Thursday, June 28, 2012

California, here I come?

I haven’t taken that many vacations since I became a feelancer. Why? Because every time I have, I’ve missed opportunities for auditions and work. Because I never know when a significant project will pop up. For example, I recently got a large VO project due in July.

For many years I’ve taken a trip to Romance Writers of America’s national conference. I say trip, not vacation, because the conference is so jam-packed with activities (from workshops to keynote speakers to book signings to appointments with editors and agents to catching up with and making new friends) that the day might start with an early morning breakfast meeting and continue through a late-night party. Yes, parties are fun, but because of the need to be “on,” not exactly relaxing. A friend and I stayed for a few days after the New York conference last year to see several shows....basically a long weekend, which was a lot of fun.

This year’s conference is in a few weeks in Anaheim. I’ve decided not to make another trek to California. I’d rather be right on the beach enjoying the setting and restaurants than spend the vast majority of my California time in a hotel near Disneyland.

And to get the most out of the events, I’d miss 4 weekdays. That may not sound like a lot to some who get paid vacation, but a big audition can pop up at any time. If I get a callback, my agent and the casting agency will know, which I might prove beneficial with future auditions. If I book the job, it means income and new/reinforced connections, and shows my agent, the casting agency, the production company and the client that I can do the work.

The occasional weekend getaway is the answer.  On the one hand, I might still miss work.  The Biography Channel pilot I’m working on shoots on a Friday and Saturday. I didn’t know if my character would be needed those days when I accepted the role. On the other hand, everyone needs time off, away from thinking about work and typing for hours on a computer responding to client emails, recording, editing and sending audio files.

When and where will my next weekend getaway be?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Technology I need to learn

Computer technology changes so quickly that it's easy to fall behind or miss out on useful features.  I confess I tend to put off computer-y things.  As mentioned before, I don't like trial and error and have found that many tutorials are slow-paced or take too long to get to or don't cover what I want to know.  In the past week alone, it's become clear that I need to spend more time learning and utilizing several sites, programs, etc. 

I'm a bit leery about diving into these as yet barely charted waters, but....

1) Twitter.  I already have some followers and keep hearing how this or that person connected with or learned from following some industry professional.  Yet so far, I've found reading tweets confusing and mostly uninformative.  And there are so many!  I haven't thought of anything useful to say.  To me, it's slightly annoying when tweets go directly to Facebook and you see a bunch in a row.  So I need to learn how to tweet effectively and separate the wheat from the chaff. 

2) Wordpress.  So that I (or with a friend's help) can quickly and more frequently update and add to my voiceover/on-camera site, my designer is transferring it to Wordpress.  More than one person has said it's easy to use, but I had trouble figuring out Weebly and I've heard Wordpress is more challenging.  The few things I've heard have been mentioned people who know what they're doing vs. explaining in layman's terms.  

3)  Cloud computing.  I do some, but options and ways to organize are numerous and confusing.  And I'm not sure how to benefit from some of the features of sites I'm on.  

What do you need to learn?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's in your head right now?

When you get a song stuck in your head, how do you get rid of it? Some suggest thinking of another song, such as the theme from Gilligan’s Island. But that might get stuck in your head, which could be more annoying than the song you replayed before....

And how do you let go of or stop thinking about something important going on in your (or a close friend's or family member’s) life, such as a huge audition, job interview or upcoming major decision? Often the higher the stakes of a given opportunity, the greater the possibility it could change your life or the more you want it, the more fretting or freaking out beforehand. The more dwelling and ruminating afterward...until you find out if you did or didn’t get it, or enough time passes that you’re comfortable that you made the right choice.

Preparation helps ease stress. Having a friend discuss options, approaches or pros/cons, run lines before an audition or ask those “where do you see yourself in five years” questions to force you to rehearse out loud can enhance confidence. Concentrating on enthusiasm instead of nerves, deep breathing and/or keeping busy so you focus on the task at hand are additional approaches.  Believe you've done the best you can.

On the other hand, learning from any mistakes may make you feel better about the next time. At recent auditions I've heard things like, “I should’ve worked more on those lines.”

So perhaps the most effective approach is to be in and enjoy the moment you’re in right now. Staying in your head, letting nerves get the best of you while auditioning or interviewing won't help you do better. Neither worrying about what ifs of the future nor living in the past enhance today.

This, of course, is sometimes easier said than done. “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale...”

How can you not think about that song now?

Thursday, June 07, 2012

FYIF wins National Inde Book Award

Find Your Inner Fabulous, my co-authored non-fiction book, won the 2012 National Indie Excellence Book Award in the Self-Help: Motivational category.

The national award is open to all English language books including small presses, university presses, independent publishers and self-published authors published in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Independent experts from all aspects of the indie book industry (including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters) select award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation.
FYIF focuses on seven valuable principles (including Be Present, Redefine Intentions and Forgive) and an eight-step roadmap (including Understand External Beliefs and Rewrite Internal Contracts) to provide readers with concrete methods for gaining greater self-esteem and creating positive change in their lives.  FYIF is available in print and Kindle formats at

From the NIEA press release:  "In the most competitive climate yet, independently published books vied for top honors in the 6th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.

“We congratulate each and every author recognized this year. The quality of independently published books has taken a quantum leap and independent publishers truly have come of age.

"Our competition is unique in that it takes into account all aspects of publishing that go into making a stand-out presentation including cover design, interior layout and promotional text,” said Smarketing LLC, Ellen Reid CEO, and President, sponsor of the awards.
2012 Indie Excellence Awards