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?

 

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 – you guessed it – their friends.

 

 

My Juice Fast

I’ve been vegan for almost 9 years and I had never once done a juice fast. And just as before I refrained entirely from eating meat products, I had a lot of misconceptions about doing a juice fast. Like..it would be too hard. And wouldn’t I not be able to do anything? Also, is it really THAT good for you?

Over the years, I have regularly incorporated fresh juice into my diet. I have a Breville juicer and I have always felt better when I had juice pre or post workout or first thing in the morning.

Recently, I heard Joe Cross (of the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”) talk about juicing and what really goes on in your body when you juice and how beneficial it is. It was the first time I actually heard my questions answered about juicing and I felt really inspired to just do one! So, my next stop was the Netflix vault where I watched the film.

If you are at all curious about disease in the body and how juicing can help eliminate that, I encourage you to watch this film. Especially for Phil, the 300+ lb trucker. You will be amazed. After watching this film, I thought, “Well, if he can do it, I certainly can!”

Some people who know me were a bit confused as to why I decided to do this. Aren’t you already vegan? Aren’t you already healthy? First of all, yes, I do eat a clean, plant-based diet. But I am not 100% raw, and there is definitely room for improvement. I am a caffeine drinker, I enjoy a nice Malbec, and just like every other  person on the planet, I am exposed to pollutants and chemicals in the environment.

Currently, I am on Day 5 of my juice fast and I feel amazing. But let’s back up.

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This is a “Dreamsicle” Recipe from Fully Raw Kristina. I juiced a vanilla bean, people!

 

DAY 1 JUICE FAST:

I started off with a really strong juice recipe, as in, very detoxing: beets, lemon, ginger, celery, also…jalapeno, cilantro. I MAY have been starting off a little gung-ho. The juice tasted great, I felt great…and then an hour later I felt nauseated. I didn’t throw up, but this was the beginning of feeling like crap.

I was indeed regular, but I think because I already eat a lot of fiber, I didn’t have what some people experience, which is running to the bathroom constantly. I was just “normal.” I did have to pee constantly, but that’s to be expected.

I drank more juice later in the day, and on the first day I only ended up drinking about four 16 oz servings of juice in total. But by that night, I was kinda cranky, but I wasn’t hungry! On and off nauseated, and I started to develop a head ache.

DAY 2:

I woke up wanting to punch the sun.

It was like I was moving through water. I didn’t feel nauseated anymore, but I still had a headache and I was in a very bad mood.

I also took two naps.

I checked my tongue and it was all white (grosss!) BUT health freak that I am, I pointed to my husband and said, “Look! Look! It means it’s working!” This is a common detox side effect. So began the scraping of my tongue on a regular basis!

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Ying-Yang Zen Juice!

I drank plenty of juice all day long, but man, I was useless. I wanted to have that super awesome productive zingy energy I was told most people don’t get until Day 4, but I had to settle for dealing with my emotions and not doing much else.

At one point, I did make an herbal tea of cinnamon and mint (weird, right?) which tastes great, but made my tummy hurt awhile later. That is normal for me if I drink tea on an empty stomach, but I didn’t want to push it.

I have heard that these cleanses can result in healing crises – both physically and emotionally. As your body repairs and has time off (digestion requires a huge amount of energy), you can expect pain in certain areas.

The weirdest thing I noticed? I had pain on the back of my head on the left side, behind my left eye, my lower back on the left, and my left elbow. This may seem random to you, but t me, it was the places where in the past I have occasionally had flare ups from when I was hit by a truck crossing the street. I have done a lot of reading about how scar tissue and other repairs can start to be healed on a cleanse – because your body is finally able to use energy normally going to digestion to HEAL instead.

This was also when my supplemental juices came from Pressed Juicery. I mean, I’m all about making your own fresh juice – but damn if it doesn’t get old cleaning every single piece out and chopping up everything and whine whine whine. From this point on, I alternated between the juice i made and the juices that came in the mail.

Oh and guess what? That night, I could not sleep. Don’t know what that was about.

DAY 3:

I woke up feeling much better. The headache and back ache thing would come and go throughout the day, but my energy was much better. I was moving around a lot quicker, and able to actually get work done.

At this point, when I thought about food, it didn’t make me super hungry, but when I smelled it cooking, it smelled soooo amazing.

That is another thing that happens – you smell everything so much clearer. I mean, walking outside, I felt like I could smell the earth and the rocks and the air and the sun and I know I sound crazy, but it’s true! Like Sookie, in Season 1!! (Anyone?)

I smelled the coffee beans on our kitchen counter just to enjoy the smell!

This reminds me, before I forget: I have had on and off sinus issues for the past few years, and I felt some major drainage this day. So I am hoping that’s a good thing.

DAY 4:

Woke up with a slight headache. It  wasn’t as bad now. No pain anywhere else. I practically jumped out of bed, my body was so buzzy. I was going to go to a Yoga & Abs class!

Even though by this point I had done a ton of research about energy, and how our bodies are actually meant to withstand feast or famine for long stretches, I was still a little nervous about doing an intermediate yoga class.

I pounded a green juice and packed my water and I was off.

OK ready for the weird hippie stuff? While driving, everything seemed sharper(as Joe Cross puts it, senses are heightened so that your body  can go hunt and scavenge – already now prepared to be in famine mode) and brighter and honestly, I felt lighter. I mean, at this point, yes I had lost a little bit of weight, but I just mean I felt more energetic.

I got to class, and just did it…I felt energized, I never felt winded*

*Note – The first couple of days in a fast, your body lowers its temperature, as well as blood pressure, so until the intial hunger pang / detox symptoms are over, it is not recommended to jump into an exercise routine.

I came home to find the Urban Remedy Juices waiting for me at my door.

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I did note however, that I felt “hungry” which I hadn’t felt in awhile, so I made sure to drink  extra raw coconut water in between juices.

Last night, I also drank half a raw pressed almond milk from Pressed Juicery. And it was flipping delicious.

DAY 5 :

I got up at 4:30am this morning and I didn’t feel groggy. I wanted to do a couple of things in my office before leaving for work at Quinnipiac University. Felt fine!

I drank a parsley, cucumber, lemon and some other combination from Urban Remedy and that was perfect. When I got to Quinnipiac, I started to sip on a Cayenne / Lemon number, just in case I felt some thirst or hunger while I was working as an SP.

The one thing I did forget, was to drink a ton of water! I had some on the way to the school, but I should have really had more when I got there. My throat and mouth felt a bit dry. That was okay, because when I left, I chugged more water and juice on the way home.

I had purchased a cleanse that was low-glycemic, so I was in the mood for something a bit sweeter when I got home.

I juiced: 3 carrots, a snippet of ginger, a green apple, 4 kale leaves, 1 tangelo, and a bunch of red grapes. It hit the spot. I just finished another yummy blend from Urban Remedy, and I probably will have my “dessert” juice when I watch Netflix this evening.

Dessert juice? What?

I have a cacao nib / almond milk blend, as well as a  cashew milk blend waiting for me. I did drink Pressed Juicery’s Vanilla Nut Milk Blend (Did you know you can juice a vanilla bean? YEP did that for a couple recipes!), only a half serving because the fat content was so high! Don’t go rolling your eyes – sprouted almond milk is indeed fine because it allows your body to absorb nutrients without absorbing too much fat – that being said, fat takes a lot of energy to digest. So I decided to drink half at a time. Night time is a better time to do this because I won’t be adding anything else in the mix to confuse my digestive tract 🙂

Tomorrow I plan on breaking my fast SLOWLY. By first drinking warm lemon water, then another juice, and then some fruit. From there, I will see how it goes!

Final Thoughts:

Do I think juicing is for everyone? Nope. I think it takes a certain desire and a frame of mind to decide to do this. You should be prepared to face some discomfort and be okay with taking a good look at yourself in the mirror. Regardless of whether someone juices or not, I think we all could use a time out of some sort now and then to deal with our emotions and figure out who we really are.

I did this cleanse for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to see if I could do it. I love a good challenge. Also, I just felt that I needed to let go of some gunk from the winter and just appreciate things more in general.

Juicing requires you to slow down and savor each moment. It helped me to be more present and also to rethink food habits in general. It’s good to do a clean up / inventory every now and then.

This blog post is probably plenty long enough. I could go on and on and I know I’m probably leaving something out, but if anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer them!

Thanks, and Happy Spring!

UPDATE: I haven’t posted this yet, but I wanted to let you know how Day 6, Breaking my Fast went.

BREAKING THE FAST, MAN:

I woke up and drank a green juice and went to a yoga and meditation class. Honestly, at this point, I felt like I could fast for a long time, but I knew I was going to get the itch for like..you know, actual food pretty soon.

When I got home, I drank a delicious Beet / Ginger / Carrot / Apple blend from Urban Remedy and about an hour later, decided to break my fast with fresh pineapple.

It’s a really good idea to break your fast with something juicy in order to reintroduce your body to fiber again. A funny thing I noticed while chewing was that my jaw cracked a few times LOL but besides that, it was great!

For lunch I made a simple veggie broth with a slew of frozen veggies and that tasted sooo good. I think the best part was eating something warm after having pretty much only cold or room temperature juices all week.

For my first dinner back on food I had a salad, kidney beans, and sweet potato fries! It was all good!

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

“Whatever life takes away from you, let it go.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

Recently, I had the uncomfortable experience of being sucked into some drama. Unfortunately, I don’t mean the kind on stage and screen, though that has been keeping me busy lately too.

Over the years, one of the hardest things for me to accept was the fact that when people moved away, or a lot of time goes by, or when people change, you have to let them go. In some cases, when someone is blatantly disrespectful or cruel, it is easy to do. But I find that I can be so nostalgic about a person, place, or thing, that I often forget that things don’t always just “stay the same” because we feel the same way about them.

Something that has helped me ease through transitions, loss or a knowing of a permanent change to come, is to stop labeling them. It’s not good or bad. It just is. And when it just “is,” I don’t have to feel so attached to it and I don’t have to take it personally.

Out of nowhere, (at least at the time it felt that way) a friend of mine dropped something on me that was so surprising, it didn’t hit me what he meant by it until I had walked a few blocks away. You see, something is changing in his life and while I don’t know all of the details, I do know what happens when you label friends, family, people, events, and it ain’t pretty. But that’s what he’s done.

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Right now I’m giving it some space because I had all of the following reactions: surprise, hurt, anger, blame. And I had to remind myself that it is NOT about me. Whatever comes of this, it’s not really about something I did or didn’t do. It’s about how people relate to each other and how they process change. Part of me was quite sad about this, when I began to think about how things might be different in the future. I resisted the thought of it.

Then, I remembered that often times we have outgrown something long before we realize it. Whether you lose a job, a sentimental object, or a friendship…Sometimes it’s for the best and it doesn’t have to be painful. It just is.

I’m a fighter. Not physically and not like RAWR I AM GONNA YELL AT YOU (though I am capable of both). I fight for those I love and for my integrity. I plan on holding up my end of the bargain, but at the end of the day (I have turned into someone who says that phrase..sigh lol), I can only control my reaction. That’s okay and that’s enough.