Go Big or Go Bust: Day 7 (on Progress and the Directing Actors workshop)

Totally exhausted by the stress and the effort of trying to *do my best* at the Directing Actors workshop but newsflash: I developed something like laser vision which lasted pretty much all weekend.  Thrilling is not a strong enough word for what it felt like to suddenly be able to see what’s not working in a scene and then to apply Adrienne’s tools and direct the actors to make it come more alive.

Beyond happy with the work Arabella Oz and Josh Mendelow and I did on this scene.

photos by Michelle Chai

photos by Michelle Chai

ARABELLA Stands JOSH sits.jpg

Now I'm pretty sure I managed to alienate some of the other students cause I just had SO MUCH to share but guess what?  It didn't feel like hot coals burning through my cheeks or the chorus of "Shame  SHAME!" echoing in my head.  I didn't even care that much.  Is it possible that I've turned a corner with the chronic people-pleasing.  Whattt??  Really?

This new recklessness has to have been at least partly because of our teacher Adrienne Weiss who is brilliant and hugely supportive.  It also had something to do with my very talented and generous fellow students who put themselves right out there and made me feel safe to do the same.  Here are two of them, Michelle Chai and Yianna Dellatolla.

(l to r MIchelle Chai, Yianna Dellatolla)

(l to r MIchelle Chai, Yianna Dellatolla)

I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself photographing everyone in the class like I was a  reporter or something so you'll have to fill in the rest of the picture with your imagination. 


Go Big or Go Bust: Day 6 (on People-Pleasing)

I’ve never been crazy about life on life’s terms because I often have agendas.  One of these has often been to please people.

So instead of being perfectly open and forthright and transparent all the darn time, I’ve sometimes pretended that things aren’t the way they are.  “Yes yes yes, SURE, I can talk!”  And then I end up having to say “Sorry!  Gotta go!”  out of the blue and in a hurry because other obligations are pressing and I actually can’t talk.   

Another of my favorite dark corners, the “What?? You emailed?” has been wrenched away without so much as a fare-thee-well with the arrival of Sidekick and Streak  (“Horrifying Apps Inform People When You Open Their Email”)  Now you can’t even hide behind a little white lie.  

I for one do not like to be cornered but who would ever have imagined that our laptops would be force-feeding us moral fiber.  
One could look at my only recourse as *timely* when it’s actually *long overdue*: drop the people-pleasing.  

Coincidentally, Adrienne Weiss, the teacher of my Directing Actors Workshop,  addressed this very issue the other day.  People-pleasing not being an ideal character trait for a film director, with one little anecdote, she made it clear just how easy it could be to let go of this ball and chain.  The essence of it is: “Stop trying to make them like you!  It’s clear that they already dislike you!”  

Sort of like ripping off a band-aid.  Or instant death by a samurai’s sword.  Definitely beats the slow, horrible alternative trying to be the most popular girl in the class all the way to the grave.

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 5 (on clutter and "GIRLS")

Serious fixation on no clutter.  Serious fixation.  Lotta lotta energy into picking up.  Into tossing. Everybody else is apparently binge-watching all the new shows, kicking back and yucking it up on twitter and facebook.  I can’t remember a relaxed minute on twitter or facebook.  As far as recent television … there was that first episode of GIRLS.

The upside: there’s not one stray piece of paper, not one dirty plate on any surface in sight. 

We all have our priorities. 

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 4 (on morning habits, time management and walking the plank)

5:45 AM  Slept like a rock.  Plenty of time to free-write, do some yoga and pick up around the house. Actors showing up at 9 for the rehearsal.  Lighting a little candle.

6:58 AM  So important to do these affirmations… get the panic down to a manageable level.

7:30 AM  Fingers so cold I can hardly hold on to a pen.  Why isn’t the heat coming up?  It’s sposed to be up by 6:30.  Calling Mark.  Putting on extra layers.

7:38 AM  Benefit to living in a 40º apartment: mittens double as pot holders.  Time saver.

8:15 AM  Boiler guys apparently “on the way”.  Love my little yoga routine.  Some days it's littler than other.  Where the heck are those notes I was going to type up for rehearsal? 

8:36 AM  Boiler guys here.  Shouting.  Banging on pipes.  Trying to think about the Pinch and the Ouch for the actors.  (BANG BANG BANG... "Yo!")  Gotta remember The Turning Points.  ("Excuse me, you gotta a phone I can use?")  The Contrary Expectations!

8:55 AM  Heat coming up.  Boiler guys leaving.  Deep calming breaths.  I'm going to be calm.  Going to be grounded.   Going to be present to DO MY JOB.   But there's the problem.   I don't just want to do my job.  I want to do it well.  I actually want to do it brilliantly.  And working with wonderful actors Arabella Oz and Josh Mendelow, if it isn't brilliant, the problem is obviously with the direction.  Meanwhile, it's important that The Director be an authority.  PRAYING that they won't see through my life-like veneer into the snake pit.  

We present the scene on Sunday night.  I'll keep you posted. 

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 2 (on transparency and Jill Soloway's keynote)

Clinging to the idea that this vulnerability journal is a good idea because I would love to be a party to someone else's night terrors.  But anxious.   I'm not naturally transparent.  What if I get self-conscious - even about this free-writing?  What's THAT going to lead to?  DEATH.  Certain death.  Googling Jill Soloway's keynote.  

Jill Soloway                                                                                                       photo by Emily Shur

Jill Soloway                                                                                                       photo by Emily Shur

Go Big or Go Bust: A Journal About Launching "The Louise Log"

I’m not an actor.   Actors share their vulnerabilities, their secrets.  They’re all about self-revelation.  My entire life has prepared me to hide. 

You may have seen me in a video during our crowdfunder trying to get paper towels to keep my marriage intact.


and, more recently, in this video talking to radio Psychic Dan Logan about getting on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  These appearances were strictly for promotional reasons.   I was crowbarred out from behind the camera, against all my instincts.  

And guess what.  For better or for worse, my plan for 2015 is to continue down this terrifying path.  Go Big or Go Bust, a new reality web series about my challenges in marketing The Louise Log will be coming to you soon. 

My fear of doing this is trumped by my horror of watching seven years of work, 44 episodes of The Louise Log, slip into oblivion while other web series are breaking out, getting recognized and even making money.  

So but... why this?  I have two words for you: Mudd Lavoie.  Blame it on Mudd, the 800th person to like The Louise Log on facebook who is some kind of social media marketing Genius.  She's also a passionate and very convincing person.  I'm following along like a lamb to the slaughter.   

And so, in 2015, the plan is to radically change my life, to break out from behind the camera and barge into the frame, to let down my guard and surrender, to willingly walk into situations with a camera rolling where I’ll look vulnerable, possibly ridiculous and definitely not in my comfort zone.  Forget about whispering, I’ll talk in a regular voice and may even scream from the roof tops.  I hope that I’ll swap out demure for assertive and follow Amy Cuddy’s advice to take up space, that I’ll forget about how I look and be the bulldog powerhouse I usually only show my closest family and friends.  

In between the videos, I’ll be blogging short journal entries and hoping someone’ll want to follow along screaming “TOO MUCH AIN’T ENOUGH!!”.  That was a joke.  

I'm so glad you're here.  And I'm...  scared out of my wits.  

Here goeees!  

About Ellen DeGeneres: (part 2) 25 hours = 3800 views

NO idea of what is going on but here's what our youtube analytics look like, yesterday at 1PM:

Today at 2PM:

One thing that's certain is that this would not be happening without the support of friends of this show for the past 7 years...  WE WOULD NOT BE HERE. 

Without your clicks and precious comments, encouraging emails, social media sharing, contributions of hard-earned cash to our Seed&Spark Crowdfunder, votes on our PBS/WNET !3 run, clicks on the Shorty Award campaign ... WE WOULD NOT BE HERE.  This would NOT BE HAPPENING.  This is the victory of the little web series that could because of its amazingly fierce and generous fan base who made it possible for us to KEEP GOING.  

I thank you from my heart.  Video coming soon starring yours truly heaped with gratitude.  


Eve Ensler @EmilyBest @seedandspark @adelscreenwri @muddlavoie @brideofrocknrol @ryanstansky @louiseedington @caro @shericandler @SusanMillerNYC @devt @mollydcampbell @annsrants @GDRPempress @annalefler @scarymommy @HaBarb @KarenandWendy1 @diggsyt @DailyDimmick @nataliegrillon @jackieschklar @FunnyNotSlutty @_elena @spidvid @frankthurston @carlaflou @jeremycampbell @robinobryant @devt @brickdoc @KatieTibaldi @Xiane @ShiningStrong @JuliaWrona @EitherOrFilms @erinmargolin @mizbohemia @marinkaNYC @ComedyVan @PLSSTREETTEAM @kimcummings @luciwest @christinagausas @allisonsilvermn 

(This is just the tip of the iceberg...  Please stay tuned!)

In case you missed the video:

Henry Sheppard Says Farewell on Adelaide Screenwriter Due To Failing Health

If you're a writer for films or web series and are not aware of Henry Sheppard's blog, run don't walk over to Adelaide Screenwriter which will likely not be online indefinitely: Henry has just posted a Farewell post.  I'm not exaggerating to say that it is an incredible resource, a compendium of what every writer for any screen needs to know.  Henry Sheppard is also the author of the riveting novel Play The Devil which may be made into a television mini-series. 

I don't remember the details of how I met Henry except that it was on twitter and we hit it off right away.  Given his twitter name: AdelaideScreenwriter @AdelScreenWri I was fairly certain that I was talking to my doppelganger, a woman named Adelaide.  (One of my nicknames is Addie.)  

With his blog and beyond, Henry has been a model of generosity and selfless service educating and moving his readers with a wide variety of posts.  One staple is interviews with people in the business: from leading lights in Hollywood and beyond (writers and more) to unknown newcomers in film and web series, Henry has curated the juicy and the informative, allowed us to learn from the masters and sometimes put us in touch with each other. He alerted us to possible pitfalls in our attempts at promotion via Facebook and posts a blogroll every person interested in writing for the screen should adopt.  And that's only the tip of the iceberg.  

Above and beyond all of this accomplishment, Henry is an inspiration.  He's honest, he's got a wicked sense of humor and he's as generous as the day is long.  Thank you Henry for all you've given so freely. I am deeply grateful to have known you as much as I have.  It's a sad day on the internet. 

                                  photo from AdelaideScreenwriter    http://adelaidescreenwriter.blogspot.com/ 

                                  photo from AdelaideScreenwriter    http://adelaidescreenwriter.blogspot.com/