I’ve been thinking a lot lately about people and things that inspire me. It could be a song, that strikes the match of inspiration. It could be an interview I watch, a book I read, a conversation I have,or just my own life experience. Inspiration is a funny thing. It weaves through our life and turns our necks to the right and left. It can cause the quietest person to exclaim excitedly. Lately, I’ve been inspired a great bit.
I recently worked on a movie, taught an improv workshop, met with a potential improv coach, and started reading a lot more thanks to the Goodreads App, and my daughters encouragement. These are the things that have inspired me lately to except that I am an artist, that I should never give up what I enjoy, that I should never be afraid to try new things, and my love for history can indeed be useful to learn about the present, and the future.
This past weekend, I attended an improv festival, and I taught several improv workshops there. I love teaching improv. It is the best ever. Light bulbs turning on, just being at a place where people from all walks of life come together, and work together to create art. It’s a beautiful thing. I met another teacher there, Marsha, and while we were talking, she told me about a song. As a teacher, this really touched me. We have such a responsibility to really help a child develop, and be the best version of themselves. Enjoy.
I recently made a visit to my physician due to some numbness in my arms, legs, and neck because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything to serious. I was an athlete when I was younger and guessed that I probably had arthritis due to injuries, and genes from my dad. I have had numbness before when I had gained excessive weight, but this time it was a little different. When my tongue started going numb, I thought I might be suffering from some kind of stroke which I have had two grandparents suffer from.
At my appointment, my doctor did confirm that it was arthritis causing my numbness. He did x-rays and I have spurs on my back and neck, and my neck is straight not curved as it is supposed to be. Now I’ve always thought arthritis was more painful than what I was experiencing, but now that I have started taking over the counter meds that reduce inflammation, and doing the exercises that he gave to me, I am a little bit more pain.
When I changed to a sitting job about five months ago, I knew I probably would gain weight, but I’m to my limit. So for the past month, I have been trying to decide what I need to do. I thought maybe a diet program which I’ve had success at before, but I never stick to diet plans long term. I may lose the weight, but it truly isn’t a life change. It’s a bandaide for me.
I’ve decided to try to make healthier choices, and try to change my life that way. More fruit, more veggies, and lots of water. Only white meat. (turkey and chicken) eating more at home.
Like today I cooked these veggies, and had a turkey sandwich. Now, I know I could of left off the bread, but this is a slow change for me. I may always eat bread, but it will be less than before.
Hoping years ahead to be pain free, and be able at 80 to take care of myself.
My computer should have screamed at me by now to update my blog post. However it’s been kind to me.
In my defense, I’ve been very busy and to tire to be inspired. Hopefully, my Instagram post have been entertaining enough.
Since I last posted. I left two jobs and started a new job. I’m still working at my Alma Mater in the Admissions department. I’m still doing improv, and making movies. I just have got to find more time in the week to start writing again.
Many time flies.
I’ve loved planes for a long time. I am that person that every time I see an airplane I shriek in delight like kid in candy store. As a kid, I always loved reading about the Wright Brothers invention and journey towards flight. Until working at the US Space and Rocket Center, I had no idea that flight in Alabama started only miles away from where I was born near New Market, Alabama back in 1908 where William Lafayette Quick took flight. Everyday that I enter the Davidson Center, I stare at the beautiful Quick Monoplane that hangs from the lobby ceiling.
According to the article below, ” it was the first airplane designed, built and flown in the state; the first to leave earth’s gravitational pull.”( Marilyn Jones Alabama Living, (http://alabamaliving.coop/article/a-century-of-aviation-is-cause-for-celebration/ ).
If you read this resource about Mr. Quick found at the early aviators website, (http://earlyaviators.com/equick.htm) you will find that eight of Mr. Quick’s ten children went on to fly, and his daughter, Cady, was the first female aviator in Alabama. I’ve met his grandson, T. Gary Quick. He worked for NASA, and listening to him talk about his grandfather left a impression that I will hold on forever. What an incredible family legacy of flight for Alabama.
On a daily basis, I find myself surrounded by historical accounts like Mr. Quick’s story. Also, I find myself surround by scientists, engineers, teachers, educators, administrators, students, and artists. I am fortunate enough to work in many different environments, with many brilliant minded people that constantly amaze me. When surrounded by such greatness, I find that their individual accomplishments are worthy enough to write billions of books noting the past, the present and the future of their lives. and the group accomplishments are equally overwhelmingly mind blowing. Speaking about the the historical account of the Saturn V rocket development freezes my brain every time I try to explain it to someone.
Unfortunately, I don’t remain so positive and aware of the accomplishments of these heroes. I don’t remain so positive of my own accomplishments. I become exhausted, and I will spew out some negativity, and I will feel sorry for myself. I get on the pity train, but when I read articles about people like Mr. Quick, I am reminded that just like the man from Alabama that was teased about his work. who impacted his community, state and the world all because he was enamored with flight, He followed his passion. He followed his heart.
This story inspires me to want to reach for my own personal greatness. I may not invent the next big thing, my accomplishments may not be remembered as life changing to the world, but at the least , I am challenged to be better at impacting those around me, inspired to push towards my own personal successes and my push through events that are deemed failures. It may have taken me half of my life to figure out how to fit in all that I love to do and make that a career, but I feel like that I am about to embark on what I was born to do. I have made a turn on a dirt road that is less traveled, and it will make all difference that Robert Frost, spoke of in his poem “the Road Not Taken. (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44272/the-road-not-taken).
As I sit here and finish editing this post, I wonder:
What am doing with that time I am given?
How am I changing the world?
When I am gone what will my legacy be?
I leave you with the poem.
The Road Not Taken
Wanted to give a special shout out on the blog today to my parents. Today is their 50th Wedding Anniversary. They’ve raised two daughters and now have 4 granddaughters. It’s pretty incredible that they have made it so many years together. Not surprising as they are extremely devoted to one another and still very much in love. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, I love you.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend an Improv workshop with two of the current cast members of Broadway’s Next Hit Musical
It was held in Decatur, Al at the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts.
It was great to learn some new games and exercises. It was nice to do some needful sharpening of the basic concepts related to improv. If you don’t keep those basic skills sharpened, you will lose them.
The workshop consisted of 11-99 age of females and males. There were some people that had never done improv before, and there were some seasoned performers. It shouldn’t, but it always amazes me that no matter what your experience level is, it truly becomes irrelevant when your working together to accomplish the same goal. Now that is not a slam on seasoned performers, but really a compliment. Improv should produce a safe environment where everyone involved feels supported and accepted. It is nice to see people come together and be willing to look beyond their accolades, and just play.
That evening, I attended Broadway’s Next Hit Musical’s show. It was beyond wonderful. First, I was amazed by how talented the piano player was. He drove the scenes. He was conducting right before our eyes. The improvisers were equally gifted in their improvising skills and their voice performances. There is a host as well. The improviser that hosted the show I saw was incredible funny, intuitive and had a perfect blend of drive and humor that made the night even better. I found myself laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face. This was not cheap humor. It was intentional, intelligent, and a beautiful showing of what happens when people go on stage and truly care about each other and have an immense trust for one another.
If you get a chance to catch Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, you should. Click on the link above and see when they are coming to your town. Also, if you are ever in Decatur, Al , check out The Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts. They have amazing things going on all the time.
I was granted a unique privilege recently to attend a viewpoints and moment work workshop at the Princess Theater in Decatur, Alabama .
The workshop was sponsored by the Alabama Department of Education. I had read and talked about this type of work before, but I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into. I had attended the SETC conference before and heard others talk about this type of work. So I was super excited to dive into a deeper exploration of this type of work.
During the workshop, I felt an excitement that I hadn’t felt in awhile, and I was super excited to go everyday. The workshop was taught similar to the way I teach my improv workshops. I usually take a concept then build on it until the end. Then I put all the concepts together and have a finished product. It makes the learner progress without you making them feel like their is a progression. Basically that is what our teacher did. I became more self aware, I became more aware of what was around me, and I began building the muscle of balancing those two things. Also, I learned how the elements of theater effect meaning, and I learned when you are more aware of the use of those elements and intentional with those elements it changes meaning.
This workshop was amazing, and it opened my mind to new possibilities of the concepts of awareness and intentionality of the work. Also, it made me more confident in my choices, and it allowed me to practice the “drop your crap” principle. (if two people have an idea, one of you have to give in eventually or you get no where so somebody has to drop their crap and pick up someone else’s crap). Speaking of crap, I loved when our teacher said that we were going to make a lot of crap, but out of that will sometime come a golden nugget. It’s so true. Often when you are creative you have a lot stuff to sort through before you can get to the good stuff.
Recently, I went to Disney World.One of my favorite moments from my trip was watching the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Fireworks at Disney are always amazing, but I wasn’t prepared for my heart to be so moved by this show. As I watched, it made me feel like a kid all over again. I loved this show so much because it brought a flood a memories back to me.
The show is called Happily Ever After. It was truly something I will forever remember.
I loved the opening song so much that I bought it on I Tunes. Here is the video of the two singers recording the song.
If you go to Disney World while this show is running, you must see it. It is so worth the crowd. It found a special spot in my heart. If you like Disney music, you need to go on over to I Tunes and buy this song.
Recently, A few people have asked me about getting paid as an actor or filmmaker. Please know that I am an indy filmmaker, who has only done a handful of films. You can find my profile on IMDB Profile. I can only speak from My own experience. which mostly is extra work or featured extra roles. I’m not the star of a set generally.
When I have worked on a film set, I’ve been asked to sign a release of photograph saying it’s ok to use my image, I have filled out a voucher showing me the rate which has been a flat rate for so many hours, or hourly rate. I have provided my Driver’s licence and Social Security card for identification. I’ve signed a non disclosure agreement as well. Once I was done filming,
I was compensated a couple different ways.
- From an agent. If you have an agent, sometimes your payment will go straight through their office. Then they will cut you a check after they take 10-20% which is fair. Generally when I had an agent, if I got work on my own, I would compensate my agent still just as a courtesy.
- Straight from the accounting office. I’ve worked on several films where you sign an agreement and then when you finish your two days of work, you get paid right from accounting personnel.
- Through a secondary company. Most films will pay through a voucher system. You get a voucher and then you could receive money within a couple of weeks after your last day of shooting. Now I have waited an unreasonable amount of time before on a project. Just be aware with vouchers, it works out most of the time eventually. Just know you most likely will not get paid the week you work. I learned this the hard way.
Just always take care of yourself. When I am on set,
- I always get a point of contact before I leave regarding payment.
- I always double check that I have a copy of my vouchers in order.
- I always call the company after a week of completing the film and continue to do so every week until the can verify that they have received my vouchers and they are mailing my check.
- In the US, know the number the film office in the state you are working in. This is just in case you need to contact them for not getting paid. Films depend on money they get from the state they film in, to cover some of the expenses of the process. If they shouldn’t get paid that money unless they are paying you.
Making money doing film work is fun, just know that getting payment isn’t always timely, and you may have to get legal help sometimes.