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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can you believe it, we finally made it to the end of 2019. This year has been the most fulfilling thus far. I think we all know it has been a complete dumpster fire with student loan debt at an all-time high, a reality star running the country one Tweet at a time and mental health issues increasing. I for one have taken this year to focus on being as healthy as possible mentally and physically. Sometimes that meant ignoring social media for weeks at a time since I was too busy working, working out, and going to acting class. I maximized my time by reviewing lines for my self-tapes on my lunch break and shooting them as soon as I got off. I’ve seen my self-tapes grow leaps and bounds in the shortest period of time. I’ve auditioned for various roles, Networks and directors I have admired for years and only dreamed of having the opportunity to work with. I’ve managed to juggle a full-time job, auditions, submissions, partner work, weight loss, networking, catching up with old friends and travel. I started a Youtube channel since I’ve wanted to for ages and thought it would be a fun way to dive into film. If you want to see the world through my lens please subscribe to my Youtube channel.
This year, I finally understood what my favorite acting coach was trying to teach us about life. So often we try to understand the lessons God is teaching us quickly so we can move onto obtaining whatever thing we are chasing – whether that thing is love, financial freedom, a promotion or a materialistic item. While I completely agree that these things are important the question, I always ask myself is what makes your heart sing? What do you truly feel drawn to? Sims always said, “Life is a journey, not a destination. You all are so quick to get the destination you skip over the whole journey.” While we all knew he meant we should stop and smell the roses, I truly believe it is so difficult to sit still and observe the world when there are so many distractions. Even as I went out to dinner with friends, we observed every other table in the restaurant on their phones while out with their spouses, children even the grandparents playing candy crush instead of engaging with their grandchildren. Honestly, it’s no wonder there is a mental health crisis. How can you tell if someone is struggling if you haven’t even noticed their change in body language, behavior and lack of communication? I for one am thankful for the group I have that enjoys taking the time to talk eyeball to eyeball and people watch while discussing our future plans.
As I flew to Chicago to join a friend on a last-minute girl’s trip, I realized I felt completely peaceful. I felt centered for the first time in a long time. Proud of the work I’ve done this year in my acting career and the shift in my day job. I stopped allowing other people’s comments to affect how I act and feel. I allowed everything to roll off my back like beads of water on a duck’s feathers. I feel hopeful that even though my love life can often be a dark comedy at times – that my person will come when he’s fully ready. I met a stranger who confirmed to me that he is coming, God just needed to work on him a little bit longer. Which immediately lifted a weight off my shoulders that I did not know I was carrying.
I am so grateful to God for safely allowing me to travel to Mexico and Chicago, to continue to love the woman I have become, pay off my car, and one of my student loans. I am so excited to end this decade and began the next one with 2020 vision as I carry all the lessons I have learned into the future. Cheers to you all! What are some of the lessons you learned this year?
First and foremost Happy Valentine’s Day darlings! I think Valentine’s Day is a beautiful reminder to appreciate the ones you love. Even if that means just calling them to say two things you love about them.
I picked up this fabulous off the shoulder side tie red dress from Abercrombie and Fitch. Which is on sale btw! This looks completely different than the Abercrombie and Fitch I worked at eight years ago, so shout out to their new buyer this linen dress is so beautiful!
I recently finished reading a book called The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo and it made me rethink my perspective on love. At one point in life I thought love was very black and white. Now I know there are tons of gray areas with love. Times where you are so drawn to someone that it is entirely magnetic and other times when you just get butterflies. Then just complete admiration for another person. You can read some of the reviews here to get a good summary. By nature I am a complete hopeless romantic. I love nothing more than great conversation, when a guy plans out a unique date and remembers the little things I even forgot I said. This always shocks my friends, because I’m often single and dating longer than I am in a relationship. I’ll be honest with you all, it’s because I have been afraid of commitment. Why? When I am in a relationship I am one hundred percent invested in my person. I use every spare minute I have to do what my guy wants, shop for the perfect birthday gift for him, plan a party, hang out with his friends and sometimes his family. The thing is in the past this has not been reciprocated. My ex’s have often been insecure due to rumors their “friends” made up, comments about me being out of their league or allowed their families to dictate who they can date and make racist remarks to me. The only thing I wanted was quality time with my man, who loves and trust me unconditionally and would stick up for me with his family/friends.
This past year I have taken the time to completely fall head over heels in love with myself. I have planned trips, taken acting classes, laughed with old friends over lunch, gone to viewing parties for my fellow actors, had drinks with some interesting people and honestly loved every minute of it. Ironically I had a four-hour conversation with a stranger about love, life, and marketing. Our conversation basically reminded me that through everything, I still completely believe in love. The kind that is patient, magnetic, passionate, selfless and comes when you are completely happy with where you are in life.
This year my Valentine is my fur baby who loves me unconditionally and I am completely fine with that! Do you think there are different types of love?