#4 – Art = Access + Action (AKA how to stop judging YouTube and Twitter & use them to your advantage)

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I recently watched a documentary, PressPausePlay (you can learn more about the film here and you can watch the entire documentary on NetFlix), and it opened my eyes to a revolution I have been seeing happen around me for the last few years – we are so powerful.

Technology has been advancing rapidly for decades but that means next to nothing to the common public.  I remember being twelve years old and thinking that by sixteen I would be driving around a hovercraft.  And I wasn’t the only one who thought such things would be possible.  Watch the Back To The Future movies.  As a society we’re oftentimes off the mark when it comes to our perception of technology.  What makes all the difference is access.  Only recently has technology become so widely accessible.

Twelve year old Stefanie didn’t just sit around dreaming of flying cars.  When I was twelve I would set up my family’s huge VHS cam-corder on a dresser and dance, sing, improvise scenes and monologues, and even confide my thoughts and feelings to that lens.  I was VLOGGING!  Nowadays, those videos would’ve probably been recorded on my MacBook, would’ve been uploaded to YouTube, and could’ve even made me a YouTube celebrity.  In fact, I might want to transfer that footage to my computer because they are certainly viral-worthy.  I’m okay with humiliating myself for internet stardom.

So, with all this access, anyone who knows how to upload a video can present to the world their works of ….art?  Okay, so sometimes it’s just a bunch of noise and inside jokes that don’t translate to the masses, but some YouTubers have become household names.  Even Justin Beiber came from YouTube (can we put him back? No, just kidding. He’s a cute little lesbian.)

Here‘s an article about five celebrities who got their start on YouTube.

So, what made these people famous?  A special look?  A good voice?  Talent?  Sure, but I live in New York City and we all have those things.  What made the difference?

ACTION.

A special look doesn’t cut it – it never has.
A good voice doesn’t cut it – it never has.
Talent doesn’t even cut it!

As artists, people used to have to wait for someone to give them permission.  They had to wait for someone with an “in” to let them in.  I could dance in front of a cam-corder all I wanted and it wouldn’t mean a thing.  But that’s changed.  It changed with access.

But access means nothing without action.

So, if you’re an artist, make art, and feed it to the masses.  That’s what you’re here for.

We have no excuses anymore.

Read this speech by Patton Oswalt… He knows what’s up.

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Week-End Wisdom #1

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No life is without struggle.
So, every day, wake up and remember that you fought for today
and you deserve to make it amazing.

I’ve decided to begin a series of Week-End Wisdom entries.  I was inspired this morning when I was up at 7am (yuck), putting my make up on and getting ready for my day, and a few of the battles I’ve fought over the last year inexplicably crossed my mind.  I’m sure you know the feeling – that your heart jumped into your throat and is threatening to choke you.

My overactive mind has always tried to get the best of me.  I used to find otherwise happy days being completely demolished (I’m not exaggerating – ask my ex-boyfriends) by ONE thought, real or imagined, rushing into my mind.  I would allow that one thought to lead to hours of anxiety and stress.  I thought that this self-sabotage was beyond my control, that it was just the way my mind worked and something that I would always have to combat.

Well, I was only partially correct.  Over the last few years I have had to combat my tendencies for anxiety and, while I’m certainly not completely free of my mind’s tricks, I have come up with mind-tricks of my own that have WORKED.

Today’s Week-End Wisdom is all about acknowledging the struggles that are REAL and commending yourself for having survived those struggles.  We’re all survivors of our own tragedies and we have every right (and responsibility) to recognize our strength and vitality.  The battles you’ve fought haven’t ruined you.  Those battles have made your well deeper, increasing your capacity for compassion and love.  Every experience is a learning experience.

Because, throughout it all, you have made the decision to remain on this Earth, to keep moving, to keep dreaming.  So, as stubborn as you might be to admit it, you at least have some shred of hope that today will be better than yesterday.  And you deserve to make today amazing.

“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day!” said Pooh.
A.A. Milne

#3 – I’m in love with myself (AKA Be the kinda person that you would date)

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I recently finished reading Marie Forleo’s book, Make Every Man Want You: How To Be So Irresistible You’ll Barely Keep From Dating Yourself.  I loved this book and highly recommend it to all women!

You can find it here.

For the last few months I have been dating here and there (providing my roommates with the juicy details – sorry, boys) and I have pretty much adopted the mantra that I’m not “looking for a relationship.”  They always say that when you’re not looking for it, it finds you, so who knows what the future holds for me.  And, while I’m not looking for it, that doesn’t mean that I’d resist it.

But I’m not looking for it.

I’m just focused on other things right now.  I moved to New York City four and a half months ago.  I am attempting to really make a mark in the professional entertainment industry.  I miss my cats.  I miss my family (less than I miss my cats, obviously).  I have trouble balancing performing, trying to make money, attempting to combine those two things, maintaining sanity and clarity in this crazy business and this crazy city, and finding time to completely turn off my brain and recharge my batteries.

So, why would I read that silly book if I’m not looking to attract men?

The same reason why I would recommend it to ANY woman (single, in a relationship, it’s complicated, engaged, married, lesbian) OR man.  Because the book shifts your point of focus from the people you are trying to attract and to what you should be focusing on anyway – YOU.

I’m certainly no expert on romance and relationships but I do feel that I have more clarity on the subject than I have ever had before.  And it’s not because I’ve figured out men or anything.  I don’t think that anyone will ever be able to figure out anyone, ever.

So, why try and figure someone else out?  Why not try and figure out you?

Truth is, until you know how to have a fulfilling and happy life on your own, you can’t have a healthy relationship.

#2 – Yes, and…? (AKA I live in the best city in the world… so what?)

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It’s estimated that there’s a rotation of about a quarter million people attempting to make permanent residence in New York City each year.

I’ve (only) been here for 4.5 months now and while I have always been able to find an infinite number of reasons for immigration to this beautiful city, I have only recently begun to understand why one would chose to leave.

New York is a tough city!  The subway system takes a while to get the hang of (I still occasionally find myself on an uptown train when I should be traveling downtown), finding your way around a city mapped out on a grid can be more difficult than you’d think, walking everywhere is growing more tiresome every day (especially during the hot summer months), I just heard someone yell, “I hate you! I hope you die!” right outside my window, and there never seems to be a shortage of tourists in Times Square.

Moving to New York City makes the most extraordinary people mediocre.  You can be the king od queen of your small town and feel like a celebrity walking into your local Target, but walk down the streets of midtown and you are just another commuter with their earbuds in and shades on.

So, how can a city that breaks you down make you feel so alive?

New York City can make or break your dreams.  Sometimes it breaks you before it makes you.  But it takes a fighter to thrive in a city that equalizes you upon arrival.  You have to know what you want and know that you want it more than anything.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about one’s relationship with New York City and it seems that no matter how long you’ve been living here, no one seems to have the answers.  Just theories and mantras that keep them afloat.

To be an actor in a city like New York you have to be a little crazy.  You’re already trying to maintain your sanity and pride in a profession that will chew you up and spit you out, leaving you doubting whatever confidences you had about yourself and your talents.  But trying to weather the competition and pace of the entertainment business in New York City is more than trying to navigate upstream without a paddle.

Being an actor in New York City is like trying to navigate upstream without a paddle, a map, a boat, or even a clear destination.

So, what do you do when you truly only have your dreams to guide you?  It sounds painfully obvious but, in the end, the only thing that will get you where you need to go is your dreams.  One of the beautiful things about New York City is that there is an over-abundance of things to do and projects to feed yourself artistically.  The struggle arises, of course, in the price tag attached to everything the city has to offer.  But, given the choice between brunching on a Sunday afternoon and taking a couple dance classes, the artist seeking true fulfillment will choose to dance.

And that’s why we are here.  New York City – the city that never sleeps.  I prefer to think of it as the city that never wakes up… because everyone is living their dreams.  We are here because there is no place else in the world that lives up to our standards.  There is no other city that can keep up with us.  Any New Yorker will understand when I say that living anywhere else in the country is like walking behind a tourist in Times Square.  You can’t help but want to pull your hair out and shout, “MOVE!”

So, you’re a New Yorker.  So, move.

Move, if it means finding an agent NOW.

Move, if it means pounding the pavement.

Move, if it means seeing friends that keep you positive.

Above all else, move in the direction your heart and soul want to go, because they are relentless and will never rest, even if you do.

And if you’ve truly tried all of that and you’re still not happy, then maybe you should move.

Aside

Hi!

So, I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while now.  Since my LiveJournal in college (which I went back and read recently, to find it was embarrassingly revealing and personal – I wonder how many people are now going to try and find it.pleasedon’t.), I have been unsuccessful at maintaining a blog.  I have tried a few different ideas for themed blogs:

  • Pretty Girls Live Charmed Lives: a blog about how if you’re smart you can use your looks to get free stuff (i.e. hair modeling for a free hair cut, free admittance to events by agreeing to wear a cute dress and mingle with the crowd, etc)
  • I Wish I Was Gaga: a blog to coincide with my cabaret idea based on the idea that defining a person’s identity based on gender, race, profession, hair color, background, religion, etc is ludicrous and frustrating.
  • Taking The Plunge: a blog where I write about every audition I go to in NYC and give advice about living the life of an actress here.

I still think that all of these are good ideas, but I can’t seem to stay interested in one topic long enough to write a continuing blog about it.  Really, my fear is that my fan base would become so ginormous that there would be a riot when I inevitably lost interest and stopped writing.  I can’t take that kind of pressure.  I already disappoint people enough by forgetting to respond to text messages.

So, I figured that I would just start a blog where I can write about anything and everything.  I don’t find myself very interesting but I am aware that I am doing something that everyone can relate to – I’m following my dreams.  I’m a girl from a small town in Northeast Georgia who moved to New York City all by herself to pursue a career in acting and singing.  I’ll admit that that’s pretty awesome.

I also have thoughts from time to time that I think the whole world deserves to hear.  Who am I to keep all this brilliant insight to myself?

Ha.

Did I mention I’m hilarious?

And modest.

So, yeah, this is my blog!  I hope you like it :o)


#1 – Where I explain my blog (AKA Disclaimer)