Category Archives: Best of the Internet

Meet Albert Fuh

I am very excited that my second short film has been accepted into the SOHO International Film Fest in NYC. It plays May 16th at 1:40PM at the Cinema East Village at 2nd Ave and 12th Street, should you happen to be in town! It plays in a block of a bunch of other shorts called Program C: the Prince Street Series. As these things usually go it’s a very interesting afternoon!

Here is a link to the trailer, which I hope intrigues you enough to come see the longer version! I tried to create the world of an individual who struggles with connecting with other people, so he uses his creativity to “bridge the gap”!

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The Business of the Business

I was approached by a good friend (Matthew Rozsa, Google him) who works in the media to turn a personal FB post into an article for one of the sites he works for, “The Good Men Project.” It was a bit of a surprise as I wasn’t planning on going public with my feelings. However because I have a lot of respect for my friend’s opinion, I went ahead with the idea.

Writing about the topic I was dealing with was very difficult. I was afraid it would piss people off: both the people I work for and the people I really enjoy connecting with online.

The topic was self-objectification for profit.

When I was a kid, (in the 1970’s) I remember actors or other public figures would sometimes pose in Playboy or Playgirl in order to get attention. And it sometimes worked. They’d get a movie deal or attention that boosted a lagging career.

But these days because of the internet, just about anyone can get a little bubble of attention by showing some skin. The Kardashian kids are making a huge living off of acting up sexually in front of the camera. Reality shows are digging into the worst parts of folks lives and rewarding them with huge financial gains. (Note: I’ve heard that the women of a certain huge reality show franchise are making close to a million dollars for one season.  That’s a million dollars for thirteen weeks of work. Pretty good deal, if you ask me.)

However when I was approached by a certain reality show last year I turned it down. Why? I guess I’m an idiot. But I didn’t want a Hollywood production walking into my life and rewriting it for entertainment.

You see, I know people who work behind the scenes on reality TV. They’ve told me almost everything that happens on camera is “soft scripted.” There’s very little that contains actual reactions. Later every word, every reaction is manipulated in editing to look like what the producers will think will fit with the story they want to tell and be the most sensational. There is nothing real about reality TV.

Why does it work? I think it works because it portrays what we want to believe, not the truth. Sometimes we want to believe bosses really care. Sometimes we want to believe rich people are really unhappy. Sometimes we want to believe that love is a game that can be won if we only play it right.

In the last few weeks I’ve been going through a rough time. I gotta admit that. I’ve been wondering if my decision making has been flawed. I’ve been thinking that I should’ve said yes to that reality show, that I should’ve lived at the gym so my body would be rock solid on camera, and that I should’ve gotten a publicist. I should’ve taken tons more selfies, attended more Hollywood events…. and on and on. I should’ve played the game that is currently being rewarded.

But I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t.

My book was what I felt I had to give. Inside those pages lives every raw, wounded, broken, fragile, strong, HUMAN part of me. I simply couldn’t get more “real” than within the pages of that book. To have to get all made up for a “reality” show that could choose to portray me in any way they wanted, to become a living Barbie for others to throw off a cliff… it was just one step too far for me.

On the other hand, I joke that I am “professional Barbie.” I get made up, put on clothes, and go to work to create the scenes that the writers have crafted. I take pride in being able to make sometimes over the top “soap” scenarios come to life.  In the past, my skill was enough to keep me employed. But these days I am told that my Twitter and FB numbers are where the producers and television executives are looking for proof of value.

How do you get those numbers up if you aren’t already on TV every day?

The Kardashian kids know it. You make your life in the media and online into a sensationalistic “reality” show. Peek-a-boo photos of your bum, insider gossip, and relationship dramas seem to get more attention than an all nude production of “Cinderella on Ice.”

So here and there I have given in. I’ve posted the bikini selfie. I’ve even taken some sexy shots that I later deleted thinking, “That’s for Jon, not the world.” Then I wondered, “would I be more valued by my job if I had posted them? Would I be more valued if I had taken the reality show?”

So when my friend said, “write an article about it” I felt like it was really important to do so. Important for me to say, “Hey, why is this happening? Is it just me or is this pressure felt by a lot of people? Are we right to have to turn ourselves into objects? Products to be sold? What happened to the value of the skills we may have spent a lifetime developing?”

So I said it. And 4536 FB shares later, I’m beginning to feel like I am not the only one who feels this way.

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Soap Satire = Comic Genius

I have always thought that a soap could make for a great comic book, but just never saw the right recipe until this fine fellow put it all together. On Twitter this #YR super fan goes by @YRScreenshot and he turns scenes from the show into actual comic book pages.

He calls them “a satirical photo critique” and I think they are hilarious. Whether it’s a poster of your favorite character, or a scrapbook of that actors publicity, some kind of two-dimensional reflection is a fun way to embrace the experience of watching your favorite show.

(Note: I had NOTHING to do with the making of these, other than of course, being an actor on The Young and The Restless! Oh, and if you don’t get the joke about Phyllis’ head, you’re just going to have to go look at his instagram page to figure it out! Make sure to look for the “Kelly/Jack” video!)

I want MORE!!!! Thanks @YRScreenshot!

YR Screenshot

 

YR Screenshot #1

YR Screenshot #3

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Fun at the Festival

Jon and Cady at the LA Indie Film FestI had such a fun time at the LA Indie Film Festival. So many wonderful pals showed up to support my work, and the audience (made up of not only my friends, but total strangers, too) laughed all through the film! What a delight!

Best of all, my wonderful husband was there to cheer me on and support the work. What a great guy!

I also got to meet this fantastic interviewer, who did a terrific in-depth interview with me after the screening.

 

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Accepted to the LA Indie Film Fest!

LA INDIE Laurel-1I am so thrilled to share with you that my second short film has been accepted into a highly respected festival in Hollywood, the LA Indie Film Fest.

If you are in the LA area and would like to join me at the screening, here is a link that will take you to the website where you can buy tickets.  The screening will be within a block of other short films, and there will be a Q&A with the attending filmmakers afterwords.

Date: Saturday, March 7th, 2015 (this is a correction!)

Time: 4:30PM

Place: The Actors Company, 916 N. Formosa Hollywood, CA 90046

Tickets: LA Indie Film Fest

Thank you for all of your support!

 

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Art, Life… and Mom

I firmly believe in “cleaning out one’s closets” both internally and externally. That said, I can’t seem to ever get mine clean ENOUGH. Argh. I’m constantly finding “treasures” that I simply can’t part with… that is, until I force myself to “get real” about what I really “need” (which is generally not so much crap!)

While on a storage unit purge recently, I found a letter from one of my distant relatives, a cousin of my mom’s, written to her. She told my mom what an impressive “creative” she was, detailing how she was talented in drawing, painting, writing, etc. This relative was also an artist in her own right, a collage artist, so I was struck by what a lovely, encouraging compliment this was.

I was also struck by the awareness that I, too, am a multi-tasking creative. I write books and music; write, direct and produce films; make my own collages; and of course, act. I am better at some of these arts than others. Trust me, more than once in my life have I thought, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” But I try to ignore that voice and putter about in whatever art seems to be calling to me at the time. Now I try and focus on the fact that my mom passed on this gift, and that I should treasure it and be grateful.

In the last year of my mom’s life she gave me another gift: a copy of the book “The Artist’s Way.” If you read my book, “Murdering My Youth,” you know my mom had some issues (to put it lightly), but this book made a huge difference for her. I would’ve loved to have seen how it changed her life even more, but sadly her time on earth ran out. Still, I was so grateful for the changes this book made in her that I picked it up myself. Wanting to stay connected to the best in her, I went through the lessons in “The Artist’s Way” not once, not twice, but three times. I still go back to it again and again for reminders of how to negotiate treacherous creative waters; how to re-inspire myself; and how to create a life where I felt safe to create. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

My belief after years of making art of all kinds, is that all arts come from a similar place within us, and all arts are meant to connect us, to make us think as human beings about our experience here on earth. This is why I continue to work, because I love that feeling of taking something from within my imagination or experience and feeling that connection.

My latest short film is all about connection: the loss of it, the fear of it, the desire for it. I don’t know if I have ever worked so hard as I did directing and producing this latest project. Films are not only expensive to produce, but time and labor intensive. They are also a collaboration amongst artists in all kinds of arenas: from the color correction to working with actors, it’s always an experience of talents mingling.

I suppose you could say each project I do is like me taking a bunch of stuff out of my closet, putting it together in a way that tickles me, and then sharing it. First with the other artists I work with, and then with the audience.

 

It means a lot to me that the artists who accept my invitation to work together have a good experience. I think I can say without reservation that I’ve found a truly amazing and talented crew. But it also means a lot to me that the audience keeps coming back to me to hear what I’ve discovered, to see how I’ve put together something that quite possibly is not just a private moment for me revealed, but a universal experience we all share, and perhaps feel a little embarrassed about.

So thank you for watching my work, and connecting with me. Thank you for joining me on this journey of creative discovery. It means the world and I am so grateful.

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To Blog or Not to Blog, That is The Question

manoverlake

I am overwhelmed.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, e-mail, messages, and texts are an endless part of my everyday life now. Then there are the “apps” that are supposed to help me maximize every moment in my life: I get news blasts from Stitcher, alerts from Huffington Post, reminders from The New York Times, and updates from Tumblr. And let us not forget online shopping. I can spend hours drooling over sales on handbags, jewelry, makeup, and images of the latest and least affordable “haute couture.”

I feel bombarded by all this information, useful or no, a slave to the communication culture that consists of everyone shouting at the top of their lungs “LISTEN TO ME” and mostly saying nothing at all. Sometimes I don’t want to add one more note to this cacophony of noise-less verbiage, not unless I have something I really, NEED to say.

So here goes:

Make your life worth living starting NOW. Turn off the TV. Step away from the computer. Stop worrying about money. Get out in nature. Take a walk. Plant a flower or a tree. Help an old person cross the street. Don’t forget to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry,” because being polite is never out of fashion. Learn to cook: it is an art form for a reason and will satisfy you more than you can imagine right now. Read ONE really good book at a time, on paper. We need less screens in our life. Make a list of five goals and hold yourself to them. Self-discipline breeds self-esteem. Write “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL” on a sticky note and tape it to your mirror. Stop worrying about what other people think and find out what YOU think. Then do something about it. Take yourself to a museum, alone. If you don’t like your own company how can you expect anyone else to?  Drink more water and less soda. I promise you it will make you feel much better. Be kind to animals even if you are allergic. Go shopping in your closet. There’s great stuff hiding in there. Don’t cut your hair when you are feeling depressed or anxious. Same goes for calling your mother. Let go of “high maintenance people,” they are sucking up all your creative energy. Call one old friend just to see how they are doing. It will be the best conversation you will have all day. Make a list of ten things you love and put in on the fridge. It’s the best diet in the world. Remember that everyone suffers, everyone cries, everyone has a bad day sometimes, and everyone needs love. You are not alone. The choices you make about how to live your life make an impact on every person you meet. Think about who you want to be and then be that person. Fear is your only enemy.  Think of what you would say to a child and then say that to yourself. When in doubt, be kind. Forgive as many people as you can but don’t forget. There’s no purpose in being a doormat but no grace in being righteous. Let go or be dragged. Sing loudly, even if you can’t hold a tune and laugh at yourself as often as possible, it’s a great feeling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDmt_t6umoY

 

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My Interview with Entertainment Tonight

I am so pleased to be able to share some of my story with the broader public via the generosity of the people at ET and the warmth and kindness of Cameron Matthison.  If you missed the interview on air, here it is in it’s longer version.

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Kindness

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 10.27.52 AMYesterday, I was on set talking to Peter Bergman and one of the Y&R directors, Owen Renfroe, about a kiss that was to occur at a particular part of a scene. It is my belief that there are all kinds of kisses. Some are passionate, some are full of love, and some come out of compassion and kindness.

Kindness gets a bad rap sometimes. It can be equated with weakness. One of my favorite sayings is, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness” because sometimes it takes an enormous amount of strength to be kind, especially to someone that hurt you. Kindness can be  a courageous act.

Peter got excited about this concept and shared with us a really lovely college convocation speech by the author George Saunders. You can read it in full HERE but here is a little starter.

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

Now, the million-dollar question: What’s our problem? Why aren’t we kinder?

Why aren’t we kinder? What is it in our culture that has suddenly equated cruelness with honesty? I don’t think we’ve always been this way. I don’t think we’ve always been a culture filled with violence, bullying, and self-interest. I don’t even really believe it is in our nature to be mean. I think we’ve simply made it into a habit.

There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.

Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

I think Kindness can become a habit, just like meanness. And it’s fruits are far more bountiful. In our scene, it made my character feel more loved, and as if she might be able to trust a man once more and is helping her make her own generosity grow. In my own life, my husband Jon’s kindness has made me feel just the same way.

Forgive and be kind. Forgive and be kind. Or at least… strive to be kind.

You never know what another person is battling with inside themselves.

 

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Choices

Georgia O'Keefe quoteEvery day, all day, I feel the choices I have to make dogging me: Am I going to be in fear or faith today? Am I going to be strong, or give in and finish the last of that bottle of white wine with a bag of peanut M&M’s?

Sometimes I make choices out of discomfort: because I am afraid of what other’s think of me, because I want to be liked, or because I am not feeling good about myself. I don’t like how I feel when I make choices from this place of self-doubt. It always feels like I am not accepting my vulnerability, which is a real part of who I am. Fragility is not the same as weakness.

When I’m feeling particularly challenged, I try to call up what my self-created “inner wise woman” would say. I imagine her wearing lots of beads and interesting prints, with long grey hair wrapped up in a bun, or over her shoulder in a braid.

She says to me, “Everyone is afraid, most of the time. Try and remember this.  The greatest gift you can give yourself is the companionship of people wiser than yourself. Seek them out. Lean on their wisdom. And be kind–they came by it hard, just like you.”

Since I released my book into the world, people have asked me, “How did you do it? How did you liberate yourself from all that inner turmoil?” I have been thinking about it for some time now, and I think I can say, it was a choice. I chose to fight. I chose to believe that I deserved better. I chose to believe that I was strong enough to get through whatever pain I was feeling to get to the other side.

It’s a small thing, a choice, in the moment, but very powerful.

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