Side Art - noun - creative outlet you have so you don't lose your mind while waiting for your agent to call.
Do you have a Side Art? If you don't, you need one.
It Gives You A Sense of Control
When I put out an episode of my podcast, I get the best high. It is my art. I did it. I control it. And I get to share it. On my terms. There is such power in that. You aren't just sitting around waiting for your agent or manager to call. You are making your own thing. Webseries, YouTube channel, blog, podcast, recording a song - ANYTHING! You have control over your Side Art. And that's huge for your confidence.
It Can Give You A Leg Up
When I was doing general meetings with networks last year, I sat down with a woman who is head of casting of a major network and on her desk she had a book on William Desmond Taylor - who is known as "Hollywood's first murder" and the subject of one of my episode's of Hollywoodland: Unsolved. We spent so much time talking about our theories on that case that I was late to my second meeting that day! Not even a week later - she told casting to bring me in for a big role on a new show. I sat next to an idol of mine - we were auditioning for the same show. It was the most surreal experience. I didn't get the role, but I got into the room (and have continued to) because of my side art.
It Will Give You Something To Be Proud Of
You know that super shitty feeling when you go home for the holidays and your great aunt Barb doesn't get how life in LA works and is asking why you aren't on a show yet? Having a side art gives you a talking point. Working on a screenplay? Producing a webseries? Starting a photography business? Your Side Art can give you enough to get through that conversation - and do it in a way you're proud of.
Side Art is your thing. Don't put limits on yourself. Go for it. And don't be afraid to ask for help.
Keep going - you're doing great!
In my humble opinion, Co-Star auditions are the hardest. You've got very little to work with, they see everyone (and their mother), and they are so quick - how could casting have even possibly known what you can do?
I haven't had a co-star audition in a while and yesterday I got a "same day" audition for a co-star role on a big comedy show from a huge casting office. It was 11:30 and the audition was for 5:30 that afternoon... in Santa Monica.
The scene was fairly simple - an assistant to one of the series regulars, setting up their jokes, the usual. But it was hard. And then I remembered the feeling I had when I was going out for co-stars a lot: flailing.
Flailing - /flāl/ - VERB - wave or swing or cause to wave or swing wildly.
"his arms were flailing helplessly"
Yep. That describes a co-star audition to me perfectly.
Why are these silly little under-5-line auditions so hard?
The co-star is meant to set up the series regular or the guest star
Your job is to deliver the joke, for them to hit the punchline. As a co-star you are a human prop. Your job is not to be interesting, it is to be reliable. Your job is not to stand out, it is to be a springboard for the person who is actually on the show. It sucks, but it is true.
They don't know what they want
Have you ever walked into an audition and there is every type of person there - tall, fat, short, black, white, purple, etc? That's a co-star audition. It feels a lot like a commercial audition to me - a "book a look" almost. As long as you said it they way they wanted and look they way they wanted, you will get the part, most of the time. So if you don't get the part, don't take it personally.
They are deceivingly simple.
You don't have to do 97 pages of backstory, because you don't have the information to do 97 pages of backstory. You just have to walk in, say your line and then leave. That is harder than it looks because as actors we like to DO. We like lines and direction. So it's hard when we have to just be. But that's what co-star work is. Again - a human prop. If you've booked a co-star before, you go the part because you could hit the mark, say the words and looked the right way. And if you didn't get the part - it's not a knock on your talent.
You don't have enough to work with.
So you feel out of control. You don't really know the context of the scene. You don't have a big character description or an episode synopsis and in come cases, you don't get the sides until you get there. So you're guessing. And remember - everyone there is guessing too. They have just as little information as you do.
Don't feel bad if you don't book the co-star roles. It is nothing about your talent if you don't. But if you do, congrats!! Bring on the residuals!!
Keep going, you're doing great!
We live in a go-go-go world rushing from one thing to the next. We are all guilty of it, especially in this city. But if I have learned anything in my time in LA is that self-care is necessary for you to live your best creative life.
If you aren't nurturing you, how do you expect to give your best?
I have tendency to burn my candle at both ends. And recently I decided I wanted to change that. I wanted to live an "artistic life" where I had time to work on myself and my art while still paying my bills (of course). So I started making small changes... and they have had big results.
Self-Care Comes in Different Forms
For some, it may be a month massage. For some, it may be keeping up with you manicure/pedicure. It may be putting on music while in the shower. Whatever makes you feel pampered. Do those things. Don't spend a bajillion dollars pampering yourself, but do do things that make you feel good. Clean your apartment - from top to bottom - and then buy some fresh flowers. Go on a hike and listen podcast that you're interested in but haven't had time to dive into. Put on a mud mask, light a candle and read a book. Do little things because they make you feel good about you. Carve time out - everyday - for this and you will see a change.
Show Yourself Off
I am guilty of hanging out with friends in old, sweaty gym clothes - like a shirt-from-a-middle-school-play old - with no makeup on and my hair up in a dirty, messy bun. I wrote if off as "I worked all day and then worked out and now I am spending time with my girls. They don't care what I look like." But I did. I show up looking like a low-key trash goblin and they show up in normal people clothes with a normal amount of makeup on and at least a little effort put into their hair. I'm not saying you need to be dolled up all of the time, but I am saying that the way you present yourself is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" that is SO true as artists. Are you giving off a "successful and happy" energy or "overworked and defeated" energy?
Self-Care is a Daily Practice
You know that one friend you have who is just the most fabulous person living the most awesome life? I bet they practice self-care. Daily. Keep your house clean. Eat your veggies, keep yourself feeling good about yourself. That will raise the energy you are putting out there and raise your confidence - and we all know "Confidence is KEY!"
Self-Care shows Self-Love
Most of us struggle with Self Love. We are so harsh on ourselves and they way we talk to ourselves is no way we would ever speak to a friend. And that needs to change. Because you are a beautiful, talented, amazing artist and the world wants to hear what you have to say. Self-Care might sound silly at first - or even selfish - but it will make a huge difference in the value you put on yourself. If your super amazing, fabulous friend was in town you'd turn on the shower radio, give her your nice towel from Pottery Barn and light a candle in the bathroom for her - so why wouldn't you do it for yourself?
Most of us are going through life on autopilot - I am so guilty of this - but when we turn off autopilot it is almost like someone turned the lights on. You are doing things with purpose. You are aware of the beautiful trees on your drive to work, your mom's cute laugh whenever you tell her anything even resembling a joke, how really really really good this new coffee you bought is. Pay attention to your life. Be "woke" as the kids would say. Don't go through life on autopilot - notice what you are grateful for, check in with your emotions if you don't feel in the best state "what is actually upsetting me right now?" and then acknowledge it and deal with it, give your body some deep breaths. Breathe in and use your lungs. Be present and pay attention to the beautiful life you have. Because it is beautiful.
I have a lot of amazing people in my life. A lot of people doing amazing things. A lot of people living, truly, their best selves. And that is inspiring as hell.
With the 2 month hiatus I took from this blog I had a lot of time to reflect. June and July I felt creatively drained, uninspired and like I was pushing a boulder up a hill. This is not a new feeling, but it is one that I wanted to examine this time. So while I was taking a creative break (I mean everything, all writing, my podcast, everything), I spent time with some of the badass artists in my life (I'm not going to name names, not because I don't love them and don't want to give them credit, but because I thinks that is tack as hell). Without further ado, here is what I learned from them:
1. Confidence. confidence. confidence.
All of these badass ladies have this in common. They have unwavering confidence. That doesn't mean that they walk around life without a care, but they put work into themselves and they are proud of it. They know what they bring to the table, they don't apologize for who they are and they go after what they want. I think I am relatively confident, as most of us are, but I have found myself floundering, making jokes at my expense and putting myself under others when I am around those who I think are "better than me." Which is BS. So - I am going to put some work into those silly little voices in my head that tell me that I am "less than" because I perceive someone a certain way. Because - confidence is key. They genuinely believe in themselves and don't need anyone to tell them they are awesome. Because they already know it.
2. Who you surround yourself with matters. A lot.
As motivational speaker Jim Rohn put it - we are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Look at your life. Who consumes your time? Are they strong, creative loving types? Or are they negative, complaining, self-obsessed types? Who you surround yourself with matters and affects you more than you think. Never has this been more true that in the last few months for me. I have a friend, who is hardworking, self reflective, kind, beautiful and loving and every time I spend even an hour with her, my cup is full and I feel awesome about myself and everything in my life. On the contrary, I have a friend who I love and spending time with them is draining to say the least. Our conversations are usually negative and about things that aren't fair. Now, don't get me wrong: we all need to vent to someone. We all need people to confide in. But the difference is doing that with someone who is a "giver" vs someone who is a "taker". Givers will offer strong, fact-based critiques that make you evaluate your choices while making sure they aren't leading you to some conclusion they want you to have - there's no ulterior motive outside of wanting you to be your most mindful self. Takers, on the other hand, will take whatever pain and hardship, lead you to where they want you to go, and it will typically favor their feelings about themselves at your expense. All of this affects your view of yourself and your view of the world, which in turn, affects your creative life. The badass ladies in my life, for the most part, don't allow that kind of negativity into their headspace. It is your job to be aware and take the self care you need - is it okay to make yourself #1. How would the badass ladies handle this? They will, of course, be a friend to any type of person and would never make them feel bad about themselves, BUT they don't allow that person to be one of their "top 5." This is hard, but you have to put yourself and your mental state first.
3. They go for it. always.
Whether it is self-producing an album or starting a niche clothing line, these badass ladies don't let the "what if's" and "I can't because" get in their way. If they want something, they go for it. Full steam ahead!! Are their going to be challenges? Of course. Welcome to life. But you know the saying "either you make excuses or you make it happen." Everyone has the ability to do exactly what they want to do. And I know what you're thinking... that little voice in your head is saying "well, Ans, I can't because I don't have an agent." "Well I can't because I don't know how to write." "Well I can't because no one is going to read/watch/listen to what I make and I'd feel stupid" - this, my friends, goes back to confidence. You are awesome and you can do it.
Live long and prosper friends!
I am not a professional nor are these accounts based on anything other that personal experience. Do with it as you will.
I am the type of person who has to be busy. I have to be working on something at all times. Feeling stagnant in my career is basically my worst nightmare. So in between waiting for the phone to ring I had to do something. I'm not sure how much actual difference it makes, but it does so much for my mental space for me to feel like I am at least WORKING on something.
1. Audit An Acting Class
Even if you love the class you are in now, you should know what's out there, the different teachers and their styles and what they are known for. I currently love my studio, but I am looking around at others because I don't want to get too comfortable or stale. I stayed at my last studio for too long and while the work was always challenging, I didn't feel like I was growing the way I had been when I first started there. I got too comfortable. And after I realized that I took a little bit of time off then started looking around at other studios - where had my more successful friends studied? Once I figured that out, I audited those classes and then picked one. I am going to a lecture at a new studio tomorrow just because. It's a studio I have heard a lot of good things about and I'd like to know more. Even if the audit is dumb or boring, you can check that studio off of your list.
2. Build Your Internet Presence
I am slowly coming to the conclusion that my delusions of being famous on Instagram might never happen. I'm kidding. But truly, I see the girls in LA, who have these amazing lives on Instagram and they get cool shit for it! And we all know that social media has a card in the "who gets cast" game at the bottom level. So where are your numbers? Are they rocking and your brand is totally on point? Are you're getting tons of impressions and interactions as well as putting out consistent, great content? Then skip this section! But for the 99.9% of us regular peasants, this is something we have to work on. I started a podcast last year called Hollywoodland: Unsolved. (Think Nancy Drew grew up, moved to Old Hollywood and started a podcast). And while the show doesn't translate into Instagram followers - I do have over 21k plays on just SoundCloud alone. When casting directors ask what I can bring to the table - that is always near the top of the list.
3. Know What Your Brand Is (and run with it)
I want to play a cop. Basically, I wan to be Mariska Hargitay. But alas, I have about 5 years until anyone will take me seriously as a cop on TV. So what do I do about that now? Well, I recently learned that I don't know how to hold a gun and holding a gun is pivotal to being a cop (duh). I also realize that while I look too young right now, I also don't have the physical strength to play a cop/detective. Nothing bugs me more than watching frail women play these badass roles - specifically Johannan Braddy on Quantico - because that's not realistic nor is that healthy. Now, I'm not trying to be a total beefcake, but I am working on my endurance. So what's your dream role? What do you want to play? What do you enjoy? Gal Gadot did a photoshoot as Wonder Woman SIX years before she got the job.... just saying.
4. Work On Loving Yourself
I am reading You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero and it's changing my life. She ends every chapter with "Love Yourself" and a reason that applies to what that chapter covered. We all know confidence is key and loving yourself is the basis for confidence (true and genuine confidence). Recently I was in an acting class where the teacher made a killer point about confidence in relation to your acting career. "If you're worried about whether you should sit or stand, then you do not have the confidence for them to put a pilot on your shoulders. Own your shit. If you want to sit, sit. If you want to stand, stand. And never apologize for offering up your headshot in an audition." PREACH!!! You are a beautiful, creative being. Own your choices. There is only one of you that can tell the story like you do. You are special. So put in the work and act like it!
You know how you meet people and you automatically know they are awesome and that they are "your kind" of people? That's how it was when I met Annie Heise. We met (so cliché) in an acting class in the fall of 2016 and after our first rehearsal (where we didn't do much rehearsing) we became legitimate, cry at happy hour (me, not her), friends.
Annie is one of the kindest, most giving, hardworking people I know. I don't know anyone who is more honest with themselves about who they are, what they want and where they are going. Annie is a rad human. Which is why when I told her I was starting a blog she was so excited and when I told her I wanted to feature one badass actress a month, she so kindly agreed. (And not just agreed, was excited to help. Because that's how awesome Annie is).
So - why this post? Every month I am going to feature actresses who are kicking ass and doing their thing in Los Angeles. Why? Because, I know for me, it's motivating to hear of people who are actually doing it. People who have moved to Los Angeles and made it work for themselves. Everyone's story is so different and there really isn't an end to this journey. (We all forget that sometimes!)
Without further ado - My interview with The Blacklist (NBC), The Good Mistress (Lifetime) and Madoff (ABC) actress Annie Heise.
Ans: Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got started in acting?
Annie: Spring of my senior year of high school was when everything really started - I auditioned for Into the Woods, a Stephen Sondheim musical, I played the part of ‘The Witch’ and from then on I just knew. I was off to journalism school the next fall, and was just doomed from the beginning… (laugh)
So I left after one semester and enrolled at the University of MN (I am originally from the Twin Cities, MN), I took my first acting classes, learned what monologues are, took singing lessons, and dance classes… I began researching college BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) acting programs. It’s different than a traditional Bachelor of Arts - there is a core acting curriculum with few outside classes and there are usually only 10-12 students and you take every class together for four years. I was told about Carnegie Mellon’s program and auditioned and somehow got in! Around graduation time we all traveled to NYC and LA to do a “showcase” - scenes and monologues for managers, agents, and casting directors. LA was where I ended up!
Lucky, I left school with a great group of representation and they set me up really well - I was able to meet lots of great people in the casting community and here I am!
Ans: NY or LA? Or both?
Annie: BOTH! For different reasons… a lot of people say go where you want to live. Which I totally agree, having a life outside of the grind of the entertainment world is a great way to stay sane. I have lived in both and here is a bit about my experience briefly…
Ans: What was your favorite project you have worked on?
Annie: THE BLACKLIST - a very exciting project to work on. They write as they go… so you are always on your toes. Also this was my first time being written for… which felt like a dream!
Ans: What was the hardest thing you've had to overcome in your acting career?
Annie: Changing agents and dry spells… but the realty always is nothing is the end of the world or end of your career. It’s a process, enjoy the journey!
Ans: Who has been the most instrumental in your career life?
My manager - she really understands me and looks out for me. I feel creatively taken care of as well as business wise. I think it’s important to feel good about your manager… they are the ones that are in it for the long haul (ideally).
Ans: What advice do you have for people trying to break into the industry?
Annie: Always show up and always have a good curious attitude. Be open! It is a building process, it’s like a brick house you are slowly building. You can’t control much in this industry… but you can always be prepared for when opportunities do come your way.
What's the best life advice you've been given?
Annie: YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Ans: How important is it for you to have like-minded artists around? How did you build that community for yourself?
Hmmm this is an interesting one… I need to balance my artist friends and my real world friends. I think building a community happens organically, I try to keep people around that make me feel good about myself and inspire me. I really don't like competitive friendships, so those I stay away from.
We all know the cliche of moving to LA and becoming a server/actor. That's the dream right? Waiting tables and someone spots you and tells you that you have the perfect look for their major new blockbuster feature they are producing and want to pay you a bajillion dollars to star in it? (I'm looking at you Ellen Pompeo.)
But for the majority of us, that is not how it works. So how do you make sure you've got enough money to pay for rent, food, classes, coffee dates with your more successful friend, yoga and/or a gym memberships as well as at least one article of clothing that is on-trend that season and enough to self-submit on LA Casting for the indie feature you are totally right for? It's tough. I am coming up on 3 years in LA and it has been interesting to see how my artist friends and I piece together a livable income.
Before I moved to Los Angeles, I did SO much research on the best survival jobs for actors. The best ways to not be broke as an artist, how to make side income in Los Angeles. I read every penny hoarding article I could find and nothing gave specifics. I am here (to hopefully) change that.
Flexibility is the dream, right? But so is financial security - no one wants to not go to a friend's birthday because they legitimately do not have enough money to buy anything extra?
So - here we go. I am going to list jobs I have done or my friends have done (I'll denote the difference), tell you the pro/cons and if it really would work to pay your bills!
Ready? Let's go!
Okay, lets say your base sum total of bills is $1,800 (rent is $1,000, groceries are $400, gas is $150, car insurance is $150, phone bill is $50, internet is $50) - these are all ballpark numbers (and don't include gym, social events, health insurance or anything extra) - let's see how each survival job adds up!
The most "popular" job for actors in Los Angeles, right? To be honest, I can't think of anyone off of the top of my head who has a legitimate serving job. One where you go to a restaurant and work set hours. Apparently it's hard to get a restaurant job because everyone wants one. There are a lot of options when it comes to restaurants in LA and you can go anywhere from the family ramen place in the Valley to the sanky Beverly Hills hotspot. My advice is look up restaurants in your area - if you live in Silver Lake you might not want a serving job in Beverly Hills. And then apply to them all. Go in person and ask if they are hiring. Don't just fill out an application - drop off your resume. Show you have your shit together.
Pros: Set hours with a base pay, Part-time, W2 employment
Cons: Hard to get in with a good restaurant, hard to get shifts switched, set hours
Can you pay your bills? Probably. But at a cost and it might take time to get in with a good restaurant.
Where to look for jobs: Yelp. Look up restaurants in your area and start there!
One of my best friends has been a bartender at the same restaurant in the Valley since he moved to LA 5+ years ago and he loves it. His hours are flexible and he mainly works nights and weekends so it doesn't get in the way of acting. He makes enough to pays his bills and then some. I have other friends who swear by bartending. If you have the ability - I say go for it. It is hard to get into a bar in LA (I'm sure you can guess why), so maybe start out in a restaurant or in catering. Catering companies are always looking for bartenders.
Pros: Set hours with a base pay, great tips, part-time, W2 employment
Cons: Can be hard to get in with a good restaurant/bar, late hours, specific lifestyle
Can you pay your bills? Most likely, yes.
Where to look for jobs: Do the same thing you would as a restaurant server. You might have to start at a catering company.
Social Media Manager
This has been my bread and butter since I moved to Los Angeles. I mostly work for Tracey Mallett and her teacher training program bootybarre but I have gone onto the good 'ole Craigslist and found other clients. I worked for a watch company for a holiday season doing their product photography and social media work from October - February. It is a LOT OF WORK but it pays the bills and can be pretty flexible.
Pros: great pay, flexible hours, flexible work location
Cons: on-call a lot of the time, pressure because you are a brand's online voice, clients want you available/ready to work whenever - even if you are at an audition, potentially not W-2 (can fuck you during tax season)
Can you pay your bills? Yes, if you're willing to dedicate the time and juggle multiple clients to keep yourself freelance
Where to look for jobs: Friend referrals, Craigslist (just do you research on the company/person before you meet them).
Real Estate Assistant
For my second year in Los Angeles this is what I did. 7 days a week.... I don't recommend it and I'll tell you why. I was "salary" ($1600 a month) with bonuses (if a house closed under a million I got a $500 bonus and if it was over a million, I got a $1000 bonus). It sounds great. And at first I thought it was. But it worked out to be on-call all of the time which messed with my head. I would wake up daily with "to dos" and texts on Saturday's at 8am saying "can you work now" with what I needed to get done that day. I'd be sitting at an audition and my boss would text me with what needed to get done right then and there because I could just do it from my phone.... and then I wouldn't perform well when I got in the room.
Pros: good pay (if taxes are taken out - if not, you'll be hit with a HUGE tax bill), flexible hours, income you can count on
Cons: Time consuming, mind consuming, life consuming. I didn't have a weekend off (other than when I went to see my family) for a year and 4 months. You are someones assistant and they basically own you.
Can you pay your bills? Yes. But you pay in time and mental space too.
Where to look for work: There are 90 Bajillion realtors in Los Angeles - google companies (the big ones are Rodeo Real Estate, John Aaroe Group, Coldwell Banker, Sotheby's) and look up their different offices with their different agents - email them and sell yourself. It could be worth it.
I am new to the catering world, but my fiancé has made a living doing it since he moved to LA (he has since transitioned to other work). We've all seen Party Down, right? I was just working a job for a Baywatch screening and upon arriving to the paramount lot I noticed that our catering company was legitimately full of insanely beautiful artist. It sucked to be so loudly in a "haves" and "have-nots" situation (and clearly being a have-not side), but I appreciated being in it with a bunch of like-minded people. Artists who want to talk about classes, auditions, that student film they just did and can't wait to see the footage from. It's not a forever job, but I love it as a temporary placeholder to pay for car insurance.
Pros: solid pay, flexible hours, lots of companies to work with, most gigs are at night so your days are free, lots of actors do this so there can be a supportive community
Cons: mundane work, sometimes dealing with awful people
Can you pay your bills? Yep, you just have to get established with enough companies
Where to look for work: I'd start here. Go to their websites and apply. And ask around for referrals. (Some companies base their pay on your experience, so keep that in mind).
Brand Ambassador Work
These are my favorite jobs to work. They are usually events and they can sometimes give you great swag (I worked for an event for an athletic brand and got to keep my whole outfit!) They are usually one day events and good pay.
Pros: good money, gigs can be fun, most people you work with are artists
Cons: irregular jobs, hard to get established with enough companies
Can you pay your bills? Probably not, but it's a nice supplemental income.
Where to look for work? I have gotten all of my BA work through referrals and stalking on Instagram. It took a bit but I am now with a few companies I love. Here is one that is always down to meet with potential new people! When you work a BA job ask around - what other companies do people work with?
This is a hit-or-miss for me. I have a family that I have nannied for since I got to Los Angeles and I love them. They have become my family.
Pros: Surplus of work, you can make amazing connections with families, no education needed, kids are a great source of exercise
Cons: Not super flexible because families depend on you
Can you pay your bills? Yep! If they need you for enough hours
Where to look for jobs: Care.com y'all! I found the family I have nannied for for years (they are the flower girl and ring bearer for our wedding) on Care.com.
I'm throwing this one on here because it is always an option in Los Angeles. There are shops everywhere in LA and they need staff (especially during the holidays) and while the work might not be great at least you can pay your bills while looking for something better.
Pros: steady income, familiarity of workplace, W2 income
Cons: not much flexibility, not great pay (most are minimum wage - $10.50 an hour), can be demanding.
Where to look for work: The Grove(West Hollywood), The Americana (Glendale), 3rd Street Promenade (Santa Monica) or check out boutiques in your area!
"Want to go hiking this weekend?" - every Angeleno ever.
When I moved to Los Angeles, I knew I would love hiking. But I didn't realize it would become my thing. As my manager said "Oh you can always expect Ansley to be walking up a mountain somewhere!" And it's true! Florida doesn't have these glorious mountains and escapes that LA does and for some reason they are crack for me (and thank goodness I am marrying a man who loves to hike too). I discovered the All Trails app (and website too) and I highly recommend it - it's like Yelp for trails. It tells you the difficulty of the trail, shows photos, gives parking information, ratings, etc. We find most of our hikes on All Trails.
Everyone has heard of Runyon Canyon and probably hiked it at least once. It's right in West Hollywood and it's the spot you take your cousin who is in town from Idaho who wants to feel like she's "really in LA." Don't get me wrong, I love a quick Runyon trip when you can't get away to another hike, but it's definitely not one of my favorites. Los Angeles and the surrounding areas are full of killer hikes - want to see a waterfall? No problem! Hike with an ocean view? Got you covered! So pack a sandwich, grab a water bottle, lather on the sun scree and let's go for a hike!
Solstice Canyon - a 6 mile hike featuring ocean views, ruins of old homes and (sometimes) waterfalls. This was one of the first big hikes I did in LA and it will forever be one of my favorites. The ruins of the old homes are really cool and you can walk through and explore some of them. For more info: Click Here.
Angeles National Forest
Angeles is my escape. Whenever my fiancé and I need to get away we pack a backpack full of sandwiches and water and go out to Angeles. There are a bajillion hiking trails and it's only about 20-30 minutes from LA depending on where you go. So I am going to break this one up into two groups: Medium and Hard
My favorite Easy/Medium hike in Angeles is the Millard Canyon Falls - this is one of the most stunning places I have ever been in my life.
My favorite Hard hike in Angeles is the Dawn Mine Trail Loop - it is the #2 out of #138 trails in Angeles on All Trails and has a well-earned hard rating. My fiancé and I discovered it when we wanted to go for a legit long hike on Valentines Day. The trail follows the old rail road track and has a stop at an old mine - We didn't make it that far, but we intend to go back! The loop is 5.1 miles, but make sure you stay on the trial - there is a side trail with raddle snakes.
"Oh my gosh. I could literally never date an actor." - so many actors I know.
Let me be the first to tell you - it's tough. But it's also magical. To be in a relationship with someone who gets it: the rejection, the dropping everything for an audition, the struggle, the dream.
I was one of those people who said I couldn't date an actor. I needed to be the star in the relationship - I know that about myself: I require a lot of attention. (As do most actors). So I thought that dating an actor would make me play second fiddle or (God forbid!) share the spotlight. And you know what? It did both of those things at times. As would dating literally any other human-being on the planet.
Sitting here, writing this post on the eve of our anniversary, engaged and happy as hell, I can tell you that dropping that wall and dating an actor has been one of the best things I have ever done. As with everything, it's not for everyone. But! Here is why I veer on the side of "give it a chance."
1. Actors are people who (usually) aren't afraid dive into the emotional stuff
"A lot of guys have muscles. A lot of strong men in this world. I think it's important to show that even under all this strength there's a fragile side, a side that can be affected." - Sylvester Stallone. Rocky comin' in hot with his self-actualization! In LA - lots and lots of guys have muscles. But most don't show their fragile side. I don't want to make this a generalized statement because of course there are those douchey actors who are "actors" and they have super abs that they love to take selifes of, but even they have a tendency to not be afraid of emotion as much as men who aren't getting up and crying in front of a class full of their peers three a week.
2. Actors are great communicators
I haven't met an actor that didn't like to talk. Even if they were talking just to talk. And if they didn't like to talk - they at least liked to be heard. They like to figure things out with words because that is what they do for their artistic expression. They work out imaginary problems with made-up words. When in a committed relationship, this is an amazing quality. My fiancé and I would sit at my kitchen table for hours when we first started dating and just talk. About the world. Politics. Religion. Artistic expression. Communication forms of animals (specifically my cat), the state of food sources, etc and I realized that was one of the reasons I loved him. He loved to communicate his thoughts on literally everything (sometimes too much so). But these conversations made me think about things in a deeper way and it made me grow as a result. That takes me to my next point....
3. Actors like to think
Do you remember dating those Small Town, USA guys who you really enjoyed but looking back see that there was some sort of impenetrable force around their emotional core that even a Lightsaber couldn't crack? Most actors I know aren't like that. They are very in touch with how they feel and what they think. They have to be in control over their instrument in order to do their job and so it comes second nature to them. They like to know what's going on in the world. They like to have an opinion on it. They like to talk about it. And for me, that is something I love.
*everything in this post is subjecting and not based on anything other than personal experience.
Side jobs suck. There's no way to dice it. They can drain your time and can make you feel like a sack of shit because you're tray passing tuna tartar to the girl who you tested against last season for the role in that hot new TV show. Now her dreams are all laid out in front of her and you're getting her another glass of the Chardonnay - "Make sure your tie is straight! We can't have our waitstaff looking sloppy." *insert eye roll here* It's the worst. Now, don't get me wrong: I am incredibly thankful for the money. It allows me to live in LA, take classes, go out with my friends (sometimes) and now, pay for a wedding. It just sucks when you are literally watching people who have exactly what you want and you are on the outside looking in thinking "why not me?" So how do you keep your motivation in those situations?
1. Remember why you're doing it
This is a big one for me. I am currently working a band ambassador (BA) job for a big corporate company and it's great pay but the hours are long, the job is located in high tourist areas and the people, frankly, suck. Yesterday - during a 13.5 hour shift, yep, 13.5 hrs - I lost it and started crying. Luckily I was working with a fellow actress who totally got it and she was so sweet. She herself was on the verge of tears and we asked ourselves multiple times "Why the hell are we doing this to ourselves?" and then remembered May and June are super slow for auditions. Pilot season is over and everyone is gearing up to go on vacation before episodic season starts. So why no stockpile some money why we have the time? I have a wedding to pay for and I want to get back into class (I've taken a two month hiatus). So working this job is fueling my dream. It is worth it. Even if it doesn't feel right.
2. Make sure you're spending your off-time working on your art, not slacking
It is so tempting to when you get home from a long shift or when you have a day off to nap, watch TV, or spend all day scrolling the different social media platforms. You feel that you've earned this because you don't have an audition today and you worked three doubles back to back, right? I'm not going to say "wrong" because you do need some down time, but if you spend it all just chillin' you won't get anything done with your art/career and when you have to go back to your shitty side job you'll feel even more drained and mad at yourself that this is becoming your life. So make sure to spend time working on the thing you want to be doing. For example: I am writing this post before I go work a 10 hour shift for this big corporate brand ambassador job. I'm going to feel better about dedicating my whole Sunday to corporate America's greed because I spent 20 minutes this morning working on my art. Creating. Doing what I NEED to do. It makes the side job just a touch more bearable.
3. Your side job is your JOB not your LIFE
When you're hustling everyday just to make enough money to live in a city like Los Angeles or New York, it's easy to get stuck in a rut. You get up, get ready, go to work, deal with dumb shit that is not what you want to be doing, head home, shower, make dinner, play with your cat for five minutes and then hit the hay because you are so tired. When did you have time for your art? You didn't and it feels like shit. When you feel like that it's important to remind yourself that this is you JOB not your LIFE. You are doing this job to fuel your life. Get up 20 minutes earlier and write a page or two (even if they suck, just get it out), draw for a second or look up casting news on Deadline - do something to remind yourself that you are working towards your dream and your job is just that: a job.
4. It's temporary.
"Everything comes to an end." - Apparently some ancient proverb. What you are doing right now will end. What you're feeling right now will end. This is something to keep in mind when you're working a soul-crushing side job (and there are ohhhhh so many of them in LA). But! Remember, it is temporary. This is a means to an end. This is not THE end.
5. At the end of the day, it fuels what you love.
Do you have those friends who live in wherever-you-came-from-small-town-USA who you know are working that job they HATE but have to do it because that's all that's available to them? Yeah? Well guess what - that's not you! You got out. You are living your dream. Your are pursuing what sets your soul on fire. You are doing it. So what if you have to bust your ass a little bit to make that dream happen? Everyone has to work hard in life (well, most everyone). So would you rather be doing it in Small Town, USA working in a desk job you hate but keep because it's comfortable? Or! Would you rather work nights and weekends so you get to pursue your dream? Thank goodness you have one! That is a gift! And you need to treat it that way. Because this side of the dream- while not glamorous and super hard - is temporary and you're doing great!
Oh hey there
Thank you for stopping by. My name is Ansley and I am a creative being. With not much to show for it. Feel the same?! Welcome! For all of you artists out there who are just hanging in there - this is for you!