In late 2017, I was in AdlerImprov Acting Studio‘s Pilot Season Prep Class when the very talented actor and studio friend Leonard Roberts said to a fellow classmate, “I loved how you took ownership of the room. ” The word, “ownership” struck me like a lightning bolt and quickly became my theme for 2018.
Ownership for me meant taking a hard look at my personal and professional life and making more decisions about what was serving me and what wasn’t and taking actions to address them. One thing I’ve always struggled with is putting other’s needs in front of my own. This year, I needed to put my oxygen mask on first before I could help anyone else. In practical terms, it meant cutting off projects/PR clients that weren’t serving me and saying no to things that didn’t excite, inspire or motivate me. Taking ownership truly empowered me and I look forward to feeling the ripples in 2019.
To help with accountability, I worked with my good friend and integrative nutritionist Kristina Nikols for six months. Highly recommend!
I had a productive 2018 on many fronts. I felt like I grew a lot and a person and an actor and I have a newfound optimism for 2019.
If you read my post about being in debt, you know I spent the last two years carrying a pretty hefty level of stress as a result of my financial situation. On December 27th, I received my IRS refund for 2017 and immediately paid off the balance on one of my credit cards. I landed three new PR clients at the end of the month, which effectively doubled my income. I should be debt free by February 1, 2019.
I wanted to spend more quality time with quality people. I went to game nights. I attended friend’s shows. I went to last minute pumpkin painting parties and July 4th gatherings. I started doing Figaro Fridays. I went apple picking. I saw Witches of Eastwick and La La Land at the Montalban. I went to the Frogtown Art Walk. I went to a Spam Food fest. I remembered how important it is to fill your soul while pursuing this path.
I wanted to drop weight. When I’m overweight, I feel sluggish and tired all the time. I was 195 pounds at the beginning of the year. Now I’m 183 and counting.
I haven’t gone for a run in four years. A lingering hallux limitus problem kept me on the shelf. A visit to Road Runner Sports in Studio City in late November lead to me purchasing a pair of insoles and a pair of Altra Torin 3.5’s. I’ve been happily running virtually pain free for the past month and change. I’m currently running about 30 minutes a day.
I wanted better sleep. I bought black out curtains, incorporated a seven minute yoga for bed routine, and bought CBD oil. I cut my morning coffee intake from three cups to two. There’s more work to do here, but I’m happy with my progress.
I practiced self care. I hiked a lot. I did space walks to alleviate stress, frustration and anger. I ate healthier. I read a bunch of books about confidence, boundaries, and growth.
I used a Passion Planner to track my progress for the year.
I painted my apartment wall Iced Purple and Spring Leaf. Thanks Glidden!
The biggest takeaway from this year is I feel like an artist, not just an actor. I’m much more confident in my process and approach. And I’m less attached to results. I don’t take auditions personally. I walk in the room, give my performance and walk out the door to finish out the rest of my day.
I knew I needed more footage to build my reel, so I submitted for a bunch of Backstage projects. I shot five projects this year. More importantly, I learned how to work with different directors and their personalities, how to make stronger choices, and take adjustments with ease on set.
I continued studying with Ric Murphy (John C. Reilly, Gillian Anderson, Judy Greer, etc.) at the AdlerImprov Acting Studio. Ric is like Gandalf – he knows the right thing to say at the right time to create magic. I also studied with Amie Farrell and Brian Kimmet at the studio, which helped refine my technique and encouraged me to look at scenes with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Eternally grateful for their training.
I took a scene study class with Jeremy O’Keefe and finally crystallized intention and objective in a way I haven’t before.
I got new headshots.
I co-taught the Teen Summer Intensive with Amie Farrell at the AdlerImprov Acting Studio. Teaching is really the best of all worlds. You have to know what’s happening with the script and figure out how to inspire students to unlock their own creativity without telling them how you’d do it. It’s an exercise in patience and problem solving and the results often blow you away. And I got to work with some very talented, very vulnerable and very playful students who continue to inspire me to act and pursue this craft. And the final benefit – I reinforced what I already learned.
I participated in a pilot reading series and attended a Breakthrough Reading Series event.
I attended eight casting director workshops this year.
I created. I shot Rob’s Garage, a series of quick, behind the scenes videos of a Chicago mechanic in 1997 trying to drum up business with his home video commercials for Instagram. I shot short video inspired by a news item suggesting Chicago accents were the least desirable in America.
2018 was challenging on many levels, but I came out the other end a stronger person. I took ownership of my life and it empowered me in very unexpected ways. I’m proud of what I achieved this year, personally and professionally.