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Today a woman I know came by for tea.

She has been going through years of unpacking hurts and steps of healing regarding the many violent language, vocal tone, and manhandling she’s experienced from her very youngest years.

During her time with me I was humbled to see how stories helped calm and focus her.

When she first sat down she was bouncing from thought to thought, her mind wrapped in chaos. I waited for guidance from God even while she spoke in fits and starts, adjusting and readjusting herself bodily on my couch.

By the time she left, she’d calmed, she’d focused and she’d reached a modicum of peace.

Never underestimate the power of using your personal stories to help another see they are not alone in their anxiety. Reach out. Be willing to invest yourself and your time in another. One person at a time we can change our world.

To Sermonize or Not To Sermonize, That is the Question

Christian film makers are not the only ones who often forgo entertainment to preach from the screen. Bulworth, from wonderful actor/filmmaker Warren Beatty was the first cause driven film I saw, that I didn’t walk out on, THOUGH I WANTED TO.

And I don’t recommend it to anyone for that reason.

Good production value starts with good writing.

It’s not that I don’t have strong beliefs. It’s not that I’m afraid to stand up for what I believe. It’s not that I shy away from communicating what I believe and the reasons for my stand. I have experienced turned people both toward me and away doing that very thing in my every day life -just like film makers do.

I think cause driven films are not worthy of the ticket price because FILM IS AN ENTERTAINMENT MEDIUM.

It’s a truth that every well written story makes a point, but I want to catch that point, not have it crammed down my throat. I want to be led to consider and think about what I caught for along time afterward. If you, the writer/filmmaker has done all the thinking for me, then I, the audience member, won’t change.

For instance, I am very much against sex trafficking. I would like to see every pedophile, every person who has sold a woman or child into sex slavery, every person who puts out pornography and forced sex on women or children to be burned alive very, very slowly. I don’t have to do it because there is a hell and they are headed there.

I have strong feelings in other areas too. Too many to go on in a blog about,

But writers need to be cognizant, if you are going to change people’s minds about your cause, whether it’s walking in righteousness, sex trafficking, global warming, marriage, etc. it’s your responsibility to draw those people into your show. If you are preachy about your topic, the very ones you want to reach, including me, will stay away.

How a Play I Saw at 10 years Old Saved My Marriage

I had coffee with some producer friends of mine last week and we were discussing content and what we most wanted to do with our storytelling opportunities. I shared the story of how a play I saw as a child has kept me married for 31 years, to date. They said they found it very inspiring and wanted me to share it with you.

When I was about 10 years of age my mother had season tickets to the local music theater group and took me as her +1 to see I DO! I DO!, a musical about marriage.

It’s a one set musical, the master bedroom, of what we are told to believe is an enormous house. I recognized the first night shyness, the blush of young love, I had older sisters who regularly went through the “pink balloon, butterflies, chocolate candy , Oooh, I’m so happy ” routine. Quotes are mine.

In the play, though, life continued. A blue blanket, then a pink blanket were brought on stage to signify the two children they had. They were still in love, but it was harder, as you’d expect. But still good. They rock along through the years, as he pursues his work, finally that becomes of utmost importance and he divorces himself from the marriage. She is so hurt and disillusioned she also divorces herself from their vows. I recognized these years as well. My parents were going through them. I dubbed them “the mean years” and refer to that difficult period in my marriage the same way.

We went into intermission knowing there was no way to save their relationship which was really sad since they’d been so happy only one hour before. During intermission, my mom walked outside with the crowds and I stayed glued to my seat watching the actors return to the stage under work lights to apply wigs and makeup aging them about 15 years. (Fascinating!)

When the curtain came up he had his packed suitcase, in hand, resting on the bed, berating her again while she sat and watched him from across the bed sitting by the window. After she had returned the insults, they both mourn the death of the early dreams and hopes they’d shared. They decide, without forgetting anything that has gone before, and ONLY for the preciousness of the early dream they shared of a missed future, to try again, starting “today”. They will make different choices, they will remember kindness, and they will see if they can do better a second time.

The play ends happily and I found myself thinking two things; that everyone who isn’t married yet should see this play and they’d have a better shot at staying married, and also, that it’s worth putting up with a whole lot of crap, to end up with someone who shares your memories of the last many years of your life.

This remembrance has stood me in good stead and now my husband and I are on the other side of the mean years ourselves and growing and learning together. I’m happy for that. I’m glad I saw the play. I look forward to directing it or singing the role myself one day.

I Do! I DO!-youtube.com Continue reading

3 Reasons Christian Films Don’t Box Office Like Secular Ones Do

When we consider great films with Christian themes, they are rarely made by Christians themselves. Those that are made by Christian film makers don’t generally box office well for three easy reasons to understand.

1. Though Christians will frequent popular films with or without Christian themes, non Christians will stay away from films they believe will preach against their chosen life style.

2. Non- Christian film makers, don’t have an agenda. They are not wishing to proselytize, or edify, or encourage, or instruct. They just want to put out a good compelling story.

3. Christian Filmmakers, often forget the GREAT COMMISSION, making disciples of all nations which require us to make ourselves understood to people who don’t speak our language.

Granted it’s to the whole body of believers that this responsibility is given. That does not negate the responsibilities of those in media to use their public platforms to utilize the best written, best produced product to exemplify the faithful, integrous, loving, caring, forgiving, healing, prosperous, delivering, redeeming natures we have within our new DNA, as born again, children of the living God.

Some examples of hit films not necessarily thought of as Christian but sporting christian themes: Chariots of Fire, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Bishop’s Wife, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Superman, The Lion King, The Truman Show, Frozen, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Miserables, Captain America, Civil War.

AFM Sat, November 9, 2013

Wow, what a day. I knew I had a meeting with Producer/writer Kirby Britten and Rosalind Jackson this morning in Hollywood re: the pilot of the show Kirby’s written. Then I headed to AFM to have lunch with friend and producer Philip Cable. I was too late, since the morning meeting ran late. Still Philip was there and I got to spend time with him and his film maker friend Scott Seargeant. Ultimately I ran into almost every producer I know including Marianne Quinn, Peter Liapis, Robert Amico, Saw Bryan Michael Stoller, spent time with Scott Meyers, and Cat La Cohie and more. A great time of information, relationship building and encouragement. I’m so glad I went.

July 4th Independence

Just back from enjoying the fireworks show at CBS Studios in Studio City,CA

Not everyone from the afternoon made it to the show, but those who did really had a good time.

My husband was one of the ones who didn’t. He had dog duty. We have a very elderly, lame, puppy.

I know we celebrate July 4th because that was the day we declared we would be a country separate from the Mother Land our forefathers had departed to come here.

But what is independence today? Doing our own thing? Having no rules?

Both of those lifestyles lead to chaos and slavery to a downward spiral. Is that worth celebrating?

I don’t think so.

Independence is a concept of being self reliant, mature, able bodied, able minded, able spirited enough to function in a productive manner fitting within society.

Our country has a few very loud factions who wish to deny independence of any other group. Their constant barrage of noise, parades, shouts, demonstrations are not just about making them look good, they want to make anyone who disagrees with them look bad.

What happened to tolerance? And people living together in peace?

I shouldn’t have to agree with you to let you think what you want.

Why can’t you give me the same courtesy?

It’s actually been an enjoyable day, prepping for my nieces wedding in the morning, a nap, then the afternoon party and the fireworks.

I think I went off on independence because I must just be fed up enough deep down, I don’t really think it exists in this country any more.

July 1st Happy Birthday Mom

By the time they get to be my age, any people have lost their parents. I’m one of them. I have to reflect on the woman I called mom. She was a wonderful hostess, a wonderfully creative hard working woman. I’m sure others remember her for different things.

I always remember the car trips I took with my mom once I reached college age. There were only two, so I can only guess why they’ve held importance for me. Possibly because it was one of the few, and I do mean countable on one hand, times we were ever alone for any length of time.

One trip I remember, we were making the drive from Little Rock to LA. This time we weren’t headed straight for Shreveport, we were going to see other family members she knew and I’d never met.

She shared the driving with me, and never complained about my driving. We enjoyed talking, singing and silence equally. Stopping to eat was pleasantly uneventful, except that I got to make funny and she was a delightfully easy audience. I could always make her laugh.

We crossed into LA and drove through Shreveport. I remember I was very ready to stop and sleep at one of our relative’s homes, but we drove on. And on. And on. Then we drove on. I remember having repeated questions concerning her memory of where we were headed and suggestions that we turn around because there were no street lights or any kind of lights to tell us where we were or signs to tell us how close/far we were from the destination. Honestly I was certain she’d gotten lost and was going to strand us somewhere in the boonies with no gas and no gas station in walking distance.

yes, this was in the 1970s. There were no cell phones, there was no GPS, we were on our own.

Finally, she said for me to keep my eyes open for a street light. Then suddenly, just ahead of us was a 60 watt light bulb suspended from a wire and plugged into an extension cord. I didn’t see the extension cord or that the light was suspended from a wire until we’d passed the light. That’s dark it was.

Once we passed the “street light” Mom finally put on her brights and see the first left. We made our way down the roughly paved street and turned into a dirt something where she stopped the car. It was about 10pm, still her relations where so welcoming to both of us and seemingly excited to see her, and me by default.

We actually stayed there 2 days, saw other relatives. Let early the morning of our return trip and got home without a hitch.

That trip to LA, just me and mom going to a place I’d never been forced me to trust her as a person of safety. Which was something I’d never thought about before. She was a great traveling companion and I really wish I’d taken more trips with her to visit her Louisiana family. I think there were facets of her as a woman I missed because I moved away right after college, and though I visited, and then my husband and I visited, then we and my daughter(s) visited, it just wasn’t the same.

She died of a heart attack on December 25th 1999 at a Christmas Party hosted by sister in MS.

I’m sorry I didn’t travel that year. I was in CA.

She was a gentlewoman and a gentle woman.

I miss her.

June Madness

Wow, it feels like forever since I posted anything. Things feel like they have been moving at lightening speed but really, all elements are just in the start stages.

I did though just shoot a commercial, I was background, but it was still a first. And I shot an infomercial for haughte nails. Both were fun days being on the sets.

An Actor/Producer has become a friend of mine and wants to shoot his next film at and in my house. That is not for another 4 weeks. However hone on the range, we’re working on every room and in the back yard- endeavoring to create space for cameras, lights, etc to be set up without breaking or disturbing anything that would make us anxious. So it feels imminent, but I know it actually isn’t.

My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter are coming in 2 1/2 weeks, so that is quickly approaching.

I have to learn sides for the scenes I’m in for S2K, but I’ve also got 2 other indie films I’m learning sides for, because my auditions for both of them are next week.

Today, I fired my big, wonderful manager who wasn’t working well for me, and hired on with a small, but cool manager who directed me recently in a short and knows my talent.

Plus, I just learned that tomorrow I’m to audition for another infomercial. That sadly kept me from joining my youngest daughter and hubby for a movie. My daughter was disappointed. But I have to refresh my Eastern European accent. 🙂

I’ve not been this busy with acting business in years.

Friends and Family

Friends and family are both important. I know people in my family who only keep up with their friends. I know people in my family who only keep up with a few family members. it’s important to keep all of our relationships growing, but it seems so much harder with the internet.

I went to watch my incredibly talented daughter, S, perform with her freshman class last weekend. At one point I took her to check her mailbox and I realized i’d not sent her a single letter. I’d sent a few boxes, but not a letter just to write.

However, I text her almost daily, and email her and follow her on FB

She misses getting mail, like anyone. It’s nice to know you’ve been remembered and get a written word from someone you care for.

I’m making a commitment now to write letters tomorrow to her and my great aunt who lives alone.

Keeping the work going.

Networking or working for the Break

Two days ago, I attended a BIG (meaning many people attended) birthday party on a Friday night where I met people in entertainment, and then yesterday, Sat, I auditioned for a group that helps young new talent get in front of movers and shakers in the industry.

Looking at Sat first: After my acting and singing audition I was told I should be acting all the time, but since I’m neither young nor new there wasn’t a place for me in their group.

I’m what they gently referred to as “seasoned”.

That makes me think of a great cut of steak, but I digress.

Should I in fact be acting all the time?

I’d certainly like to be.

The Sat. event I attended for the group costs a lot of money, but they are training-often from scratch- people who want to be in the industry and the group is very well attached in Hollywood.

So it seems to be a worthwhile investment in a career.

I’d love someone to take my “seasoned” hand and help me makes the contacts that would help me!

But they agree with me, I shouldn’t pay for training and workshops I could probably teach.

So, they’re discussing the possibility of creating a professionals pkg. for people like me, but I don’t know how the scenario will play out.

Still they have a history of success, I’d love for there to be a way for people like me to work with them, but that is not today.

Which brings me to the BIG BIRTHDAY PARTY.

There I met a caterer who graduated from Emerson College, the same year I left BCM.

That was fun to rehash 1980s Beantown.

I met a Director who said he was doing projects where he is frequently looking for someone like me, a seasoned, but not star name, actress.

I met a Novelist whom I enjoyed chatting with for a long while and he introduced me to an executive producer looking for projects to invest in.

Which I have, and my friends do.

Who knows, perhaps there will be a role for me.

I also met a director whom I was able to steer to a film festival he could enter, where the prize is 1M to make a feature.

And I met a frustrated animator, who’s willing to work for nothing on a short another friend of mine is producing, just because he wants to use his talents.

So all in all, I got leads and I helped other people with leads.

As long as we all follow up and follow through, there’s value in that as well.

I don’t HAVE to be jealous of those new people getting a chance at an easier path than I’ve had with the group.

I don’t have to be, and today, if I am, it’s buried deep enough I don’t recognize it.

When I was young and new, I would’ve LOVED the opportunities that group offers.

I don’t want to be a person who’d deny someone else that chance to succeed.

And I don’t.

I just want to be working all the time too.

Not in place of– also.

The truth is, as much as I love the work of acting and directing, and I really, really do, it’d be easy for me to let it overwhelm my relationships with my family.

I need to look out for them as well.

The industry eats up relationships and spits them out daily.

We read it in all the papers, magazines, see it on the TV shows.

It’s much harder work in Film and TV than most people think.

They are two similar though very different foreign countries.

They have similar speech, but very different accents, different word usage, customs, and traditions.

It’s often hard to know how to handle yourself in situations so you don’t embarrass yourself or others.

This can be very stressful to anyone working among these people groups.

I don’t want my family going the way of so many others.

It’s called balance.

Balance is achieved through constant motion.

Shifting your weight front, back, sideways all the time.

It’s hard work.

I love it.

I hope, since I’m continuing, when all is said and done, my family and I all think it was worth it.