Let’s do it for the kids.

So I’ve been volunteering.  I’ve been doing Bookpals.  It’s a volunteer program through SAG/AFTRA foundation.  Actors are assigned to schools in the LAUSD and get to read to kids in the classroom.  I’ve been reading to a kindergarten and first grade class.  I love love my kids.  They call me miss Thi and as soon as they hear my knock on the door, they smile and look at me like I’m a hero.  The kindergarten class gives me a big hugfest after every session.  It’s awesome, it’s rewarding and it’s soooo fun! I love doing it! It’s like the perks of being a teacher without having to discipline or lesson plan.

Anyways, through doing this, I was invited to see a symposium about promoting children’s literacy.  We were presented with the problem first: 32 million US adults cannot read. 14 percent of adult Americans demonstrated a “below basic” literacy level and 29 percent exhibited a “basic” reading level.  Every 26 seconds, a child drops out of school in the US.

Then the panel, that was comprised of legislators and education board members, talked about possible solutions: starting at first breath and implementing literacy to kids in preschool, retraining teachers, and teaching parents to read to their kids.

Finally, the whole thing was opened to questions from the audience.

I had a burning question.  But I get mad stage fright.  So while the panel was going, I was having an internal conflict of whether I should go up and ask my question or not.  Finally, when the symposium was about to end, I stood up and asked my question. One of the panelist, David Crippins had said that there wasn’t a culture of success that is determined on being smart.  We have a culture of stuff, where it is implied that to be successful, you must own the best purse, the best phone, shoes or car.   This sparked my question. I stood up and said, “We live in LA.  We can create that culture of success through the media.  One of the best campaigns that was really effective was the no smoking campaign.  Can’t we do a campaign like that but for promoting children’s literacy and showing how staying in school is cool?”  Because I had stalled for so long, the panel didn’t really have time to discuss my question.  David agreed with me and then time was up.  The panel ended.

I was relieved that it was over and as I headed toward the exit, I was approached by a good-looking guy.  He gave me his business card and said that he liked what I had to say and wanted to further the conversation. The symposium was at UCLA and since we met there, I thought that perhaps he had gone there and maybe we would have common friends.  So I typed in his name on Facebook and to my surprise I found that he had a FB fan page with over 22000 likes.  Jeez louise.  His name is Colin Egglesfield.  He’s been in tons of things, the Client List, Melrose Place, All My Children.  This guy is super accomplished and knows how to get things moving, make things happen.  And he wanted to make a psa about all this happen.  Incredible!  We had lunch together a week later where I met his producer, Stephen.  Stephen connected us to a director, mike, and a month later, we shot the psa!

The psa is about listening to the kids.  Seeing if their school is supporting them in their dreams, is nurturing their unique gifts to share to the world, and is preparing them for life. Asking them what they need from their schools.  Asking them what they would do to make it better.  It’s a psa to bring awareness of the problem and spotlight all the different organizations and people that are trying to resolve this issue.

Colin didn’t have to include me in this psa.  He could’ve taken the idea and run with it.  But instead, he approached me and included me in all aspects of it.  From researching the stats to writing part of the script to even being on camera with him.  It was such a collaborative effort and I am so grateful that I got to be a part of it.  I kept saying to him, “you made it happen”, and he said to me, “no, we made it happen.”  Yes we did, but he made it possible.

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Initial look.

Use your resources.

As much as I bitch and complain about my day job (versus my passion job), I have to be grateful that it’s a restaurant full of creative people.  We’re made up of comedians, musicians and actors all trying to be in the industry.  Being in LA has given me the opportunity to surround myself with different types of creative people in different levels of their career.  I get invited to music shows, to screenings and to stand up.  I get to see people’s progress from working at the restaurant to being able to quit because they’re actually making it.  It’s inspiring and addicting.  It’s contagious, I want to be them. Be a part of them. Work with them.

And I have!

I’ve realized that I’ve met a lot of creative people, especially from the restaurant! And when we work together, we produce awesome things.  Every Xmas, a coworker of mine, Paul, produces a holiday cd that features the creative talents of our restaurant.  I was fortunate enough to be a part of this cd last year and this year.  And I would like to use this post to feature his production on my latest song.  I wrote it and rapped it, but he really put it together and I just want to share how awesome he has made it.  So check it out: https://soundcloud.com/t-nacious/watch-out-now

Also, looking at all my tracks on soundcloud, I’ve realized that none of them would have been possible without the help of my restaurant people.  Someone from the restaurant not only has always inspired me or encouraged me to produce these tracks, but has also provided the beats for me and has given it a production value that I could not do on my own.  Check them all out here: https://soundcloud.com/t-nacious



The War of Art

I know it´s been awhile but I guess I haven´t felt the need to update because nothing´s been happening.  I’m still not going out to auditions as much as I want to, I still haven´t booked anything, still at the restaurant etc. etc. etc.

It is now December and I’m forced to look back at this past year and evaluate.  I had made a list of goals last December for 2013 and most of it was not accomplished.  And I guess to summarize this past year, and I hate to admit it, but I must … I feel that this year has been my year of resistance.

For my acting class, my teacher made us read ¨The War of Art,” by Steven Pressfield.  I love my teacher and I love this book.  Pressfield says that the enemy of creativity is resistance. It is that destructive force inside human nature that rises whenever we consider a tough, long-term course of action that might do for others or us something that´s actually good. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. Any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower will elicit resistance.

For me, acting is the thing that is eliciting resistance. I am self-sabotaging myself. I am the one that is not auditioning, not booking, complaining about my representation and not doing a thing about it.  Why the fuck am I doing this? Fear. Fear that to put in all the work and to realize I’m absolute crap. Fear that if I actually book something, they´ll find out that I’m a phony. Fear that I’ll actually succeed…

I’ve been letting resistance beat me down for this past year.  I’ve been poisoning my own mind, chastising myself that I’m a nobody, that I’m never going to make it, I’m never going to book it, I’m going to be at the restaurant forever and that I’ll never find parking in la.

There´s this thing called the law of attraction.  What you think and obsess over, you´ll get. The universe will hear you and grant it, negative or positive.  So because I have such negative thoughts, what I believe about myself becomes true. Jeez, resistance is such a bitch right?

Alright, so first thing in resolving a problem, you have to admit that you have one. Resistance is her name and she´s a big fucking bitch.  I hate what she has done to me this past year. I am glad that I am able to recognize her hold on me.

So what to do?  Pressfield emphasizes professionalism and work. ¨The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying … because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen.  A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid.  Unseen forces enlist in our cause serendipity reinforces our purpose. ¨

This goes with the law of attraction, trust, faith, and Ira Glass.  What Pressfield says, I know to be true.  For example, this blog post.  I didn´t know exactly what I wanted to write. I didn´t know word for word.  But I devoted a time, sat down and started writing.  I’m not afraid of writing, so I felt no resistance there.  It´s not what I’m meant to do.  What I’m meant to do is acting.  But with so much resistance towards it, I’m paralyzed.  Then I make peace with my paralysis, thinking that since I suck, I should just not even try.  I should just not even work. And then what ultimately happens? What I most fear becomes true.

So, I declare that for 2014, my goal is to never lose sight of the dream.  To not be afraid, to have faith and to put in the work.  I can do this.