FUN

I woke up on January 1st of this year without a plan.

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Kristen Annese, myself and Mai Deplapa on set .

As I surveyed my snow-covered landscape, I suddenly knew.. “I’m moving to Los Angeles.” It was a quiet moment, alone in my house. I had no goal, no plan, no idea of what was before me except that I would need to do a lot of shoveling. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t justify my decision. I just made it.

My type A, goal-oriented, list-making, chore-scoring rattled brain had enough. I was just done with objectively making decisions in my life. This winter I was like, you know what? I’m gonna have fun. FUN.

FUN. I don’t mean a vacation. I don’t mean coloring in one of those adult coloring books. I mean I decided this year that I was going to chase the fun.

Everything has fallen into place since I embraced this simple concept: I worked on hands down the most magical (YEP) set I have ever been on, made the type of friends I know I could live forever on a deserted island with, had wonderful opportunities fall into place, and guess what? I didn’t make a list. I didn’t predict this was going to happen. I just let go and trust myself and I have had the privilege and honor of working with and being surrounded by so much talent and love that I literally had moments where I cried I was so grateful.

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At the wrap party!

This isn’t the kind of thing you plan for. It’s the kind of thing to which you OPEN yourself.

One of my friends said, “When one door closes, and five more open, why would you try to keep walking through the closed one?” I have had a strong feeling this year that I would be headed somewhere new and that is exactly what I am doing.

Next month I begin work on another film.

After that, I fly out to LA.

Who knows what will happen after that?

But this time next year, I will be writing a blog post from California.

And if something isn’t fun, I won’t be doing it.

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Near the end of filming… ūüôā

Folks, it’s so much easier than everyone else is saying. Just be yourself. Make a decision. Go have fun.

Rising Up

What kind of people spend 12 hour days in the woods, or sitting on hay bales, or at ski resorts, or in the mountains, and then end the day with pizza hot tub parties and a lil rose?

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My kind of people.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Yeah, well, so is glamour.

Filming and everything that comes along with it is super appealing to me. My teenage self would be like YES this fulfills all type A personality / challenge traits I seek in life as well as the ultimate creative goals of individuality and group projects. Check. Check. Check.

Sometimes, though, you meet a group of people who seriously change your life.

*Cue the music*

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I’m sorry, but I can’t help but think about how this would make a great series. Me, talking about these people I met on set, and how our lives all intersected and how we got to where we are, and then we flash five years in the future and it’s awesome and you know, I play myself because. Obviously. OK back to what I was saying.

What became overwhelmingly obvious after spending only two days with this group of people was that we all had been experiencing huge life changes. Each of us in our own way, had made some kind of decision and then bam – this project popped up.

For me that included a complete decimation of my former life, including my home, relationship,¬†and career focus.¬†Never has the phoenix rising from the ashes held so much meaning for me! Fitting I’m posting this on Easter. My career, my mood, my health and overall well being have improved immensely. And I really believe that my new friends have had a big part to do with it.

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We all come from different backgrounds, are different ages, and have different life experiences. But as I have had time on the long days to talk with these people one on one and share many non-stop laughs as a group, I realize that we have way more in common than not.

The weird thing about working in film is that you meet people and you spend a ridiculous amount of time with them. You become closer than say you would with a normal acquaintance who maybe you have a beer with once a week or see at a party. The film goes on for several weeks and then it’s over. Every project, whether it’s been film or theater always feels like a break up at the end. You get together, you have this weird routine that will never be replicated again and then suddenly….gone.

I guess my point is that we all spend a lot of time trying to find the right people to have in our lives, when I have realized that all the best people have just come into my life by me just letting them. I really believe good people attract each other and we all have something to learn. Sometimes you gotta just let people in.

IMG_1187I love my life and I am so happy to be around people who really care about what they do and don’t take themselves too seriously.

This next week is going to be a wild ride. From filming, to Tribeca, to major changes, my life is full. So thank you to those people who have been helping me transition into the most beautiful place I have had yet to be so far. I couldn’t do it without you.

*Cue music*

Medium Shot: Casey chortles to herself, pets her dog.  End Credits.

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Laugh for a Good Cause

I am a firm believer that laughter breaks up stagnant energy in a person. Or a room. I am usually the one who awkwardly laughs when no one else does if a room gets too serious. It brings you back in the moment and it cheers people up.

Children have the best laughter. Especially babies. And if you don’t think so, you are a miserable person who needs to laugh way more often. So, in honor of kids, and especially those who need a bit extra love, care, and help with illness, I have created this video.

Indi.com is doing something really special with the National Child Awareness Month. People all over the place are creating these videos in order to raise awareness for certain charities that support children.

Obviously, everyone benefits from this, but I do hope my chosen charity, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, gets to walk away from this challenge with some serious funding!

Enjoy and please share, cause the more “buzz” this gets, the better the chances of winning!

Have a fabulous weekend and don’t take yourself too seriously. ūüėČ

Oh and you can check out the video HERE.

 

3 Steps to Making a Connection.

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“This business is all about relationships.”Asta and Casey

“It’s all about who you know.”

As actors, we may hear this phrase so many times it ceases to lose its meaning. But think about it. From meeting casting directors, actors, directors, to producers – jobs get booked and not from nowhere.

Starting out, it can seem daunting to try to network and meet new people. Who should you meet? Where do you meet these people? If you haven’t met them yet, how are you supposed to meet them?

I agree with many others when they say you should put yourself out there and go to screenings, go to networking events, and of course, auditions. But I would argue that it starts where you are sitting right now.

 

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  1. Be NICE.

Having a crappy day? Let it go.

Feeling nervous? Doesn’t matter.

Someone cut you off outside? That’s life.

As an actor, it is our literal job to stand in someone else’s shoes and think about what makes them tick. Your audition does NOT begin at 1:05pm in a hot studio in Brooklyn. It begins at¬†6:30am with the sound of your blaring alarm.

Yes, you are entitled to be in a crappy mood whenever you want. But it’s not a mood most people are going to want to be around. Being nice is also not the same as being fake or pretending to be someone you’re not. It’s being nice because it’s a courtesy to others and you just never know how worse someone else’s day is going!

Be nice to the people walking down the street. Be nice to the person holding the door for you. Be nice to the office manager who tells you which floor to take. Be nice to the assistant. Be nice to the reader. Be nice to the casting director. Be nice to your fellow actors.

If you have no interest in being nice for the sake of being a ..nice person, then remember this: being nice may not mean you’ll be remembered, but being an ass definitely will.

Chances are, if you are nice, you have already made a solid and intentional step towards connecting with another person.

 

    2. Listen.

When you meet someone for the first time, take them in. Notice how they’re behaving,¬†what they’re wearing, and what they are talking about.

Don’t bore us all with you you you blah blah blah. Instead, do another actory thing…and observe. Pay attention. Does the assistant have nice hair? Tell her. Did that actor just blow you away with his singing voice? Let him know. Pay attention. LISTEN.¬†Making a lasting connection means that you have learned something new about another human being. If you have succeeded in this, you are in the progress of making a real connection.

  3. Follow Up.

Frankly, it can be quite easy to take someone’s business card or email and never talk to them again. But it is genuine, proactive, and sound business sense to turn on your computer the next morning and jot the person a note.

Hey, it was cool meeting you cause x y z.

Last night at the event, I told you I would send you a link to a great film resource. Here it is!

Following up seals a new connection. It solidifies the fact that you met someone who you would like to keep in touch with. This doesn’t happen on its own. You must be proactive and let the person know that you enjoyed the interaction.

Also – it doesn’t stop there. If you find an audition, book, film, salon!? – that you think someone would find useful, or better yet, another person you think would be a great connection for them, follow up and let them know!

It can be hard to remember that we are all human beings with complicated, crazy, beautiful lives. We are not names on a spread sheet. We are not meant to be compartmentalized.

The moral of this is: Treat industry connections like friends.  Because chances are, they will be your friends. And in this business, people want to work with Рyou guessed it Рtheir friends.

 

 

new stuff.

In honor of me going on and on about 2016 being a revolution, I am going to periodically post new stuff I am doing. Accountability. Be all You Can Be. And blah, blah blitz..

-Barre Classes – ass kicking and ballerina habit-forming! That sounds weird!

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This photo is borrowed from http://www.lowcountrypowerpilates.com, so check them out. But those little squishy ball thingies?! SO awesome for a core workout.

-Street Parking – By this I mean, I have been parking in different places when I work at Yale, or tried driving new routes home from places. You know, switching it up. You know what happens when you do that? You see new things, like a cupcake truck that has only one vegan cupcake left and you get to have it!

-FitBit – Now, I am pretty strict about NOT counting calories and instead using common sense and intuitive eating with my vegan lifestyle. However – that being said – I love counting my damn steps. Running, working out, walking city streets..it becomes a game and who doesn’t love a game?

-One Woman Show – I wrote and performed in my own one woman show. I am working on doing it again over the summer with some rewrites. But I finally did it and it was scary and awesome.

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This is a photo from my show, “Love &…” This photo makes me laugh. So many things happening here. Caption contest?

-Bootcamp Classes – DAMN I haven’t sweat like that in a long time. The numbing sensation of breathing so hard (this is quickly sounding like I’m talking about something dirty but I am not apologizing for this) you don’t care anymore, is an awesome feeling. Plus obviously great for the ol’ metabolism and also ¬†endorphin producing. I get super talkative and hyper after a sweat-breaking workout*

*When I was in high school and we would go running, my friends used to tease me for the first fifteen minutes post-run. Why? Cause I would say words backwards.

Example: “Hey Casey, where are you going?” Me “I’m French Class going to.”

“Cool socks!” Me “Thanks, I love socks orange!”

-Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy Ice Cream: So far, I’ve had the Double Fudge Brownie one (Solid B) and the Coffee Caramel Fudge one (A-) I still have two more to go!

What new things have YOU tried so far in 2016?

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Looking the Part

“This is a good shot of you.”

As the casting director flipped over my head shot to scan my resume, I sort of smirked to myself as I shifted my weight and listened politely. ¬†After saying “thank you,” of course.

That particular shot was 11 years old. I had just gotten new shots done, but I hadn’t received the files yet, so I was using some older shots that most resemble my current look.

And I knew the actual head shot had nothing to do with anything.

—–

I have come to the conclusion that when people say you need to “look the part,” what they really mean is “be ready” and what they really mean by that is “be comfortable with being yourself.” When I say yourself, I assume you know I mean your BEST self, but YOU none the less.

There have been times when I have perfected “looking the part,” using 10485% of my classical acting background and training and costuming skills and come nowhere near getting the part.

There have been times when I was called in to audition just after arriving, with no time to look over lines, improvised when requested and gotten the part. (PS the only thing I remember about that particular day was that I had woken up and remained happy before and during my audition).

There have been times when my hair color was growing out, I hadn’t gotten a chance to work out in over a week, and my head shot was hanging on by a thread. It’s where I was. But I was comfortable and ready and I felt fantastic and I knew the sides inside and out. And I got the part.

I’m not recommending being a mess going into your audition. But I am recommending SHOWING UP in LIFE as your best self wherever that may be. Like, here’s a thought.

If you are in a rut with monologues or auditions or just not “feeling it” lately, take a break. Go do something (else) fun! Go out dancing! Meet up some friends and don’t talk about acting. Learn to crochet!

Last year I had to take some time to get some perspective, but when I really think about it, all it ever really is, is getting back to myself.

Cause it’s not really about the role. It’s about you playing the role. And life is really about you. YOU are the main character in your life. So, shouldn’t you look the part of you?

Slow Clap…Right? Nailed it.

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One of my new shots,  mid-laugh. Credit: David Noles Photography NYC

 

Cookie time.

Sometimes, you just gotta bake some cookies.

There’s a good chance that if you are reading this in the US, you may have experienced quite the winter storm this weekend.

Kathleen Zimmerman and I were dreading the snow because we had been planning our joint collaboration planned for January 24th for over a month! Luckily, the sun did come out on Sunday, melting a lot of snow and allowing for safe travel for guests of the Kehler Liddel Gallery.

Her opening was a great success, with a steady inflow of people coming and going, and my devised performance piece was received well by a great crowd who decided to stay and see what the heck I was going to do.

Sometimes, these adrenaline-rushed, awesome times are followed by Mondays where a lot of planning, back-to-the-grind logistics and overall management of life is in order. I actually love the crazy actor’s life pace of never really knowing what’s coming next.

However, I went a little crazy on my to do list today, and decided it would be a good idea to take a step away, and focus on baking some cookies.

I present to you: Vegan Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies

It’s pretty simple, which is why I liked making them. The only other effort required is rolling them into shapes, which is also a good therapeutic maneuver.

Step 1: Combine 1/3 cup Earth Balance (or coconut oil), 1/2 cup granulated sugar (anything organic and vegan), and a tablespoon of vanilla (I never measure vanilla cause I always like to put in a little more than a recipe calls for) and blend.

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Step 2: Combine 3/4 cup almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill is best in my book), 3/4 cup gluten free baking flour – the one I have pictured is VERY good and gives the cookies a nice firm texture), a pinch of salt (I use himalayan for the mineral benefit. But I mean, these are cookies, so. Yeah.), a teaspoon of cinnamon, and then blend into the mixture.

You may need to add a TEENY bit of liquid. I used a little bit of cashew milk, probably less than a 1/4 cup.

 

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Step 3: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and then using whatever non stick baking surface you have (I use a silpat because I am obsessed with it! If you don’t have one, seriously consider making a purchase), roll about a tablespoon of dough in your hands in either a ball or if you want to get fancy, you can make a crescent shape.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Step 4: When the cookies are done, you can let them cool slightly for a few minutes. Then slide them onto a plate and while they are still warm, you can dip them and sprinkle them with some powdered sugar. They are so pretty and a nod to the snow outside and a delicious snack.

Or breakfast. Probably gonna be breakfast for me at some point this week. Cause I have no shame.

Here’s to a productive week! Be sure to take the time to smell / bake / taste some cookies to bring a little sweetness into your week.

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They may not be perfect. But they sure are tasty.