Archive for the ‘hollywood career’ Category

What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

(How to actually use this freakin’ quote to accomplish your biggest goals)

Happy new year! I hope you’re reading this blog having gotten rest over the holidays, feeling rejuvenated and excited about what 2015 brings.

Every new year brings the possibility of great things. And, January is different from other times in the year, I’m sure you’ll agree. Every year I look to understand what my goals are for the new year and what I can do differently and better to bring them about.

QuoteFailv2Many of you know that 2014 was a year of great accomplishment for me. After nearly a decade of trying to get several different feature projects into production, I directed my first feature, Saturn Returns, which I also wrote. We are now nearing the end of post-production. I’m happy to report that even after all of these months in post-production and years in the making, I still love it and I’m really excited to share it with you all.

Another big accomplishment for me was how my coaching business grew last year even when I was in the midst of making a movie. It was an accomplishment to be able to continue helping people accomplish their own dreams even as I was accomplishing mine.

And so, in examining what was different about last year, what finally pushed my big goals across the finish line in a way that hadn’t happened before, I’ve uncovered some new things to share. Here goes…


How Are You The Solution to Someone’s Problem?

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

I just recently coached my one month intensive Jump Start™, and something came up throughout the weekend that feels worthy of a blog.  It’s the idea of being the solution to someone’s problem.

Problem-Solution-ResultSo, let me back up for a moment and give this idea some context. Because, often in this business, we are highly driven and focused. This is not a bad thing, but it can have a downside. That downside is that in our drive and focus, we only think about ourselves.

And what that looks like day-to-day is a “me, me, me” attitude. We are only looking for the solution to our own problem—the person we need to meet, the thing we think they can do for us when we meet them, and so on. This can lead us to becoming that very thing we most loathe, desperate.


Get Re-Connected to Your Why

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Often, we spend so much time talking about strategy, that we neglect some of the fundamentals.  So, I’m going to spend a few minutes today talking about one of the most important things in your career, your motivation behind your goals, also known as your Why.


Your Why can look a lot of different ways.  You can be passionate about something.  You can identify with something.  You can have a dream or a desire or a love.  But, if you’ve been working on a project or goal for a while, chances are your Why has gotten buried a bit under the day-to-day demands.  The problem with this is that when we aren’t connected to our Why, it gets harder and harder to do the things we need to do toward our goal.  We feel unmotivated and we’re not sure why.

So here are 5 steps to reconnecting with your Why.

  • Go back to the first time you wanted to do what you’re doing. It could be the first time you ever wanted to act or write or direct or paint or produce.  Visualize that moment in time.  Where were you?  What were you thinking, feeling, doing?  Who were you with?  Close your eyes and recreate as much of that moment as you can.
  • What did that moment call up in you? A desire to do what?  Put that into words as clearly as you can.
  • Was there a change you wanted to make? A contribution?  Something you wanted to give or to share?


What is it time to let go of?

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

What is it time to let go of?

If you’ve been following me at all, you might know that I recently undertook a massive move with my family. My husband Gregory, who works in television most of the time, has described himself as a “FedEx package.” Meaning he gets shipped off to all sorts of locales for work. In the last two seasons months alone it’s been Mexico City, Savannah, GA, Atlanta, GA, Chicago, Toronto, Virginia, and Vancouver, BC. I might be forgetting one or two.

This is largely the result of runaway production. And since it’s unlikely to change in the near future, a few years ago we started strategizing a family move to a place where he’d be able to go to work in the morning and come home at night.

And so on August 1st Gregory, myself and our twin 5 year olds Niccola and Allegra all got into a u-haul pulling a car trailer and car alongside a mini-van packed to the top. We drove for three days and then crossed the border into Canada and pulled up at our new house in Vancouver.

Because Gregory was on the television show Fear The Walking Dead, the organization and packing largely fell to me. As you can imagine, it was a cathartic and confronting experience. We had lived in our townhouse for 11 years and in that time had gone from being a married couple to a family of four.

Over and over again I found myself asking the question, “What can you let go of?” And this question brings me to today’s blog.  (more…)

Create 2014: Design this Year to Be Everything You Desire

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Now that it’s the dawn of 2014, your mind is probably racing ahead to the days, the goals, the good times you want to see unfold.  You might still be relaxing (I hope you are!), but you’re starting to get antsy.  You might have thought of a few new year’s resolutions already.  But this time around, you want it to be different.  You want to really accomplish them!  Not just make them and then halfway accomplish them or give up on them.

If you haven’t yet done the Complete 2013 series of exercises from my previous blog, I highly recommend that you do them before starting the work below.  You can read all about them here.  It’s not too late to do them.  In fact, I normally do the completion exercises over the first weekend of the new year.  It just seems to work out that way.

Following, you’ll find Part 2 of the two-part structure, Create 2014.  As with Part 1, it will take a bit of time.  But, I promise that the reward of doing these two exercises will surprise you.  I do them every year and I love sharing this work with you all each year, to remind and inspired you.


How To Complete Your 2013 Powerfully

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

As the year winds down you’re probably having a few thoughts about how 2013 has gone.  Well, okay, probably more than a few.  And perhaps there are some ideas floating around about what you hope and dream for in 2014.

This post is designed to help you shape all these thoughts and feelings.  There are times that are great for musing, certainly. And once that’s done, some simple, effective structure can help you take those ideas, solidify them, and get to work making them a reality.  This is one of my favorite blog topics to tackle each year, and this year I’ve got a few juicy additions for you, so read on!

Following, you’ll find Part 1 of a two-part structure, Completing 2013 Powerfully.  This will take a bit of time, but the reward will surprise you.  I do this every year on my own, and this year I incorporated it into my special End of Year Velocity Day.  It’s truly my favorite work I do all year long.

First, I encourage you to carve out time for yourself.  Go somewhere that you can focus on this important work, but still be relaxed.  For me, it’s one of two favorite cafes.  An extra hot vanilla latte at King’s Road does wonders for putting me in the right zone.


The most risky choice is not making one …

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Do you ever find yourself unable to make a decision.  Vacillating between two, three or even more choices?

The choices seem momentous.  Or, maybe they aren’t huge, but you know that each choice has consequences.  Each choice we make takes us down a road, or further down the road that we are on, and you want to make sure it’s the right road!

So, we vacillate back and forth, weighing the options and the risks associated with each one, playing out the possible effects, unable to make up our minds.  Eventually life takes over and we find ourselves on a road of some kind, going somewhere.

I’m here to tell you that the most risky choice is not making one.

Seriously.  Not choosing is choosing.

What’s that, again?

Not choosing is a choice, although we don’t usually think of it that way or treat it that way.

The fallacy is that by not making a choice, we think we are keeping our options open.  We think of this state of being as having power, because we are withholding our commitment.  We think we can bestow our commitment on some choice in the future.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into this.  In the natural order of being, certainty trumps uncertainty, commitment and intention trump limbo.

As human beings, we crave commitment and certainty.  We need to know the sun is going to rise in the morning, or we can’t get out of bed, to bring it down to brass tacks.

So, in the absence of you making a choice, let’s be clear, a choice does get made.

What happens is that we allow others’ commitments, intentions and priorities to fill the void left by our own lack of commitment, priority and choice.

By not choosing, we allow others’ priorities to become your own. When you have a choice vacuum, it will get filled by others who have indeed made choices.

So what do you do when you can’t seem to make up your mind? 

First, give yourself a set amount of time.  Give yourself two hours or two days or until the end of the week to make a choice.  The scale and urgency of the choice will dictate how much time you should contemplate it.

Second, solicit input and advice, but do it carefully.  Not everyone is a good person to discuss your choices.  You need supportive confidantes who will also tell you the truth, not what they think you want to hear.

You also don’t need 10 opinions.  Two or three is a good number.  You don’t need to be even more overwhelmed because so many people are weighing in.

Third, make sure you are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges.  You might want to write down a pro and con list for each option so that you can see it in front of you in black and white.  Often once you do this, the choice becomes obvious.

Fourth, when you reach your deadline, make the best choice you can with the options and information you’ve got.  Commit to your choice and get into action.

Fifth, refrain from second-guessing yourself until you’ve given your choice a chance.  If you’re constantly second-guessing, you aren’t really committing to your choice.

If you find that you can’t seem to stop second-guessing yourself, then use the old time trick.  Give yourself a date at which time you’ll assess and then get back into action.  The assessment date shouldn’t be too soon or too far out.  But if you aren’t sure, then just set a date, and, again, get into action.

Sixth… Be empowered!  It’s your life.  You’re the dog, not the tail.  Have your life instead of your life having you.  You will make mistakes and the “wrong” choice sometimes, but you will have made it.  There is power and freedom in making choices, so embrace it!

Here’s to all your great choices…


Summer Reading to Inspire & Educate You…

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Summer is well on its way.  Okay, soon to be over!  But, this blog about books to educate and inspire you has been on my mind for a while, so here it is.  These books are good any time of the year…

My favorite book on Acting:  The Year of the King.   
This is hands-down my favorite.  And, I’ve read them all.

What do I love about it?  First, it’s incredibly practical.  Antony Sher really lets you into his head for his process.  He explains his challenges with the crazy amount of lines he had to memorize, for example, and how he conquered them.  He delves into moments that he doesn’t understand and how he makes sense of them.

Second, it’s quirky and funny and very authentic.  His voice is unblemished by any façade.  Third, the journal-style approach with his wonderful sketches is unlike any other acting book out there.  And, he humanizes one of Shakespeare’s great anti-heroes, Richard III, a man who tests most everything human.  If you haven’t read this  book yet, I highly recommend it!  You’re really in for a treat!


How You Know When You Need To Take A Break

Monday, July 8th, 2013

You’ve felt it before…  You’re not tired but you have no energy.  You wonder why don’t have any motivation to write, make phone calls, submit yourself, go to acting class, you name it.  You feel guilty that you aren’t “getting anything done” but you don’t know how to get out of your funk and back into action.

You’re burned out, pure and simple.  You need a break, but you’re having a hard time admitting it.  Maybe you don’t even know how to take a break.  Or what kind of break you need.

In our 24/7/365 culture workaholism is not just the norm, it’s demanded, even celebrated.  People want to know why they didn’t hear back from us right away.  We feel bad when we’ve not responded immediately, when we unplug for even a few hours. We feel like we are really accomplishing things when we work through lunch or dinner.  We feel bad when we take a day off, like we need some kind of permission.

Well, I’m here to give you permission.  I’m here to tell you to take a day off, a week off, a month off if you need it.  I’m here to liberate you from all the guilt.  I’m here to empower you to take the breaks you need to restore balance to your life.  These breaks will in turn give you creative and emotional juice to make great art and create breakthroughs in your career.


How To Work a Film Festival

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

This time of year is always great for me.  It’s the time of year when I celebrate both my birthday and my anniversary.  I met my husband at the LA Film Festival back when it was the LA Independent Film Festival and I worked there.  Meeting him commenced one of the very best parts of my life and has made for an enduring love of film festivals.

I also find film festivals to be inspiring and a great networking opportunity.  But, there’s a way to “do” them and not “do” them, I’ve found.  These tips and strategies are learned from the two seasons I spent working at the LA Independent Film Festival, and from attending countless film festivals as a filmmaker showing a film and as a film-lover enjoying the films and networking.

Here are my 10 tips for making the most of a film festival…

1)      Go.  Really go.  Buy a pass and get yourself to the festival as much as possible.  Get the pass that gives you both tickets to 5-15 films and access to the filmmaker lounge or networking lounge or whatever they call it.  “It” being the limited access location where you can hang out between films and where you’ll find filmmakers and other likeminded people.

2)      Select your films with an eye to the people you want to meet, but different films will generate different types of attendance.

There are generally 3 different categories of films.  By “categories” I don’t mean genres, I mean where the films are in the life of their releases.  For networking purposes, you need to know the types of films.  They are premieres, competition, and everything else.

Premieres and Competition:  Films that are premieres and in competition will be more likely to have the filmmakers present.  No filmmaker in their right mind will miss the world premiere of their film.  A world premiere will also likely generate the attendance of the actors and crew, so you’ll have a house full of people who worked on the film and a really fun and generous crowd.

Often films that are in competition will also be premieres, but not always.  Look for the designation “world premiere,” “U.S. premeire,” “West Coast premiere,” etc.  World premieres and U.S. premieres are the biggies and it goes down from there in terms of importance.  A film that has none of those designations and is simply playing the festival out of competition is the least likely to have the notable filmmakers attending.

3)      Do your research ahead of time.  Look at all the films that are playing.  Research the filmmakers.  See who is making the kind of films you are right for.    Watch their other work even if it’s only their reel on their website.  Think about what you’d like to acknowledge them for.

4)      Attend the screening with a purpose.  Once you’ve done your homework and are attending the screening, keep your eyes out for the filmmakers.  They will likely have a “filmmaker” badge—a specific color—with their name on it.  They will be lurking near the door of the theatre, hanging out nervously with an escort from the film festival.  They will be introduced before the screening and brought up for a Q and A after the screening.

Often the director is getting most of the attention, but the producers, writer, DP, actors and designers are attending as well.  This is an opportunity to introduce yourself and acknowledge these folks.  Be ready to share yourself in a short and powerful way.  (We work on personal loglines in Jump Start™ for exactly this purpose.)  If you’ve got a project you are working on, this can and should be part of your share.

By attending with a “purpose” I mean set a goal for yourself.  The goal could be “at these three screenings I want to meet and introduce myself to at least 2 producers and one director.”  Make it specific.  Give yourself some numbers.  Play it like it’s a game.

5)      Premieres generally have a party after them.  Most of the independent films that are premiering have an after party scheduled.  This is not the case for the studio films that are playing.  But, the smaller, independent films that are premiering at some level, will usually have a party at a local bar or restaurant.  And, if you go up and chat with the filmmakers after the film, they will usually be heading to the party and be happy for you, a supportive audience member, to come along.  You need to have your ears peeled for this info and have allowed yourself the time to go to it.  Go to the party!  Even if you feel like you might not belong, you need to go.  That’s where you’ll really get some good networking done.

6)      Don’t ask them to look at your work or give them anything other than a business card or postcard.  The introduction is the win.  At the event, just start a relationship.

7)      Definitely follow up.  You might have made some connections that led to exchanging business cards.  If so, that’s great.  Follow-up with an email and a Facebook friend request.  If it’s someone you’d really like to sit down with, invite them to coffee.

In your follow-up use all the same tools you used in first meeting them. Acknowledge, share yourself powerfully, and make a specific request that’s easy to say “yes” to if that is what you want to do.  Then, articulate how you will follow up if that’s appropriate to the email.  (For more on these steps check out my Audio and Workbook How To Open Doors.)

You might not have exchanged business cards, but I guarantee you that the film has a website with contact info.  The filmmaker most likely will have their own website with contact info as well.  Craft an email following up just like you would if you had their business card using the steps listed above.

8)      Ask to be kept up to date on the progress of their film and their other projects.  Most film projects have a newsletter, Facebook page, etc. that are used to build their audience and communicate with their community.  “Like” the page and subscribe to the newsletter.  Be generous in your support.  It will serve you because you’ll know what’s going on with the filmmaker and the project.  And, it will aid you in building a relationship with a filmmaker whose work you admire.  This is the basis for jobs later on down the line.

9)      Don’t neglect the people you’re sitting next to.   Filmmakers go to film festivals.  Producers, directors, executives, managers, agents, actors and designers go to film festivals.  The opportunity to network with the people in the audience or hanging out in the lounge is as important as the access to the people doing the Q and A.  Use all of the tools of Pitching Yourself Powerfully™ to make the most of these opportunities, too.

10)  Pace yourself.  It takes energy to watch films and meet people.  The LA Film Festival is 10 days long.  It’s a marathon not a sprint.  You will get the hang of how things work after a few days and become expert at all of the things I’ve outlined above.  But, you don’t want to burn out early.

Film festivals are also an opportunity to get re-invigorated creatively.  They are an opportunity to be reminded of why you love the movies and wanted to be in this very challenging business.

If you operate from this place of love and creativity and generosity, you are far more likely to connect with people in ways that make for long-lasting relationships.  I’ve made many friends at film festivals– met new people and reconnected with old friends.  As I said, I met the man who became my husband.  I also reconnected with a friend I met on the first day of college who became my very best friend on the planet and was the maid of honor at my wedding.

Think of a film festival as both an exotic plant hothouse and the Rose Bowl swap meet.  In that context, anything is possible.  Enjoy!