Women in Film Seminar

KeriElaine_Bookson_books

This past rainy Friday I had the honor of joining a bunch of women for a Women in Film symposium. Even though I was incredibly stressed on the way there due to the traffic caused by Trump visiting the CDC. (Yes, I too I’m surprised that he actually came considering he originally cut funding to the CDC but that is beside the point)! At the Women in Film seminar, we all spoke about the fact that we need to start creating more quality content on our own. Stop waiting for the perfect audition to come along and choose you. We are all storytellers and now is the time to start sharing those stories.

Michelle Obama International Women's Day
Photo credit here

The following women headlined as speakers Christine Adams from Black Lightning a series regular reoccurring – a dream role for many of us. Charlene Fisk a director and cinematographer who created a beautiful short film about her own coming out story. Caroline Slaughtera producer, writer, director, and actor who created a short film about the women who lead actresses to Harvey Weinstein. Sara Elizabeth Timmins the producer for the 6 part mini-series documentary Mcmillions. I’ve watched two of the episodes of McMillions and it really pulls you in. Listening to Ms. Timmins speak really made me think about investigative journalism. It’s a branch of film and gives the producer the opportunity to create the B roll that guides the story along.

womens-day-quote-shange
Photo credit here

At the seminar, we discussed how we all have so many stories to share and that we can’t sit and wait on Hollywood to come up with them, unfortunately, the majority of writers is not female therefore we need to be proactive in writing our own stories even if it means doing it on a smaller platform such as YouTube or spending the time to try to get on to Amazon or into different indie film markets. One fascinating way to go about doing that would be to think about the causes that really matter to you. I’m very passionate about Mercy Ships which is a charity that performs surgery on children that need their cleft lip to be repaired, helps with leg deformities, tumor removal and gives these children the ability to live a healthier life. If I was to do a movie involving a child with a cleft palate I could potentially reach out to Mercy Ships an ask if they would also like to Co-sponsor/promote said film this would be a great way to spread the message further and hopefully you get more people interested in the cause. Which would ultimately have a bigger positive impact for everyone.

I almost didn’t make it to the seminar because I was so stressed due to traffic and being an hour and a half late. If you know me I’m very punctual. It completely stresses me out to be 10 minutes late. I always like to come at least 15 minutes early if not half an hour. However, something in my spirit told me that I needed to be there that night and not to just skip out because I was stressed. That it was better to walk in late and be slightly embarrassed but receive the message meant for me then to stay home and wonder about what could have been.

inspirational-quotes-womens-day-9__880
Photo credit here

The symposium was in honor of International Women’s Day and I was very empowered to be around a bunch of women of multiple cultures all proud to gather and share how we can improve our film industry in Atlanta. How can we get more women working behind the camera? What do we need to change to help women become better writers? One guy even asked for tips on writing female characters. One woman brought up that we all have a nurturing side and an aggressive side a feminine and a masculine and that he just needed to listen to that side. We also brought up the Bechdel test, and that you do not need to use a rape scene as a way to make the character “stronger” or give her an arch. That women can build character through other trials and tribulations the character goes through. We can all implore to be better in the film industry whether that means learning how to edit, become better behind the camera learn how to execute sound instead of the usual costuming position or being in front of the camera. It was awesome to have a bunch of men also in the symposium since the only way to move forward is to have allies. I ran into my friend Brittany who I shot a short film with. We both agreed that we need to write and update our material because we work so well together.

inspirational-quotes-womens-day-141__880-e1489000838423
Photo credit here

As I drove home I felt light. I realized I was meant to come to the seminar that night. I ran into a good friend I hadn’t seen in over a year and now we have a project we can work on together. I met a couple of great women who are working on a play and may need some help directing, casting a role or backstage – which would be really fun and great for my resume. After all, I always love the intimacy of a black box theater the buzz of the energy in the room as the audience anticipates the show that’s about to begin. So often we let the stress of the day and the little things block us from our blessings. I just want to remind you to not allow the little attacks to detour you from your true purpose.

How Art Influences Film and Our Lives

After spending a lovely afternoon at the High Museum of Art I began to think of how art influences film and our daily lives. There are so many scenes in various tv shows and films that directors have mimicked from famous works of art. Django Unchained has done this, Frida, so have many others. If you are interested you can see more on YouTube here.

Thigh high boots, movement, beautiful black woman, blvgari sunglasses, High Museum of art.

Even in high school, we had to look through art books to find a painting to reference for inspiration for our Shakespeare unit and Chekov. I absolutely loved it. So many of my fellow actors wined and asked what’s the point. I pointed out that we get inspiration from everywhere so why not art. The paintings we used showed us how the character would dress, stand, their status and give us an idea of how this person would move throughout the world. I would often sit on a bench in the gallery building on Dreyfoos’s campus in high school just gaze at the work my classmates did. Some in charcoal, oil paint others in watercolor. I was always amazed at the amount of time and patience it must take to make a painting look like a photo.

Art is also used in marketing which has influenced how we shop since the dawn of time. Mad Men is all about an ad agency that copywrote for women’s makeup, household products, and other things. Now it’s used as the mock-up for commercials or editorial shots to get us to buy the latest trend, health gimmick or travel destination.  Just think about Andy Warhol and the Campbells soup cans. They didn’t know whether to sue him for copyright infringement or thank him for advertising their brand.

BCBGmaxazria Maje fringe bag navy high fashion black woman French art

Is there a specific film scene or art piece that has influenced you? I know in the age of Instagram ads people are more likely to buy a fast fashion item then see a piece of art in person, but Instagram ads are full of influential material whether it’s a luxurious vacation or the latest handbag. These are our modern art forms.

2018

Hello Beautiful people!

IMAG0593.jpg

I don’t know about you, but 2018 has been one long crazy rollercoaster ride. This year has been a huge year of growth for me. I learned the difference between being friends with people and being friendly with people. After all, some people are genuinely meant to be in your life for a reason or a season. Other people are there to push you to reach your full potential. In some cases that meant teaching me not to get too comfortable in my current job, not to trust so easily or let anyone else’s opinion speak louder than your own. So often I have let comments other people make prevent me from doing what my heart tells me. It finally clicked in my head that it seriously does not matter if someone feels you should have done “x” this way or you should not have pursued “x” degree. You are the only one who knows what makes your heart feel fulfilled. Just because someone else does not see your vision, does not make it any less real or important. I realized I’ve had a bad habit of hanging onto relationships purely for the sake of not being alone. This year taught me that there is nothing wrong with being alone. When you are patient the right people will come to you. The true friends that I’ve made over the years have made plans with me and popped up in Atlanta when I least expected. A couple even called and confirmed to me I was on the right path when I had been auditioning a ton and praying for a sign that I am in the right place and heading in the right direction.

Keri_elaine_amidsummernightsdream

My mantra for 2018 was nothing is permanent. Meaning if you don’t like something change it; change your attitude, make a plan and change your circumstances. Anytime I felt down about not being further in my career I reminded myself that my day job helps me afford to pursue my career on the side, build relationships, learn new skills, travel, take headshots, buy clothes for last minute auditions and live without stressing about how to make ends meet. Between the presidential election depression, most of the country went through and the Time’s Up movement I learned to fall completely back in love with myself. I’ve met some amazing casting agents this year and I look forward to cultivating a relationship with them. Overall, I am incredibly proud of myself for conquering my fear of traveling outside the US alone. I will admit I may have had a panic attack in the underground of London when I could not figure out which of the many tunnels directs you to the surface. Plus, two suitcases and 34,167,825 stairs can be intimidating hahaha. However, I am very excited to travel more in 2019. I met tons of kind strangers that restored my faith in humanity. I know this will come in handy since you never know what city or country you’ll shoot in as an actor. Now I just need to take some time to meditate and set my intentions for this fantastic new year. What are some intentions you’ve set for this new year? I’d love to hear from you!

Independence Day and the High Museum of Art

Happy Independence Day! I just want to take a moment to thank all the men and women who continue to protect and serve both in the US and around the world. It takes a lot to be away from your family, comfort zone and risk your life in order to fight for the freedom of others. One of these courageous young women is one of my closest friends. I am beyond proud of her for following in her father’s footsteps!

High Museum of Art Anna Hays Mershon Gallery, mirrored disk

I decided to check out the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. If you are a Bank of America cardholder, on the first weekend of every month you get free admission to the High Museum of Art! The museum does accept donations if you want to donate. I will warn you that parking can be steep (fifteen dollars) if you can not find street parking. This is the third time I’ve visited and I love how often they rotate out new exhibits in front of the museum and inside. There is usually an exhibit outside that children can play on. I love that these exhibits give children the opportunity to play and interact with the art while allowing kids to play outside instead of in front of a computer/tv screen.The High is currently displaying the Andy Warhol exhibit until September 3rd! Overall most of Mr. Warhol’s pieces are the typical pop art colorful pieces you would expect, there was one room that shocked my friend and had some more explicit photographs. I personally did not know he screen printed photos of cats and shoes.

Andy Warhol One Blue Pussy

Andy Warhol Shoe bright, shoe light, first shoe I've seen tonight. Pink shoe sketch

Andy Warhol to shoe or not to shoe

When I think Andy Warhol, Campbell’s soup cans, the Campbell’s dress and Marilyn Monroe screen print pop art comes to mind. So this was fun and educational for me as well.

Aluminum walls at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta

Mohommad Ali Andy Warhol

This is one of the interesting views on the Skywalk inside!

The High museum of Art Atlanta views brunette girl in white dress

I had to get a close up of this statement necklace to show you all. It’s from Forever 21 about six months back and I love the mixture of turquoise and silver. I thought it would go well with a white dress. I know I don’t have any red, but my nails should count!

Turquoise and Silver statement necklace with a white dress

After we left I had to take some fabulous pictures in front of this beautiful ivy.

Green ivy walls and a beautiful black woman in a white dress with cobalt blue shoes

Beautiful black girl with a white dress on and cobalt blue shoes, on stairs with ivy at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta

I hope today is spent with the people you love, sharing laughter and enjoying good food!

How to Pack for a Short Work Trip

This past Monday I left for a three day work conference. I have been working for this company officially since February, but finally received training at the Annual meeting this week. (The guys I work with have been great about explaining things when they have the time, but mostly I have just figured things out through trial and error). I was incredibly nervous about going on this trip, since it is a very conservative company and this is our corporate headquarters. I come from an incredibly liberal background, love the arts, I’m not big on most sports, I am not married and do not have kids. In my experience these are deal breakers in the South. So I prayed for guidance. I prayed that I would find some common ground with everyone and that I would learn a lot. So now that you have the backstory let’s look at what to pack!

Aladdin make up clutch, GHD, H&M and necklace

Be Wild & Wander palm leaf make up bag

For the plane to the reception:
1 pair of coral colored dress pants.
1 white top
1 statement necklace
1 blanket sweater
1 pair of sparkly flats
1 neutral/nude bra

Tip: I always bring one pair of socks to wear when you have to take your shoes off for TSA then I take them off and put them in a ziplock so I do not transfer athletes foot and God knows what else to my feet/shoes. Then, grab my extra pair of socks to put on and head to the plane! I knew I would have to go from the airplane to a work reception/dinner the first day. The next day is a full day of events, meetings, networking,then dinner at a country club. The last day is a half day ending with us heading to the airport after lunch. Now what should I wear for one full day of events and two half days? While you want to be comfortable you also want to look professional. I am a huge fan of color, unlike most people who opt for black and grey. So I thought I would put together a few looks that would work for the short period of time, but fit in a carry on.

Do not be afraid of color! Even in a conservative office people still love to wear color, whether it is a bright colored tie on guys or a bright shirt or lip color on ladies. Think of J.Crew and Lily Pulitzer, these two brands love to use color.

To sleep in:
1 long sleeve top
1 pair of shorts

I always think about the unexpected. You never know when an unexpected fire alarm may go off and you don’t want to risk running past your boss in a nightie.

Necessities:
1 toiletries bag for liquids
-face wash
-make up remover
-perfume roll-on
-deodorant

1 make up bag
-powder foundation
-liquid black liner
-black mascara
-a neutral shimmer eyeshadow
-blush
-pink lipgloss/stick
-mauve/nude lipstick
(Toothbrush and toothpaste of course).

To work out in:
1 sports bra
1 pair of work out pants
1 work out top
1 pair of sneakers

Bring work out clothes! Even if you don’t think you will have time to workout you’ll be thankful you brought the clothes to change into. Every time I bring a sports bra and sneakers I think okay, I can take at least thirty minutes to workout between events and dinner. It’s rare that hotels do not have a gym and even if yours does not you can walk around the area site seeing.

The Capital hotel we stayed in is owned by the same company that has the building across the street. There is a full rooftop gym with rowing machines, kettle balls, free weights, stair master, elliptical, oblique machine, balance balls, weighted ropes and nine arm machines. I made it a point to work out in between the check in time and dinner reception the first night. The view from the top was beautiful and if I wasn’t so tired from networking the next night I would have went back Wednesday morning!

1 bright high-neck dress
1 light colored cardigan
1 strapless bra
(The same pair of sparkly flats)

The second day I planned to wear a nice dress since we planned on heading to the Country Club after the day of training. I knew we would probably have thirty minutes until we needed to head to our dinner location so it’s better to be dressed up for the day. I always make sure to try on the clothes I am packing at home to make sure I have the proper bra for each piece of clothing. That way you do not have to worry about your straps showing and having someone adjust your clothing. I always pack a nice cardigan that I can wear over sleeveless dresses and stay warm in air-conditioned buildings.

1 red top
1 pair of black pants
1 blanket sweater
(The same pair of sparkly flats)

The third day I chose to wear the standard black pants and a red V-neck. This would be corporate enough and comfortable for the plane.

IMAG1520 (1)

IMAG1521

IMAG1536

IMAG1538

IMAG1514

IMAG1518

IMAG1515

IMAG1516

Above you will see some photos of the Capital hotel. The elevator of the Capital hotel is huge. The rumor is Ulysses S. Grant rode his horse into the hotel and needed the elevator to be big enough for his horse to ride up. I guess he parked his horse in the hallway when he went into his room.

Overall my trip went really well. I enjoyed learning more about my bosses and the Company we work for. The CEO is incredibly charismatic and enjoys taking the time to make everyone feel important. The other admins are fabulous older ladies who want to share their knowledge and uplift one another. (We’ve even started a share drive to help each other with new programs and tasks). I had a really great discussion with multiple people about enjoying this time in my life. As people asked me if I was married, had kids or how old I was I felt a little hesitant to share. (Most people in my company have been married for a minimum of 7 years and are in their late 30’s or 40’s). While I actually am very happy at this point in my life, I find people often try to shame you for being a single woman. Personally I think this is a short window of time where I am allowed to be selfish. I can take the time to travel anywhere I want without asking my man for permission. I can spend $300.00 on a purse I liked, because it is my money and I do not have to explain that to anyone. I’m also taking my time to seriously think about my deal breakers and needs in a husband. It is not a long list, but there are certain qualities I know he needs to have. Just like I expect him to have a list of qualities he is looking for. While I have literally been told by “loved ones” you need to lower your expectations no one is perfect. My response is, “I’m not looking for the perfect person, I am looking for the perfect person for me”. As far as I am concerned we meet when we are meant to, in the meantime I am enjoying this time spoiling myself.