Friday, December 21, 2012

The End Of The World...As We Know It At Least


Today was prophesied to be the "End Of The World" according to the Mayan calendar.

What is exciting to me is that I want the world to end. Let me be more specific. I want THIS world to end. I want people to practice being more loving, understanding and open. I want the wars to finally stop. I want ignorance to be questioned and challenged more and more. I want more comfort in the uncomfortable. I want less texting and more face-to-face communication. I want more hugs and laughing and freedom for everyone to be completely self-expressed without worry of judgment or repercussions. I want more extraordinary people, which in my mind is everyone, on this planet living up to their extraordinary potential. I want everyone to stop waiting for someone, something, some job, some promotion, and some paycheck to be their salvation and instead of creating it for themselves. I want a planet that begins looking out and standing up for your fellow man, instead having a one track mind that only thinks of me, me, me, mine, mine, mine. I want people to hold others accountable and lovingly accepting them for who they are. Disappearing judgment. Taking a moment to allow others that you “know” and others that you don't know to be anything other than what you've already decided them to be.  I want a population that finally realizes that we are ALL connected and that the person starving in another country, the person holding a sign at your street corner while you are stopped in traffic or the one freezing in the gutter is you. I want a planet that begins to understand the concept that we are ALL responsible for everything happening here. And the sooner we all begin actually believing that the better. The sooner we stop saying "Not my problem" "But that's not my job" "Not my fault" the sooner we as humanity can move towards a brighter future.  

And most of all, can we just be happy and grateful in this present moment because it is all we have? As corny as it sounds, it’s called the present because it is a gift.

A gift so precious yet we discount it every day as we let our minds wander to places we'd rather be, people we'd rather be spending our time with and things we'd rather be doing.

What if we all decided to believe that every single second of our life is exactly where we were meant and supposed to be at that given moment? Would that take the pressure off? Would that allow us to be fully present in whatever moment we were in?

I've been thinking about the idea of being present a lot lately, especially while I’m at work. A place I used to let my mind wander as if I was one of the children I was taking care of. Going through the motions but not truly being there. Now I've realized that being present in every moment could mean the difference between life or death. Between missing it or not. Between connect or disconnect. Between sharing a moment or that beautiful moment never existing. The difference between children growing up with adults that are actually listening to them and ones that are not really there. What a difference that could make in the future of this world.

I cannot tell you how beyond elated I am for this coming New Year. There’s just something about starting a New Year that feels so fresh and clean slatey. The possibility of a new life, a better life, a different life. But I don't want new, better or different. I want nothing. I want to start from nothing because from nothing ANYTHING is possible. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from Landmark Education that’s one of the main lessons that I will continue to take with me through the rest of my life. I have transformed my life, my perspective and my heart in more ways then one this year and I know that the longer I exist on this planet the more I will continue to evolve and grow into the person I am destined to become. The more I will continue to live this transformed extraordinary life that I never thought possible a few months ago.

I'm up to big things. Are you? Do you want to be? You can be. Anyone can. I think we all are but some of us are just too afraid to admit it or too afraid to take action towards those big things.

So instead of resolutions; empty promises that seem so easily broken, why not commitments? I'm finishing up my Commitment seminar class at the beginning of the year with Landmark Education and one big thing it has taught me is that just because I miss one day of my pages as a writer does not take away the underlying commitment I have made to being of being a prolific phenomenal writer that is abundantly creating new, authentic and unique work. And that if I sit there and dwell in the slip up and make it mean that I'm a failure than I truly will be. Instead of acknowledging that I broke my word and recommitting. Because sometimes that's all you can do. One step, one day at the time.

I'm so excited for the metaphorical rebirth of this planet. I feel a shift in energy that is coming about. A change in the winds. This Winter Solstice we are still alive, we are still standing. The coldness of this season will freeze over all of the negativity from our past holding us back so when the New Year comes it can melt it all away where we will be left with nothing and from nothing ANYTHING is possible. So I'm forever living forward with the possibility of being limitless. Limitless in my life, my mind, my relationships, my career. Being extraordinary in every aspect of my designed life. Settling for nothing. Being up to something. ‘Cause our old realm has ended and with every ending there’s always a new beginning. So lets begin…

I want a global shift. I want a revolution. I want to take a stand for the transformation of this planet as a whole not just myself as an individual. 

Goodbye old world, hello brand new realm of possibility!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Splinter


I found a splinter in my hand Friday night. I picked at it incessantly as I had a conversation over the phone with a mentor friend of mine who works at Landmark Education (an organization I will be referencing quite a lot in my blog from here on out) who was offering me some insight. We discussed various topics all related to the workability of ones life. Limiting beliefs that hold us back and actions we can take to move forward and transform those beliefs into a new realm of possibility for you and your life. Sounds wonderful, right? ‘What’s the catch?’ ‘There’s gotta be a “catch,”’ you must be thinking. The “catch” is that it can be a painful process and it takes a lot of courage. It means confronting your demons and being willing to use intellectual effort to be self-observant and reflective of your own behavior. And not just be aware of it but to do something about it. What’s the good of having knowledge of something if you don’t apply it to anything? Some like to call it baggage or demons but for the sake of this story and the context in which this metaphor arose I’m going to call them splinters.

Turning a blind eye to something in your life that you know you should address, clean up, complete – whatever you want to call it, is like leaving a splinter in your finger and thinking that you can get along fine with it stuck there. Yeah sure your life will still “work”. You still might have good relationships, they just might not be great.  Thinking that something is too small, to insignificant to matter or make a difference is the most ignorant way one could possibly view the impact your actions and non-actions have upon the world. Everything matters. Every little thing. The difference between a splinter and a splinter - less hand could save your life. That’s what I don’t think most people realize when they shrug off an incomplete or avoided conversation. A snide remark. A few minutes late here and there. It’s like day and night. The difference between going through life fulfilled and complete with no baggage pulling you down or dragging you backwards and trudging through the mud with a plastered on forced smile as you try to ignore that annoying pebble in your shoe that slightly pierces your heel with each excoriating step. So quit being a baby and go get the needles, tweezers and peroxide and have the courage to start pulling out the splinters in your life - one by one. It’ll sting like hell but you’ll be free. Just remember the relief after all of the panicked squirming and screaming was over when you were a child. Once it was done there was this sense of serenity. Peace. Imagine that calmness whenever you feel afraid, close your eyes and pull. You might be surprised by what you find.

The more you pull the more you'll begin to master identifying your splinters and getting them out. You'll soon be a Splinter Master or a Master Splinter and no I"m not referring to the wise old sage rat from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

What are your splinters in your life?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shake It Off, Shake It Off!

How did I get here?
Only one day back from New York and I’m at it again. Despair. Worrying. Letting my mind drag me so far down to depths that I never even knew existed within me.

STOP. ENOUGH. If there’s one thing this amazing trip has taught me,restored within me, is faith. Hope. Belief in myself again.

It gave me back some positive. It gave me the perspective I've been digging for under the rumble of this past year. Pushing past rocks and grim, trash and sorrow to find some sort of gem, some sort of sign to help keep my faith alive.

I don’t know if it was the isolation and beauty of upstate New York. The time, freedom and safe, creative environment that allowed me to work on my crafts.  The sleepless nights, the grandeur of the city and lights that seemed too much to take in at moments. Walking everywhere around the bustling, busy streets or being surrounded by talented fellow artists and hearing/seeing their great work at the retreat and in the Big Apple. It helped to rejuvenate my spirits. Fill my well.


Skyline of NYC from Brooklyn.
I was in Greenport, NY for a week participating as an actress and writer in the Manhattan Film Institute’s summer program, Writer’s Retreat With Chazz Palminteri. After that I visited friends in the city and explored, soaking up the culture. As an actor I helped workshop materials of fellow writers and as a writer I got to pitch my own feature screenplay idea, read some pages from it and receive feedback. When I pitched my 7 or so ideas for features and pilots to Chazz and Tony they both kept telling me, “I like that – this, these are very good.” Chazz called me out telling me something to the effect of, “You need to pick one and just go. Stop BSing around and making excuses and just do it.” It’s true, I am. I was.


Sunset from my hotel in Greenport.
The retreat helped me remember that I am destined for greatness. As I think we all are. We all have many gifts to share with the world and as Chazz put it so eloquently in his one-man show turned film A Bronx Tale, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” And I think that’s what I’ve been mourning over. The wasting. The waiting. The lack of money that has made me feel a lack of self – worth and motivation.









Then what am I waiting for? And if not me, if not us, then who? Who can we depend on to share their talents? We can't all be waiting for others to step up. To transform the world through art. "Whose gonna save the world tonight? Whose gonna bring it back to life?" Me. You. Us. Together.


Tony Spiridakis leading a Q&A with Chazz Palminteri
after a screening of A Bronx Tale.
I'll never forgot when Chazz was telling us how we need to think about every choice we make and ask ourselves if it's moving us closer or farther away from our purpose, our dream, what we believe in.

He used the example of the character of C in A Bronx Tale. His character was trying to decide whether or not to get into the car with his friends who were going to commit a crime. Are you in the car or are you out of the car?

I'm out of the car and I'm moving forward.



The best teachers I could have hoped for!
(Left To Right: Jeff, Me, Chazz & Tony)

Words cannot express my gratitude to all of my mentors, teachers, supporters, family and friends throughout the years and particularly through this dark time where I’ve found myself, a person of usually very positive demeanor and spirit, not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Jeff McCracken, one of the few professors and amazing mentors of mine from Chapman who I felt truly supported and believed in me from the get go and encouraged all my passions; writing, directing, acting and producing. He never discouraged me and told me I needed to pick a focus. He’s been like a father to me. And that’s saying a lot for me considering I’m estranged from my father and even when I wasn’t I still was in a sense. I’m extremely grateful for my newfound honorary father figure mentors and teachers from the writer’s retreat, Tony Spiridakis and Chazz Palminteri. Two wonderfully creative men with such honesty, intelligence and heart. I'm so grateful to have been guided and taught by you all at the retreat. I finished the first act of my feature and my outline for the rest is ready to go. It's just up to me.


3 Generations Of Amazing Friends!
HS, College & "Real World."
I'm Truly Blessed!

To my past transplants and newfound New York family/friends, I thank you for showing me such generous hospitality while exploring your state and city. I had the time of my life and I've never felt this way before - TANGENT! Pump the breaks! No, but seriously, I'm so grateful for people like you within my life.










And now that I’m rejuvenated, now that I’ve found a little bit of hope again I’m ready to …

"Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back

So shake him off, oh whoa"



So apparently I thought they were saying “Shake It Off” not “Shake It Out” this whole time. But whatevs I like "Shake It Off" better and it's my blog so I can title this entry whatever I want! Ha!

What will my next step be? In the car? Out of the car?
This inner battle of not believing in myself; not allowing my inner artist out to play as they stand at the closed glass door longingly staring outside as the rain pours. No matter the puddles, thunder and lightening - I want to play. I’m ready to play!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Young Couple & An Old Couple Scene

Here are two short rough scenes. Samples of my writing. I think this is my first official sharing of "work." I mean technically everything written before this entry is my work in some sense but not "officially" I guess. Previous entries were more rants, raves, opinions, etc. Here's a nice fictional change of pace for everyone. Enjoy :)


This first scene was inspired by people watching an adorable, elderly Asian couple on a bench in Little Toyko before the WriteGirl Character, Monologue, Dialogue workshop. I tried to keep it very minimal stage direction and description in honor of the workshop's genre of the day.


Setting: A bench in a cemetery.

An old man and an old woman couple sit dressed in black on a bench in silence. Side by side as they have for years. Since they were kids. It has been 45 years and they are both 90 years old.

Man: Are you too hot?

Woman: No.

Man: We can move to the shade or switch spots?

Woman: I’m fine. Thank you.

Silence.

Man: Are you hungry?

Woman: No.

Man: I’m a little hungry. (pause) Maybe we should eat?

Woman: Sure.

Man: You have to eat.

Woman: Okay.

Man: But will you eat?

Woman: What?

Man: I don’t want to be eating by myself with you watching.Will you eat?

Woman: I’ll try.

Man: Ok.

Silence.

Man: Where should we eat?

Woman: Doesn’t matter.

Man: What type of food?

Woman: I don’t care. Whatever you want.

Man: But I want to know what you want. That’s why I’m asking you.

Woman: It doesn’t matter. (beat) I probably won’t eat.

Man: But you said that you would?

Woman: I said I’d try.

Man: Well I’m really going to need you to try. If you don’t try I know I won’t be able to eat alone.

Woman: You eat alone all the time.

Man: Yes but not with others watching. I eat only when you have to be somewhere else but I know you’re coming home to me. (beat) Will you come home to me?

Woman: Today? (pause) Yes.

Man: Just today?

Woman: You drove us both here.

Man: What about tomorrow?

Woman: I don’t know.

Man: You don’t know what?

Woman: If I can hold on ‘til then.

Man: But you must.

Woman: Why? What for?

Man: For me.

Woman: For you?

Man: Yes.

Woman: Ok. I’ll try then.


END SCENE




The second scene is a couple scene contrasted with teenagers rather than elderly. Inspired by a couple of bicyclists lying on a patch of grass near Echo Park in the middle of night with their safefy lights on their bikes being the only thing helping them stand out in the darkness.


SETTING: School field. Night.

A couple of thirteen-year-old teenagers sit on the grassfield behind their school. Their bikes are sprawled out in front of their collapsed bodies as their safety lights blink consistently. They are laughing hysterically gasping for air.

Boy: (laughing) Did you see their faces?

Girl: (gasping) I know! (gasp) I know!

The girl SNORTS. They both LAUGH harder.

Girl: (laughing/gasping) They – they - the-

Boy: (laughing) Just stop! (guffaws) You’re embarrassing yourself.

Girl: (laughing and shoving the boy) Shut it bunghole.

Boy: Bunghole?

They laugh harder until their laughs finally subside and fade into heavy sighs and breathing in unison. They lie on their backs staring up at the sky.

Girl: You think they know it was us?

Boy: Who cares?

Girl: I do. And you do too. Stop trying to act cool.

Boy: I’m not. I don’t care if they find out it was us.

Girl: We wanted a little secret sweet revenge not an excuse for them to give us more shit.

Boy: Well we can’t do anything about it now can we?

Silence.

Girl: At least if they give us shit we’ll get it together.

Boy: Yeah. That always makes it less…shitty.

Silence.

Boy: You hear from your dad?

Girl: Nope.

Boy: Nothing?

Girl: Not since.

The boy opens his mouth about to speak but then closes it and does not speak.



Girl: What?

Boy: Nothing.

Girl: What were you gonna say?

Boy: Nothing. Just drop it.

Girl: I won’t until you tell me what you we were gonna say. I’m not stupid. You were about to say something - so say it!

Boy: I was gonna say what an asshole. That your dad has to be a complete fucking asshole to leave someone as great as you.

The girl’s eyes fill up with tears.

Girl: Thanks? I guess.

The girl bursts into tears.

Boy: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Why couldn’t you just let me say nothing?

Girl: Cause you’re the only one who ever tells me the truth. It’s never nothing.

The girl continues to cry harder.

Boy: Hey....hey?

He hesitates and then awkwardly hugs her until he slowly collapses relaxing into the embrace. Her crying and breathing slowly regulate.

Boy: It’s ok. It’s ok.

Girl: You’re the only person who hasn’t left me.

Boy: (teasing) How many people do you actually know?

Girl: (laughing) Shut up. (shoves him) I mean it.

Silence.

Boy: Well same here.

Girl: What about –

Boy: You know they don’t count.

Their eyes lock and there is an understanding for a brief moment. The sprinklers of the field turn on suddenly.

Girl: Shit!

Boy: RUN!

They yell and laugh as they get up slipping and tripping over themselves until they finally frantically mount their bikes to escape the sprinkler storm.

END SCENE




Sunday, April 22, 2012

I Wanna Be In A Female Rock Band!

I wanna be in a female rock band! There I said it! I wanna play drums. I want to "Slap DA Bass", I want to play piano, guitar, harmonica, tambourine, be the leader singer, dancer - ok I guess I can’t do all of the parts…but I would certainly love to know all these instruments & be able to do all these roles! And not just do them - do them well! And it doesn't have to be an entirely female band but that would be super cool, like Josie and the Pussycats or The Chippettes!

Please tell me I'm not the only one with this childhood fantasy?! Ever since I was a little girl rockin’ out on my toothbrush &/or hairbrush and recording music videos with my sister on my mom’s old video camera that recorded straight to VHS – yes we had one of those.

This fantasy or buried dream is something that has become more and more apparent to me as I continue my life on this earth. Little moments and events keep awakening this dream for me. Everytime I go to concert, singing live karaoke at the one and only, one of my BFF bestie's, Melanie Alexander’s (One of my dearest friends who continues to inspire me. She is now rehearsing her first lead in a musical in San Fran. SO proud of her!) birthday celebration in college, my first time really singing in front of audience on my maiden voyage of Semester at Sea, seeing Kat rock on in her awesome band Sad Robot, every performance I've ever seen of my friend Reece's rockin' pirate band
The Dread Crew Of Oddwood, playing rock band and my many, many renditions of “None of Yo Business” by Salt and Peppa at karaoke. I LOVE performing! It’s been something inherent in my being since I was little. Since I would organize my cousins in my grandma’s back room with curtains, cued up tapes and a "stage" to be the MC for our very own talent show. My 9 – year - old rendition of “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas was TRULY one of the most heartfelt things I’ve ever seen me do caught on film. I was COMPLETELY in the zone.


College taught me through theater classes and voice lessons, that singing is HARD. So much harder than it looks and even people who make it look easy it’s still HARD. Performing is HARD. Giving yourself and your energy on stage. Telling a story, a feeling through your words, melody and emotion. Not to mention how hard it is to learn and diligently practice playing musical instruments. I learned that through my beginning guitar class I took in college and at Disney and my ukulele class that I also took at Disney taught by the marvelous John Quinn.

A passion for music has been something that has ALWAYS been a part of my life. From going Christmas caroling with my family of former choir teachers and members, to singing & listening to Jimmy Buffett, the Beatles and MJ while growing up, watching my mom dance and sing as she would clean or fix our sink or build something (my mother is basically the best father/mother combo a daughter could ever ask for. Check out my mom's amazing blog "The World According to Mama Pandza...I'm Just Sayin'"). Not until I got older did I realize the power of music and its ability to change people. I feel it is one of the few and ONLY art forms that is universal and has the power to reach people on an instantaneous level. To completely shift a mood, inspire or motivate with a first few notes, strokes of keys, strums or acapella hums and lulls. I know this to be true. Every time I hear songs like “ You Can Close Your Eyes” by James Taylor, “The Wind” By Cat Stevens, “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters” By Elton John, “Ready for Love” by India Arie and  “I Believe in Love” by The Dixie Chicks I know that music is truly a spiritual and universal experience. There’s just some sort of trigger it hits in my heart that shifts my entire being whenever I hear it.

I attended Mosiac’s Musment Compose event a couple of Thursday’s ago and it reminded me of the magic of music. A group of artists gathering together for pure play. Having to compose something in just an hour and a half with a team that I had just met and never worked with before, with just a few instruments, some spray paint cans and our voices. Some of the art that I witnessed come out of that night was truly inspiring.

Music is phenomenal. Every single genre of music ASTOUNDS ME! It inspires me and moves my soul. I realized the amazing amount of different types of music that I didn’t even know existed at The Grammy Museum a few Saturdays ago at the WriteGirl songwriting workshop. There I watched our WriteGirls pump out songs in a day. Their eyes glimmered and I got chills all over my body and tears in my eyes as they were performed on the fly by professional singer songwriters. It was truly indescribable.

See some amazing examples of videos from the workshop below:



A beautiful song by an amazing WriteGirl, Cree Nixon.
video

One of my favorite songs that was created in the workshop. 
I think the title was "Fear of Falling."
video

A hilarious, rockin' song by the wonderful WriteGirl, Amaya McGinnis. I was blessed to be her assigned mentor for the Fiction Workshop. I'm guessing the title is "Happy Love Songs."
video


Witnessing this at the workshop even made me believe that if I kept up with my guitar basics and vocal warm - ups that maybe someday I could write a song - but not just the words, the melody and rhythm too. Maybe that all female rock band isn’t as far from reality as I thought.

I LOVE singing and writing and performing so maybe someday it will happen. Another buried dream unearthed and acknowledged. Who knows if I’ll actually end up doing if for a living or just for fun. Maybe I could be the next Sara Bareilles or India Arie?

Hey – a girl can dream can’t she?! And nothing will ever stop me from continuing to do so.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Contemplating My One Year LA & Disney Anniversary While Sitting At A Table At The Gratitude Cafe

Today marks the one year anniversary of when I started with Disney as the writer and project manager of the Blue Sky Think Tank. A year ago on this very day is when I began working at DCP (Disney Consumer Products) and a few days before that was when I moved to Los Angeles. And by "moved" I mean officially started crashing on couches 'til I found a place of my own. So technically it's also my one year anniversary of living in Los Angeles - crazy! I want to take a moment to reflect on all the change that's happened in the past year and the most importantly focus on - GRATITUDE!


So much has changed in a year. It's flown by but I also feel like I've been here forever. DCP has changed - I'm no longer working there. Still in the Disney family but working at their Children's Center. And though I love working with kids it's not my main passion. I still currently seek a position in a more creative field that aligns with my true passions.


Don't get me wrong I'm extremely grateful to have a job - period. I guess I'm just supposed to type the symbol for period instead of writing the word "period." Period - HA! I'm grateful that I get to play with wonderful children as I watch them learn and grow. When I truly allow myself to be in the moment with them, in their games and their laughter - those are the perfectly blissful and cherished moments. That's what reminds me of why I'm doing what I'm doing and why it's important. It makes me think of the Mac McAnally song "It's My Job." I thought of it and hummed along while I swept on and off stage as an ASM for the Old Globe/USD, while I helped rally kids to perform a play of "Where The Wild Things Are" in an after school program in San Diego, I sang it at DCP during my late, late work nights in the Tank and I have here at the center. A song that reminds me no matter your job you must take pride in the work you do and do your absolute best because it is your job. How can I allow myself
to do anything less than my best? Cause...

"It's my job to be cleaning up this mess
And that's enough reason to go for me
It's my job to be better than the rest
And that makes the day for me."

 But the song also seeks to remind us that your job does not define you. It isn't who you are but merely what you do. That was something I definitely had to come to terms with during my few months of painful unemployment after DCP before the center. If I don't have a "job" than what am I? Who am I? An artist. A nurturer. A dreamer. Countless things I could continue to list that make up the essence of who I am but has nothing to do with my current "job" and sometimes even my passions.


I'm thankful for all of the fantastic, spirited children I've been lucky enough to teach and play with. Thankful to the phenomenal teachers, subs and faculty who work at the center. They inspire me with their level of professionalism and passion for what they do. It gives me hope that teachers and centers like this exist in the world that truly seek to nurture, teach and help children develop into independent, creative and mature adults.


And of course I'm thankful to the Disney employees (former and current) who started it all - my DCP family. The Think Tank. Global Creative. Publishing. The UGA's. Numerous other departments and individuals who helped to truly bless and create my intern experience at DCP. The list goes on and on.

I feel truly blessed to have ever been given the opportunity in the first place. The position I held in the Tank helped reawaken my first true love and passion - writing. It also teased me with the abundance that the Universe has to offer. You can be paid to do something that you love. The work you do can be fun, inspiring and creative and your work environment can be the same, along with nurturing, flexible and unique compared to the typical 9 - 5 "desk"/"office" job we are told and encouraged by society is a "normal" job to have. Staring across the street at DCP I wonder if the Universe is testing me to see if I can still find time and energy to create my art and follow my passions when I work full time at a job that doesn't involve my art. I was spoiled by Think Tank but it surely set the bar high and gave me a standard to aim for. To never settle for a job that doesn't inspire, infect, nurture and intrigue every once of my creative, emotional, intellectual and social being.

My superiors. My peers. All the people, mentors and friends. You are my Disney family. I remember Andy Mooney's last day at DCP. I will never forget his words as he addressed us all. The very words that made me burst into tears, "You're my Disney family. I see you more than I see my real family." Oh how we all can relate to that statement about the people we work and collaborate with.


Time for All Star Shout Outs - (There's a lot so some readers may want to skim to the end. If I forgot to name someone my deepest apologies. There's too many to name and its overwhelming trying to remember all of you who touched and impacted my DCP experience)

First and foremost, the man who started it all, bringing the concept of a Think Tank to DIMG and then transitioning it to DCP, the most wonderful boss this newbie artist could have ever asked for, Chris Takami. His vision, creativity and leadership skills were an inspiration to me everyday. Him nurturing and being one of the main foundation layers behind the concept of a group of recently graduated college students from various backgrounds and disciplines coming together to brainstorm ideas was genius and something every company should learn from. How many people can say that they once held a job in their lives where they were PAID to brainstorm constantly and simply be creative?


My fellow Tankers; my "Erynifying" copy editor ADD social butterfly, Eryne Lagman, one of the fastest, hardest workers I've ever had the pleasure of working with, Brett Long, the eclectic, karmically sound, whirlwind of talent, one of our artist/animators, Jesse Soto, the chic designer illustrator, Jason Shorr, the unbelievably talented, artist/animator who holds himself to incredibly high standards, Ricardo De Los Angeles and last but certainly not least, the incredibly creative and bold, Aleks Mats, whose outside the box thinking, pushed the boundaries and limits of every brainstorm, idea or project the Tank ever had. "Uncle" George McClements, one of the funniest, most spontaneously creative people I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Tricia "Mama/Auntie Goose" Pierce, the hippest, most fun, truly funny,witty and yet efficient project managers that lives. Our "big sis" for momentarily, the social media/communications Goddess, Annjanette Isorda. My mentors, Vickie Saxon and Kim Levario, two of the most amazingly creative, talented and good hearted professional women who bestowed upon me light-years of wisdom. The fun and inspiring fellow tankers mentors; Ron Velasco, Stephane Kardos, Jeff Shelly, John Quinn, Pedro Fernandez, Kevin Gralewski and Nick Jeong.

Honorary Tankers & Tank Allies; Dan Owen, Charysse Jennings, Heather Laing - Obstbaum, Ann Buckingham, Colleen O'Neil, Leah Fonnette, Jen Marie Del Carpio, Tony Colon, Wing Shum, Tiffany Quon, Eric Tan, Hutch, Danny Tong, Hope Goldstein, Rich Tuzon, Kevin Earl, Maryam Urumieh, Dave Zaslov, Kim Ebeling, Marie Garofalo, Regan Forman, Ryan Astamendi, Stephanie Shapiro. THe COI Dream Team; Libby Spatz, Robin Nelson and Cathy Biermann.

Some of the inspiring movers and shakers of Disney; John Gong, Pam Lifford, Andy Mooney, Gary Foster, Marilyn Magness, Sarah Tilley, Christopher Stefanidis, Dave Dickman, Drew Hayashida and of course our spectacular, insanely creative, one of a kind SVP, Luis Fernandez.
My extended Disney family members; Stuart Smith, Gerald Turpin, Magda Loczi, Erica Yu, Graham Barnard and last but not least, the wonderful friendly faces of the front desk & HR reception who brightened my day, Forest Guider, Josh Stoddard and Michael Boyd.

To all of my many helpful and inspiring meet and greeters during and after my DCP time; Stacy Pyles, Tim McNeal, Michael Duncan, Laura Hitchcock, Heather Knowles, Cathryn McHugh, Karen Painter, David Fisher, Jeff Boodie, Ileana Montano, Brett Eliott, Trent Schneidewind, Ileana Montano, Melinda Thompson and Laura Uyeda


My intern UGA famillia; Alyssa Munoz, Louie Alvarez, Alex Yee, Alex Horn, Corbin Pickett, Dan Vigorito, David Navar, Atoosa Ryanne, Edward Kong, Elana Altmann, DeCarlis Wilson, Maxwell Ernst, FredEric Pratt, Ruby Chen, the many James's - James Min and James Yoon, Jason Wong, Jeanette Saris, Jessica Lopez, Julia Li, Justin Yu, Katie Sacchi, Lydia Han, Kevin Portillo, Kim Chang, Marques Dawson, Mayumi Miyasato, Mike Tang, Neenet Hairapetian, Peter Seng, Phil Tan, Resham Parikh, Robert Daligdig, Ryan Damodaran, Shawn Orgel-Olson, Tatiana Guerrero, Tiffany Fang, Uchenna Obiora, Vinu Natarajan and Zulema Uriarte.

And last but not least, Spencer Stuard and Siobhan Vanaman, former tankers, dear friends and fellow Chapman Alumni who recommended me for the position in the first place.

To all of you, words cannot express the gratitude that I feel for having met and gotten the opportunity to work with each and everyone you. You positively influenced, guided, mentored and/or helped create my wonderful Disney experience far beyond anything I could have imagined


Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd be working for a company that I respect so highly. A company that helped to shape my childhood. Working to help continue to flourish this iconic, legendary notion of "the happiest place on earth" where "dreams really do come true" that encouraged me to dream and believe that anything was and is indeed possible.


I completely rejected the concept of moving to LA right after graduation. But once I was offered the position with Disney there was no way I was gonna pass it up no matter the location. But beneath the traffic and the smog. The bits of trash and superficiality. I have been lucky enough to find friends, mentors, people I think of as my second family and places that make me feel like this is my home away from home.

So thank you Universe. Thank you to everyone for helping make my Disney and LA experience worth wild.

I'm beyond grateful.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Power Of Poetry

I truly believe in the the Power Of Poetry!

I remember reading and hearing poetry as a child and being transformed. I remember the first time I saw spoken word poetry performed in person at my high school. And I remember the first time I watched Russel Simmons on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam and being lit up by the power of words, of poetry spoken with conviction and passion. A beautiful mixture of performance and writing. Two of my biggest passions.

There were so many amazing poets (too many to even acknowledge and mention them all) that inspired and helped shape me as I grew into the writer that I am today. Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss were poets that awakened my imagination and inspired me to dream as a child. And as I grew into a young woman, poets such as Maya Angelou and Alice Walker reminded me what it meant and that I was allowed to be a strong, confident woman. They provided me with such faith and courage even when it seemed that all hope was lost.

Even though I still struggle. And have days where I feel defeated. I know that a....

‘Loss of vitality
Signals emptiness
But let
Me tell you:
Depletion can be
Just the thing.
You are using
Have used up
The old life
The old way.

Now will rush in
The engectic,
The flexible
The unmistakable
Knowing
That life is life
Not mood’

And because...

‘It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet’

I know that I will travel far. Perhaps...

‘...leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.’

All I can do is keep on going. Keep taking the next step. And hope that I won’t get lost and wind up in...

‘The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.’

Life changing lessons and anecdotes. Beautiful words, melodies and rhythms shared through poetry that helped to guide my life. I hope that my words, my poetry is powerful enough to one day to have that affect on someone else.

Rummaging through all of my saved old writing I came across TONS of poetry I had written when I was younger. In elementary school, middle school, junior high and a lot in high school. It was one my favorite genres of writing growing up and still is. But somewhere between the end of high school until now I completely lost touch. I had poetry within me but I would stifle ideas. Maybe scribble a word or two down on a stray piece of paper, in my quote or idea book but then close it and never finish. Leaving that poem to never breath in the light of day or grace the ears of another soul.

Reading “The Artist’s Way” has helped me get back in touch with my poetry and a buried dream of mine to perform my poetry publicly at a spoken word or poetry lounge.

Well that buried dream is surfacing TONIGHT!

Tonight I will be performing one piece of my reborn spoken word poetry.

If you aren’t busy this evening please join me at Da Poetry Lounge, 544 N. Fairfax, LA, CA, 90036. The first show starts at 9PM and the line starts forming at 8PM. There’s $5 cover. Get there early!

To all of the poets who have written poems that were never published, never heard or appreciated - this is for you.

As they reminded us in The Dead Poet’s Society, Carpe Diem!

Let’s go seize it then!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Importance of the Arts – Is Art Just for the Privileged?

After enjoying a lovely piece of theater presented by the East West Players in Little Tokyo this past Wednesday evening, my wonderful friend, social media/communications/marketing/PR genius guru, Justin and I popped into a random mini 7-11 type market with sodas and chips on one side, condoms and sex gag gifts on the other and Boba behind the counter. We ordered some Boba and sat down to chat because ONE, we literally only had 20 minutes to scarf down our din din before the show and TWO, because we hadn't seen each other in what felt like ages and THREE, because the wonderful production of "3 Year Swim Club" sparked and inspired a fiery in depth conversation about society, different cultures, the arts and social status's. The kinds of convos that leave your head spinning and questioning long after they are over, hence the writing of this blog post at 2AM Thursday morning. (I was still so wired off the Boba frappchino I drank. Caffeine extremely affects me, transforming me into more of a hyper beast than I already am. I thought because it was Boba it wouldn’t be as strong – WRONG!)

The conversation cycled beautifully through various waves and tangents relating to art and society. It’s conversation like this that I truly value when I experience them with mature people. Where both individuals are truly listening and absorbing what the other one is saying with no judgments and responding like intelligent adults rather than defensive children.

We got to talking about the arts and how society usually views "artists" such as painters, writers, actors, poets, singers etc as poor, lazy, frou frou, silly vagrants who fool around and don’t do serious work. On the other end of the spectrum, lawyers and doctors are put on this high prestigious pedestal for everyone to admire, respect and never question or challenge. I’m by no means stereotyping the entire field of medicine or law. I’ve met many great doctors and lawyers (those official and those still pursuing degrees), but from my personal experience with both professions, holding a prestigious title or position does not automatically mean you work very hard, are very smart or actually competent at what you do. Yet we pay thousands and thousands of dollars to these individuals who we hold in such high esteem to save our lives physically and emotionally from death, jail or a ruined reputation because these things are important to us. But does that mean that these individuals are smarter because of their years of schooling or because they hold these positions? Sadly, this is not always the case. We assume that just because they are doctors and lawyers they must be smart, hard working and dedicated, but artists – they are and always will be a bunch of bohemians. (And though I’m using the profession of doctors and lawyers as the main example, this applies to most professions that are considered “real” jobs by society.)

Justin then made a controversial but good point how some people equate artists, specifically actors and singers, to being on the same level as prostitutes because all they have to offer or “sell” is their body. They are technically “selling” themselves as a product.  I responded by saying, "They have more than just their body, but their words, their voices, their presence and essence and vulnerability. They have the courage to get up on stage and share their humanity with an audience in order to tell and share a story. In order that an audience member might possibly be moved to experience catharsis." I have several friends, former theater majors, that discovered midway through college that though they loved theater, they were more passionate about something else. Yet they said they never regretted majoring in theater because it taught them to be human. I don’t know about you, but from experiencing first hand the difficulty of presenting good theater from my training as an actor, director, producer and writer, anyone who has the courage put themselves out there and share their humanity with me just in order that I might experience some catharsis, forget about my current state of being for a while or force me to re-examine my life or an issue in the world deserves as much recognition and monetary compensation as most doctors and lawyers receive.

We’ll (us as individuals and society, our government) pay GOOD money to save our physical lives or to preserve our rights but spend little to no money investing in the future of our children and their development or to expand our mental, creative or spiritual health by investing in the arts?

I work at a daycare where I literally get paid a pittance as a substitute teacher and this is a well established reputable daycare. Despite the fact that the teachers are paid better than most teachers at your average daycare, it is not even close to what they deserved to be paid because they are only helping to care for and shape the future generation of the world. They are helping inspire, nurture and guide the next generations of lawyers, doctors and heaven forbid – artists! This lack of low wages and investment in the arts and our children’s future does not come from the parents. I’m sure every parent and every person in the world would rather see their hard earned money go to funding more schools, better schools than war or other countless things our tax payers money is spent on. Then where does this disconnect between what we want as a society and what we are getting come from?

Arts programs are one of the FIRST things that are cut in schools because it is considered frivolous and expendable. They would never think to cut math or science or (gasp), sports programs because those are "real", important subjects. This is a tragedy. To think that the next generation of children might be raised in a environment where they are never exposed to the arts because it wasn’t "important" enough to allocate money for arts programs in their budget is introducing an entire generation of children to the world who will be less likely to dream, to create, to brainstorm and wander and explore until their hearts and imaginations have found just what it is they are looking for and what it is they want in their lives. Whether its be to be an artist or just to use art as a means of private self expression while they pursue a career in another field.

I read a little bit of this book from the Creative Resource Center while I was at Disney Consumer Products called “The Creative Brain” and it talked about how all human beings are creative and use creativity in their daily lives for problem solving, multi – tasking, etc. Basic human functions made easier and more fun by using their creativity. No longer can people use the argument that the arts programs will only benefit people who are "artists" or who want to be "artists". How can anyone know what he or she wants to become if they have never had the privilege to be exposed to it?

Then it comes down to it why is the majority of art (theatrical productions, art galleries/shows, music concerts, etc) in America for the elite? Why is art usually so expensive and why aren’t there more programs helping to make it available for all? This is an issue in our society and many parts of the world. It creates an unfair class system in more ways than one. I want to walk into the theater where I am not the only young person, or one more white person to add to the 90 % already there and not just there because I studied theater and the arts. I want to walk into a theater with the diversity of a London audience - diverse in age, socio economic status, race, gender etc. Where theater is so much a part of their culture it is just as cheap to buy a cup of coffee, as it is to see good show. I want to walk into a school and see children’s imagination being sparked through theater, painting, writing or spoken word. Where you can see in their eyes that they may have discovered their life’s passion because someone thought they were privileged enough to share it with them.


Justin then asked me, "Whose problem is it?" And I responded, "Everyones." People in this world usually tend to think that because it is a problem that is not directly (or at least they think is not directly) affecting their lives then it is not their problem. This is the tragedy I feel and one of the reasons there are still so many problems in the world. Still so much hunger, poverty and little to no education in certain areas of the world but it’s "not their problem." Problems that the world, our governments, and particular individuals collectively have the money to help remedy but instead they turn the other cheek.

I truly believe that one of main purposes of why I was put on this earth was to help, nurture and inspire others. Whether it be to inspire and help them find their voices as artist’s or as people in general. To nurture, mentor and guide friends, family members and random strangers to grow and become the most prosperous people that they can become. No matter how poor or little one has, you always have enough to give, to aid and to help out your fellow man even if in the smallest way. Whether it be your time volunteering at the organization, giving a homeless person a little spare money or your leftovers on the street because you do have change (even if they do not really look like they need it), to be there for a friend in need or to donate a million dollars to a non profit. It is our problem. Everyone everywhere should have the opportunity to be exposed to the arts from a young age and throughout their life no matter their social economic status.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said "I have a dream" and it sparked so much change and passion in the world and it will forever continue to do so until there is no more world left to affect. One line that encourages people to know that the sky is the limit when it comes to your life.To the basic rights that you deserve as humans on this earth. To the dreams you wish to accomplish. To the world you want – you dream to see.

I want to see a world where this class system with the arts is everyone’s problem. I want to see a world where every world problem is everyone’s problem. And the sooner everyone sees that it’s their problem and not someone elses the sooner we can start to change it collectively as a human race.

PREACH! I’m sure some of you are thinking. HA! I’m stepping off my soapbox and back onto the street with everyone else but I never stop believing this to be true and something that I will continue to fight to be remedied throughout the rest of my life.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap And The Net Will Appear

Hello Universe! 


I thought posting my first ever blog entry on Leap Day 2012 was appropriate because I plan to only post every four years…KIDDING! I feel posting my first entry today is a unique and great way to end February 2012 and start off March 2012 right. The beginning of the New Year I would still say.

So I did a little Leap Day/Year research cause we all know we get an extra day during a Leap Year but do we know why? I sure didn’t – still kind of don’t. Apparently it helps keep our calendar aligned with the earth’s revolutions around the sun and without Leap Year we’d lose time. Anyone still confused? Well join the club! I’ll just nod along happily confused yet grateful for another day on this earth! An extra day - an extra treat!

Leap Day is a fun, random, magical day full of traditions from all over the world apparently. In Ireland it’s tradition for women to propose to their men on this day! Cool, huh? Oh how I love when society’s conventional idea of what love is supposed to be is flipped on its head.

The tradition I’m implementing this Leap Day and hopefully every day from here on out is to “Leap and net will appear.” This quote has come into my life through two wonderful channels so far - the lovely Jason Mraz song “Make It Mine” and when Julia Cameron talks about the power of synchronicity and the abundant universe when it comes your art her book The Artists’s Way. That if you take the leap, the net will indeed appear. So this is my leap.

Publishing my various artistic passions for the world to see. It’s terrifying and a baby leap but I’m taking it on LEAP DAY – how appropriate and punny! HA!

“As you work with the tools in this book, as you undertake the weekly tasks, many changes will be set in motion. Chief among these changes will be the triggering of synchronicity: we change and the universe furthers and expands that change. I have an irreverent shorthand for this that I keep taped to my writing desk: "Leap, and the net will appear."

It is my experience both as an artist and as a teacher that when we move out on faith into the act of creation, the universe is able to advance. It is a little like opening the gate at the top of a field irrigation system. Once we remove the blocks, the flow moves in.” – Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way - under Spiritual Electricity: The Basic Principles)

I’m ready for the flow. I’m removing the blocks bit by bit. Showing up at the page day by day. Filling the form. Taking the leap (or baby leap) each day that I scrounge up the courage to do so.

So this is me – finally taking the leap! Here I go…


WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


This goat is my hero!