#OCLAPremiere

ocl step n repeatI’m not great at self-congratulation.

I am great at doing the work and sharing more credit with other people, whether or not they actually helped out as much as I say they did.

Was that self-congratulatory? Many apologies if so. I was trying to be self-deprecating. That happens to be my forte.

But last week I went out of my comfort zone and celebrated the premiere of The Other Client List, the web series I created, wrote, co-produce and co-star in that took about a year and a half to make into a reality.

It’s not like I worked on it all day every day for 18 months. But I did work on it a lot. And last week, I actually took a break to celebrate that work.

To be honest, it felt a little strange. All the focus and energy that went into getting the premiere up and away could have been used towards other creative projects. I could have been at home writing the book I’ve been tinkering away at for a long time. I could have been working on my new demo reel, or my new pilot, or a new character study for another project, or outlining episodes for yet another project. I had plenty I could have been doing. But I took a night to celebrate and show people the work.

I think part of the reason I’m hesitant is lingering fear. I say lingering because, for the most part, I’m pretty good at facing my fears head on when I recognize them. But there’s still a strong part of me that gets nervous when I put myself out in the world. I was nervous that it wouldn’t be well received. I was nervous that if I took time to look nice, I’d likely fall on my face and embarrass myself. I was nervous that people would be like “She spent all that time… on this?” I’m accustomed to taking risks, putting myself out there and getting rejected. It’s harder for me to get celebrated and to allow myself to be good at something. As a perfectionist and workaholic at heart, I’m always convinced I didn’t work hard enough or overlooked so many things that could have made my product better.

But last week was good for me. I told myself, as I scoured over the finished product again and again, seeing tiny fixes I wanted to make and things about my performance that I’m unsatisfied with, that I did the best I could with what I had at the time. And that’s really all we can ever ask for.

I think too often people get held up thinking something has to be perfect. I have that same inclination. For years I kept my stand up comedy offline because no performance was every good enough or I never got footage of a completed joke. But I’m slowly learn to get over it. I’d rather have a product I’m proud of online than have a thousand projects I don’t think are good enough never see the light of day. I appreciate the perfectionism and workaholic nature because they fuel and inspire me to keep doing better than the last venture. But I also respect the fact that letting them have too much influence in my life will cause me more frustration and pain than listening to them a little then letting them go.

I’m also learning how to relax and celebrate these accomplishments. The event last week was a real joy. And I enjoyed the heck out of taking an evening to gather friends and partners from all sorts of areas in my life to watch my work. I really enjoyed letting myself just let the work stand for itself. And I enjoyed people’s laughter and support. I realized that the rest of the web series will be viewed by people online, so I won’t get to hear the laughter or listen to direct responses (for the most part). So I sat back and enjoyed it. And when people said “good job,” I didn’t self-deprecate or try to downplay things. I smiled and said “Thank you.” I made sure the people who deserved credit got it, and I took credit for what I did proudly and unapologetically.

Because I did work my ass off. I put a ton of time, energy, money, and effort into this project. And it was time to celebrate that. And I wore an awesome outfit and didn’t fall flat on my face. And it all felt pretty daggum good.

But of course I have a western to finish off now and festivals to submit to and project to develop and imaginary characters to bring to life. So now it’s back to my favorite part… the work.

If you want to binge watch The Other Client List, click here: Season 1 of The Other Client List.

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It’s coming!

OCL_Chalk_Collegiate_Pictures_v2_16x9_DateThe official premiere of The Other Client List is coming so soon! There’s still so much to do for it and so much to get prepared! And for some reason, the rest of my work and creative responsibilities haven’t stopped! So there’s lots to do! And somehow still the same amount of time there normally is in a day to do it! Is this making me go crazy? I don’t know! You tell me! I can’t seem to write sentences that talk about anything of substance! I have lots of blogs waiting to be written but aren’t getting written because I keep adding to never-ending to do lists! I am also only writing in short sentences that end in exclamation points! Here is the link to the Facebook event for our premiere! https://www.facebook.com/events/649995511777370/ ! Goodbye now!

Other Client List Update!

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 11.38.45 PMI’ve mentioned many ‘a time that I wrote, produced, and starred in a web series called the Other Client List.

Well… I did. And it’s been filmed. And for those of you who were sweet enough to donate to the project, I just wanted to give you an update that it’s still very much alive and kickin’. We’re watching the episodes as they’re being edited by our fantabulous editor Glen Montgomery. He’s doing an amazing job. They’re hilarious and I’m so impressed and excited. We watch, give some feedback and notes, and Glen goes back in and makes his magic.

I’m hoping we have a day we can do a big premiere for all of these episodes in the next couple months. We’ll probably take our time rolling them out online, but they should be up and ready- hopefully- by the end of the year. As I know more, I’ll post it to our website.

Also, as I have more time, I’ll improve the website.

So that is the update! I am very excited! You should be too! Hooray!

Just Delegate It

just-do-it-1I’m good at a lot of things. I’m excellent at creativity. I have a comedic mind. I love writing. I’m organized. I’m great at talking to people. I like turning ideas into reality. I’m pretty great at blogging consistently. And, I’ve just discovered in writing this, I’m also adept at finding things I’m good about that I can write about in blog posts.

But we all have our weaknesses. I’ve realized as I’ve become stronger at my strengths, and worked on turning some of my weaknesses into strengths, that you just can’t do everything.

I also realized this when I literally ran out of time consistently to do everything I want to do.

So what do you do to still be productive?

Delegate.

I can be a bit of a Type-A. So I’m not good with delegation. I just want to get it done and I want it done right. And oftentimes, people don’t do it right. Or I feel like in the time it took me to explain how it should be done, I could have just done it myself.

But what I’ve realized is you have to let people help you. There’s a huge strength in admitting you’re not good at something and letting someone help out.

When I was shooting my web series, The Other Client List, people asked me if I was directing, too. I was like, “Hell no I don’t know how to do that.” And as a result, we found a wonderful and magical director, Erik Boccio, who got together an amazing production team and helped us make this idea a reality. He’s an expert. He made every shot look amazing, brought out the best in our performances, and kept us moving along through the script.

When we were midway through filming, we started thinking about an editor. I had no idea who I was going to get or how. I started thinking I may just have to teach myself to edit it. Luckily, I reached out and somehow lucked into an amazing editor in Glen Montgomery. There is no way I could have done an ounce of magic he’s doing with our series. He’s an expert. He’s freaking amazing.

Glen mentioned we need to think of sound. Somehow we lucked into finding more talent willing to help out with this project in the incredible musician Rick Wright of Subtidal Studios. I cannot do what he does. He’s so talented. It’s his field. It’s what he’s good at.

There’s tons more people on board with this team who are making it a reality. And this is only one project. And a few examples of the incredible work going into this project.

My point is this- I can’t do it all. There’s no way. Adding people to the project only strengthens it. I admitted I need help. And the help came-a-runnin’. And I’m so grateful for it. And have learned a valuable lesson.

Step away from the project, Briana. Let the experts do their jobs.

 

Episode 61: Patience – Show Notes

patienceThe latest episode of Femoir: The Podcast is a longer one, friends, but since we’re talking about patience, I hope you take the time to listen to it and enjoy!

I talk about the three major improv and comedy theaters in Chicago:

1. The Second City

2. iO (Improv Olympic)

3. The Annoyance

I mention the stage version of my solo show, Femoir.

I also mention my wonderful pending web series, The Other Client List, again. I am very excited about it. It’s gonna be gooooooood.

And I also mention my crazy peg leg pirate upstairs neighbor (again) and the fact that SHE BANGS!

As always, you can subscribe to these for free on iTunes!

Learning by Doing

I don’t know what I’m doing. sexy face

This revelation is not shocking to anyone who I’ve hung out with for more than five minutes.

The picture in this post I hope confirms that.

I generally have no idea what I’m doing anywhere ever.

But here’s what I do know… I learn by doing. I do something. I do anything. I’m a do-er.

I don’t mind being wrong. I don’t mind asking questions. I don’t mind screwing up. I don’t mind falling flat on my face.  In fact, as strange as it sounds, I like to be out of my comfort zone. I like to be the least knowledgeable one in the room. I like starting something with blind faith that I’ll learn how to finish it as I go.  I do my absolute best to present a project that I’m proud of knowing that it will be imperfect. I do my best to make it as perfect as I can with what I have in the moment, then I let it loose.

It’s the same with these posts and this blog. I write it. I think about it. I reflect. Then I just do. I put it out there and see what happens.

One of my improv teachers used to emphasize just finding things in your environment and doing something with them immediately, then learning what it means to the scene later. You don’t need to know the answer in the beginning.  Just do something  and you’ll eventually figure out why you’re doing it.

I’m a firm believer that’s the only way to really learn something anyway. Any lesson I’ve ever truly learned has come through experience. You can tell me all you want not to do something, but I’m probably going to do what I want to do anyway. Because when I experience my own shortcomings or my own failures, I feel them fully. They become a part of my own life that I can grow upon. They’re new tools and stories I have that I can use to make different decisions in the future.

Like with the web series I’m in post-production for right now. I wrote it not knowing how it would get produced. Somehow, we found the perfect director who had access to an amazing and talented team of people willing to be a part of the project. My partner and I did a crowd-sourcing fundraising campaign not knowing how those work. We raised enough to make something a reality. We didn’t know how, but we’d make it work. We had hectic schedules and didn’t know how we would coordinate, but we just did it. I’d never been a “producer” before- making sure the locations were available and appropriate, coordinating people, making sure everyone was fed while still knowing my lines and watching all continuity.  I had no idea how much planning and coordination went into every single shot we did, but I learned.  I didn’t know how we would edit it. But we found someone perfect. I have no idea what it means to be in post-production, but I’m excited to learn. Anything I don’t understand how, I know I can learn bit by bit. I admit that I don’t know how to do something. And by admitting it, I’m totally open to learning.

It’s good to plan. And it’s good to prepare. But I think people can get so wrapped up in doing something “right” that they never actually do anything.  And if I’ve learned anything in my short time on this earth, it’s that the actual doing- even though that means often failing- is the most important (and most fun) part of our existence.

How do I know this? From a whole lot of doing.

So just do it.

This post has been sponsored by Nike.*

*This is completely untrue but I’m totally open to getting money from you, Nike, if you’ve got any to spare.**

**I know you do. So give me money. Just do it.

 

 

Back to the grind

ocl montage 1

For the past couple months, I’ve put a lot of stuff on the back burner in order to focus on finishing the filming and production of my web series, The Other Client List. 

We finished filming on Saturday. I couldn’t be more proud, grateful and excited. It’s been an adventure and I’m glad to know it’s really only the start of the adventure.

On Sunday, I let myself sleep in. Then looked at the “To Do” list I’d been putting off…and had a little freakout.

Then once it was over, I stood up (did I mentioned I was curled into a ball on the floor?), took a deep breath, and got to work.I let myself freak out for a minute. It’s ok to sometimes feel overwhelmed. It’s ok to feel frustrated. And it’s ok to be true to whatever your feeling in the moment. I didn’t want to fight the freakout. I just allowed it.

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I think part of what was overwhelming me was not knowing how much I actually had put off and not knowing how it would all get done. So I just started attacking it step by step. I did some cleaning and organizing. I looked through piles of papers and figured out what goes where and what needs to be addressed. I made some phone calls and sent some emails. I did my taxes. Not all of them, but I figured out what I could get done that day, did it, and have an action plan in place for the final steps to finish them.

I even took a couple hours off midday to laugh with one of my favorite people.

ocl montage 2

Even though there’s still plenty to do in both the web series, my personal goals, and at least eight other major projects I’m workin

g on, I’m ready for it. I want this life. I want a life of projects. Which means I’m ok with having times of being overwhelmed. Because everything is a balance. You just have to give yourself every advantage to learn to handle it. That way it gets easier over time. Just like everything else you practice.

I’m still learning. But at least I got a good practice meltdown and recover session in yesterday. I feel good about that.

So now it’s time to get back to the grind. Bring it.

Coordination Station, Clase

photo2When I was in high school, one of my spanish teachers would always rhyme things then say “clase.” I think she’d be proud of my little rhyme in this subject line.

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She always also said, “Bad news bears, clase. Bad news bears.” And she flailed her hands a lot. And we all had spanish nick-names while in class. Mine was “Chita.” She would say, “Don’t be a cheat-ah, Chita. Get it, clase? No cheat-ah, Chita.” Then she’d giggle profusely.

 

The more I think about it, maybe there’s a reason my spanish isn’t better…

I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently filming my web series The Other Client List. This past weekend was one of our businest filming weekends yet because we had tons of people and places I needed to coordinate. It was a bit insane. Tons of people came out of the woodwork to help in lots of different capacities.

 

 

We got the majority of our major scenes done and put ourselves in a position to essentially be finished filming the series with only one more shoot date this upcoming Saturday.Anyway, I’m not writing to tell you about Sra. Jones. I’m writing to tell you about how fun and magical it is to coordinate a ton of people.

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WHOA.

Every little piece has to be in the right place, otherwise the whole project is off. And every single person you see on that screen helped screw in a little bit.This whole process has been an amazing learning experience. I have a new respect for the amount of work and organization and gumption it actually takes to make these projects a reality. I will never again leave a movie theater before the end of credits because very single one of those people was an essential part to the major production.

 

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So screw you if you overlook them. Next time you need help, I hope you’re screwed.

So thank you to the wonderful screwballs who came to help out this weekend.I don’t hope that at all. I just wanted to use “screw” again and it seemed appropriate.

You kept us from being screwed.

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…alright. I’ll stop with the “screw” words.

 

This is becoming pretty screwy.

 

(giggle giggle giggle)

Days Off

angry lion

Last week I wasn’t exactly myself.

I’ve been a little distracted by several projects on the docket. And I took some time to work on them. And I got a little behind on many of them (which is what happens when you take too much on by yourself). So when I got behind, I had even less time and more stress to get done all the things I wanted and expected myself to take care of in a given week.

I’ve talked before on this blog about how often my exercise takes a back seat when I’m working on other projects. I try hard for it not to, but it happens sometimes.

That’s what happened last week. But I learned a valuable lesson.

While it’s ok  to cut yourself some slack if you don’t make it to the gym every day, it turns out I’m no exactly myself when I don’t make it to the gym often. I took a four day break. Four full days where I did no exercise at all. And honestly, as I look at the schedule, I don’t know of anything I could have fixed to make it better.

So by Friday morning, I was a total b*tch. I wasn’t friendly at all. I headed over to my partner Arye’s apartment to work on some stuff for our web series, The Other Client List, and I was crabby. I was cussing non-stop and blaming everyone around me for every little thing. I noticed I was doing it and knew it was a result of something being off-kilter, but I didn’t know at the time what. Then I realized what… I hadn’t been to the gym. I haven’t been great about my time management. I have been letting a lot of social media suck away valuable creative or healthy time. I’ve been a little distracted during the weeks as a result from so much focus on the weekends. All in all, I just wasn’t myself.

Luckily for me, Arye has an adorable dog named Sasha. I stormed into her apartment an angry b*tch and was greeted by a smiling, adorable, cuddly furry creature that just wanted to love me.

I sat down on the ground immediately and nearly broke down as Sasha let me cuddle with her.

She saved me from the angry person.

So now begins a new challenge to myself. I took care of a lot of me things last night and got plenty of rest. Starting tomorrow, I get up early. I exercise and create in the mornings. I take care to be in bed by a reasonable hour. I monitor the amount of time I spend on meaningless social media and internet searches. And I meditate. Daily.

These are goals I often have. But when I’m not careful, I let them slide. I learned last week what happens when they slide for too long. It ain’t pretty. So gotta fix it.

I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.

Making Dreams Come True

I don’t have a fairy godmother. Because I don’t need one. I’m lucky enough to have amazing people around me who can make magic.

I’ve mentioned a few times I’m currently producing a web series called The Other Client List. This basically came out of the fact that my friend Arye and I had kept in touch from our Groundlings Basic class for several months. One day, we’re sitting at a lunch and mention we should just produce our own work. We should do a web series.

And from that, an exciting partnership and adventure was born.

I spent a couple months writing it. I’d never written screenplay scripts before. I’d always done sketch which is much more lackadaisical in formatting. And easy to fix as you rehearse. But screenplays follow a distinct format because they’re the foundation upon which so many other creative brains are going to build. So I did my best. It’s not perfect… but it’s close. And I certainly learned while doing it. And after a couple months, we had 10 scripts.

Then we were lucky enough to find a creative, focused, hard-working, and hilarious director/DP, Erik Boccio. Who has a great team of people who can help it all become real. We asked for money from friends and family, raised over $4,000 and are currently in the process of filming it every time we can get everyone together.

It’s wonderful. And magical. And I’m learning so so so much. Because this is what I want to do. And the best way to learn how to do it- how to really do it- is just by going for it.

So many extremely talented friends of mine are joining in for roles in the process. And Arye and I are turning out to be quite the complementary team.

And it’s fun. God it’s fun. Did I mention it’s fun? We’re all working our butts off and spending money and time we don’t have… but it is so much friggin’ fun.

And it’s good. It’s going to be so funny. It’s absolutely invigorating to get to see the words I pulled out of nowhere and gave to characters that I made up in my head actually come to life and tell a cohesive (and hilarious) story.

It’s magic. And I’m loving it.

And I’m so grateful to every person who’s helped make it a reality so far. I know it’ll be successful. It’s going to be such a good product- I can’t imagine how it wouldn’t be.

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