Spending My Summer With Ryan Murphy et al

Hello gang! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.

On June 15th, I met with a mentor of mine for coffee in the Hollywood Hills. As countless luxury cars pulled in and out of the parking lot, I told him that I needed some help and direction in the TV literary world. He’s a literary manager and also a fellow Vassar graduate. I’ve known him (and his wife) for several years now. I’ve been to a few events they’ve hosted from Christmas gift-wrapping parties for needy families to casserole parties to a writers retreat at the Sturtevant Camp in Sierra Madre, CA.

I told him that I needed to navigate the TV literary world with more focus and clarity because I was a little bit all over the place. I also asked him about how to obtain a literary manager. We spoke for a while and he gave me a lot of homework to execute that would help me get more focused in this area, more focused on which literary managers would be best for my writing voice and to discover opportunities for minority writers such as myself.

After taking pages of notes, I was excited to tackle the homework he gave me. One of the homework assignments was to identify 25 TV shows/movies that I would have killed to work on as a writer. He told me to create a spreadsheet and to include different columns of information for this homework assignment.

Side note: At the time of our meeting, I could only identify two TV shows that I would have killed to work on as a writer LOL.

After our meeting, I immediately got to work. I started watching lots of TV shows and movies to find my voice in them. Does this TV show or movie sound like my voice? Does this TV show or movie sound like what I’m interested in writing? I would watch at least two episodes of each TV show to see if I would add it to the list or not. I typed in specific genres that I was interested in. I looked at recommendations from Netflix, Hulu and IMDB (i.e. if you liked “Black Mirror”, then check out….) Next thing I knew, my list of shows started to grow.

When my list grew to 15 shows, I hit a wall. I was like, “There is no way I’m going to find 25 TV shows/movies.” I emailed my mentor and asked, “Is 25 a hard number? Or can I have less than that?” I asked him this question knowing fully well what his answer would be. I knew that 25 was a hard number. And that he gave me 25 TV shows/movies to push myself, to explore and to think outside of the box. He emailed me back and he confirmed everything I already knew. So, I recommitted to hitting the magic number of 25. And I’m glad I did because I didn’t want to take any shortcuts. I wanted to fully comply.

On July 27th, I hit the magic number! When I found my 25th show, I cheered! I was so happy and ecstatic. It took me almost a month and a half, but I got to spend my summer with Ryan Murphy, Ava DuVernay, Steven Canals, Tanya Saracho, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Ryan O’Connell and so many other amazing creators!

I discovered/reconfirmed a few things in this assignment:

*I am interested in the following areas for TV: urban dramedies; stand alone sci-fi episodes; comedies where the lead character is truly an outcast.

*My writing heart resonates with half hour TV shows.

*When it came to identifying movies, urban dramas made the list. Although, I also love comedic apocalyptic films like Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End (both written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg)

*ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! When I saw the amount of creativity in each show, the storylines, the kind of different/dynamic leading characters, etc., I realized that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! There is an audience out there for any show and storyline. There is no way that my own TV series can’t be picked up. All of the shows I watched (whether they made the list or not) reconfirmed that my series has a place on TV. No one can ever tell me that there isn’t an audience for my work after seeing all of the TV shows and movies I’ve seen.

So, ladies and gentleman, here are the 25 TV shows and movies that I would have killed to work on as a writer because they resonate with my writing voice. In no particular order:

  1. Pose
  2. Black Mirror
  3. Pen15
  4. Room 104
  5. Electric Dreams
  6. Weird City
  7. The Twilight Zone (the reboot)
  8. Special
  9. Bonding
  10. Shrill
  11. Difficult People
  12. Schitt’s Creek
  13. Ramy
  14. Barry
  15. Atlanta
  16. Fleabag
  17. Vida
  18. When They See Us
  19. Tales of the City (the reboot)
  20. Looking
  21. Moonlight
  22. Gun Hill Road
  23. Quinceanera
  24. Roxanne, Roxanne
  25. Culture Shock (part of the Into The Dark series on Hulu)
Advertisements

Happy Anniversary!

On July 10th, 2015, I launched my weekly blog, Chasing The George! Happy 4th Anniversary! Wow, what a journey it has been! And I feel like my intention and mission has always remained the same:

Hey everyone! I created this weekly blog on July 10th, 2015 upon the recommendation of one of my mentors, Richard Lawson. I am a working professional actor and writer who works hard and understands the concept of what it means to have a career. So he advised me to create a blog where I would share my advice, my journey, my stories and interests with other artists. A “Hollywood 101” if you will that reveals and shares the sustained effort, work and fun it takes to have a career in this industry.

“Chasing The George” is a play on the phrase “Chasing The Ambulance”. When an ambulance is in emergency mode, they cut through traffic with intention. Nothing gets in their way. Some people will illegally chase after that ambulance because they too can get to their destination faster. While I don’t condone illegal activity, I do love the concept of chasing a career with that same intention and focus. I am the ambulance. Chasing The George is a reflection of my intention and focus to carve out the career I want in Hollywood.

I hope that my advice, my personal stories, my enthusiasm and my sometimes funny and direct approach will inspire you to carve out your own fabulous and exciting career in Hollywood.

So pull up a seat and welcome to Chasing The George.

Thank you to everyone worldwide who has read my blog and who continues to read my blog. I love and appreciate your support!

There are so many more exciting things coming up! I am a working artist who is living the life of a working artist. My wins continue to expand and grow every year. My journey continues to expand and grow every year. My knowledge continues to expand and grow every year. I love being an artist and I will continue being an artist.

Below the picture, I wanted to re-share some of the blog posts from 2019.

Happy 4th Anniversary with fireworks and star

Is This Thing On?????? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fk

Are You A Pain In The Ass? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fq

Part 2: Are You A Pain In The Ass? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fs

Another Day, Another Pilot Written: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FD

How To Break Up With Your Agent: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FI

Table Read Adventures: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FP

How I Booked A National Commercial By Crying: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FT

How I Did 30 Auditions In 30 Days: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FW

Where You At?! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-G1

Celebrate! Then Keep It Moving! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-G6

Where You At?!

Hey artistic warriors! How the hell are ya?! I’ve been gone for a few weeks and I’ve missed you all so much. So, where you at?! We are halfway through the year (can you EFFING believe it?!?! “She’s a woman!” Thank you Miz Cracker)

That being said, I thought this was a good time to check in and assess the artistic journey so far. What goals have you accomplished that you set for yourself back in January? What goals did you set for yourself back in January that you flinched on? “Flinch” meaning to pull back, back away, shy away, draw back. What goals started off with a bang, but for this reason and that, they/you lost steam and momentum?

What have you accomplished and celebrated? Do you have a list of your wins since January 1st and have you been celebrating along the way? I have five recent wins that I need to celebrate. I’m telling you this so that I am held accountable as well (To celebrate, I really want to buy a record player and some Madonna albums in LP form released from the year 2000 and beyond: Music, American Life, Confessions on a Dance Floor, Hard Candy, MDNA, Rebel Heart, and of course, the new album coming out on June 14th, Madame X…shameless plug and devotion to the Queen of Everything)

So, where you at my fellow artistic warriors?! Let me know in the comments section below.

For me, on the actor side, I need to schedule a new commercial headshot session. I’ve already picked out my wardrobe and will take pictures of myself in them and send to my agent for feedback. Once I solidify the looks, I will book a headshot session. For me, on the actor side, I need to buy a white ascot for a SAG web series pilot shoot that’s coming up. I had an impulse that my character would wear that. I shared my idea with the creator and they loved it. Also, looking at what scene to do in class from my new casting list. And more things to do…

For me, on the writer side, my focus has been on my new half-hour TV series. So far, I have 1) Three episodes written; 2) I have created a spreadsheet for season one that contains the main characters, their A&B storylines, the episode titles and descriptions, etc.; 3) I’ve written a series bible. My goal is to finish all tweaks by the end of June 2019. For me on the writer side, I want to utilize my relationship map for help and guidance. I’ve already begun reaching out to people (Two of whom I flinched on reaching out to for a while and they offered to meet with me!) For me, as a writer, I want to submit the pilot episode to various writing competitions. For me, as a writer, I want to secure literary representation and pitch meetings.

For me, on the writer side, I will continue submitting my film, The Doppelganger, to more film festivals. Good news coming soon in this area. Stay tuned.

For me, on the 360 degrees of my career, I just joined an amazing career administration group that will kick my ass and hold me accountable. I already shared my enthusiasm with the leader of the group and that I’m coming into this group not knowing anything (meaning that I’m willing to listen and learn…that I don’t have to know everything. It’s actually freeing to know that I don’t have to have all the answers. Ask the next question. Then ask the next question.)

For me, on the 360 degrees of my career, making sure I make noise in order to be considered. To show up more in the rooms I am in. To demand of myself that I be considered. To be uncomfortable. To look at where my energy is going because where I place my energy defines me. Thank you Keili Lefkovitz for this paragraph of advice.

Part of my artistic journey, which I call Chasing The George, is that I’m not perfect. That I make mistakes, but I learn from them. That I don’t know everything and that’s okay. That I don’t know everything, but what I DO know, I know it fucking WELL.

So, where you at my fellow artistic warriors?! Let me know in the comments section below.

Table Read Adventures!

Hey everyone! Let’s get right to it!

On March 23rd, I had the pleasure of acting in a table read for a new TV series in development. The writer wanted the first three episodes of the series read out loud. I was cast last minute because the other actor had a scheduling conflict. I jumped at the opportunity and got to work on this leading character.

The writer emailed me the first two episodes that my character was in. I enjoyed the writing and I also enjoyed the chemistry between my character and one of the other leading characters. I made my choices. I carved out my subtext. I knew that when I attended the table read, I wanted to impinge, I wanted to be moment to moment, I wanted to let the scenes occur.

I arrived early. EARLY AS I ALWAYS DO (LOL)  There were a lot of actors cast for the table read, the writer was there, their business partner was there, and the casting directors were also there.

I took my seat and the reading began. I did great! I delivered what I had worked on and I also delivered on what I wanted to have happen in the room.

The reading came to an end and I started saying my goodbyes. I thought I was done. I was in the first two episodes, I delivered and now it was time for me to say goodbye before they read the third episode.

As I’m saying bye to the writer, he said to me, “Oh wait. You’re in the third episode as well.” I said to myself, “I did not know I was in the third episode. I never received that script.” But like the true professional that I am, I said to the writer, “Great! Let’s do this.” I sat back down and grabbed a copy of the third episode script. This was literally a COLD READ.

However, because of my training, and because I had already done work on my character, I was able to act on a high level during the third episode. Again, the third episode was literally a COLD READ for me. I had not seen any of those lines before and I did not have an opportunity to read through the script at the table read. I just sat back down, grabbed a copy of the script and we jumped right in.

Again, because of my training, I knew to be present, to be moment to moment, to listen, to impinge, to be impinged, to trust my impulses and instincts, to not judge anything that came to me. I knew that I was continuing the life of my character in the third episode. Overall, I did great for a cold read!

When we finished the third episode, I said my goodbyes again and was able to leave without any additional surprises.

So, I wanted to share that with you all!

Another Day, Another Pilot Written

Hello Artists!

I just finished writing a new half hour pilot! I shared it in my Professional Development Program 3.0 class at the Richard Lawson Studios to hear it out loud and get feedback on the characters and the storyline. I’m excited for this new series!

And to reiterate the point of my blog, Chasing The George, it’s to include people on the journey I’m on to carve out the career that I want (and to provide industry advice along the way)

So here’s a few of the things I have planned to Chase The Ambulance, to Chase The George, with urgency and intention:

**Write the second episode (Which I started doing on March 2nd!)

**Write the third episode

**Carve out an 8-episode bible for season one

**Submit the pilot episode to writing competitions to use as leverage and attention

**Secure a new literary agent

And there’s more administration planned around my new series. And remember that all of my career administration is directly pulled from my Declaration of Independence (aka business plan)

With all of the streaming platforms that are currently out there and that are coming out in the near future, I will get a development deal.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple, HBO, etc…………………

Part 2: Are You A Pain In The Ass?

Hello my fabulous artists! My last blog entry, “Are You A Pain In The Ass?”, was quick and to the point. Here is the link to that entry: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fq

And a few people reached out to me to expand on what I meant by being a pain in the ass. So, here is a short list that reflects sentiments collected from casting directors, producers, teachers, stage managers and assistant directors. This list is not exhaustive. I’m sure there are more.

Below are things that will make people not want to work with you:

**You have a bad attitude (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You know everything already (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You are non-compliant with assignments or with direction that is given to you (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You have a bad attitude (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You arrive late to a meeting, to an audition, to class, etc. and don’t communicate about it

**You talk down to people because of their gender, their ethnicity, their “lack” of credits, their “lack” of experience

**You complain and complain and complain, yet come up with no solution to be at cause

**You have a bad attitude (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You make other people’s job exponentially harder

**You are entitled and feel that everything should be handed to you

Get the picture?

I share this because I want artists to WIN. Artists are powerful. We have the ability to create change faster than any other profession. We have a responsibility to our calling as artists. Don’t treat this responsibility lightly.

So please: DON’T BE A PAIN IN THE ASS! It will cost you in the industry!