly did writing until a fitting. It’s for background on a short film about Female Air Force Pilots and I am so psyched to be a part of it, in any capacity. We went to open mat at 4 points afterward, where the boyfriend helped me go through all of the moves I was worried I had forgotten during my absence.

We spent the evening with Ali and Gözde from the gym, which is always a wonderful time. We tried Monga Fried Chicken, which was very yummy, with mochi ice cream for dessert. I was first introduced to this delicacy back in August and I definitely approve. The black sesame had a pretty strong taste, but it was very good, and you can never go wrong with vanilla. We were going to watch a movie, but got carried away with the talking, which I’m pretty sure is a good thing.

On Sunday I finished a new First Draft of Prophecy, taking into account all of the changes I have been making to the story. I also did some Brand Ambassador work and had supper with the boyfriend’s family, which I love to do.

Another awesome thing that happened this week and I almost forgot is the options for my cover! I received 3 possible covers for Prophecy and am currently going through them to figure out which version, or combination of them I want to use for my book. I know the expression is “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but we’re also aware that it’s how most people decide if they want to read a book, or at least the back of it. Here’s to more books with awesome covers!

 

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”

-Hugh Laurie

Sets and Rents

Being on set every day last week was only part of what made it awesome. I played a high school student, a cop, a bookstore patron then wrote my book in holding without ever being brought to set on the fourth day. Not a single one of them lasted the full 8 hours, so I made it to Jiu-Jitsu on Tuesday and Wednesday, got a whole bunch of writing done and had supper with my parents. Their visit was the other thing that made this week so much fun.

Throwback to my Tactics on Set training with the incomparable Gary Foo. Fellow trainees are Samy Osman and Kiriana Stanton 🙂

My parents drove to Toronto on Friday to hang out with me, so we had supper before I asked my dad to check out my car because I felt like one of the tires was low. Turns out it was completely flat with a nail sticking in it, so we (okay, he) replaced it with the spare so I could drive home.

On Saturday we stopped on our way to a celebratory lunch so I could attend a Go-See. I had never been to one before, but here is my assessment. When a show needs a lot of background or stunt people, they hold a go-see, where everyone who fits their broad categories will come and either hand in their resume (for stunts or dancers and such) or get their picture and measurements taken (as I did). I got a star in the corner of my sheet, so I think I’m good.

I want to mention that although right now I am focusing a lot on the writing and taking a lot of background work, I have not given up on the acting dream.

Lunch was fun and delicious, at Glenn Abbey golf course, then we went back to Toronto and I dropped my car off at Canadian Tire. I just had time to walk home before my parents came to pick us up for supper at my boyfriend’s parents’. It was their first time meeting each other (my parents and his) and I think it went fabulous. We had so much delicious food, excellent company, and only a few embarrassing stories.

On Sunday I tried to get some writing done before we went for brunch at Mars Diner. It was too loud for us to hear the music, but the food was yummy as always 🙂 We got my car and I drove back to Montreal with my parents and got to see an almost-finished version of get-together, which is looking amazing. I am so proud of what we have accomplished with this project, and can’t wait to share it with the world. Or work on the next one 😉

“Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.”

-Frank Tyger

Babysitting, Holters and Catching Up

On Monday I had a meeting with the cardiologist, to try and figure out why I fainted. I did a stress test first, where I had to walk on the treadmill at increasing speeds and inclinations while they measured my heart rate. Then I got hooked up to a holter heart monitor that I got to keep with me for the next 72 hours. The holter monitor wasn’t so bad, it just kind of felt like I was wearing a purse 24/7. I kept reaching to take it off and remembering it wasn’t a satchel, it was my heart monitor. The worst part was definitely the stickers. The stress test involved disinfecting my skin, then scratching it with sandpaper before applying a multitude of electrodes that were taped on. For the holter, I needed a complete different set, so after ripping those off my skin, we repeated the process. As in rub alcohol onto the skin that had been scratched and torn, then scratch again and tape some more. As I write this post, 4 days after I returned the equipment, my chest still has marks and scabs on it.

Once I had the holter monitor, I drove to Montreal, where I met up with a friend and his girlfriend for ice cream. He’s the uber talented author/designer of my book cover, so we spent an hour or so walking around and talking about books and publishing, which was awesome. I got home and finished the last of my masterclasses before going to bed.

On Tuesday I was babysitting my niece, so I went to get her and hung out with her sisters for a bit before spending the day at my house with a new family member. She is the easiest baby, but I still realized how much harder even the simplest tasks become. Sure, I could strap her into her bouncy seat, but if she sits up enough, she can flip it over and get around. Cooking lunch, folding laundry, going to the washroom…everything had a new difficulty level. I’m not saying this to discourage anyone, but can we all appreciate how awesome parents are? They do all the adulting we do, but with a tiny human who is constantly demanding and requiring their attention.

Trying to write a bit while she took a nap…

Tuesday evening I went shooting with my dad and brother, then out for supper for Sam’s birthday. Siam was delicious, but the service took absolutely forever. Luckily, I had really good company so I didn’t mind.

On Wednesday I went on a hike with my mom and aunt, then went home and got some writing done. In the afternoon I hung out with Chelsea, walking around in the rain and having tea, then went to Rikki’s for a delicious supper and some catching up. Sometimes I have trouble justifying the trip to Montreal when I’m not working and there’s no big event, but when I get in this much face time with the people I care about, how can it not be worth it?

I finished off the visit with some American Ninja Warrior with my parents, then headed out very early on Thursday morning. I could have left much later and still delivered the holter monitor on time, but I got to have lunch with my grandmother and her sasters along the way, which I would wake up at any time for.

Thursday night the boyfriend and I went to see Good Boys, which was hilarious. Really well written and fun for…probably not the whole family, but we both enjoyed it.

On Friday I had a late call time, so I got a bunch of writing done, took a nap and showed up in holding at 8:30. When they told me they had no 8:30 call times, they looked at my email and informed me 22:30 is 10:30. Which I knew, I just didn’t think of at the time. I very much regretted not bringing my laptop, but still managed to clarify some plot points and work on writing and admin stuff until my actual call time. They gave me a costume, did my hair and put makeup on, then we went back to the holding I spent hours in and waited a while. I was a passerby, so it was mostly sitting on the stairs and writing, waiting for my cue to walk for 30 seconds, then going back to the stairs to sit and write. We wrapped at 4:30, so I was exhausted, but it was a really easy day as far as working goes.

I slept as much as I could on Saturday before going to the Blue Jays game for some costume work. I brought supper home when I finished and tried to get writing done, but I mostly just typed up what I had written the night before and during breaks.

On Sunday it was another day at the Roger’s Center before spending the evening with the boyfriend’s family for some delicious food and discovering Charlie Chaplin. Me, not them. I know exactly who he is and can tell you exactly what he looked like and was known for, but as far as I know, that was the first time I watched any of his work.

On Labor Day Monday I finally caught up on my word count, and even got ahead. Not to mention, the cover has been ordered. That might be the wrong terminology, but I filled out a form that asked a bunch of questions about what I was looking for in the cover and they should be sending me something within a week or so. I am nervous and excited and can’t wait to see what they came up with.

Once I was far enough over my word count, the boyfriend and I tried another Italian restaurant in our area (I think we’re on a mission to try every single one and find the best pizza and pasta) then hunkered down to watch IT. I hadn’t seen the original or the remake and the sequel is out this week, so we went for it. I was never really afraid, and it bugs me when there’s a villain that can’t really be defeated, but there were definitely moments of great worry for certain characters.

 

How was your week?

 

“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

-Dale Carnegie

It’s a Good Thing

I am loving the pictures everyone is sending me as you receive your copies of Shards of Glass. It really means a lot to me. You guys are the bomb!

I spent any free time this week plotting out my trilogy, writing it, and doing research. People on set think I’m weird, but every time they’re setting up a shot I take out my notebook and write a character description or figure out some backstory.

Whenever I’m in the car, I listen to self-publishing podcasts. While some are informative, most are inspirational. One of them discussed the one thing that sets successful authors/book launches apart. It wasn’t having a huge list, an amazing book, the best cover or any of the things you would think. You could find an exception to every one of those. According to Tim Grahl, “In a successful launch, the author believes that buying their book is actually a good thing for people to do.” Basically, you need to believe that your book is worth buying. It sounds simple, but I recognized myself when he said that some authors see someone buying a copy of their book as doing them a favor. I am so grateful for every one of you who has purchased a copy of my book. Who downloaded a free copy. Who shared my post. Who commented to congratulate me. Who liked it. It’s not that I don’t think my book is good. I poured my heart and soul into it. I just couldn’t imagine people spending their money to read what I wrote. And how can I expect anyone to do that when I treat my book like something they buy for me rather than for themselves?

It goes back to my self-confidence/self-worth issues that I work so hard to get past. I guess this was my first writing venture, so I had to overcome it in this aspect of my life as well. I’m not saying I’m cured, but being aware of it makes a huge difference. And you feel less sales-pitchy when your mindset is “I wrote this awesome book I’m really proud of and I think you would like it” instead of “please do me a favor and buy this book I wrote so other people can know it’s out there”. My marketing was based on people’s relationship to me rather than what the book is about, which is definitely not the way to go.

What does this mean for you? Hopefully less annoying posts from me 😉 I really, truly appreciate every single person who is encouraging me. More than you could possibly know. But I don’t want you to feel like you have to read my book because I wrote it. If it sounds interesting or you want to check it out, please do. It means the world to me. But if fiction or young adult novels are not your thing, there are a million other ways to support indie authors: Like and comment on my posts. Share them with the people you think would actually enjoy the book. Tell people about it.

Acting-wise, one project we were working on has been pushed to the spring, but I’ve been on a few sets for background. One of them was really small and I got to have conversations with the director, who was awesome. He treated everyone with respect, whether you were background or the main actors, and wasn’t above standing in for his actors or spraying wheels with WD-40 so they would stop squeaking. It was also for a Christmas Movie, which is up there on my Bucket List.

“The fundamental difference between someone you trust and someone you don’t is your belief in whether or not they are looking out for your best interest above their own.”

-Tim Grahl

First Week as a Published Author

Shards of Glass has been out for a week! I couldn’t be more touched and amazed by all of the wonderful comments and support I have been receiving. I was terrified to put the book out there because only my mom had read it before I decided to go on this publishing journey. Now I have sold way more than the 5 copies I was expecting, and people are actually reading it.

That was the part that scared me the most, because I knew I had family who would get my first book to support me, but I wanted them to like it. I wanted people I didn’t know to get the book and enjoy it, not because I wrote it, but because it’s a good book. I have teared up several times this past week over the beautiful reader responses. Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed it on amazon and goodreads!

I drove back to Toronto from Montreal and was on set doing background the following days. I also worked on my next book, the first in The Owens Chronicles. It’s a paranormal/fantasy series, and Emily is a few years older than Rachel, but I’m sure you’ll love her too. Research and plotting has been so much fun, but I am excited to be in the actual writing part now, as well as getting cover ideas whenever I need to procrastinate.

 

That pretty much covers my week. What about yours?

 

If you have a copy of Shards of Glass, post a picture of yourself with the book or your tablet. I would love to share them. It’s incredible to think that this book started out as an idea in my head. Now it’s something tangible that you can hold…Crazy!

 

“Follow your dreams. If you have a goal, and you want to achieve it, then work hard and do everything you can to get there, and one day it will come true.”

-Lindsey Vonn

Hike. Write. Repeat.

I started writing this post with the intention of publishing it a few weeks ago, but something happened on the morning I was going to finish it that made me reluctant to post it at all. Writing it the way it was planned felt like I was being dishonest, while editing it to include my new circumstance felt like I was looking for attention. But this is where I share my story and get held accountable, so here it goes.

June was a very fun and productive month. I got booked through a stunt coordinator for 2 days of SSE (Special Skills Extra) on a movie. I got to wear a really cool costume while making sure the stunt performer didn’t land on anyone in the crowd. Definitely something I would love to do again.

A problem I was pretty excited to have was that I booked so much work that I had to cut my trip to Montreal short. I spent a day in Quebec with my mom for the Premiere of Deep Web on the 9th, had a fake Father’s Day on the 10th, then drove back to Toronto after little more than 24 hours.

What was supposed to be a couple of days turned into a full week of background work as a high school student. It was long days with a lot of downtime, since they were mostly filming by section, but I was in heaven. I brought my laptop with me and got to finish my 5th Draft of Shards of Glass while we were in holding. There was an entire day where I was only used for 30 minutes, so I was basically paid to write. Whenever we were called to set, I brought some loose pages with me and plotted out a 17 book series. I am so excited for all of the things I will someday get to write! This was probably my most productive week ever.

On the 15th, we had a production meeting for Touched, where we got to explore our filming location. We were incredibly lucky that Hubert’s friend had his house for sale, so we got to film in a multi-million dollar home. Once the Touched meeting was done, I had a coffee date with Steph, our 1st AD. She was also the 1st AD for get-together, but this was my first time sitting down and actually getting to know her. All I can say is that I wish I had done it so much sooner, and can’t wait to spend a lot more time with her.

The 16th was the boyfriend’s birthday, so we did whatever he wanted to do, which included open mat. Not sure if I’ve explained this before, but Open Mat is where a bunch of people practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from different gyms come together and roll with each other. You get to try out your technique on people who weren’t trained exactly like you, learn new things and in my case, roll with people my own size.

On the 17th we met with our business rep at ACTRA and I applied for my permit, which gives me my 2nd of the 3 credits I need to be a full ACTRA member. I spent the next 3 days working as a Brand Ambassador, which was stressful with all of the pre-production stuff going on with Touched. In the future, I would try my best to not book work up to the day before we go to camera on something I am acting in and producing.

I’ll make a separate post all about our 2 days of Touched, but suffice it to say it was an awesome experience that I hope to be repeating soon, and often.

The day after Touched was a day of rest, and to celebrate a year with the boyfriend <3

I did my last day of background on a show I was doing continuity on, had our last TAWC meeting before the summer break, then drove to Montreal.

Once there, I established a routine of Hike, Write, Repeat. I would wake up around 6 in the morning, go for a hike on Mont St-Hilaire with my mom, then spend the day writing/reading my latest draft out loud with my mom to make sure it all sounded good. I can’t thank her enough for the countless hours she spent helping me edit Shards of Glass.

Of course, I also did things like hang out with my grandparents, have a book meeting with JF and watch my niece play soccer, but Hike, Write, Repeat was the routine. I was all set to continue this routine on Friday. I brushed my teeth, got dressed, sort of slipped/mostly caught myself going down the stairs, walked it off, then woke up with my mom trying to shake me awake while crying on the phone with 911.

This wasn’t my first time fainting. It happened like that in May 2012, and I passed out one of my first days as a reader, but that time I woke up as soon as I hit the floor. This time, I had no recollection of crossing the room to where I passed out against the couch, then apparently flung myself backward, slamming the back of my head against the side of a table before convulsing on the ground. Which is how I woke up. All I knew was that I did not like seeing my mom cry like that, so I sat up as best I could, ignored the pain in my head and tried to assure her I was fine and she didn’t have to worry. She ignored me and called an ambulance, who brought me to the hospital. They drew lots of blood, monitored my heart and I totally bombed the neuro exam, but they didn’t seem concerned. Whereas last time this happened, I wasn’t allowed to drive for 2 months while they made sure I wasn’t epileptic, this time I was given the okay to drive 6 hours to Toronto the following day. Not because I was fine, but because they couldn’t figure out a cause. They labeled it a vasovagal syncope, with no actual trigger. They told me it could happen more often now, or never again, they had no idea, but they could mostly guarantee it wouldn’t happen while I was driving. Let’s just say I wasn’t reassured.

My mom would re-enact my episode a lot over the next few days, partially as a distraction from the heartbreaking funeral we were a part of on Saturday, but also to convince herself it wasn’t that big of a deal. Still, she would occasionally look at me and start crying, and she avoided being alone with me again.       

On Sunday I convinced her and my dad to go on a hike with me, because I knew that if I didn’t go, they would be nervous and maybe never let me go again. We got caught in a torrential downpour as soon as we reached the top, which I felt really bad for, but it also shows that I have the best parents in the world.

I drove back to Toronto, with a friend who did most of the driving, and had a game plan in case I fainted during the tiny bit at the beginning where I was the driver. So overall, a pretty awesome month, but not all of the excitement was welcome.

I could have made this post and left out the fainting episode, but it happened. I have been taking it easy and am seeing a doctor in Toronto to try and get to the root of the problem, so no one should worry, I am fine. If anything, now you know that random fainting episodes do happen, not just in the movies, and please, if ever something happens to you or someone you love, don’t just put it off or assume you’re fine. Listen to your body. Take care of yourself. You need to stand up for yourself like you would your best friend or little sibling. As L’Oreal says, You’re Worth it.

 

“Don’t like someone. Love someone. Don’t stand up for yourself. Fight for yourself. Don’t be strong. Be indestructible.”

Family, Sets and Cold Reads

This week was pretty awesome on all fronts. On Monday I worked from home and got to see the rough cuts for a few scenes from Get-Together, which looks amazing from a completely unbiased perspective. Then I spent the afternoon/evening on set doing background.

On Tuesday I spent the whole day on set and got so much side work done. I am playing a student so I get to walk around with pens and notebooks and spend scenes (or in between takes) writing, which is the absolute best for me. I plan my months, I come up with story ideas, I plot my Nano camps…let’s just say it leads to doubly productive days.

On Wednesday I caught up on some admin stuff, TAWC emails and submitted to Toronto Cold Reads before going to work at the gym. For the 7 o’clock class, we were an odd number, so one of the kids from the earlier class who was waiting for his dad came down and joined us. He didn’t know any of the adults or teens in the class, so he chose to be paired up with me rather than someone closer to his size. He was not only an excellent partner for me, he also learnt all kinds of new moves and did them for himself as well. We definitely don’t give the tiny humans enough credit.

On Thursday I worked at the gym again and had a nice relaxing supper before figuring out this whole blog mess. I am probably going to be changing out the theme every week or so until I find one I love, but at least the blog is up and running again. I also found out that I got accepted into Toronto Cold Reads for this Sunday!

On Friday I was on set again. 3 days in one week is pretty exciting if I do say so myself 🙂 Normally I love staying later and volunteer when some people are wrapped and others get to stay, but that night I was really happy when they sent me home. The shoot was possibly going to end around 4:30 am and I was leaving for Montreal around 5. Not a very good combination.

Saturday morning we drove to Montreal so we could have lunch with my grandfather for his birthday, then I spent the afternoon doing my taxes with my mom. That night, we went to Rikki’s for her birthday party, which included nachos, tacos and a bunch of karaoke. I also accidentally drugged my boyfriend with night time NeoCitran, so we left a little earlier than planned.

The girls mid 90s sing-along

On Sunday we had the Easter Hunt at my grandparents’ house. It’s kind of bittersweet that it was the last time we would have a group of 10 people in their twenties and thirties hopping for chocolate, but I’m really excited to start doing it with actual kids again.

After some chicken and waffles and birthday celebrations, we left so I could get back to Toronto in time for Love You Better to be read at Toronto Cold Reads.

The Actors on stage reading “Love You Better” at Toronto Cold Reads

It was really exciting to hear my words read out loud by strangers, and I took pages of notes on audience reactions and questions the actors had and what lines were harder to say/didn’t come out naturally. The music had been great and the other script I heard from the writing competition was hilarious, but I had to head out early before having a supper consisting solely of chocolate bars.

All in all it was an awesome week of sets, family, having my work be read out loud in public, and a bunch of small victories.

“Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, but don’t settle for them.”

-Mia Hamm

Sets, 4Points and TAWC

Monday was a pretty big day for me. I worked to get things organized for my new job, and dealt with some last minute things for the TAWC Content Development Session I was spearheading. The other helpers and I arrived to find that the room had already been set up, and they were wheeling in plates of food. All we had to do was get to contacting people on the waiting list whenever someone let us know they couldn’t make it. Then I had the pleasure of meeting Annie Bradley for the first time.

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Less than a minute into the masterclass, which was packed with enthusiastic ACTRA members, I knew Annie was the best person we could have brought in. I think even someone with absolutely no interest in ever directing would have loved being in that room, listening to her speak. She taught us about directing, yes, but she also shared so much life advice and lessons in tenacity and going after your goals. She talked about idea jams and creating your own work, and I know that not only was I so inspired, I have already been added to at least 2 groups that have decided to follow her advice and do it.

I have 8 full pages of notes, with a bunch of homework sprinkled in between, including each of us directing something within the next year. We asked if she would come back next year and watch all our films, mostly teasing, but she seemed completely serious when she told us she would. She was so generous with her time and knowledge that we nearly had to be kicked out of the building to leave. This fierce, talented, tenacious woman has just guaranteed herself a spot at the top of my list of directors I want to work with.

After the masterclass I went to 4points and did both the 7 and the 8 o’clock classes. When there were no more opponents I felt I could handle with my arm, I hinted at taking a round off. David pointed out that he needed me in order for everyone to have a partner, so I went for it and realized I had nothing to worry about.

Tuesday I was on set, singing during and making lists between takes, and I also got a call from someone I know who is thinking of doing a TIP and wanted some advice. Since I went through it and research things a lot before I get into them, I was able to answer most of his questions, and offered to help in any way I can. I always say that any day on set is a good day, and my favorite part is acting, but any way I can be creating is amazing. Plus, I know how hard it was when I was doing my films and how much I appreciated any kind of help that was offered.

On Wednesday I worked at the gym, found out some secrets and went to a TAWC meeting. I am so grateful that I found this committee last year, not just because it’s an incredible initiative that aims to get women working and to help them do it, but because the women who are on the committee with me are just so awesome and inspiring. I can’t wait to see all of the amazing things we will achieve.

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After the meeting, I went back to the gym and stuck around for all of the classes. I got a submission against someone I have rolled against a bunch of times without us ever really submitting each other, and I think I am improving, even if the fear is keeping me from going as hard as I could. I’m usually pretty passive in rolling, but because being at the bottom leaves me vulnerable to all of the things that will hurt my elbow, I have been trying really hard to not let that happen, and to stay on top. So more active, but still a long way to go.

Thursday was for errands and the gym, before I went home and made some pesto chicken zoodles. I made a really big batch and didn’t compensate with enough pesto, but it smelt delicious and still tasted pretty good. The rest of the night was spent trying to catch up with all of the admin work I have been putting off, like renewing my license plate stickers, signing up for classes, returning contracts…stuff I probably shouldn’t be putting off.

On Friday I went down to the gym and lifted for the first time since I hurt my elbow in the competition. Part of it was because I didn’t want to aggravate it, but the majority of it was laziness. Then I went to do background on something I’ll probably be on a bit for the next few months. Only 10 people were going to be staying for the second scene, and I was really looking forward to a Friday night with the boyfriend and maybe some friends, but when the AD came and asked if I wouldn’t mind staying, I obviously agreed. I ate way too many desserts to compensate for being there, but I did get some work done. One scene is in a library, where I am supposed to be doing homework, so I got to reorganize my priorities and figure out some things that I need to do, which I probably waste too much time doing over and over again, but I feel like it really helps me organize myself and my time once I have it all written down.

Saturday I was at the gym early to help them get everything ready for the 11 am class. The class itself didn’t have anything special, but they had extended the gym’s mezzanine overnight and wanted it to look as cool as it was when everyone arrived to see it for the first time. We finished with a half an hour to spare, before 3 kids classes in a row, followed by takedowns and open mat. I participated in the last two, working on the same takedown we had learnt before the competition, then doing some technique and situational rolling with Gözde. We were mostly taking it pretty easy until someone kindly offered to roll with me and have me work on things. They also got to work on things such as cool chokes. Not sure who got the better deal, but he definitely enjoyed it more.

Afterwards, some of us went out for thai food, and made plans for the evening. We went to Ali and Gözde’s where we made popcorn, watched Harry Potter, enjoyed some delicious Persian pastries & Turkish tea and really had an amazing time.

On Sunday I lifted in the morning, trying to keep up with some kind of a routine, then relaxed the rest of the day. I did, however, make it a point to plan for my week ahead, because I find it easier to accomplish things when you know exactly what your priorities are, as well as what needs to get done to reach them.

“Everyone has the right to a dream. But dreams only come true through tenacity, working hard and being in it for the long game.”

“If you never fail, you’re awful at your job. But make sure you’re making new mistakes all the time, not the same ones.”

-Annie Bradley

Drills and TAWC

I’m hoping you haven’t, but you may have noticed some weird things with the blog this past week. If you use the www.amandalynnpetrin.com link, it disappeared for a while and now either looks funny and is not secure, or you can’t reach it. Does anyone who reads this have a knack for websites? I will slowly but surely figure it out, but for now the blog lives at wordpress.com and my website is a work in progress. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

On Monday I finally got to catch up on all the things I have been putting off, like figuring out the blog, answering emails and applying to thrival jobs. I also watched the Oscars, and the red carpet, which is always interesting.

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Monday was my first time back in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class since the 15th, and if I thought it would be an easy transition back into it, I was wrong. I expected the 7 o’clock class to be drills and situational rolling, like it usually is, but I was definitely looking forward to the 8 o’clock technique class, which did not come. You see, I probably forgot to mention that I signed up for the Next Gen Jiu-Jitsu tournament in Niagara Falls this Saturday. As one of the people who are competing, technique was replaced by drills for me. Guard passes, submissions from guard, armbars and escapes… Gözde and I made it interesting by counting in German.

I was recently warned that you shouldn’t roll and tell, but I feel like I skate over the jiu-jitsu in this blog, and it’s not like I’m naming names. So, my first roll of the night was against a guy, who has a little less experience than me, but still knows what he is doing. And, since I was one of the ones teaching him the moves when he got here, I think he takes it less easy on me (I am so terrible at figuring out when someone is taking it easy on me, so I could be wrong). Although I didn’t submit him, he didn’t manage to submit me either. Which I consider a win. But I’d have to pay attention to the points.

My second was with a blue belt who knows everything so he just found multiple ways to submit me and I tapped out constantly. Not that I have one in jiu-jitsu, but it’s good to keep the ego in check. My next two rounds were also people submitting me more than I should have, before I was paired with someone newer and younger, but also stronger. Luckily for me, he tries to use technique when he rolls with me, not his strength, so although he could have hustled and pummeled me, I ended up getting him with 2 chokes, then trying to nail an Americana when the bell rang. Even if it hadn’t though, there was no way he was letting me bend that arm. My last roll was with Arsen who used it as extra training for me, giving me tips and advice throughout. For instance, I lean too much on one side when I do things, which allows me to be swept. But I keep the half guard. So I thought I was good. Not the case.

 On Tuesday I helped out with an afterschool Jiu-Jitsu program. We had 4 students, 2 of them absolutely new, and every one of them killed it. It was exciting and inspiring to see them trying so hard and achieving their goals.

That night, we did drills again and trained for the competition. Ayisha realized that one of my biggest issues is that I am comfortable being on my back while rolling. I specifically chose to roll with the biggest guys when I was starting out, so I would get used to being on the bottom, with someone’s weight on top of me while I work to get out. However, she also realized that no one ever really puts all their weight on me. So, she told everyone that from now on, they need to crush me, with all their weight, until I understand that I don’t want to be on the bottom. People did go heavier, but Arsen, who Ayisha had singled out, made sure to put all his weight on me, crushing me so I couldn’t breathe. He says it hurt him more than it hurt me, but I’m not sure I believe him.

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On Wednesday I had a training for standardized patient stuff, then again braved the snow for a TAWC meeting in the afternoon. It’s crazy to think that a year ago I was attending my first ever TAWC meeting, having only discovered the Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee during their workshop with Adrienne Mitchell at the ACTRA conference. Now I not only attend the meetings, I am actually spearheading our Content Development Sessions, where we bring amazingly talented people (mostly women) in to give workshops or talk on panels that will give ACTRA members the skills and the confidence to create their own work.  Love what we do and being a part of something I find incredible.

That night we had drills again, but after we finished with the regular drills, we started timed drills of the guard passes. Then went (almost) right into rolling. Most of my rolls were with Gözde, and I definitely rolled my eyes the third time I was put with her, but my coach was quick to point out that they kept putting us back together because there was something she wanted us to learn from each other, and we hadn’t figured it out yet.

On Thursday I was doing background outside, so I was freezing, but it was a really cool set to be on, and they did their best with blankets and hot shots and hot chocolate and tea and stuff. I got home and immediately had a humungus cup of tea, then signed up for another BJJ tournament, the Ontario Open, in May. No rest for the wicked, right?

Friday I tried to coordinate the April Content Development Session for TAWC while listening to interviews with Kathryn Hahn. I saw her on an actor’s roundtable and remembered how she used to always play the best friend, but now she has these really interesting characters and she’s killing it and I would love to have a career like hers. I also went to drop off some resumes in person, because internet applications can only do so much.

That night we trained super hard at BJJ. We did 50 minutes of timed drills, then got a nice water break before rolling. I may have taken advantage of the fact that there was a new guy who had only done 3 classes, which I felt bad for since we rolled twice, but I also tried to roll harder and not give in for my other matches as well.

When class was done we went over to McSorley’s for my first steak night in forever. Since I had just decided that I was going to see if I could make it into a lower weight category before the deadline, going out wasn’t my favorite idea, but I had a yummy salad with strips of steak and little button mushrooms in it.

Saturday flew by, with sleeping in more than we should have, cleaning and organizing, followed by takedown class and open mat. Ohenewa taught us an easy takedown we could use for the competition, then Arsen tried to teach me things during open mat. Hopefully it’s all registering somewhere in my brain.

Sunday was back to being a family day, where we went to eat at Arsen’s parents. So much delicious food that I mostly had to stay away from, though I did allow myself a taste. It sucks being far away from my family, especially when big things are going on, but it’s really nice to still have a family that will let me hang out with them.

“Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.”

-NAVY SEAL

This week was busy, which is just how I like it. It started off with work at Michener, with a bit of suspension of disbelief when my ‘scene partner’ went from playing my 23 year old husband to playing my father. Either way, it is always so much fun to be able to play off of someone in those scenarios.

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New demo reel 🙂

When work was done, I headed over to 4 points to be one of the Amazons at the 7 pm class. Women are welcome in all of the classes, but if one feels like she would rather try a class when she knows there are other women who will be there, she can sign up for this one. There are guys too, but we outnumbered them this week. With 10 girls and slightly less guys, I ended up being paired with a girl who was there for her first ever jiu-jitsu class. The teacher came over to make sure I had the technique right, so I did it on her a few times, then guided her through doing it on me. There was a lot of uncertainty and trying to figure out which side to do certain things on, but we made it through. I also told her that it would be a good idea to stay for the second class, because while I struggled through figuring it out, most of the guys who showed up for the later class know what they are doing and have been incredibly helpful in teaching me the techniques.

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For the rolling, I completely made the mistake of acting like all the guys did with me, where they won’t attack or take the upper hand, they just wait for me to figure things out. At the same time, I really appreciated that my first ever time rolling, when I knew nothing. There was someone I had rolled with last week and they had simply used their strength against me, grabbing my wrists tight enough to bruise, so I was slightly reluctant when paired with them this week. A few moments in, I asked them how long they had been doing Jiu-Jitsu and found out it was their second week. I actually knew more than they did! So, instead of trying to win or get the upper hand, I talked them through the techniques they could use to get out of my guard, or to get control over me, without just using all their strength. I tapped out 3 times that roll, but it was because I showed them how to overpower me. Which still feels like a win in my book.

On Tuesday I worked all day as an SP, starting with an incredibly topical role that brought up a lot of conversations, most of them really inspiring, while some comments reminded me why a #metoo movement and #believeher is so important.

In the evening, I had a scenario that hit so close to home during the dry run, having spent the week at the hospital in a much less severe, but still similar situation. This week I was thankfully out of that situation personally, but it was incredibly easy to put myself into that emotional state. The tears poured freely, even with the frequent time-outs to discuss how things were going.

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Wine and cheesing at the ACTRA Member’s Conference.

On Wednesday I had a fitting for some background, then came home to sleep because I was under the impression that I had an overnight shoot, followed by a 5 am call time with potentially no time to sleep in between. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, but it took a while for me to find that out.

I had brought my car to set before, but this was the first time that I was actually asked to drive it in the scene while being background. The part that worried me of this was after they call cut, when you have to back your car back up to the original position, while the crew and the other extras who had crosses are all wandering around because they know the street has been blocked off for them. After the first take, a guy told me to honk twice to let everyone know I was backing up, then said he would guide me, so he went behind my car and walked backwards, gesturing with his hands for me to go straight or to turn, telling me I was doing great. At one point, we had to stop for another car to turn around, so he waited by the side of my car and said, “This is what happens when you get BG for ND drivers.” into his radio. He kept telling me I was doing great, and I have no idea if he meant me, the car we were waiting for, or just the lot of us in general, but I felt slightly offended, and like he was underestimating me. True, I was nervous about this part, but I had only ever done exactly what I had been told to do. After future takes, he left me on my own, so I did the 2 honks and drove progressively faster to get back to my starting position.

We wrapped around 1 am, and my call time wasn’t until about 11, so I went home and slept before driving to Hamilton. It was nice to spend international women’s day on set, with a bunch of other women. There was also a stunt happening, with a very energetic and demonstrative female stunt coordinator, which I find super awesome. Especially given the date, but also just in general. Some people couldn’t wait to go home, as with every day on set, but I loved pretty much every minute of it. I met some cool people, saw some brilliant performances, and my reaction game was on point.

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On Friday, to celebrate my day off, I went to a boxing class, where I was the only student, so I basically got a private lesson. It was a totally off day for me, where I found myself assuring him that I can normally do a much better, real pushup. He thought it was really cool when I told him I wanted to get into stunts, but he didn’t let me off easy. I still had to punch as hard, and he insisted my technique would need to be even better, because when he sees me on tv one day, he wants to believe that I am someone who actually boxes.

I stayed afterward for the Jiu-Jitsu class, where we were three, but there was some time between the 2 where I got to roll a bit with my boxing coach, then I worked on my handstands, because having a padded wall is almost just as good as a person who promises to catch you.

The techniques we learnt in jiu-jitsu were pretty straightforward, but I was really lucky (and a little frustrated) to have someone who was not going easy on me. When learning new techniques, you go until the other person taps out, which I usually do once they get to the end of the moves, because we’re just learning things and I assume you’ve got the gist of it. My partner, however, did not tap out until he actually had to, and purposely tried to hold his position and make me work for it. In the moment, part of me was obviously exasperated that he was making everything harder, but I also appreciated it sooooo much, because he wasn’t underestimating me, he was showing that he believed that I could do it, and was making me prove it. Which I did. It was more of a struggle than I would have preferred, but it was so much better that way.

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From the Action for Film and TV Workshop

 

“Being strong doesn’t mean you’ll never get hurt. It means even when you get hurt, you’ll never let it defeat you.”