Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Assumptions based on personal history, UPDATED

If you've been following me for awhile, you know that one of the ways I *try* to stay fit is by walking 10,000 steps each day. I'll go days at a time where I don't get close - like, if I stay in the apartment and never venture past the mailbox, I'm lucky to hit 1,000 steps. And then I'll have weeks where I average 12k-13k per day. It's no big deal, either way; I'm not bragging about my successes nor complaining about my "failures". I'm just saying - I'm a human being who has found a way to feel good about fitness through walking, and I have good days and not-so-good days.

One of my favorite reasons to get out of the house lately, is when I "win" a "give" from my local Buy Nothing group. If you're on Fakebork At All, you may know about the Buy Nothing Project. "Give Where You Live" is the motto that drives it, and it's a FREE marketplace where you can meet your neighbors. Have a sectional couch in decent shape that you don't need anymore? Post it as a "give" in your local group. Need new hot or foam rollers because your hair is long enough to work on "period" film/television and just don't have time to shop for a new set? ASK for them! Chances are, you have a neighbor who wants to unload their old-but-still-functional steam rollers! Or express your appreciation for all of the neighbors who contributed single china tea place settings for your bridal shower garden party in a "gratitude" post! It's amazing. 

Because the "marketplace" is hyper-local, receiving a gift is a very good excuse to take a walk. I don't always get 10k steps out of it, but I've learned my local routes well enough, and I do wear my Disney princess non-Fitbit thingy, so I can calculate where I need to go to get those 10k. So I get out, pick up small "gives, sometimes meet the neighbors (not always - COVID has made a lot of exchanges socially distant), get my steps.

Most days, whether I'm able to walk at my 3.5 mph pace, or I'm much slower due to foot, ankle, or knee pain, I'm walking by choice. OFTEN (far too often), some random dude in a car will pass me, honking or slowing down, to "check me out". I do what I can to ignore them. If they're blatant in their rude gawking, I'll turn to face them and angrily yell "WHAT?"... at which point they'll usually offer me a ride.

I've been stewing over this random-dudes-offering-me-rides issue for awhile. I do not know how to make it clear, once and For All Time, that I am taking a fucking walk! If I wanted to be in a car, I'd be driving!

So. Yesterday, after I was wrapped from set, I had a pick-up to make. Walking home, a car approached and slowed waaaaay the fuck down. I was already in angry yell "WHAT?" mode before I realized the driver was a little old lady. After I passed, another pedestrian couple stopped at her passenger window, and she told them that I looked exactly like her mother did, when she (her mom) was my age.

Not what I was expecting to hear. My personal experiences with walking through my neighborhood have only allowed me to assume that the driver is some rando... a horndog dude. And so I finished my walk, chastened for having yelled at a little old lady who was missing her dead mom, and I cried, missing my Mommy. 

When you assume, you make an ass outta you and me.

What's walking in your neighborhood like? Do you participate in the BNP, or anything similar? Do you still miss your dead Mommy, 15 years later? Talk to me, peeps. I've been gone awhile. I miss you! (Comment below)

UPDATE: I got home from set today, did some "stuff", and then headed out for a nearby pickup from my BNP group. Easy peasy 10k steps today. Then, as I'm reaching my block, I allow a turning car to travel before I cross the street. I know that as a pedestrian, I have the right of way, and I will often exercise that right, but just as often, I'll yield, so I don't piss off a driver enough to have him knock me on my ass with his car. So I yielded, and walked down my block towards the apartment building. Dude must've been watching me, and turned around. He traveled down my block, slowly, and asked if I wanted a ride. PLEASE say it with me: "No, I don't want a fucking ride! If I wanted to be in a car, I'd be driving!"

Fuck these fucking assumptions. I hate being right so much.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Where to Begin, to "cover" two years?

5:51 p.m. I suppose the smart thing to do would be to re-read the 16 posts I made in 2019. Yeah, that's what I'll do... hang on... BRB, as the kids say...

7:38 p.m. I can't just re-read my words. I have to re-read them aloud, because I'm more actor than writer, y'all. Sorry it took me 1.5 hours to read 17 posts. #ImADumbass #IIncludedTheOneFromThisWeek

2019 ended with plenty more work and plenty more volunteerism and probably a Christmas party or a dozen, notably at the SAG-AFTRA offices, among other places. We worked and earned some money and made some contacts and lived our fucking lives. All of us did. None of us knew.

2020 began and I continued booking background acting work. I was on set, photo-doubling for Cloris Leachman in scenes she was not able to shoot (yes, I was wigged and dressed and absolutely not shot in such a way you'd know it wasn't her)... and then the world learned of "The Chinese Virus"... and the production did everything right from the word "go"... masks and hand sanitizers and temperature checks and no more communal buffet-style catering or craft services... and I had one last day to go, which got cancelled without notice, but I guess "Finger of God" is sufficient excuse not to pay anyone for that day of work, so at the beginning of April, I filed for unemployment. By June, I'd lost my health insurance coverage (as I'd lost my eligibility by the end of March).

At some point early in 2020, Stephen was hired by Dodgers Stadium. The hiring process took some time, what with interviews and assessment tests and start paperwork and getting uniforms and such. And then the stadium cancelled the season for the foreseeable future. So every week, we'd get a direct deposit of $0.00 from Dodgers Stadium, so we'd know that Stephen still had a "job" he couldn't go to. So he filed for unemployment.

I don't remember when our apartment manager Marge died, but her husband Jack, who'd been the handyman for the building, became the manager by default, and then he got very very ill... in March or April of 2020. And then he died. We have no evidence, but we believe COVID got him. We were all pretty sad to lose Marge, but we were hit hard when we lost Jack. Everything was shut down! Everyone was home, all the damn time! Keeping our distance and wearing masks and stuff! Jack probably contracted it doing a small repair in someone's apartment, or working in his garage on somebody's car. He was probably ready to be reunited with Marge, but I hate to think how he probably suffered in his last days. And none of us knew.

Once I knew I wasn't going anywhere, I dyed my hair purple (temporary dye). Got new headshots in August.

Then it grew/washed out a fun streaky silver. Got new headshots in November.
Then I dyed it purple again. Then it grew/washed out a less-fun streaky silver but mostly dirty blonde. Got new headshots in February of 2021.

*short tangent* Then in April, both of us qualified to get vaccinated. So vaccinated we got. When they ask us to get boosters, we'll get 'em. #CrushThisFuckingPandemic *end tangent*

Then I went back to "my" blonde, but did not return to my pixie cut. Got new headshots in June.

... and "life" went on. We were staying abreast of developments, and that meme showed up, and I dove headfirst into online training, since in-person training was "over". And unemployment was supplemented, and extended, and supplemented again, and extended again, and so on. And there were stimulus payments. And God Knows, if there had been work for either of us to do that could have been done without risk of contracting a killer disease, we'd have gone back to work. We didn't stay unemployed because it paid more than employment. We stayed unemployed because it was all we could do.

I honestly don't even know how I managed it, but I got us out of debt, y'all. #Blessed and #IAmAMoneyMagnetThankYouThankYouThankYou ... got us out of debt, paid off the car and EVERY single credit card, and bought a lot of online trainings. Got set up in my home VO booth and connected with an author ("rights holder") on ACX and started producing his audiobooks. I set my finished hour rate, he agreed to it, and he just keeps throwing "one more" book at me. #VOActorGettingPaid #18BooksAndCounting

Still and all, our income tax return for 2020 looks like we're just out of college and newly married. The lowest income - TOGETHER - that either of us can remember making, in our personal histories of filing earned income taxes. And no real hope of an end to the pandemic in sight yet.

BUT the Dodgers returned to the stadium! And Stephen now gets more than $0.00 deposited most weeks, because he is gainfully employed (part-time, but still)!

I somehow got "found" by a manager in January of 2020, and after a longish "false start" to that relationship, something compelled me to reach out and figure out how to improve that relationship (get new headshots when you dye or otherwise change your hair). I've become a go-to actor/intern/technology goddess, and I have had more auditions since 2019 than I ever had in my career prior. No bookings yet, but I have at least two casting directors who invite me repeatedly to audition for their projects. Which means it's just a matter of time. #WhatsForMeIsForOnlyMe

... and in the last month or so, I've finally told my calling service (for background acting) that as long as auditions are self-taped and not live (whether in-person or virtual), there is no reason I can't be working on #SafeSets. Which means, because of COVID testing protocols, for the past 4 weeks, I have averaged ONE day per week where I didn't have somewhere to go for a production (which means I'm averaging 4 paid days of "work" per week). And because my hair is not a pixie cut, I'm back to working on "period" pieces, where I have fittings and personalized hairdressings and makeup not my "norm".

ALSO in the last month or two, Stephen and I decided that it was time for us to own a home. We started house-hunting in earnest, working with a realtor to see what we could likely afford, and reaching out to lenders to see what "the system" thinks we can afford. 

Unfortunately, because of that just-out-of-college level of income for 2020, we've had to put real estate on hold until we can compile all of our verifiable 2021 income. In the meantime, we stay busy with work, we certify for unemployment (because part-time income and/or dayplaying, as I'm doing, is still not fully employed, and therefore underemployed, even if either of us earns too much in a week to be eligible to collect benefits). The last known "extension" ends by September 11th, and neither of us is even in that extension, so unless the pandemic brings government back to addressing unemployment extensions or supplements again, when either of our "banks" runs out of money, so do we.

At least we're out of debt, yo. #ImNotWorried #ImNotEagerEither

And I think you're now caught up! Which means that I just have to not get so busy that I neglect you again! What shall we talk about next? Comment below!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Hello? Is this thing on?

HELLO FRIENDS! I know it's been forever since I visited my own blog or even those of the brilliant bloggers I used to read with any regularity. Easier to ask forgiveness than permission, though, amirite?

Here's the thing. I got lazy. Then the globe got shut down by a pandemic, and I was stuck in front of my computer with no inspiration (sound familiar?). Then I saw a meme that hit home - I just went looking for the image, which took me down a long rabbit hole, thanks, Google - "This ends in Death or Divorce". (I didn't find the meme, and I absolutely do not encourage you to search for it either)... and so, to avoid that ending of the pandemic for me, at least, I dove headfirst into online training. I was going to do everything possible to move my acting career forward!

I spent a good bit of money and time. Almost every class I invested in started with a freebie - a one-or two-day webinar that "wet my whistle", so to speak. Not every free webinar was worthless, although most were 100% a sales pitch. Some of the classes I paid for were worthless!

But joy of joys, I hit the jackpot when I found the free webinar series from David H. Lawrence XVII on Voiceover from Home. I got so much good info from the freebie, I enrolled in the yearlong curriculum and joined his merry tribe of VOHeroes. And once I had absorbed enough information to get started, I found an Amazon/Kindle author who wanted to turn his collection of e-books into audiobooks on Audible. I've been working with him since that humble beginning, and we are currently in BOOK #19! I can honestly say that without the VOHeroes free webinar, I wouldn't have found the paid curriculum, and I'd have suffered my way through COVID-19 cabin fever, and I'd probably be significantly less stable right now, both financially and mentally.

Not to suggest that DHLXVII (as I like to call David) saved my life, or anything. But I can say with absolute certainty that the course of my life was changed for the better when his webinar found me.

Do you, or does someone you know, have an interest in Voice Acting? Maybe you'd like to read audiobooks, like I do. Maybe you'd like to be a cartoon character. Maybe you'd like to be the "fast-talking legalese expert" at the end of car and drug commercials. Maybe you'd like to be the guy or gal who says "for English, Press 1". Maybe you have one of these, or other VO interests, but you Just Don't Know how to get started. I can help you with that. It's time for the annual free webinar series! 

I love David and the VOHeroes curriculum and platform so much that he's made me an "affiliate partner" to promote the free webinar series. Click Here to gain access to the five free, FULLY-LOADED webinars called "Mastering Home-Based Voice Over". The first lesson dropped yesterday at 10 a.m., and includes a Q&A covering questions asked by early registrants. It's SOOOO good! Access the video, take notes during it, add your questions in the comments section following the video, and then David will answer them in the next video.

The videos drop every other day over the course of nine days, so watch them when you can (you don't have to try to watch them "live" at 10 a.m. PST). Seriously, if you want to get started in VO, or you just want to get better at VO, you don't want to miss this five-video series. Did I mention it's FREE?

I know it's probably shitty of me to be gone so long and then come back all "sales pitchy". I'm sorry about that. Please forgive me. I really have been super busy, and in the coming days, I hope to be able to fill you in on all of that stuff. In the meantime, though, I didn't want you to miss out on this free webinar series if you have interest.

So, a question for you, as I used to always try to ask something at the ends of my posts: How have you been surviving the pandemic?