Saturday, February 28, 2009

Welcome- like my new look?

Howdy, folks!

I have finally moved by blog from my alias to my own name, and in honor of the occasion I spruced it up fancy-like.

Hope you like the changes! And, might I recommend clicking one of the links to the left to subscribe?

Erin =)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Digital Communication

I just went through a month’s worth of RSS feeds and found this blog entry by an old friend from 9th grade that I have recently gotten back in touch with. I read the blog and realized she was talking about me, and I wanted to post my response here as well as leaving a comment over there:

Again, the link to her blog:

And my response:

Yikes- you're talking about me, huh? And I never called you back. THAT is just plain unacceptable.

I suffer the same anxieties, which cause me not to use the phone. At all. For example, what if I call when that person is not there and then I am in phone tag hell? What if I call but I don't end up having the extended amount of time needed for the call? Will getting off the phone "early" make that person feel like they aren't important? The sad truth is that both action AND inaction cause these anxieties to come true, and it ends up being a self fulfilling prophecy.

I am busy, but that is no excuse to avoid returning people's phone calls. I am truly ashamed of myself, and I apologize. I just don't make people a priority on a daily basis, and then things get backed up. A week passes and I realize that I never replied to the phone call I received the previous week, and I am too embarrassed to respond. Vicious cycle. Ick.

Digital media makes things so much easier for me. I can write responses on my schedule and take as long as I need. I get to multi-task without offending anyone, which allows me to keep a high energy lifestyle. On the other hand, digital communication makes things harder, because now I am in touch with HUNDREDS of people instead of just dozens. And everyone expects responses to be returned immediately, and much of the time I just don't have the energy to engage that often. Even worse, digital technology has allowed me to hide from the phone and let that interpersonal anxiety fester.

Maybe I would be better off without email, and Facebook, and blogs, and texting, because then I would be forced to use more personal communication to relate to others. It would mean that I would have to limit the quantity of friendships I maintain. But each friendship would have more investment. I have been grappling with these thoughts for a while, so thanks for blogging about this and allowing me to express them (I think I am going to post this on my blog too- see link above...)

As a PostScript- Today is the 25th and I am just now getting to my RSS feeds (which is how I found this blog- I subscribe! So, in some ways I am paying attention...)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back... and better than ever

A update on things...

As you know, I recently got new headshots by Peter Dressel. We both liked our session so much that he offered me another session when he moved into a brand new studio! See some of the new shots here- I am really happy with my mix of studio and natural lighting shots!

Even on vacation you're never far away from networking. While out at dinner in Washington DC, I became acquainted with a regular of the restaurant who turned out to be the president of an educational multimedia company. Upon returning home, I had an email in my inbox with a proposal for a series of industrial videos. This producer has not worked with SAG actors before, so I am going to walk him through the process and hopefully he will hire union talent for this project!

I just finished a mailing to a couple of agents who have been referred to me by some other industry folks, and I am looking forward to setting up those appointments to see if we are a good match. In the meantime, I continue to self submit, polish my audition skills, and practice my craft. What a wonderful life!

Addendum: Per a comment below, here is a sneak peek at the photo session:

25 Things About Me

This exercise has been floating around on the social networking sites, so I thought I would post mine here. The idea is to write 25 random things about yourself, and then ask others to either comment on them to provide a few things about themselves. Here are mine:

1. I have a really, really hard time opening up to people in a meaningful way. Strangely, I have created a great cover for this, and most people find me to be open, friendly and easy to know.

2. I was a surprise pregnancy after fertility treatments failed for my parents. After months and months of painful shots and doctors visits, my mother accepted that she and my father would never have a child together, and I was conceived in the next month.

3. Sequences fascinate me, and I count things. Plus I have an unreasonable affinity for things being even/level. I have heard that each of us have a healthy dose of OCD, but this may be tipping the scales a bit (which frustrates someone who likes things “even”...!)

4. I was 20 when I lived by myself for the first time. It was in Los Angeles and it was just me and my 1 year old dog. The day I moved in, my apartment building was being filmed for an episode of “Cops” because of a violent domestic dispute. In the same month there was a shooting (drug deal gone bad) and a bloody brawl on the lawn right outside my window.

5. I am addicted to thrift store shopping. I get a rush. Seriously.

6. I am really handy with computers and technical geekery. I have been building websites since 1997 and have taught myself graphic design and video editing. But for some reason sound cables elude me.

7. I like putting my dog’s name into popular songs and then singing them to her. Like, “Imagine there’s no Denver. It’s easy if you try. No dog below us...” It’s a sickness, I know. But she begs for it, and she’s irresistible.

8. I become a bit rebellious when someone/something tells me that I have to do things a certain way. It impedes my creative energy, and I feel compelled to find a way around it. I like to think that I am simply an “outside of the box” or a “color outside the lines“ kind of person. Lucky for me, many people like me this way, so ”rebellious“ is viewed more like ”innovative.“ But now we all know the truth.

9. That being said, conflict makes me extremely uncomfortable. I hate it when people fight or are in conflict, so I end up jumping in to mediate. Thus, I am focused on things being equitable and am extremely diplomatic. How can I be rebellious AND a mediator, you ask? Instead of being incorrigible and antisocial, I try to use my creativity and charm to achieve the desired result, and both parties usually feel like winners in the end. That is my special kind of rebellion.

10. I have incredible beginners luck with games like pool, bowling, or darts. When I start to think I know what I am doing, everything falls apart.

11. I have been suffering from night terrors ever since the death of my father. I may have had them before that, but I only remember getting them in the last couple of years. If you don’t know what they are, I can explain them to you sometime. Or you can Google them.

12. My coaching business occupies many #1 searches on Google, which just baffles me. How can one little business coach command so much attention?!? I am pretty excited by it too...

13. After appearing in several episodes, I am now hooked on the TV show, ”One Life to Live.“ It never goes on hiatus!

14. From 4th-6th grade I was routinely bullied by a two boys, who would punch me, kick me, throw rocks at me, push me into walls... you name it. From 7th-8th grade, they recruited 2 girls to take over the bullying/beating. I was an easy target- I wanted so badly to be liked and I did everything I could to make friends. This kind of vulnerability is delicious to bullies, and they just ate it up. A regular Saturday morning ritual was cleaning toilet paper out of our trees and scrubbing profanity written with shaving cream off my driveway. And I often had to go to the doctor for serious lumps, bumps and bruises.

15. I have seen Helen Reddy naked. Up close and in person. I was her dresser when she brought ”Shirley Valentine“ on tour to Pepperdine University.

16. I owned my first condo at the age of 24. Two years later, I sold it for double the price I paid for it (thank you, housing bubble!) I owned my second condo when I was 29, sharing the purchase with my, then, fiance. Upon our breakup, I sold my share of the condo and used the profits to move to NYC. I probably will never have enough money to own in NYC.

17. I have dyed my hair A LOT of different colors. The only natural color is has NOT been is bright, carrot-top red. It has been brown, black, dark auburn, burgundy, blonde, blonde with a huge neon red stripe through the center part, and blonde with blood red peeking out underneath. If I was not an actor, my hair would still have neon or fluorescent type colors in it. I am too chicken to cut it, though.

18. I dyed my hair blonde when I did ”The Last Five Years“ in 2004. I had been wigged blonde 3 times prior to that, so I felt like the universe was trying to tell me something. I liked the color so much that I kept it, and I don’t think I will ever go back to my natural color (dark brown.)

19. I have an unusual affinity for cheese sauce. Double points if it is nacho cheese. I want it on everything!

20. I have double jointed thumbs, and so does my mother. I also have 1 pointed ear, just like her.

21. I have held a lot of jobs in my short life, and at almost every single one I was promoted. Many, many times I wished I could be the type of person who was satisfied with being a ”yes“ person- but there is something about me that makes me push myself to the top. It can be exhausting.

22. It is 1:54am as I am typing this. I really should get to bed.

23. Can any of you name the 50 Nifty United States, in alphabetical order, in under 30 seconds? I can.

24. My very favorite movie in the world is ”Spaceballs.“ The rest of the Top 5 are ”Austin Powers,“ ”Anchorman,“ ”Team America,“ and ”The Princess Bride.“ I like other, more traditional, movies, but these are the ones I would watch over and over.

25. I really resist telling people my sob stories, and this has been an interesting exercise in opening myself up to others. In a way it feels like redemption, particularly to those who knew me in my childhood. It also feels like a reckoning- acknowledging things from the past and present and really OWNING them.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Introduction to a new project

(Note: I am working on a brand new web series, for while I have the leading, title role (yay!) and I was asked to write a blog post about how I got involved. I got a little bit tickled by my own response, so I thought I would repost here...)

Oh, boy. Where do I begin? Tyler and I originally met in 2003 when he was recording a demo of his "ahead of its time" rock opera, "Pop!" A dear friend of mine was originally slated to do the demo but had to back out, and she recommended me! The rest of the introduction was a blur, but I know it involved lots of brainstorming, singing, playing and sharing Guinness at an Irish Pub while he feverishly smoked cigarettes. 

Since recording that demo in a dusty, live recording venue, we have collaborated on a cabaret demo CD for me, a wildly successful benefit production of "My Fair Lady" (where I was the sole soprano, thank you very much) and other random musings and escapades. We'd seen each other at our highest and lowest, shared loves and disgusts, and then... he moved away! Leaving me in my native San Diego, Tyler moved to San Francisco, and though we kept in touch the music all but stopped. Since then I have been suffering a mild form of depression complicated by obsessive overeating of cheese. 

Fast forward to October 26, 2008, when I receive this message on my Facebook Wall:

"Hey, doll face. How have you been? Do you visit SF often? I may have a script for you... I actually wrote it thinking of you (Tim helped too)..."

It bears mentioning... I got this message while on a shoot for another web series, so I was feeling pretty full of myself. (It also bears mentioning that I just had to look up that phase because when I wrote it it looked funny on the page. I don't think I have ever written that before; I thought I might have been making it up. But, no. It's a real phrase. Thank you.)

Back to the story. I visited the website, all quirky and whimsical. Yummy! I downloaded then perused the script. Note that Tyler didn't mention which role to look at, only that he had a "script" for me. I quickly dismissed the idea of playing Dante, knew I wasn't wrecked enough to play Angelica... and then I got all excited. He was offering me the title character! Rad! Awesome! Stupendous! I tore through the script, eating up every last delicious line of dialogue, imagining the press junkets about my fabulous portrayal of this mega-bitch from hell, and then my heart kind of skipped a little beat. Not a huge beat, just a little one, kind of like, "Oops, I think you missed something." There was this little voice echoing in my head, faint but getting louder while my heart did a tango.

"I actually wrote it thinking of you..."


Last I checked, I was not the devil woman. How on God's green earth could an angel like me inspire a spawn like Elise (that is A LOT of God reference for an agnostic. You can see how serious this was.)

The rest, as they say, is history. I, of course, said yes, and since have met the incomparable Collin and Quyen. I have adored Tim since the inception of time and imitate him on almost a daily basis.  I worked with Duey on a feature in 2006 and immediately knew we needed her rock star self with our production company. I am bringing other folks into the mix as needed, and I have a fantasy that my clan will slowly take over indie filmmaking in New York; that I can offer work to every person who has helped me; that people will finally recognize the greatness of collaboration (particularly with actors like me); and those who won't play the game will fade away into the ether, quietly or loudly, as long as they bow down to the superior vision of teamwork and partnerships and leave us to bask in our greatness. 

Holy crap. I am Elise. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

You can do anything on a train

There was a guy on my train today with rolling papers and tobacco... and he rolled a bunch of cigarettes. I don't know why this tickled me so much, but I could not stop giggling on the inside. And I despise cigarettes, so I don't know WHAT came over me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Pattern Emerges

I think I have mentioned before that the connections I have been making have finally started to come to fruition. There have been a number of auditions and opportunities that have come up simply because I have laid the groundwork through networking, or folks have seen and appreciated my work and now want to work with me. It has been thrilling, to say the least...

I am blogging from my iPhone as I head downtown to do some voiceover work for a feature I am starring in (due to come out later this year.) I'll blog more about the aforementioned opportunities when I am done.

In the meantime, here are the things I have done for my career lately-

- I added borders and my name to the 4 headshots I'll be printing, which will save me money on setup fees.

- I met with a fellow actor/acting coach over coffee and we agreed to start coaching each other, for free!

- I offered my time to a filmmaker to come in to do a table read for his next screenplay, and he accepted!

- I am in the final stages of revising my vocal demos. I am cutting the length and refining the footage/clips so that they highlight the best parts of my voice as quickly as possible.

- I went on several auditions. Yay!

- I helped a producer discuss casting opportunities for an upcoming project he is directing.

- I started blogging for my new web series (though the blog is not live yet.)

I know there are more but this is all my little iPhone can handle!

The Fine Print

All content in this here blog is released under a Creative Commons by-NC-ND license. That means you're free to share it, republish it, refer to it, include it in your wedding vows, whatever... PROVIDED you

a) credit me (with my name, my blog's name, and a link back to my site- displayed at the top of the blog)
b) you don't change anything
c) you don't use it to make money.

To view the license, click here. To learn more about Creative Commons, click here.

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