All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. T. E. Lawrence
This past weekend my friend Gia and I brought to life a brief little scene we had written to update our reels with the kind of work we want to submit for. It took a few months of brainstorming and then finally a quick writing session, and then several weeks of sorting out costumes, props, and crew. In the end we ended up with more than we even hoped for. An amazing director who kept it all organized, and no last minute no-shows! It was quite stressful at some points, but we pulled it all together! In a few weeks we will be able to add it to our reels (and share it online!).
However, I have been shredding myself to bits ever since Saturday morning over my performance. It’s been a while since I’ve filmed anything, and even though I took a few months of acting classes again this year, maybe that’s just not enough. I would read the script and rehearse the script and be 95% happy with the emotions and expression, but when Saturday morning came… it was buried so deep I could barely touch it.
It didn’t help that we had to shoot out our 3 year old co-star (yeah, whose idea was it anyway to involve a kid?! lol) first, which meant basically shooting backwards almost line by line an emotional 1 minute scene. Gia aced it, but I was just lost. You would think that alone would make me cry. But no.
I felt pretty frustrated and got down on myself once the day was over, angry that I couldn’t deliver and be satisfied with my performance. However after expressing my concerns to our director, he assured me that he was more than happy with both of our performances.
It’s hard to let go of, though. I feel like I didn’t do my best. There have been other scenes in other productions where I’ve felt I could have improved my performance, but they were usually small scenes within a larger story, so it made me feel better when I had perhaps three out of four scenes that I was pleased with for the project. But this was one scene. And I’m really hoping I change my mind when I see the final product edited together. We put a lot of time, money and effort into it.
But something like that just makes me doubt myself, as well. No, I’m not quite a working actor. And no, I don’t have a lot of experience that would make me a great actor. But I’m not a bad actor. That was even confirmed with the Best Actress nomination a few years back. I know I don’t suck. But I need to be better. Even if I only ever do short films, or non-paying roles… if I do it for the joy of acting, I still need to be as good as I can be, for all of the other people involved in these productions.
I have so many things on my mind and on my plate… my book, my online work, and all of the self-improvement and skill sets I’m developing, but I need to make more room for the acting. Last year I took several months of English lessons (Received Pronunciation), which I should continue to work on. General diction would be something to work on. More quickly accessing emotion. More quickly getting into the moment. This is in addition to the networking I have to work harder at. Much to do…. because I’m not getting any younger, and I have to do all I can to build what I can for the future. Yes, only about 5% of working actors make their living from it, so I would be extraordinarily lucky to stumble into that top percentage, I am fully aware of that… But if I’m able to support myself with my other work, and be able to at least get cast in some good indie projects… it would be wonderful.
Anyway, I just felt the need to express that. I’m beating myself up less today, but it’s really motivated me to do what I can to prevent this from ever happening again! I want to always feel and know that I have done my absolute best. I suppose when it’s all edited, I’ll post it here for you to judge….
The only catch is that sometimes it’s a long time before I do it. Which is a problem I have and am trying to remedy! I’m going through a period of high motivation at the moment and am doing everything I can think of to push myself to do what I need to do. One thing I want to do is share a few of my shorter-term goals publicly, so that any of you can ask at any time, “Hey, so how is _____ going? Have you done _____ yet? Why not?” and nag me until I complete the task. So here it goes. Here is a little list of first the short term goal, and it’s related longer-term goal. All of these I want to accomplish in 2016.
And my next blog post will be about my recent adventures, so hang in there. 🙂
Short term goal: Learn to speak RP/ British English with the help of a dialect coach.
Long term goal: Audition for (and work on!) the show Versailles (I know Louis XIV will need a new queen in 1669…)
Short term goal: Complete first draft of my feature length script.
Long term goal: Produce and act in that script.
Short term goal: Improve my French (with private lessons and other practice)
Long term goal: Become French.
Short term goal: Complete the weird children’s YouTube film I’m working on.
Long term goal: Maybe make more.
Short term goal: Complete ukulele and guitar courses (online) and write some songs.
Long term goal: Perform in front of audiences.
Short term goal: Get new headshots and portfolio photos taken.
Long term goal: Get a new agent ASAP.
There are so many things I want to do, some have no obvious long-term goal attached (archery club, aikido, meditation, Bollywood dancing…) and are just more for personal pleasure and general well-roundedness, but we’ll throw those in there too! France is a bit odd in that a lot fun things seems to only happen between September and June, so aikido and some dance classes have to wait. I don’t want to make my “to do” list too long here, so I’ll just start with these. Now please feel free to check in on me and make sure I’m doing something!!! At the end of the year I’ll post about what actually got done. 🙂 Bisous.
Once in a while, someone will tell me that I should do more video blogs, talk more about my day-to-day life, take you on my adventures… the way I used to on my trips to Paris. The truth is, most of my days aren’t very exciting. I’ll either spend a lot of time on the computer trying to earn some money, or I’ll be doing background work on a show that only requires me to walk back and forth, or sit in one place, and it’s not all that exciting.
But yesterday turned out to be such a Hollywood day. I would love more days like this. And because it was so entertaining, I figured it would be a great thing to share! I apologize for not taking video, it’s not always the first thing on my mind, plus my iPhone has dust in the lens and I’m trying to get that fixed.
I arrived to set early today, as I usually do, and ordered a vegetarian breakfast burrito from the catering truck. Base camp was in a church parking lot, and no chairs or tables had been set up, so I ate it standing around with the other background actors (extras).
Once we checked in, we were bussed over to location, which was supposed to resemble a university in Paris. We were French students in a clown school. One of the actors ended up being placed right behind me, so I twisted myself around to chat. In English, though, because I’m still embarrassed about my French. No matter what I want to say, there are so many words I still grasp for.
After “class”, we all changed into our movement class outfits.
And guess where that class was?
Our holding was in a lovely courtyard, and we filmed in a small grassy area on the other side of the building. I was so curious as to what was inside, but the only part I saw was the lobby on my way to use the bathroom, which smelled strongly like some sort of hand-sanitizer.
So we jumped around like turtles for a while, and then our day was done! And the fun continued….
Earlier in the day, a new friend of mine a friend of a friend) emailed me an invite to a movie premiere and after-party. So I changed as quickly as I could and headed straight down Hollywood Blvd to the Egyptian theatre. I arrived an hour after the movie had begun, and the outer courtyard was looking quite empty, except for 3 security guards and a few star-stalkers. As I was talking to the guards, asking for the person I was supposed to check in with, Amanda Peet exited and encountered the autograph-seekers (a handful of middle aged men who probably sell the photos). Out of the corner of my eye I saw her (reluctantly) take a picture with one of them, as another insisted he had seen her at some certain bar or restaurant or something, while she said she had never been there. As she climbed into her chauffeured car, he protested that yes, that was where he met her for the first time. She still denied it, and left.
Meanwhile in my own world, security told me everyone had wrapped up and gone inside, since the movie had started an hour earlier. I texted my friend and stood on the sidewalk, while security wandered into the theater. I was left alone. I inched my way up to the theater doors, while still waiting for a reply. I could see the security farther inside, and decided to try the doors. They were locked. Another woman soon joined me outside, also late. We stood by the doors until someone else approached and opened them. We explained that we were late, and he let us in. Tadaaaaa! We both found seats to the front of the theater.
After the movie, I tried to find my friend. He had rushed off to the after-party after I told him I had made it in, to see if he could get me a wristband. Otherwise, I wouldn’t make it into the party (and I’d be a little irked that I’d chosen to pay $10 for parking simply to see half a movie). I decided to walk the 9 minutes to Hemingway’s and hope for the best.
On the way, I heard two men saying something about “do you know where we’re going?” and I figured they had come from the premiere as well. I approached them to ask.
“Hey, did you just come from the screening?”
“I’m going to walk with you, you can be my protection.”
Because walking down Hollywood Blvd in the middle of the night is not exactly something I’m comfortable with.
We walked and talked, and when we got closer to the bar, I explained that I’d have to wait outside for my friend. But my new friends Boyd and Patrick (can I say that? Are you a friend if you may never see a person again?) decided it was worth a shot to try to get me in with them. And it worked. Once inside, we all got free drinks (red wine for me!) and I had to beg off to go locate my friend. Later in the night, I danced a song or two with them, but we didn’t get a chance to speak further.
It was fairly uneventful, just a lot of people dancing, eating little hors d’oeuvres, talking, etc. My friend really wanted to compliment Felicity Huffman, so at one point we went over to her as she was on the dance floor with her friends, and introduced ourselves.
“Hi, I’m Felicity!”
She leaned in.
“That’s my middle name!”
It was hard to hear people talking over the music, as we were standing pretty close to the DJ booth. But after short conversation with my friend, she said something about dancing and being old. She had a really warm and friendly personality, and was thoroughly enjoying herself on the dance floor. It’s funny, I only really know her as Lynette on Desperate Housewives, and now this movie (Trust Me). Apparently she and many other people involved in the film were really supportive of their friend Clark Gregg in the making of this film. I think it’s beautiful when people who have the ability to help and support their friends to reach their dreams and goals, do it. I hope to be in a position where I can do that as well. Though first, maybe I’ll be the one accepting some help (anyone? Do I know anyone? Hellooooooo?).
Well, I suppose the key to having a supportive network is to just keep making friends, and being a good friend! Which is fine with me. As a kid, one of my goals to was to make friends with everybody in the world! That may not be possible, but looking back on my day and all the new people I connected with, I realized that that really is my favourite part of life. Just connecting with other people. It’s like creating a giant web of love and friendship around the world.
My little group left around midnight, and I never did get to say good-bye to the guys who got me into the party. I saw them in the light of their cell phones, with a girl, on my way to the restroom, but when I made my return walk through the room, they were nowhere to be seen. That was the only down part (besides missing half of the movie) of the day, because I was very grateful to them and didn’t want to leave without saying good-bye. Ah well. Perhaps someday we shall meet again, and recall this Hollywood night!
When you hear a friend saying they wish they could do something but can’t afford to, do you jump right into “well, just cut out things like a daily coffee, because $5 a day at 30 cups a month is $150 a month right there!” or something like that?
Whenever I read an article about how to stretch your money, how to save money… they always have ridiculous tips like that.
What if you never buy coffee?
What if you have the cheapest, most restrictive plan for your phone (granted, it’s a smart phone but I’m not giving that up) that you could find, and make calls from Skype to save money?
What if you only go see a movie once a month and only go to a matinee so you’re not paying full price?
How do you juggle paying for the necessities with actually enjoying your life and following your dreams? Life is so short, who wants to waste it working 3 jobs?
Yes, I know that everything we spend money on is a choice. I may decide it’s more important to me to keep flexibility so that I can travel (cheaply…) rather than spend the money going out with friends. I may decide it’s worth it to me to pay $25 for a game that I can play with friends (Cards Against Humanity!) than to have more food in the fridge. They are choices. But just because it’s a choice, doesn’t make it an easy one.
I don’t go to the salon more than 2 or 3 times a year and always look for a cheap one. I don’t get my nails done, I don’t shop for clothing retail – and haven’t shopped at all in months. In fact I’ve sold about half of the clothing in my closet this year.
So what do you say when you have to or want to spend money on something (like a used camera lens, or your dog’s dental care) but don’t have the means? What do you say when friends invite you out but when you add up the cost of gas, food, and a drink, it’s more than you make in a day? How do you continuously say “I can’t afford it, I can’t afford it” without getting depressed about it and sounding like a complainer?
For several years after I moved to L.A., I struggled with money. I moved in with a boyfriend when I could no longer pay my $400/month rent. I was only saved by a $9000 inheritance by a relative, which I stretched to the max after paying my credit card debt and buying a new computer. Because my other one was a 10 year old PC that had just died.
And then came Adsense to save me, and for several years after that, I lived in peace. I could afford a nice place to live. Piano lessons, acting classes, dance classes, elocution classes… I could invest in myself and my career, at last. And I did. And I went out with friends, and I bought Groupons to do fun things, I loaded the fridge with food, which sometimes went bad before I could eat it.
I decided professionally, that I wanted to try France, since although I was putting all this investment into myself, I was not getting work in L.A. So it was time to make the most of life, learn French, and see if the grass was any greener over there.
And then Adsense began to say a long and drawn out good-bye.
I started relying on my savings in addition to the monthly income that was not enough to pay the bills, which were now in Euros.
And eventually that ran out as I struggled to continue to pursue my goals, and I found myself back in L.A., basically broke, doing background work again. I thought it would just supplement my waning income while I tried to prop it up again, until it took one final gasp, and pretty much died. Oh, I still get a little from it, but it’s not going to pay rent. Perhaps with the continuing CPR it may be revived, but not to it’s old glory days.
So I’m left with dreams and goals and the distraction of trying to pay the bills instead of focusing on my real contribution to the world.
I proudly scrimped and saved a few thousand dollars by working and selling off many belongings… only to sit at the accountant and be told that out of that $13,000 I earned… the IRS wanted $1800 of it. I crumbled. I already had taken out a personal loan to combat the crazy interest charges on my maxed out credit card. I was already eating one meal and a smoothie every day. Except the days I worked. I’d been struggling (and still struggle!) to give up the new addiction to organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups, which I could easily spend $50 a month on.
I’ve grown weary of telling friends I can’t afford to join them, tired of not being able to invite people out, depressed because I can’t afford to go dancing, or take classes, or just fund my little documentary by myself, which would only take a few hundred dollars more. I feel frustrated when I think I can treat myself to something (which also doubles as another potential way to earn money, such as a used camera lens, or a better microphone for my camera) and then something “more important” comes up to divert the funds. I feel guilty for telling my friend with the herbal hospital in India, year after year, that I want to come and maybe this year I can make it… but I can’t. I’ve grown tired of the panic and stress that arises when I’m faced with having to spend money I don’t have (on tires, on the vet, the doctor…), and the way I burst out with “I don’t know what else to sell! I don’t know how I can cut back any further on food, I don’t know how I can afford this….” and probably seeming pretty pathetic to whomever I’m talking to.
Websites tell me instead of saying “I can’t afford it,” that perhaps I could say “that’s too expensive and not a necessity.” But how many more things can I say that to? The doctor? The vet? And who wants to live with just the necessities? That’s great for a short period of time, but… months without going out for an unnecessary dinner or drink or show? Other websites assume that you don’t WANT to do the things you’re invited to do. Like it’s easy to say no because “I have a goal I’m saving for.” It’s not easy.
But it’s not just that. It’s not just learning what your priorities are when it comes to spending (which is a good thing). It’s the stress it creates and the time it steals. When the first thought in my mind, all day long, is “how can I earn enough money to be able to meet my goals?” and it never ends… it leaves me little time to unwind and actually work on those goals. To sit and play guitar for a few hours. To read books, to improve my singing or acting, my Photoshop or photography skills. Because I feel the need to spend that time trying to earn money to keep fed and pay off my debt. I feel as if I’m wasting precious time in my life. At 32, I don’t want my main focus to just be paying rent and eating. I want to be using my skills, enjoying my time with friends, giving back because I have enough for me and for others. The struggle has taken away too much of my life.
I realize I’m not the only one. And while it can feel like everyone else can afford the things I can’t, I know it’s not true. I know other people are struggling. And I wish I could help. I wish I was in a position to…
But perhaps this struggle has led me to a position to help. I have a glimmer of hope at the moment. A few months ago, I knew that I would have to save up, and try to revive the website, if I wanted to get back to Paris, and travel more, and be able to focus on my goals and go out with friends, as well. So I started looking online for other ways I could earn money. I’d looked before, when I was doing well, because I wanted to help my friends to live the same wonderfully free lifestyle that I was blessed with. But I never found a way. I tried to help them do the same thing I was, but it wasn’t for everyone, and even I had help. A lot of it! And after the IRS stole most of my savings, I knew it was my only chance. To find something else I could get started with. Otherwise, I would be looking into a future of deep uncertainty. A few months ago, I found something. A location independent potential income, that started working for me. Not right away. Not before the taxes were due. At that point I thought I may still be doomed. But last month, hope started to bloom. I made some money. I found a light at the end of the tunnel.
It was (is) hard to want and need to spend money on things and not be able to, and not know when I would be able to. But now my goal is to work hard this month and have this parachute to catch me as I take a leap away from L.A. once more and leave my major source of income (background work). One more month of saying “I can’t.” I am determined that it be the last month. I am determined that when I get back to France, I will not have to say “I can’t”, I will have the freedom to spend on my creative pursuits. I will have the money for classes when I return to L.A.
I am determined to get to Paris and go out for a glass of wine on a warm summer night, without a worry in my mind about whether or not I can afford it.
So if you’ve been in this position, how do you deal with not being able to afford more than the basics? How do you manage the stress and budget your time between survival actions and pursuing your dreams?
OK, sorry for being gone for so long. Sometimes I’m bad at this blogging thing. I just haven’t had much I want to say lately. I haven’t been traveling, I’ve just been here in Los Angeles trying to get a little work and sell a lot of my things. It’s been slow, but I’ve made a couple hundred dollars from the things I’ve sold so far, and I’m really looking forward to just cutting down on things I can do without. I’ve been decluttering my life (that’s a link to Zenhabits.com’s blog post on decluttering, not my own post) for what seems like a long time now, but I haven’t made it easier on myself by being bi-continental. It’s amazing how even though I’ve slowed down with buying things I won’t use regularly, how much there is to go through. I mean, really, it seems like the bulk of it is paper. Books, notebooks, and crap the IRS makes you save. I really want to get rid of all that stuff. I’ve digitized the notes from some notebooks (except the super full ones) and then tossed them. I’ve shredded masses of credit card bills (I figure if I need them again I can get them online. Maybe not without some difficulty but ugggg I hate all these things in my filing cabinet). The key for me seems to be just to keep combing through, keep letting go, and try not to add more to it.
I’ve been trying to declutter my mind as well. After years of hearing about this book, I finally read The Power of Now, which I’ll probably have to re-read every so often to stay focused. It’s not as if the concept is completely new to me, but my thoughts and fears can easily overwhelm me and working on a practice of staying in “the now” seems pretty beneficial. I’ve been really monitoring my thoughts and feelings more, though I haven’t been under a huge stress test lately to see how I deal with it. Not that I want one… lol. I also read (or rather listened to the audio book on YouTube, but then I found the book at Goodwill) The Four Agreements, which really compliment The Power of Now. Highly recommended, both of them.
What else, what else… well, before I read The Power of Now, I was quite a mess in January. The renters in my mobile home had given their one month notice in the middle of December, leaving me to find someone new over Christmas. I found someone new, but couldn’t raise the rent enough to really truly cover all my expenses (there were some surprise raises in the rent this past year), but nobody was interested in it at a higher price. Then to top it off, I had to hire a cleaning lady to help ready the place ($), a handyman to fix some plumbing issues ($$) and then the electricity had problems ($$$) and the heat went out ($$$$). All in all, I could have flown to the Caribbean on what I spent. I found myself one afternoon dragging things out of the backyard and the shed, trying to get an old TV down to the dumpster, freaking out on someone via text because I couldn’t take the stress anymore, and watching teardrops splash on that stupid TV set after dropping it on my toes. I was already bruised and scratched and dirty and really fed up. Just when I thought I was starting to pull things together, I was left with barely anything in my bank account. All while hoping I’d just get enough background work to help put money back in savings, pay down my credit card, and get a plane ticket back to France. That hasn’t happened yet. And I haven’t worked in 2 weeks. Oh, I still work online, and it’s still squeaking by, but not enough to cover everything. I bet the IRS is going to want anything I’m able to set aside by April, too. I hate them. I’ve been looking into other online jobs, and got a very part time gig as a ticket scalper (which makes me feel a bit guilty, but I need some income, even if it’s deferred and morally questionable…). You know how your car likes to eat up savings every time you have some? So does a mobile home. Ah, my car also wants some now, but I just pay 50¢ every week to put it off….
I went in for the casting director meet-and-greet day at Central Casting this morning, since I wasn’t booked for work, which I’ll probably do more often while I’m here, since it does get your name circulated around the office, which may lead to more work. Cross your fingers. The room was crammed full today (nobody else getting work, either?) so there was really no meet-and-greet, just a Q&A. Now I know who casts the background for Mad Men.
And since I wasn’t working, and have gotten a bit tired of going through papers and preparing for tax time, I took the whole afternoon to work on songwriting. And I wrote a song and a half! I would really like to do this more often. Once I get into the groove I can just keep going for a while. I may be able to work on them again tomorrow after I scalp some tickets early in the day. I love being absorbed in creating…. I never want to stop. I don’t want to go to sleep right now. But I have to wake up at 5AM so I should go to bed or I may hit snooze too many times. I just enjoy writing songs, and then I get excited at the thought of performing them. I’m still a ways away from that though. I need to find the perfect match to play piano for me so I’m not alone on stage fudging things up on the guitar or something. But my songs are getting better, and I think if I really take all these days off I have (pfffffff) and focus on writing, I could have a nice handful to work with, and really do it this year. Maybe my musical couchsurfing tour could be a reality in 2014…. 🙂
Oh yeah! I almost forgot. Duh. I started my indiegogo.com campaign for the short documentary film I’m making for the 168 Hour Film Festival this year. Please check it out, and donate or share the campaign. 🙂
I joined a friend’s family dinner right before Thanksgiving and listened to them share some hilarious stories. One story told was about an actress (no name given) who wanted everyone to think she was younger than she really was so she organized a massive 30th birthday party. I don’t know how old she actually was, that wasn’t mentioned (or known?). But from that point on, when she would run into people and they would wonder how long it had been, they would instantly remember her “30th birthday” and do the math from there.
Now that I’m back in L.A. for a semi-long stretch of time, it almost feels like starting over. Except this time, I know something about Hollywood. And life. I don’t have the secrets to success (yet) but I think I’m getting the hang of surviving as an artist.
Although I signed right back up to do extra work again (which has been slow thanks to the holidays), rather than seeing it just as a way of earning money, I also see it as a way to network and make new friends in the business. Last week while working on set in a “strip club” I made a new friend who is now my new writing partner for my next short film (oh, you’ll hear more about this, trust me). I used to be the girl who sat in the corner with a book, and although I do bring books and magazines (and snacks), I have learned the power of networking. And I’m ready to use it.
Although I don’t have a lot of play money at the moment, I am making an effort to get out, so I can meet more people! And have fun, of course. Life is too short to not have fun. Or, as John the AD said last week, “we don’t get paid enough to sit around being miserable.” (and a few sentences later came the phrase, “let’s blow some shit up!”)
Moving back and forth has meant that in both countries, a lot of my things have gotten left in storage. On every visit back to the US I try to get rid of some things, but never really have enough time to deal with it all. I don’t just throw things away. For one, these things still have a monetary value, and I could use that money. Two, I hate knowing that my things will just get buried in a landfill, especially if they’re still useful. I don’t even like buying food in packages because it’s wasteful. But I’ve got clothing and jewelry supplies that other people can still use. So I have to find them new homes. Today I shipped off four items sold on ebay and etsy. Although I have way too many interests to ever really live out of a suitcase or even a car, simplifying life as much as I can does feel good. Having an uncluttered space to live in definitely makes a difference. Or I think it will. I’m not there yet.
If you want something done….
Not even done RIGHT, just done. Do it yourself. For several years I’ve known this was the case. It took me a long time to embrace being a producer. I don’t mind it so much now, although ideas are few and far between. But I have a few for this year! A short film for Cannes, a short documentary for 168, and I still want to do my web series. I’m also working on music. I spent too much time just submitting for other peoples’ projects, auditioning for other people, waiting on other people…. they don’t care about you. You’re the only one who cares about you. So take matters into your own hands! If you’re doing what you love, having fun, creating something awesome (which may not happen the first time, or even the second time, as you’re learning), it’s so much better than just waiting to be handed a role. You’re meeting people, working on your craft, learning new things, and getting out there.
Don’t panic about money. Panicking doesn’t make money come faster. Easier said than done. I have to keep reminding myself about this one. I’ve spent a lot of time on craigslist and listing things on ebay, looking at my bills and my bank account, and neglecting the creative things I should be doing that may not earn money right now. But because I enjoy creating, and these things feed into my actual career, they are investments I can’t afford to not make. Years from now when I wonder why I still suck on guitar and haven’t recorded anything, I can look back and blame all the time I spent worrying about making money, and selling things on ebay for $20. I’m pretty sure I’ll be OK, I’ve got some plans for financial stability, it’s just a very slow process. Besides, when you’re worried about money, it can put you in a foul mood and you’ll have a harder time networking. 😛 Just be open to opportunities, and do your best, but don’t just chase money. Chase the things that last, and they’ll lead you to the pot of gold. 🙂
I’m so excited about everything I have (tentatively) planned for this coming year. Another short film (oh, it’ll be good), a documentary, some music, some traveling, some surprises. 😉
It’s asked. It’s thought. And sometimes my answer is “I can’t.” At the moment I’m in a space where I just have to have faith that if I keep working hard and smart that I will get out of this hole and back to a bit of stability. But the answer to the question of “how can you afford to travel?” right now is…. “How can I afford not to?”
I’m realizing that I can’t afford to stay in Paris, at least not comfortably. But I have to stick around for a few more months for some classes, meetings, and to get to India in November with a shorter and cheaper flight (and vaccinations). My solution to the “I can’t afford to live here anymore” situation? Travel. Yeah. That thing you think you do only when you have money.
But I can explain. I took the leap and bought a round trip ticket to Barcelona, and another roundtrip from there to Ghana. In total, this cost me less than 900€ and will take me from July 31 to September 19. To couchsurf or rent a room in Spain will end up costing me maybe 200-300€. And I can easily couchsurf the rest of September in Paris. So right there is about 1200€, or 600€ a month, which is equal to or less than what I would pay for a room or studio in Paris. BUT I get a grand new adventure out of it, in places where everything else is cheaper. So I’ll be lowering my living costs. Yes, for the moment, I had to put the tickets on a credit card because I don’t get paid that far in advance and am squeezing every last dime (er…. centime?) but I think it was worth it.
I think traveling can frequently be cheaper than staying in one place, especially if you use couchsurfing.org or helpx.net for your accommodations. Yes, airfare can be a big cost, but if you plan carefully, you still could be saving more money than you’d spend at home on rent and food (and gas, etc….). If you have a mileage card, that can help you out. I don’t have one, but maybe I’ll get one in the next year if they’ll approve me!
So that said… yes, surprise! My summer plans are to go to Barcelona and Ghana. While in Barcelona I want to make a music video for an original song (still being composed, and still seeking a musician to help me record it!) and while in Ghana I will be filming at my friend’s computer school.
In other news… I’ve made a little video about the past 2 weeks, since I’ve been doing some kind of interesting things! Filming a short starring my dog, pretending to be military, going to the White Dinner, dancing along the Seine….. It’s summertime. My favourite time in Paris. Well… if it would stop freaking raining.
First I want to alert all my subscribers that I’m toying with the subscription button and trying a new plugin here. I don’t know how this might affect you, so if you see a new button over to the side, you might want to click on it and make sure you stay subscribed!
Now for the content of this post.
It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.
W. Edwards Deming
I never think I’ve done my best.
Even when I probably have, I always look at it and think of ways I could have done better. This is probably not good for my sanity, but it’s what I do.
If I paint the bathroom and there’s one spot that could have used a little more putty and sanding, that’s what I look at when I’m sitting in there.
If I could have delivered a line in a better way, that’s the line that itches at me when I’m watching my film.
This morning the final cut (or… final cut for the festival) got uploaded to the 168 servers and all that was left for me to do was convince the printer to scan 26 pages of release forms for me. After a software uninstall and reinstall, we came to an understanding.
But yeah, I have another short film under my belt! In a couple of months a longer “director’s cut” will be finished and put on DVD, most likely after the festival (so we can mention what awards we won or were nominated for on the sleeve, ya know?).
Our work is not finished, though, and it’s time to answer some questions.
Will we submit it to other festivals after 168?
Will our Making Of film get finished in time for next week’s deadline?
As you know, I’m participating in the 168 Hour Film Project again this year, and it’s production week! My friend Jack, from Canada, is here and we’ve been working hard. First writing the script, then finding locations, finding our cast and crew, and finally – filming!
It took us several days to come up with our story, and several more to iron out the dialogue. Once the dialogue was pretty much set, we translated it into French. Yep, the film is in French. We held a rehearsal with the actors on Wednesday night, and made some more adjustments to the dialogue and “mise en scene” as it’s called.