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

July 2019

I took the month of July off from Jiu-JItsu because of the whole vasovagal syncope thing. I still got to practice a bit with the 4Points Summer Camps. We did Jiu-Jitsu and Obstacle Courses in the morning, then spent the afternoons acting. Every week of camp, the kids got together to come up with a story idea, write a script, then put it all on camera. Dave is editing the videos and I can’t wait to see how it all turned out.

 

I spent a few days in Montreal for my cousin Steve’s birthday party and a Baby Shower for my two nephews. Chelsea and Rikki will either be grateful or super annoyed by my semi-constant presence. Hopefully their babies will love me for it.

While I was in town, I also went to a shooting range with famjam, and met with JF for cover designs. Let’s just say I was beyond excited.

Speaking of covers, Johnny finalized the poster for our short, get-together, and it is amazing!

We celebrated the boyfriend’s father’s birthday, but I had to wait a few days to see my dad for his. We were supposed to film the Encounters, but setbacks piled up until we had no choice but to postpone. Luckily, Hubert and I met and got the first steps ready for our next project. He is all about building momentum and I am all for it.

I also had a doctor’s appointment, where we still don’t know what caused the fainting, but she is still looking into it, which is reassuring for me.

I finished the month in Montreal, where I celebrated my niece’s birthday, went hiking, worked for my Uncle, finished my July CampNanowrimo project and researched a trip to Hawai’i!

As for August, I have been fully immersed in preparing for something HUGE that happens tomorrow. Except for the 2 days I spent in the heat dressed as a turtle, but such is the hustle. I am so nervous and excited to share it with you all!

 

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

-Amelia Earhart

WRAMPS

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of work opportunities, family and writing. There were ups and downs, but overall I am so excited for what I hope is to come.

I have a list of priorities, that I tried to find an acronym for. I eventually ended up with WRAMPS, so that is how I am going to break down this Blog Post.

Writing

As you may have read in my last post, I’m in the thick of the 4th draft of a book I started in 2003. I realized it was partially written by a 13-year-old and I was trying too hard to stay true to that story. So I decided to rewrite it. Instead of starting with a blank word document (which I would have copied and pasted most of the original draft into), I started with a blank notebook. This way I have to rewrite everything and think about my words instead of settling for what was there. I am on my second notebook, and I think the story is definitely getting better as I go along. And I am catching so many bad writing habits that I have, words I like to use way too often.

I am hoping to publish in August, which is possibly overly ambitious (my friend was very convincing when he suggested 6 months, but I’m a little hard-headed). Either way, please sign up for my newsletter. I am aiming to put out one a month or so, and I’ll try to make them interesting 😉

Writing isn’t first because it’s my top priority, this is just how the letters scrambled into a word. However, I make lists and goals and schedule things all the time, and I’m always excited at the possibilities. This is the first time that one of these plans, my writing plan, has given me purpose, and felt 100% achievable.

Relationships

This includes the romantic variety (like date nights, hand-holding and John Wick watching), but also family, which means a busy trip back to Montreal. I went hiking with my mom, hung out with my parents, spent some time with my grandparents, ran around with my nieces, had brunch with my cousin and got a ton of writing & publishing advice for my friend, who happens to be a published author.

 

Acting

This is where I had most of the ups and downs. Basically one down and a lot of ups.

My agent removed me from her roster. I can defend myself against some of her reasons, but it was a valid decision. She raised some good points about my priorities and efforts lately. I have been doing a lot of things to try and move my career forward…but they weren’t the things that my agent needed me to be doing. I submitted a self-tape knowing it wasn’t my best work. Not how I would want a casting director to remember me. I told myself I wouldn’t get the part anyway, so I sent something okay, but nowhere near what I could have done.

The whole thing made me take a good hard look at my priorities and what I am working for. Right now I am so busy in writing and pre-production mode that I wouldn’t be good on a new roster. So I am going to clear my plate, do some research and build up my team.

The ups for acting are obviously a lot more fun. I went to some TAWC meetings. I’m figuring out which amazing writer to bring in for our workshop this month. We had our Nell Shipman Award Gala, which was wonderful and inspiring and magical and everything I hoped it would be. Sherry White is amazing and should give Ted Talks. I tip my hat to my fellow TAWC members, who are so dedicated and supportive and inspiring. They are go-getters who don’t sit around and wait for things to come to them, they make things happen. I am so proud to be one of them.

Monies

Right now, I make my money from Background, Standardized Patient and Brand Ambassador work. I enjoy all 3, for many different reasons. One gives me the opportunity to be on set, one lets me hone my acting skills and all 3 give me the flexibility to be available for big opportunities.  Lately, I really enjoy getting paid to write. There’s a lot of downtime with these jobs, and I have been using it wisely. Being paid to write usually means a book advance or someone paying you to write something, but I still think this qualifies.

Producing

I hope to produce a project at the end of August, but for now, my Producer-brain’s focused on TOUCHED. We went to our meeting with ACTRA, have most of our crew and are missing one location. We even held auditions to cast our leads, which was so interesting. Not because our actresses screamed bloody murder and aroused the attention of the receptionist. Actors need to see what it’s like on the other side of the casting table. The decisions are hard. So many actors brought it and a lot of them made me cry. So many factors make a person right for a part. Most of it is out of the actor’s control. It’s even out of my control, and I was sort of the casting director. I am happy with our choices, and can’t wait to see how it all comes together in a few weeks.

 

(Being in) Shape

This one is mostly jiu-jitsu, which I have been missing out on lately because of work. I can’t complain, but I hope to get back into the groove and work on my moves 🙂

 

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.”

-Barbara Hall

An Exciting Month

We’re secure! By that, I mean that there is a little lock icon beside the website url because I fixed the security issue and people should be able to find the blog again. Amanda 1, Technology 0, right?

This past month has been pretty consistent as far as working for the gym and doing Jiu-Jitsu classes, doing background as a high school student and living a multitude of lives as a standardized patient. There’s also some new/exciting things happening.

For starters, I turned 29 and celebrated and had a wonderful time. Then I realized I only have one year left to accomplish my 30 by 30, and slightly panicked. But I’m okay with hustling.

I filmed a little short with a friend of mine, where I got to be sassy and get yelled at. You can see the full clip here.

I took an acting class at Armstrong Acting Studios. It has been ages since I was in a consistent acting class and it makes me miss Suzanna‘s so much. I loved continuously having scripts to work on, characters to live and friends to see!

I competed in the Ontario Open. I fought hard and was proud of myself, but tapped out to an armbar I probably should have fought harder against. Still, I left with a Bronze medal, that makes me want to work harder to deserve it next time.

We had our monthly TAWC meeting, a meeting to prep for the Gala next week, and we had the Post-Production and Film Festival Strategy Content Development Session that I put together. There weren’t that many people this time, but everyone there was really interested and asked good questions. I definitely learnt a whole lot. Filmmaking is a million tiny pieces coming together, and although it sometimes seems so daunting and scary, it is also so exciting and I can’t wait to do more of it.

I celebrated Easter with my boyfriend’s family, which included egg fights. Not in the sense that you throw eggs at each other, like I misunderstood, but in a very civil manner, you have a one on one egg smashing competition. It’s nice to have that family vibe here in Toronto when mine is all in Montreal.

I did some Brand Ambassador work at the Blue Jay’s Games, though you wouldn’t recognize me if you saw me. I’ve been a giraffe and a turtle so far, with an amazing view of the games during my breaks.

I went to Montreal for less than 24 hours to celebrate my badass cousin, Rikki, getting her MBA. I also managed to hang out with my nieces and spend time with my family, so the visit was 100% worth it.

The two most exciting things on my docket right now are Touched and Shards of Glass. Touched is a short film I am co-producing and acting in, which we will be filming in late June. For now, there are all kinds of production meetings and research and paperwork and getting it all together so we can start preparing for the next one. It’s the kind of project I am so excited to be a part of that I keep thinking it can’t really be happening. But so far it is 🙂

Shards of Glass is a book that I started writing in 2003. Then I chose it for Camp Nanowrimo in July 2015. Since then I have been half-heartedly editing it, cutting my darlings, building up the courage to eventually share it with someone who isn’t my mother…and now it will be the first book that I will publish. August 15th if all goes well. I will definitely keep you all posted 🙂

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

-Nelson Mandela

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

Books, BJJ and a Bday

My first week of February has been pretty busy on getting out there and doing things, but I have been very lazy when it comes to administrative tasks. Lazy probably isn’t the best explanation as to why I’m not getting things done, but nearly coughing out a lung wouldn’t really prevent me from being more productive, it just makes it a lot more tempting to cuddle up with a tea and read a book. Or sleep. I blame dry air, cold temperatures and being the guinea pig for people to learn their BJJ chokes.

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I skipped out on a few BJJ classes so I wouldn’t contaminate my training pool, but before getting sick I also got to try out the takedown class with Olympian badass Ohenewa Akuffo. Gözde and I had taken her workshop months ago, so we thought we would progress quickly through her simple beginner’s step, but she actually intended for us to focus on that one move the entire class. Which was boring up until the first time she came to see us and we realized there were a million tiny elements that we were missing out on and had to work to incorporate.

I did 2 days of background on the closest I have come to being continuity in Toronto. Acting is obviously still my main dream and priority, but I have loved every time I’ve had the opportunity to become familiar with a set and the people on it. It’s one of the big reasons I wanted to try stunts, because that’s another way you get to be on the same set, day after day, a part of a bigger whole, an ensemble…a set family. So the dream is still to be a series regular on a tv show, or one of the leads in a film that will allow me to be on the same set every day for a while, but in the meantime, these little opportunities fuel my dreams.

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Last week was Gözde’s birthday, so on Saturday after class we went out for supper at A La Turk, where I got my first taste of Turkish food. Every table got some complimentary puffy, Turkish balloon bread with a variety of dips, then I apparently ordered the least Turkish item on the menu, the Chicken Fillet Pide. From what I understand, Pide just means boat shaped pizza, and it’s fabulous. I did try all the other meals, which were delicious, including kebabs and Soujuk (Turkish sausage) Pide. For dessert, I went with what I knew, ordering Baklava, while they ordered Kunefe and Sutlac. The Sutlac is basically rice pudding that they covered with hazelnut, while the Kunefe was hands down my favorite. Since it’s a combination of vermicelli, cheese, pistachios and honey it sounds disgusting, but it was crazy, melt-in-your-mouth amazing. After dinner we went back to our place so I could be introduced to Borat. I don’t know if it was more entertaining to watch the movie, or their reactions to it (and me).

Side hustles this week included ultrasounds, training for simulations and manning a voting booth in Oshawa, which means I got a bunch of reading done. Chelsea’s Handler’s My Horizontal Life was a funny, quick read that made me nostalgic for the short-lived sitcom of years ago. #Girlboss by Sophie Amoruso was inspiring and enlightening and definitely makes me want to get out there and do things, but I have so far been unsuccessful in convincing my boyfriend to read it. Apparently #dudeboss doesn’t sounds as cool? And, after thoroughly enjoying Someday, Someday, Maybe (and perhaps finding some motivation and determination from) Lauren Graham’s work of fiction, I have been devouring her autobiography/collection of essays, Talking as Fast as I Can. I’m also trying not to read it too fast though, because then it will be over.

To round off the week, I spent some time with the boyfriend and his family, and an evening of Self-Tapes with Ayisha. I missed this girl and see there is a reason why #allthethings became my hashtag when I was hanging out with her all the time. We truly do get through #allthethings, from relationship advice and catching up to self-tapes and career advice and future planning and pastry eating and badass momentum creating. Hopefully we can do more of that now we’re both in the same country/province again.

“You can’t have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic.”

-Stephen C. Hogan

Gemeaux in Montreal

So it turns out that the event we went to during TIFF was not so much a TIFF event, as TIFF adjacent. It was honoring Rosamund Pike and her new film, A Private War, but it had more to do with female empowerment than the international film festival. It was an honor to be invited and is the exact kind of thing I hope to get involved in someday. I am putting this TIFF down as the one I paid attention to, so next year I will know what to expect and what I want to be a part of.

The following weekend I headed back to Montreal, where it was mostly family with a big touch of fancy. On Friday night, we went out for supper with my family, then came home where Ayisha discovered my secret past as commercial actor. My parents then decided to whip out the videos, which prove that once upon a time I was a cutie.

Saturday started out with a mimosa brunch before we went bridesmaid dress shopping for Rikki’s wedding. Three of us said yes to the dress J (does that count for bridesmaids?) After shoe shopping with Ayisha and meeting her mom, we again had supper with all my family, then went home and watched American Ninja Warrior while knitting. A perfect combo, right?

Sunday was Gemeaux day. I hung out with my friend JF, plotting shorts and catching up while Ayisha got ready and went to the afternoon gala, where she won the Gemeaux for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role on Unite 9. I got to walk the red carpet and be her date for the evening gala, where her show was on fire and she presented an award.

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It was a night of highlights, but I think one of my favorite moments was walking into Reuben’s after it was all over, decked out in our gorgeous gowns and ordering some smoked meat. We changed back into our normal clothes and just hung out. Still, it wasn’t like the fairytale was over and the carriage was turning back into a pumpkin though, because this is life. It was eye opening to see that this was all just a part of the life of being an actor. Just like being in Los Angeles simultaneously made me feel like my dreams were so close and also so far away, this night made them feel equally attainable and impossible. Because it’s all just a part of the hustle. One minute you’re on stage accepting an award and the next you’re running lines on your way to an audition. Or one minute fans are tweeting to say your performance brought them to tears and the next you’re being released from a hold without even being notified. The closer I get to working actors, the more the dream becomes a possibility, but also a reality. Because I understand the ups and downs and how making it doesn’t change things into constant trailers and red carpets. Which is why you gotta love it. And I do. I love all of it.

On Monday morning I worked a bit with my mom and helped Ayisha with a self tape before we slowly started making our way back to Toronto. Her mom treated us to a delicious lunch and we returned our dresses to the incredible designer who loaned them to us and proceeded to treat us like friends once we get there.

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We got to Toronto much later than expected, but it was a wonderful weekend. And I couldn’t be prouder of Ayisha. This girl works so hard at everything she does and doesn’t even realize how amazing she is. And as busy as all of her endeavors constantly make her, she is always trying to help others, with small things like self tapes and finding an agent, to huge things like figuring out your entire life. She’s incredible. I’m in awe of her; this weekend and always. I am so honored and lucky to have her as one of my closest friends, and I can’t imagine how different my life would be if I hadn’t walked into her gym 9 months ago.

 

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”

-Flavia Weedn

Not So Networking

Business is winding down as the holidays are approaching, but some eager beavers are already thinking of the year to come, while others celebrate the end of the season, so I still had a lot going on this week.

Monday morning I had an agent meeting in Toronto, which was really awesome, whether I get signed with them or not, because in addition to asking me questions and having me share why I could be an awesome member of their team, she also went through my resume with me, giving advice on what should stay and what should go, what classes I am missing, what casting directors are looking for in certain situations…if nothing else, it was really enlightening, industry-wise, and gave me stuff to think about.

Which is good, because as soon as the meeting was over, I had a nice long drive back to Montreal. I didn’t exactly drive there just for the YEAA Holiday Mixer, but I did leave a day earlier in order to attend.

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I stay with my parents when I am in Montreal, so since the mixer started at 6, I told them I would be home by 9, 10 at the latest. I am getting better at networking, but I am still really good at finding valid excuses to go home early, cuddle up with a tea and catch up on work. Especially given that I wasn’t sure how invited I was, since YEAA, the Young Emerging Actors Assembly, is an ACTRA committee, which I am not a part of.

Still, I showed up just as it was starting, before most people had arrived, and started talking to the people that I knew, as one does at networking events. Before long I was invited to sit at a table, and then before I knew it, I was not self-consciously trying to find people I could talk to in order to not look weird by myself in a corner; I was having fun, talking to friends, introducing people to each other. I was catching up with old friends, making new ones and genuinely having a really good time. So good, that it was 11 before I even thought of leaving. Maybe the secret to not being terrible at networking it to… not network? In the end, although I didn’t come back just for that, if I had, I think it would have been worth it.

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The next few days I spent a lot of time with family, Christmas shopping and doing all kinds of self tapes. I find it really funny that after moving into a house full of actors, I still end up doing most of my self tapes with my dad. He may not be an actor, but he is a trooper, and amazing. From self tapes and keeping my car clean and safe, to putting up Christmas lights because he knows I love them. No news yet, and they all film in the new year so I’m not holding my breath just yet, but it feels good to be constantly submitting myself and putting myself out there.

On Thursday I had supper at my cousin’s, where she decided we would celebrate her birthday by her giving me all kinds of gifts. I know she is very into clearing out her clutter in recent years, but I feel like I am making a killing off of it.

On Friday, I went to work at McGill, for a scenario I do almost every month and really enjoy. A few people did ask what I was doing there (I am sure I have friends who still don’t believe I moved away), and though I assured them I was already in town so it made sense to say yes, the truth is that the trip got planned around this booking, and that I am sort of constantly looking for reasons to come back. More to justify family visits with work events and opportunities, but I am starting to realize that if I really want to make things work in Toronto, I may have to stop spending so much time in Montreal. My goal is to be working in both markets, and my family is still in Montreal, so the visits will never stop, but I think I am currently spending as much time in Montreal as in Toronto, if not more. Something to look into and figure out after the holidays.

That afternoon, I went to see Star Wars with my brother, which I really enjoyed. We could dissect it and nitpick, but I was entertained, I laughed, the popcorn was good, the company was great, and it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon before driving home to Toronto. Through a whiteout. Which was a new experience, in that they don’t usually last that long, and I am usually more familiar with the roads that I am not seeing. But I made it home in time to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the Holiday Party Saturday morning.  Though I also learnt I should coordinate and establish leaving and arrival times with people in advance. I used to have an OCD-like compulsion to make a schedule and stick to it, which I have been working on this past year or so, and living with roommates and going places with them is definitely teaching me to be less fixated on my plans and more willing to just go with the flow. Like a lot of things, I am working on it.

It turned out to be a day of Christmas parties, and I got an impromptu at-home salon day from my roommate, who straightened, cut and curled my hair. I was basically her Barbie doll, and she made me…not quite me. Or at least not the me I am used to. But I like her. I think we can be friends. At the party, I met some cool people; actors, agents and entrepreneurs alike. I was also touched by the kindness of not entirely strangers, but pretty much. Since coming to Toronto, I have been slightly scrambling to get all my stuff together (not that I really had that in Montreal, but new town, new me, right?) and it is overwhelming how many people are willing to help. To give advice or support or even help you achieve your goals. Acting is a lot of competition, yes, but it is also community. And I am finally finding mine, both here and in Montreal.

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Sunday morning I woke up early for an audition, which luckily was set the morning after a work Christmas party, so I was right in the proper mindset. I considered keeping last night’s makeup, but decided that might be a bit much. And they might not realize it was a costume choice and think I’m just…weird? We did the scene once, with them cutting right before the end, where I would have had a bit of power moment, then they gave me a few notes about backstory and had me go again. From their reactions, I think I played it differently than the others who had auditioned so far, which could be awesome, or it could just not be what they are looking for. But, I made a choice, showed them that I could act, and take direction. So no matter what happens, I’m putting this one down as a win.

By the time this gets posted, I will have been on set for hours with my 4:30 am call time. And as much as I love sleep (a whole lot), I love acting and being on set way more. Even for background.

 

“To nurture the sort of relationships that will truly help propel you towards accomplishing great things, you need to forget transactional networking and focus on having in-depth conversations with fewer people about subjects you really care about.”

-Naveen Jain

“I’ve met so many who have opened doors for me and remained in my life both personally and professionally. After a while, networking doesn’t feel like ‘networking’. It’s both serendipitous and unpredictable, and something that just naturally becomes part of your work life and your personal life.”

-Narciso Rodriguez