Friday, 24 February 2012

Looking Forward / Looking Back...

The past couple of weeks have been a little slow for auditions.  It's times like these where I have to try extra hard to keep my head on straight and power through.  By some bloody miracle, I had a HUGE cleaning binge this week and I gotta say, it's helped to keep things in perspective!  What is it about having a lot on the brain plus laundry all over the place that can cause a minor meltdown?!

I also decided to personalize our little office space.  I got some cheapo frames from Ikea and a little bulletin board and put together an inspiration board and a tribute to some of the acting work my boyfriend and I have done.  

Looking Forward:

Inspiration boards get a bad rap.  All you need are some pictures that make you happy and motivated and remind you why you're doing what you're doing.  I have a fantastic picture of Diane Keaton and Richard Pinter on mine and just the look on Pinter's face reminds me of a very important lesson he once taught me in class at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre:  "Who will take over for the other great actors?  Why not you?".  

Put a little board together and make it filled with things that make you excited about the future. Somewhere to stick quotes that you find remarkable and energizing, somewhere to put pictures of friends and family who believe in you.  These little things can make a big difference on an "off" day!

Looking Back:

When you don't book a big part, or things are a little slow in the industry, I find it really helpful to remind myself of where I've come from.  The "whore" (read blog entry if confused) can tell you that nothing is going on in your career at the moment but that's not true.  Everything you have ever worked on is behind you, backing you up on your journey.

I really think this applies to all kinds of work.  Sometimes if you find yourself in a field that you don't want to be working in, or studying the wrong subjects in school you may think it's been a waste of time, but every experience gets you to where you need to be!

This wall is small for now, with just a few of our favorite projects displayed, but it's nice to have a visual reminder of how much can happen in a short period of time.  THe top row of pictures are from films that we have shot since moving back to Toronto, all of which are being submitted to some very major festivals around the world.  So, "whore", you can put a cork in it because even if I don't have any auditions laid out at the moment, I've got some great work behind me which is keeping the ball rolling.  Ha!

If you're feeling like you're in a rut, but want to do a little fun work, make yourself a board, or a wall to keep you positive.  Positive thinking can change everything!

Half Marathon Update...
Not too much to report but today is my longest run yet (4 miles) and it's a blizzard outside..oooookie dokie.  To the treadmill!  Wish me Luck!

xoxo Allie

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Training and Tidbits

After weeks of anticipation and the finale to my "26 days of fitness challenge", it's time to start training for the  Goodlife Half-Marathon in May!

As someone who is relatively new to running, I've spent a lot of time online figuring out what the best training schedule will be for me.  I've taken into account the suggestions from a variety of fitness disciplines, including crossfit to come up with this schedule:

The main points that I have learned from crossfit instructors are to keep up with the strength training and to incorporate sprints into each training week to increase endurance.  I've barely begun this plan but I already feel like it's a good balanced regime for me.  After the intensity of the workout challenge, having full two full "rest" days is awesome, and as I've realized, incredibly important!

I'm happy for suggestions from anyone in terms of tweaks, so please feel free to leave your comments.

And as for my careeeeeer...

I'm starting to realize how essential it is for me to take care of myself in all respects in order to be at my absolute best in auditions.  Sounds pretty basic but it's easy to let things slide and convince yourself otherwise sometimes.   My goal for this week is to respect every element of being in a great mindset for             acting.  This includes:

  • Fitness
Almost any actor that you talk to will agree with me that your body is your instrument.  It's SO easy to get caught up on weight and appearances.  Instead of focusing on the scale, I am going to go into each run or workout thinking of the confidence that I will take with me into my next audition as a result of my exercise.  It also just helps me clear my head and keep things in perspective!
  • Networking
The whole business side of acting is a complicated balancing act of staying in touch and keeping doors open without pissing anyone off.  It's very easy to think that your talent will take you as far as you want to go but I've come to realize that it's not always the case.  Keeping in touch with important people and letting them know how you are doing and what you are working on is not something to feel sheepish about, and this is something I need to keep reminding myself.  So this week, I'm going to get in touch with my mentors and other people I know in the business and send some packages out to TV shows that I want to audition for.  Also - things like updating the ol' website and getting new business cards are some practical steps I can take to get the other side of my career in shape.
  • Sleep
There are lots of benefits to not having a typical 9-5 job as an actor but there are also some downfalls.  One of those is when you don't have to be up at a certain time in the morning, it's easy to stay up too late and sleep later than you want to.  Problem is - this schedule or lack thereof does not help in creating a working mindset in the morning.  Artists have to put in the same time as any other working person, and getting up and starting the day at a reasonable time is the first steps in being productive.
  • Nutrition
I follow a paleo diet in my day to day life and have for the past 6 months or so.  When I follow it properly that means that I don't have any processed foods in my diet (including dairy and grains!).  It may sound extreme, it may sound like torture but I swear to you if you try it for 30 days, you will never go back.  My energy is better, my digestion is better, and I just plain feel better.  I will do a full blog on this soon, but if you're interested, read Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution.  I am not a robot.  If I'm out for dinner with friends and everyone's getting pizza, I go for it.  If it's a beautiful day off, I might have some frozen yogurt.  It's not as extreme as it sounds but after cutting these things out of my diet I realize I'm happier and healthier without them.

  • Education
This is something that I definitely have to make more of an effort to keep on top of.  Education at this point for me means staying on top of training, reading plays, seeing theatre and making sure to stay on top of what is happening in the entertainment scene in Toronto.  I'm going to try to spend a little time every day educating myself!

Hope this inspires an actor who needs a little push.  Take care of yourself :)  You deserve it.

xoxo Allie

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Perfect Winter Wedding

This is some of the best stuff life has to offer.  Incredible people coming together and celebrating an amazing relationship.  This weekend, my big sister Sarah was married to her fiance Bill at Oslerbrook in Collingwood.  It was an outdoor cermony (they are super athletic and love winter sports), so the weather holding up and showing some beautiful snow had all of us crossing our fingers for the last month!

The snow came, right on time, and it fell throughout the short but sweet and full-of-love ceremony.  Betty, their beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog walked down the aisle with a double string pearl necklace (which she was very excited about wearing!).  Jose Gonzales' rendition of "Heartbeats" played as we, the bridesmaids, walked down the snowy aisle.  As Sarah emerged in her GORGEOUS gown and fur shawl, Bob Marley's "I Don't Want to Wait in Vain" played.  It was perfect.  The biggest reason it was such an incredible wedding was because of the two individuals coming together.  Sarah is truly one of the strongest, most beautiful, hilarious creatures on the planet and I am so blessed to call her my big sister.  Bill is her perfect counterpart and I cannot be happier that they found each other. I love him so much and am so excited to call him my brother in law.

Because Sarah and Bill are so active, and avid "Cross-fitters", there were some pretty strong and healthy looking guests at the wedding!  It was pretty awesome dancing the night away with some of their gym buddies.  Work hard, play hard!

Moving home was the right decision for me for career reasons without a doubt, but it's also been the right decision for me personally.  I am so happy that after the ceremony I didn't have to fly off to NYC and not see them for a few months.  I want my life to be here right now and make up for a little lost time with my sisters, friends and other family.

I did a fairly spastic speech at the wedding but incase I didn't get everything across that I wanted to I hope this blog helps.  Sarah and Bill are celebrating their honeymoon/first Valentines Day as a married couple/Sarah's 30th Birthday in Costa Rica now.  Cheers to you both Mr and Mrs Pain!!

xoxo Allie

Monday, 6 February 2012

"11 Random Things"...

If you read my last post you know all about my dear friend Krysten.  This lovely lady just tagged me in a "11 Random Things" post, so it's my turn to share.  Here are the rules:

1.       Post these rules (done and done!)
2.       You must post 11 random things about yourself
3.       Answer the questions set for you by the person who tagged you
4.       Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5.       Select 11 peeps and tag them on twitter, facebook, or on their blog

11 Random Things About Me:
1. What is your theme song for this year and why? 
         This is a very difficult question for me because I'm a little obsessed with music.  I literally just downloaded a new album (Bon Iver's "Bon Iver") which I can't believe I don't already have on my ipod.  I'm listening to Fleet Foxes like crazy recently, and other fairly mellow tunes but when I'm workin out - it's all pump up music and I LOVE IT!  
        So I'm going to say, tentatively, that my theme song for this year is "The Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga.  Some awesome things have happened in my career in the past year and although I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket, I have high hopes for "Footsteps", which has its first private industry screening in LA next weekend, and I'm also really excited to see what happens with "Memories".  I also feel, more than ever, that great things are just around the corner.  I can't wait to spend the summer performing in Millbrook.  This is also the year that I will accomplish my goal of running a half-marathon (Goodlife in  May!).  So I really feel like I'm on the edge of something great,  and I'm really excited for what's to come.  I also just watched a special on Lady Gaga and am pretty blown away by her positive attitude and general confidence.  She's like a modern day May West, whom I LOVE!
2. What is the one thing you could never live without?
Sarah and Meg and I having some quality tub time
        Do people count for this one?  I'm going to go ahead and say yes.  Although I do depend on my magnesium pills these days for ahem, digestion as well as my chocolate and red wine, I can easily live without those things and there are two people that would be nearly impossible to do without; my sisters.  We have SO much fun together it's insane.  One of my fave things to do with them is have dance parties, which happens pretty much everytime we see each other.  They are the most incredible duo that you could ever hope for in family.  They are hilarious, kind, generous, and so incredibly patient and helpful.  They are my best friends.  I will always have their backs and I know they will always have mine.  I am working on Sarah's wedding speech right now which is really difficult.  I feel like there is so much I need to fit in to a tiny little speech.  I am so lucky to have them.
3. Who or what inspires you?
        So many things inspire me and totally inconsistently.  Some days I'll stick on a great tune and I'm amped for the day.  Other times I'll read articles about actors I respect and admire or watch movies with parts that I know I am right for, and I feel a blast of motivation and inspiration to keep truckin. My family and friends (esp those of you have been tagged in this!) are an incredible inspiration to me and have always provided an insane amount of support, so Thank You!
4. What is your dream vacation?
        My boyfriend Andrew and I have never been on a real vacation together before, so anywhere with him would be fantastic.  I'd love to go to Paris with him and bike around the city.  I'd also love to go to Italy with him and enjoy the amazing food and beautiful cities.  I think it'd be pretty darn romantic.
5.  Brag time, tell me what you are most proud of accomplishing?
        My last year living in NYC, Andrew and my friend Katie and I started a theatre company and produced the world premier of a play called Vincent 1979.  Andrew and I also acted in the show.  I was scared out of my mind to actually commit to doing it, but I knew that once we had said the words, we could make it happen.  We raised over $7,000.00 and did a two week run of this amazing play at The Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan.  We had an incredible group of actors including Suzanne Shepherd (Goodfellas, The Sopranos), and Lawrence Jansen (Damages) and was directed by one of the best acting teachers in the world, Ron Stetson.  The amount of support we got from out families was absolutely incredible.  Everyone came down from Canada on closing night and we closed with a big bang and a huge party.  When things feel tough, I remember that we did that, that we made it happen and I literally feel like I can do anything I put my mind to.  
6. Sparkles, yea or neh?
        ABSOLUTELY!  Love Tom's sparkly flats.  Need to get a pair of those.  I also occasionally sport a sequined top, although I always regret it because it feels like a torture device.
7. What is the best thing you ever ate?
        A meal at "Blue Hill at Stone Barns".  It's a farm-to-table restaurant in upstate New York and it was literally the most incredible meal of my life.  I had to close my eyes I was overwhelmed with flavor!  Awesome cocktails too.  If you have a very special occasion or are in New York and feel like treating yourself big time, GO!
8. What is your guilty pleasure?
        I love watching TV shows that I hope to be cast in one day.  I get a little obsessed.  I'm watching Bomb Girls right now and loving it (sad that the season finale is this Weds!), and I also LOVE Being Erica. Those are some quality Canadian shows!
9. What is your favourite form of exercise?
        Dancing!  At Theatre School, ballet, jazz and modern dance was a part of our curriculum and i was in heaven. I even got to use pointe shoes in ballet which I always wanted to do when I was little!  
10. What are you afraid of?
        Failing.  I am trying to keep this in check (check out my "The Whore and How to Conquer Her" blog).  Every now and then, I get overwhelmed for whatever reason and plagued by self doubt.  The thing I keep telling myself is:  I'm doing what I love, and I never have to doubt that.  I am happy and even though things might be a little simpler in my life than I would like in the long run, I am happy.  The rest is all material, and isn't what life is really about.
11. Who is your celebrity crush?
        OMG Ryan Gosling.  Have you seen Crazy, Stupid, Love?!  As if I needed any more reason after The Notebook.
Ok, my questions are:
1.  Who is the one person you would make sure to thank if you won a huge award (oscar, nobel peace, whatever applies!), and what would you say?
2.  What's your favorite thing to do on a day off?
3.  If you were able to go to any concert in all of history, what would it be?
4.  What's the wildest thing you've ever done?
5.  What short term goal do you have?
6. What long term goal do you have?
7.  If you were stuck on an island and could only bring 1 item, 1 food source, and 1 drink other than water, what would you pick?
8.  If you could have dinner with anyone in the world right now, who would it be?
9.  Who is your biggest fan?
10.  What's your favorite breakfast?
11.  Who was the most influential teacher in your life?
And I am tagging... 
Megan Dunbar
Sarah Dunbar (almost Sarah Pain!)
Jane Currah
Stephanie Case
Anne Case
Kim Foley
Katie Venezia
Edwina Haddon
Jennifer Rosart
Lauren LaCaprara
Kirsten Temporale
        For the skeptics - I know it may seem chain letter-y but it was really fun to do, and I'd love to hear all of your responses. 
xoxo Allie