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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Being an A-Team Player

 

While reading a script for a film audition , one of my friends popped into my head. Then another. I jotted down their names and the roles I thought they would fit, and finished reading the script.

When I was done, I shot an email over to the director and suggested he audition an actor I know who I thought would be great for one or two of the roles in the script. I emailed my friend and told him about the film.

He auditioned for the director and actually booked one of the lead roles.

Wanna hear something weirder?

I casually mentioned the name of the leading actor in the film and my aforementioend friend Dan couldn’t believe it: The actor was his old roommate. They used to live together in LA and I had actually met him before. Now, all three of us will be working on a film we’ve been cast in this fall.

Here’s how I see it: We are in this together. When I see scripts or castings that make me think of someone, I immediately make note of it because I am thinking of them for a reason. The above example is a great example of what happens when you balance putting yourself first with sharing resources with others.

This weekend I mentioned a gig to a friend that I am involved with, of which I thought she would be a great. She said she didn’t want to take any work away from me and I told her there was nothing to worry about!

The scarcity mindset that is so prevalent in the entertainment industry is exactly what holds everyone back. Words like “Competitive” “Fierce” “Scary” etc serve nothing but to keep people down. I don’t believe in competition and I don’t believe that there isn’t enough. I do believe that we each have to be the best versions of ourselves, learn as many lessons as possible, evolve our craft, and perform at the highest caliber on and off screen.

There is a timeline for everyone, and no one can predict where one break will come from or where a series of breaks will lead. But the key is persistence and being generous with your time.

While at the Cannes Film Festival, I learned a valuable lesson. Not about the red carpet, celebrity status, or even making big deals. Rather, the people who hustle, the people who are most successful, are always looking out for people around them. Offering help, experience, service, and resources. Not hoarding it all away in the corner.

I am an A Team player. I work hard, constantly get better at what I do, and help people whenever I can.

Are you an A Team player?

 

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

 

Balancing Act

You know what phrase I cannot stand?

goodneighborconcierge.com
goodneighborconcierge.com

“Life – work balance.”

Does anyone truly know what the hell that means, anyway? I am sure if you google it right now you will come across a gazillion blog posts about it, as well as a lot of “ten steps to life-work balance” type content as well.

I’m going to go ahead and throw out a crazy idea..what if there is no such thing as life / work balance? I say there isn’t, and here’s why.

The entire assumption that a balance between life and work is needed implies that there is something wrong with you. As in, you either are spending too much or not enough time at work or home or vise-versa. Everyone’s looking for the “secret” to success. “What does it take to have it all?”  It also suggests that your life is compartmentalized. Um. Your life is just your life!

I think there’s a new way of looking at this all together. What if we just start accepting that parts of our lives are going to sometimes be more chaotic? That some of our time is spent having fun? that sometimes life gets outweighed by certain things more than others because hey, they good and the bad both happen when you least expect it and adjustments need to be made accordingly.

An example of things not going to plan.
An example of things not going to plan.

But just because something may be chaotic, or you might have had one too many GTs at the company picnic or didn’t get that gig yo uwanted..it doesn’t mean that you have to get riled up over it. Right? I know, easy for me to say.

To get more specific, in this world of acting and the entertainment business in general, there are a lot of misconceptions. Some common questions:

How can you drive that far?!

Is it really worth it?

Don’t you get sick of auditioning?

And the list goes on and on from there. I think that what happens to a lot of us is we try to fix problems.PROBLEMS. You know what I say? I say there are NO problems. I say

from pinterest
from pinterest

EXCUSES.

I can’t do this because I don’t have this

I can’t do that because I don’t have enough money

I can’t work out because I don’t have enough time

I don’t audition past the state line because it’s too time consuming.

But what do all of those things really even mean?!

I think there’s a whole lot of stress getting shoved around and mislabeled and overdiagnosed with medications and distractions when really, a lot of the time many of us are just afraid to live.

For example, I used to get (ok and sometimes still do) extremely stressed out when I looked at my schedule for the week (See Episode 2 of Holding) and didn’t understand how I was going to get from point A —–> Z without running on fumes or without failing miserably or whatever, really.

running on caffeine
running on caffeine

I am not saying that this is the same thing as overbooking yourself. That is something that needs to be determined on an individual basis and I am happy to explore that in another post because I have a classic case of burn out in my repertoire.

Anyway…

What’s the big deal? You got big dreams? Well, chances are you won’t have a lot of down time. There will be a lot of doing and trial and error. Sometimes you may have stretches of nothing on your schedule and that doesn’t mean anything bad either. It doesn’t mean that you are not perfecting the “work-life” balancing act. Cause guess what? It’s just some construct some uppity person with too many degrees decided was wrong with the overworked working class.

Start from where you are. Accept that you have chosen a life for yourself that is not always full of certainty. Hell, even if you have a stable job there is always going to be uncertainty. Live one day at a time. Then one moment. You can do it. You can get everything done that you set out to (IF that is what you really want to do!) Just believe.

And here’s my run down of Don’ts

Don’t judge:

that you haven’t gotten enough sleep

that you didn’t get that part / job / internship / contest

that you haven’t had a vacation in…ever?

Don’t listen

to people who tell you you are “doing too much” (they are probably just jealous or shocked or both)

DO:

Give yourself time to breathe every day.

Enjoy each moment

treat your life, work, and play all with the same integrity. It’s your life.  Compartmentalizing things physically and emotionally doesn’t work in the long run. Screw life / work balance. How about just living with integrity?

Let yourself be YOU. That’s all any of us can do anyway. 🙂

“Autumn…the y…

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” – William Cullen Bryant

This quote is how I feel these days, especially with wrapping up and beginning new projects that are slated to be presented within the next month.  I am busy with class, editing, rehearsals, applying for an important internship for next year, working on getting “Holding” out to all of you, writing, and I just feel so grateful to have this beautiful season in which to complete it all.

Three actors and a prairie dog.

October 13, 2011 11pm

I’m sitting in an airport in Detroit.  My flight is delayed.  I’m tired and cold.  (Yes, my boyfriend was right, I should have packed a jacket.  FINE).  But I just had the most awesome trip.  So I won’t complain.

I think it’s very easy for anyone to lose sight of the big picture.  Sometimes we don’t get our way.  Sure, the day-to-day inconveniences of life can be annoying.

But wait..why am I even stuck in an airport to begin with?

I am here because I get to do what I love to do…for a living.  With such a nasty economy, I am especially lucky to do what I love.

Since the middle of September I have been slammed with a very busy schedule.  And it’s all been for acting or Artistic Director business.  How awesome is that?

I landed a small featured role in a film with some awesome actors (William Sadler, Ellen Albertini Dow to name only a couple).  One night of filming, the principal actors and myself didn’t wrap until 4:30 in the morning.  I drove home to CT, passed out for an hour, and then Dillon drove me to my film set in New Haven where I was directing, producing, and acting, for my first day of my new webseries, “Holding.”

On the way down, I was stressing out.  No sleep.  Not much planning due to my last minute booking, and well…low blood sugar.  Dillon was lucky he was still in one piece by the time I got out of the car.  I will admit, eating a granola bar suddenly made things seem not so bad either.  In any event, the car ride consisted of me trying to ground myself again.  I guess I was worried that things wouldn’t work out, and all of the insecurities I had kept at bay with planning and a ton of legwork…were suddenly creeping out.

Filming went great.  I worked with a wonderfully talented crew and cast of SAG and non-union actors.  Of course, I slept for almost 11 hours that night, but…who cares!?

Two years ago I was a mess. I had no idea where I was going.  I was doing too much for others and essentially nothing for myself. Before that, I had a streak of doing so well; enjoying every moment of all the amazing film sets and actors I had met (some of whom I had been admiring since childhood), when suddenly, I got lost in the details.  Worrying.  Wondering.  What – If? – ing.

Two years ago I would not have been able to handle the intensity of being given a direction on a major film set, taking a breath, and giving a top-notch performance.  Instead I would have worried if I would be good, worried about what everyone would think, worry about the big picture.

Not anymore.

Today is my birthday.  A lot of people said to me in the past week, “Oh no, you’re traveling on your birthday!  That sucks!”

It so does not suck.

Hanging out in a Starbucks in Oklahoma, Amie, one of my fellow actors on the trip asked me, “So what was best about your last year?”  A good question to ask!

This year, I finally grounded myself in all of my hard work since age 17 when I decided I wanted to be an actor.  I drowned out the negativity and flooded myself in the positive image others have always seen me in.  I stepped up to the plate that was always waiting for me.  I became the Artistic Director of Deana’s Educational Theater.  I wrote my own webseries.  I landed some amazing roles in theater and film.  I’m finally able to recognize my brand as an actor.

Today on my birthday I was in Oklahoma with two very talented and amazingly warm and funny actors. This week we brought an original work about cyberbullying to high schools. We chased Prairie Dogs, we hiked in the Wichita Mountains, we ate local OK food, we laughed our butts off.

This morning, they even had 130 students sing “Happy Birthday” to me.

On my birthday…what more could I possibly ask for?