Saturday, December 15, 2012

Daily Work Schedule

I have problems with time management. Anyone who knows me at all knows this. In an effort to improve productivity in my career, I've been trying to get in 40 hours a week. It's been tough lately with the wedding and now the holidays, but after some inspiring quotes from writers about their work schedules, I'm taking a stab at re-imagining my daily routines.

1. Wake up at 6am as often as possible. Have breakfast and coffee, check emails, fart around on the internet, read, but only for the first hour of being awake.

2. After an hour to get myself moving around, do exercise and yoga. Go to the gym for cardio on the machines at least 3 times a week. Yoga every day, at least an hour.

3. Check audition notices first thing. Then again in the afternoon. Then again before bed.

4. After exercises and working on tuning my instrument (dance practice, vocal exercises) get right to projects. Prioritize them in order of deadline, then what's easier and faster to produce, then work on longer term/more complex work. Start no later than 10am.

5. Meditate after lunch if possible, or when getting home after my day job and before dinner.

6. Spend 1-2 hours looking for an agent, but no more than that.

7. Read more. Find time when I'm unable to function creatively instead of wasting time on the internet.

8. In the evening spend an hour or two on some of my other creative projects, like my writing or sewing.

9. Try and tidy the house in the morning, possibly after exercising, and at night before bed. Put things away as soon as I'm done using them. Also at this time, work on any tasks on my to-do list that are just mundane life stuff, like paying bills.

10. If I'm not doing anything in the evening, like going out with friends or seeing a show or IN a show, be in bed by 10pm. No internet after that.

11. No more facebook games. I can play on the XBox if I've gotten at least 20 hours of work done by Wednesday. Oblivion and Skyrim are best played in the afternoon and before dinner, especially if I'm spending a lot of time fighting undead. 

I'm going to try to implement these guidelines now, as much as possible, but hopefully they will be in full effect by the new year! I'm almost done with my holiday preparations, so that should be easier to do. Too bad my day job is so busy right now! But things there will calm down in the new year, and I can concentrate more on acting and being organized. Productivity is hard. I'm hoping that more meditation and a better sleep schedule will help. Also, I want to get my place in better order so that it's more conducive to basically clean and organize my junk. When everything is everywhere, it's harder for me to think, but also harder to get my ass moving around and cleaning. It's a vicious cycle.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why I do Student Films

I hear, once in a while, people complaining about acting in student films. To that I say, why NOT do a student film? Obviously, when you're like me and just starting out, you'll take anything you can get. I don't submit to roles I'm not comfortable with, but just the fact of the production team being students is no reason to turn them down, and here's why:

Students usually have access to a studio with equipment. That means your little short or independent feature has things like, cameras, lights, and more than likely, a crew. In my experience, these things add to production value and make your footage look better.

Sure, you aren't getting paid. Or at least not much. Still, they usually feed you at least. Plus you get footage for your reel, and if you don't have a long list of credits under your belt, that's pretty valuable. Sometimes copy can be really hard to get from a director. For some reason, they just want to hold onto it and never let you see it or have it. Even after the editing process, which admittedly takes a while, it can be tough. They have "other things to do" I guess. Or even better, they lose it! But students usually have things like deadlines, and often help with editing, so it's a lot easier to get your hands on that precious, precious video.

Yes, it's a bunch of amateurs who may or may not know what they're doing. But they also have teachers and mentors helping them out, keeping them on track, and advising them when they get stuck. I know more than a few "self-taught" film makers who find themselves stymied because they don't have the benefit of this knowledge on-set, which can cause delays and issues with production.

It's fun. It's, like, really fun. Students are passionate about their projects! Everyone involved is excited, and committed to the cause. They haven't been kicked down enough to hate what they do yet, and they aren't full of ego. They also aren't unrealistic, because they have been told what they should expect on a set.

This is all coming out of my most recent experience shooting a short film at LACC. I had a really good time, I felt like the director had a cohesive and defined vision, the professor was really nice and helpful while at the same time gave the director free reign, and for all intents and purposes, I felt like I was on a real set, with real film-makers. And it felt great to be a part of that. I can't wait to see how it turned out!