Dressing Your Indie Film

Wear your own clothes

For your first film, short or feature, you should be trying to minimize your budget wherever possible. Your first film should be shot in a location you can use for free, with clothes you can get for free (i.e. your clothes, the clothes of your cast members). If there’s something specific you need, ask around. If you’re crowdfunding on Seed&Spark, you can make a wishlist and people can donate items and services in lieu of money.

Local Thrift Stores

If you’ve got a broad vision for your wardrobe but your own clothes won’t work, local thrift stores are an awesome option. Many have discount days and special deals.

Online Thrift Stores

I’ve lived in a handful of small towns, and I know that some towns have better thrift stores than others. If you live somewhere with less-than inspiring thrifting options, hop online. Poshmark and Thredup are both great options. Another plus to online thrifting is you can search for exactly what you’re after.

Thredup is amazing because the clothes have been vetted, and there’s an easy return policy. They have sales all. the. time.

Poshmark is sort of like eBay for clothes. You’ll be dealing with individual sellers, which comes with good and bad. Luckily, the bad can typically be avoided! The good: you can “like” an item, and 9 times out of 10, the seller will offer you a private discount. You can send offers, counteroffers, and bundle items together for a discount. The bad: because you’re buying from individual sellers, you might occasionally run into issues with punctuality. I’ve had one late sale in selling and buying on Poshmark for over 3 years. The key is to look at the seller’s recent reviews and average shipping time.

Poshmark and Thredup are also great because you can sell clothes with both platforms. After you’re done with those white bell-bottoms you needed for the film, give them a second life and get some cash towards your festival fund in the process.

What’s your favorite place to get costumes for indie films? Comment below!

Creative Living

Coping with Secondary Infertility

As infertility awareness week comes to a close, I’d like to share my story.

We’re approaching the 2-year-mark of our baby #2 TTC journey. Yes, we already have one child- one beautiful, clever, magical child. A child who came to us easily, so we never experienced initial infertility. I have to imagine secondary infertility isn’t as bad as initial infertility, but it still sucks, and it comes with a unique set of frustrations.

I am one of six children. My siblings are some of my best friends. I always pictured having several children of my own. I began imagining my son as an older brother pretty early on. The way he takes care of his baby doll, is so gentle and tender with younger children, and just adores babies; it’s painful to think of him never having siblings. Something that has helped us be grateful for the family that we have in the present is getting a “one-line-a-day” journal for the family. Every day, I write a little something- a quote from my son, a description of what we did during the day. A reflection on the beauty of our present.

I know there’s quite a bit of emotional baggage from my first pregnancy and delivery. I only have two photos of me with my pregnant belly. At times I felt disconnected from the experience of being pregnant. We lived far away from family and didn’t have many friends in our new town. I had a traumatic experience when my son was born, and dealt with postpartum anxiety and depression. In some ways, I think I’ve romanticized the next pregnancy, and now that it hasn’t happened, I just feel silly.

We’re still sort of the stage of uncertainty. I was recently diagnosed with endometriosis but there might be something else going on as well. Two years of struggling to figure out the problem, trying different lifestyle and dietary changes, has taken a toll on my mental health. The stress of avoiding certain foods, specifically caffeine. I am in awe of people with dietary restrictions- I guess I’m just a wimp. But not being able to have caffeine, and then being tired and stressed, makes me feel like such a bad mom.

I go through phases of feeling really optimistic and hopeful, and then phases of feeling pretty discouraged. This summer, we’re spending a few months in a much bigger city which will allow us better healthcare options. I look forward to spending some time focused on my health and well-being.

Creative Living

24 Audition Songs that Double as Lullabies

Before the Air Force started telling me where to live, my husband and I lived in Brooklyn. I had a solid 7 months of auditioning, working multiple jobs, and living the traditional aspiring actress life in the city. Most of the children I nannied were in elementary school, but there was one little baby in the mix whom I got to see once a week. I was in love, with the child and the gig. Half the time I was there, he slept and I had solid time to read, learn lines, and apply for auditions. What were parent-artists complaining about? Fast forward to becoming a parent and the smug look on my face disappeared. Of course it was harder than it seemed, but. I do credit that experience with helping me ease into routines of taking care of my child while also tending to my career.

A total amateur pretending to be a total pro.

Babysitting while I was actively auditioning forced me to reconcile the two, so I often practiced my audition songs for the little one I watched, singing to soothe him when he was fussy or before putting him in his crib. As time went by, I had a repertoire of strong audition songs that doubled as lullabies. I still break these out with my son from time to time!

Altos

When my son was a baby, I was on an Anything Goes kick. The two he seemed to enjoy the most were You’re the Top and I Get a Kick Outta You. Yes, the song that mentions champagne and cocaine. So maybe you’re child will have an edge.

Cheer Up, Charlie from Willy Wonka.

Never, Neverland from Peter Pan.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Duh.

You’ll be in My Heart from Tarzan. I dare you not to cry as you sing this to your little one.

Mezzos

Go to Sleep, Whatever You Are from The Apple Tree. Brownie points at an audition for the obscurity.

Everything’s Alright from Jesus Christ, Superstar! (is the exclamation there, or did I imagine it?)

Someone to Watch Over Me from Crazy for You

How Deep is the Ocean – not technically from anything. A great Irving Berlin song I’ve used for auditions.

Wildbird from Spitfire Grill. This song is sort of a downer, but melodically it makes for a great lullaby.

Sopranos

Goodnight My Someone from Music Man

Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins. This song always makes me cry for some reason. It’s not necessarily the most actable song for the purposes of an audition, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

Summertime from Porgy and Bess. My parents used to sing this to me when I was little, and neither of them are sopranos so I know this song is often performed in different keys.

No One is Alone from Into the Woods

Soon It’s Gonna Rain from the Fantasticks

Tenor

Not While I’m Around from Sweeney Todd

All Good Gifts from Godspell. Godspell’s got several lullaby options!

Your Song from Moulin Rouge/just go with the regular Elton John version

Hushabye Mountain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Baritone

Dear Theodosia from Hamilton

Make Them Hear You from Ragtime

Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Vienna by Billy Joel

Do you have any favorite songs to sing to your little one? I wanna hear about them! Comment below (:

Creative Living

Dress Your Family in Vintage: Valentine’s Edition

Let’s get real. Whether it’s the stress of your reflux-y baby ruining a bodysuit that your great-great-grandmother wore, or the complaints of itchy wool, dressing your kids in vintage clothing everyday is not the most practical way to live. Personally, I believe parenting is hard enough and like to take the easy way out as often as safely possible. If we’re at home, my almost-4-year-old is usually running around naked. However as a lover of vintage clothes, I can’t resist the Peter Pan collar when the occasion arises. The holidays are an excellent time to break out heirloom pieces, or cruise Etsy for some new-to-you vintage pieces. Here are my favorite items currently on Etsy to dress up your little cupid.

  1. Girls Crochet Vintage Sweater
  2. Red and white polka dot dress (included in a bundle of four pieces)
  3. 1950s French Gingham dress
  4. French Plaid Dress
  5. 1930s Dress and short floral set
  6. Red and white Jacket
  7. Heart Pattern Blouse
  8. Gingham Heart Jumper
Creative Living

Building Your Actor’s Wardrobe on a Budget

Building a wardrobe for auditions is important, but it doesn’t have to break the bank! You likely have pieces in your closet that you already wear for most of your auditions or callbacks, but let’s take a look at my general list of clothing items I think every actress should have in her closet.

-white or off-white button-down shirt (though this now makes me think of La La Land and the hilarious audition mishap scene)

-a little black dress

-a jean jacket (dress up your jean jacket with fun vintage brooches)

-dark wash jeans

-black slacks

-quality tee shirts

-a couple of skirts; at least one business skirt (I love a good pencil skirt) and one fun, flirty skirt (not too short!)

-a button down in your signature color

-black and brown leggings

-one set of decent athletic clothes (I just had two commercial submissions last week asking that I wear yoga clothes)

-tights- black and nude

In addition to these foundational pieces, you should have some clothes that suggest your typecast. I audition for quite a few quirky, romantic roles (I have twice auditioned for character described as New Girl-esque), so I’ve got two polka dot sweaters. If you’re more of a badass type (and if so, I’m super jealous), I’d have a leather jacket on hand.

There are certain looks you should be able to recreate at the drop of a hat. Though might not look like “Corporate America”, you should have a blazer and dress pants. You never know when someone will be looking for background or featured extras, but need someone who can provide their own wardrobe (I did a photoshoot for meetup.com when I lived in NYC and in the audition submission, they gave a list of wardrobe pieces and asked us to circle the items and let them know what we had.) Even if you don’t want to do extra work, it is fun to do every once in a while and can pay pretty well.

I always look for ways to spice up the neutrals, as well. As I mentioned above, remember that scene in La La Land. Everyone was wearing a white button-down. Think about ways you can stand up, in subtle ways. Like I said, adding some vintage brooches to your jean jacket might be just the ticket to help you set yourself apart. Or finding a solid tee-shirt with a sweet pocket or different colored collar.

Now, how about building up your wardrobe on a budget? Well, the answer is simple, and eco-friendly: shop secondhand.

If you’re in a major city, you might already be a thriftaholic. When I lived in NYC, I loved checking out local vintage and thrift stores. When I moved to the middle of nowhere, the treasure hunt at our local stores wasn’t always very rewarding, so I started looking at Poshmark. If you don’t love the thrill of the hunt, Poshmark is a great way to shop secondhand hassle-free. Use my code WHODIED to receive $10 Poshmark credit.

OTHER RESOURCES:

This book is amazing for building your wardrobe in general, not just auditioning. And the illustrations are amazing!

The Acting Studio of Chicago has a great article about wardrobe essentials for men, as well as women.

Acting

Baby Blues for an Overthinker

Surprise!

Two weeks ago, in the middle of the night, my water broke. Less than 6 hours later, my breech baby was delivered via c-section and my dream of becoming a mother came true. My heart swelled and I was on cloud 9. From the time we arrived at the hospital, everything felt surreal. I don’t know if it’s because I’m an actor or because of my big imagination, but I kept looking around thinking, “This is so realistic.” As if it weren’t really happening. When my son was removed from my body, and they held him to show me, I had the same thought. I was madly in love and at the same time, it was so hard to believe that he was here!

My husband had a week off from work, and my mom flew in the next day to meet my son and to help out around the house. Despite the warnings, I was recovering very quickly and stopped taking the pain medication on my third day home. Physically, I felt great. Emotionally, I was on a roller coaster. The nurse warned my husband before we left the hospital that I would probably be teary in the coming days. We kind of shook off this warning, which was extremely naive of us. How could I not be affected? My life had just completely changed, and my hormones were going through a total overhaul. It would have been weird if my body and mind didn’t have a huge reaction.

I was surrounded by my favorite people in the world, and I had a beautiful, healthy baby. I had longed for this baby since I was a child myself, and now here he was! What was more, I wasn’t surprised or frustrated or anxious about the things I think typically worry new mothers during the first week home. I have four younger siblings, I’ve been around babies my entire life. I felt very competent and confident about my skills taking care of my son, as far as his basic needs are concerned. What scared me, the thoughts clouding my mind, were how in the world can I protect my child in this crazy world of ours.

***(TRIGGER WARNING: in this next paragraph, I describe my deeply negative and fearful thoughts- if you are sensitive to things of this nature, skip this next paragraph).

For almost a week, my mind went through a cycle as I watched my son sleep. It would start with, “How on earth can I love something this much? How did my heart end up outside my body? How did my son become so perfect?” And tears of joy would come. Next, my thoughts turned to, “Everyone starts out like this, like perfect, innocent babies,” And while that’s a sweet thought, it also kind of freaked me out. If everyone, even people who commit evil and heinous crimes, starts out like this, what happens along the way that changes everything? And then I would think about my son’s future, and wonder if he might be bullied someday, and if he is bullied, would he tell us?

*GUYS* my son was not even a week old, and I’m sitting here staring at his sweet, beautiful face wondering if someone’s going to be mean to him someday. And this was just part of it. I cried because he’s going to grow up so fast (p.s. it’s really not helpful to tell a new mom that her child is going to grow up so fast and to enjoy every minute of it. At least it wasn’t in my case. I was enjoying most minutes, just not the ones where I was stuck in my negative thoughts, leading me to feel guilty about not enjoying every minute of it). My mind went to some dark, scared places and as any overthinker knows, it can be hard to climb out of that rabbit hole. I was crying about six times a day and without my husband and Mom around, I think I would have gone insane. It was so incredibly helpful to have their support and help during that time. I also made a list on my phone of ways to redirect my thoughts. As I had positive redirections, I wrote them down to remind myself when I was alone with my son and didn’t have people around to help.

Now that I’ve given you a list of negative thoughts (sorry for putting negative thoughts in your mind), let me share:

The Positive Thoughts

  1. As hard as it is, I tried my best to live in the moment. In that moment, was my son in harm’s way? No. He was sleeping like an angel, and all I had do was hold him. It’s way easier said than done, but remember-“worrying causes you to suffer twice.”
  2. The political and social climates in our country can make anyone feel down, especially when you’ve just brought new life into the world and everyone around you is saying, “who would bring a child into this mess?” I overheard that quite a bit when I was pregnant, and naturally that first week at home brought up those thoughts. Rather than feeding into this, I recalled the lyrics to “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton, in particular the lines “we’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you.” This really resonates with me, as someone who is optimistic about the good that will come out of this messy time. I think many of the inspiring voices and movements rising up might not have done so if we weren’t faced with this difficult presidency. Change is happening, fighters and revolutionaries are emerging and I think we’re creating a better world for our children.
  3. I am a very nostalgic person, so I wasn’t surprised when my warped thoughts found their way to my son growing up too fast and time slipping away from us. At one point, I was actually crying thinking about him graduating from high school and moving out of our house. Again, I know I’m crazy sensitive, but it became a huge trigger for me to hear how I need to treasure this precious time because in the blink of an eye, yada yada yada. A few years ago, I realized how easy it is for me to wish for a different time in life instead of enjoying the time I was in. I like to make lists so I began a set of running lists for things to enjoy in different seasons of the year and of life, so that when I thought of something to look forward to, I could easily add it to the list without dwelling on it. Then when that season comes around, I have a list ready of things to appreciate, things I’m excited for with that season.  At my old church, the youth ministry had a great tagline: “It’s just a phase, so don’t miss it.” I try to remind myself of this every day.
  4. One of the biggest fears that crept into my mind, and I think this is probably the most common for new mothers, was how in the world could I raise this child, and show him the correct path, teach him the right things. How can I ensure that he listens to me? Over and over, I thought about my own shortcomings and flaws, and felt like I don’t have what it takes. After a few days, I remembered that we don’t do this alone. No one parents alone, even if it feels like it sometimes. There will always be other influences on your child, and if you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by loved ones, you’ve got a built-in village to help raise your child. I will work on having faith in myself, but I certainly have faith in my amazing tribe and that gives me so much hope for my son and the man he will become.

Again, these are just some of things that, combined with basic self-care (sleep, eating, hydration), helped me to climb out of the rabbit hole of my thoughts. This was not a case of postpartum depression, and even as far as the baby blues go, I think it was mild. If you think you might be experiencing PPD or are unsure of your “baby blues”, talk to your doctor. It is their job, and in everyone’s best interest, especially your child’s, for you to be your healthy, best self.

Creative Living