Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Eve Play-date With My Friends. ( You don't have to leave home!)

Intention is stronger than Resolution!

Maybe you are tired of all the superficial new year's hoopla? Forced fun and revelry? Don't we really desire a time to honor the year that has past and dream about the year ahead?  Have you given yourself any time to be grateful for the lessons learned in 2010 and dream, hope and plan for your upcoming year? 

I decided that I wanted most for this new year's eve a time to play and reflect and dream before ushering in 2011. Want to join me? 

I plan to make a Vision Board or Notebook to capture all my longings for the new year. It's not magic or voodoo, but we all know that what we focus upon in our lives is what we grow.  IF I focus my thoughts on health, I tend to feel and act in a more healthy manner. It's just that simple.  I already keep a gratitude journal and if you haven't tried that yet, I highly recommend it as well. More on gratitude later. 

So, tonight, I am having a playdate/picinic in my den with all my markers and magazines and glue sticks and glitter and great music. Why not?  I invite you to join me wherever you are. If you do, let me hear how it went for you! I'd love to share in your dreams for the new year!  I will celebrate with you! Have fun!
How to Make A Vision Board ( Adapted from an article I found on the net):

To make a vision board, gather the following materials:
  • Poster board: a matte finish is recommended
  • Newspapers/magazines: ideally, you’re looking for print material with words or phrases to help illustrate you goals in bright color. For example, if you’re hoping to vacation in an exotic location, travel magazines provide the needed imagery.  And this isn't limited to material things or vacations, it can be photos of nature if you want to spend more time outdoors. Or photos of an organization where you want to volunteer .  You get the idea. 
  • Glue, scissors, markers: preferably rubber cement and permanent markers to prevent bleeding.
  1. Reflect on the year that passed. What were your priorities? What would you like to focus on in the year ahead?  Begin making a list of the things, experiences and character traits you desire. Consider your faith, career, family, love, abundance, leisure, health, etc.
  2. After looking over your list again, begin flipping through magazines. Look for images or words that will help you to illustrate your goals, and cut them out. You may also draw sketches or use photos.
  3. Once you’re ready, grab your poster board. In the center, write a title (Mary 2011: A Year of Balance) or include a happy, smiling photo of yourself. Surrounding the title, place photos and words, glitter or stickers, or anything that gives you inspiration.
  4. Use markers to write your goals in positive, present-tense language: “I feel confident in my new job, I am in a fulfilling relationship, I am debt-free, I give back to my community, I am walking on a beach in Hawaii,” and so on. ( I tend to focus less on things and more on internal growth and relationships, but to each his/her own).
  5. Picture the year to come, and allow yourself to feel excited by your dreams. Place your board in a location where you can view it often to remind yourself of the good things to come.
If you’re looking for an alternative New Year’s Eve celebration, consider inviting a few friends over for a vision board party. Before midnight, present your vision boards to the group, and encourage people to engage in a discussion about their dreams. This time when you pop the champagne at midnight, you’ll really have something to celebrate—a year of abundant joy!

Healthy Actors Tip #1

Healthy actors flourish in a safe and nurturing space that allows exploration and growth as an actor and artist. Artists who act need a space to reclaim their full creativity, confidence and passion for living . Healthy actors long to be inspired, refreshed, encouraged, challenged and motivated! We function best in an supportive community that assists us in recognizing and bringing out the best in every person. Find your community. Can't find one? Build it. Need help? We're here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The New Year : Crafting Your Actor Business Plan and Healthy Actor Disciplines for 2011

Actors have great imaginations and they serve us well, but have you stopped writing your Oscar acceptance speech long enough to take a clear, calm look at the current state of your actor business and what areas you would like to make a priority for the new year?  As an actor, you are your own small business.   For example, have you got great materials prepared but  have dropped out of acting class ? Or are you working hard in weekly classes but never get around to making new contacts , research or preparing professional materials?  Have you established a healthy discipline to keep you working steadily in all areas of your life as an actor so that you can actually enjoy the process ? There are so many aspects to attend to as the CEO or your own actor business and your well-being as a person engaged in this work. Today, I thought I'd share a few fundamentals of both business planning that you can apply to your Actor Business goals as well as a few sample questions to help you begin to think about establishing Healthy Actor disciplines in your life.

Test yourself and your goals with these three business and Healthy Actor  Discipline questions:

Business Plan - Three sample questions:

1.  Is it realistic?

Unrealistic goals simply wither and die. They sound great on paper but cost you psychologically in the long run.   In business planning, unrealistic goals will get you nowhere fast.  You want to look for steps you can take that are solid and achievable.   As actors, we have to know the things we can control and the things we cannot. Do you have a realistic plan for your work in the new year?

 2.  Is it strategic?

You can have it all but not all at once!   What makes the most sense for you to focus on this year? What will be your priorities be? Don't try to do a complete life make-over but instead take a look at those things that will be the next right step in taking you steadily down the path in creating a strong actor business model for yourself.  If you had to choose one thing this year that would make a tremendous difference in your actor business, what would it be?

3.  Is it measurable?

Now its time to take that strategic goal and break it down into manageable pieces.  How can  you work on this goal daily, weekly, monthly? How will you know you have achieved it? There's nothing wrong with having your head in the clouds, just make sure your feet are solidly on the ground.   

Healthy Actor Disciplines -  Three sample questions:

1. How do you handle rejection and disappointment? Do you have a solid plan for dealing with the inevitable emotions that accompany our business? Are you taking it as it comes or do  you understand that support and accountability make you stronger? How can you set up a support system that works for you?
2.  Have you considered your inherent need for inspiration? Do you know what and who inspires you? How do you build more inspirational experiences into your life?
3.  Caring for your instrument: YOU are your instrument! Do you have a daily discipline for attending to the needs of your body and health? 
These are just a few of the things we will be discussing as we prepare for a transformative year at THE ART AND SOUL OF ACTING STUDIO.
Check out our upcoming workshop:

The Art and Soul of Acting Studio, we will be hosting a workshop on Weds., Jan 5 from 7-9 pm at the studio. It's call LEAP! It will help you take a look at these questions and more as you dream and plan for a wonderful new year as an actor, director, writer or any creative endeavor or occupation.  We will focus on those activities and disciplines that will keep you healthy,  inspired and empowered as you craft your actor business plan for 2011.  The workshop is a gift to our dedicated studio members, and only $10 for new visitors/ actors to the studio.  It's our way of supporting your vital work! 

Questions or ready to register? I'm happy to discuss this with you.   TASA : 318.465.5374 or email

Ready to take your consistent growth as an actor seriously while loving the process? Get in class! More information here >  New session begins JAN 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Creativity takes time.

Give yourself the gift of some technology- free time this week.

Pondering is good.  Daydreaming is good. No matter what your third grade teacher told you.

Sometimes slowing down your multi-tasking brain takes practice.

Turn off your technology each day this week for thirty minutes and go outside or sit in a comfy chair and  See where your creative self takes you.  You might be surprised at what creative ideas bubble up to the surface when you are not immediately distracted by your friend's latest status update or video link.

I know it might feel uncomfortable NOT DOING ANYTHING for a few minutes.

You can live with that.

If you were still and quiet for a time each day. what longings of your heart might you hear ?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


You know as well as I do that the world is not going to stop spinning so that you can work on becoming a better actor, right? And you also know that other actors are out there working consistently on strengthening their skills. They are in class, attending workshops, working on their materials and their actor business. They aren’t waiting UNTIL THEY GET AN AUDITION to suddenly kick into high gear. They know it takes consistent attention to stay in the game and move steadily toward their goals and dreams.

Maybe you were one of the lucky ones. You had a few years in a conservatory or film school that allowed you to focus primarily on what it means to be an actor and how to develop your craft with minimal interference from the non-acting world. Ah, the luxury of living with the single focus of actor training! Now, things just aren’t the same. The ” real world” and it’s competing  responsibilities keep throwing you off balance. You “mean” to read more plays/screenplays. You ” know” you’d feel more confident and prepared if you were in a weekly acting class. You” try” to stay informed and keep your headshots current.
Life seems to get in the way. Yes, I know there are bills to pay, perhaps tests to study for, groceries to earn and to eat. And you don’t have an endless supply of cash. What are you to do?

 It starts with the power of decision and the commitment to do something every day toward our growth as artists and actors.  I know it’s possible because I am living it. Not without a good dose of trying and failing, I might add. Sometimes I forget to decide!
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s better if it’s not. A simple action every day.
“Do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda
KISS.  Keep it simple, sweetie.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time. ( Ok, that makes my stomach turn, but you get the idea.)
You KNOW these things.  There is surprising POWER in deciding to take your dreams seriously. Each step you take toward your dreams brings more energy, vitality and enthusiasm to propel you forward on the journey!

Invest in the power of decision and priority. ( Don’t roll your eyes, you know I am right about this!)

Instead of waiting until you FEEL LIKE IT, DECIDE to ACT whether you feel like it or not.   Remember, it’s not the grand gestures but the daily small steps that build new habits and move us forward.

Nibble on that elephant. ( if you must)

Take that baby step. It’s important!

Do, not try.

Keep it simple, sweetie.

You may find yourself feeling encouraged and enlivened.

And the world can keep on spinning because you are acting on your  dreams every day.

Keep acting in joy, gang!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Acting in Joy (Thoughts on The Art and Soul of Acting Blog)

A good friend of mine encouraged me to begin this blog by explaining to you why it is that I decided to launch my website and small business, The Art and Soul of Acting.  “People need to know who you are at your core. What it is you want to do, what you care about and why.”  Nothing like your attorney friends to get you straight to the point!  Thanks, Lee.

As an actor myself, and one who has worked with and taught actors of all ages for years, I’ve seen a lot of unhealthy approaches to working with actors and a lot of damage done.  Actors have a deep desire to give of themselves and share what is most important to them.  Acting requires a vital vulnerablity and tremendous courage. I honor and appreciate that deep commitment and treat it with respect.  I believe it is crucial to build relationships of trust with my students. I want the very best for each of them and I believe they can have it.

My goal is to provide a safe and nurturing space to explore and grow as an actor and artist. I am passionate about assisting actors to connect to their own innate and unique intelligence, spirit, creativity and power.   For those who choose to pursue acting as a career,  I provide a healthy balance of  both developing the students’ unique artistry while also assisting them with goal-setting and the development of their actor business.    I also wanted to provide a space for non-actors to reclaim their creativity, confidence and passion for living utilizing many of the imaginative and discerning skills of the actor and artist.

The Art and Soul of Acting is a place to be inspired, refreshed, encouraged, challenged and motivated!  A  supportive community that believes in the beauty and ability of every person.  It is also a community resource for actors and people who care about actors.  The Art and Soul of Acting teaches that if we are to live vibrantly and intentionally into the life of our dreams for ourselves and our community, we must act!   “Leap and the net will appear!”

I believe we can act in joy. I hope you will want to come along for the ride. I think the time is ripe to be who you are and live into the life you love!

Peace and joy!


P.S.  It takes a village to launch a website.  Thank you, friends and family!