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Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Art of Procrastination – Just Do Something

In the fourth grade, we had to make something called an Alabama notebook.  This was pretty in-depth for a fourth grade project.  It had to be a binder outlining in detail the entire history of Alabama.  Not only that, but you had to know every aspect of the state including the state song, the state bird, and the state flower.  Yes, there was a state flower.

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The redneck state flower/weed.

This project was due around March in the second semester of school, so I had months to make this.  Did I take months to make it?  No.  Did I remember it a week before?  Absolutely.

The project was pretty intense and as a fourth grader I couldn’t cash the check of procrastination that I just wrote, so my mom had to help me out.  Granted, she would have been helping me anyway, she just had to be more involved since was has so little time to get it done.

So, the week was a total disaster.  I was up late every night and my mom was up with me.  We went over and over every detail until it was perfect.  But, it got done and it looked good.

When we got the book back though, it had big a B- on the front.  As an adult it must be very frustrating to pretty much write a fourth grade paper and not get an A+ on it.

That week, I caused my mother insane amounts of stress.  I should have taken care of that project months earlier.  Today I had one thing that I really should have done, but I got ridiculously busy on other things and didn’t get what I needed done.  I’ve been putting it off for a month.

One step.  All it takes is taking one step forward.  I know that every time I say that I’ll do it tomorrow, I won’t get it done.  I haven’t done it for a month, why would I do it tomorrow?

However, if I start today, doing at least something, I’m way more likely to get it done.

What do you think?  Will taking one step, even if it’s small step, push you forward?

Will it get the ball running?

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/shandilee/5972934439/”>Shandi-lee</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>


One Habit at a Time – Making Self-Discipline Stick

I tend to talk a lot about self-discipline. Why?  Because I believe that self-discipline is the key to success.  I think that once you know yourself and take control of your life, you can do anything.  Until then, you’re waiting on life to lead you into the right places and you’ll end up wondering how you got to those places.  You got there because you had no plan.

However, the problem with articles about self-discipline and ways to succeed is there is too much information too fast.  It’s easy to get excited about something that you’ve read and then to completely forget about it in a week.  The reason that happens is because we, or at least I, try to do too much at once.

For example, I’ll read one article about running and decide, “I’m going to run 6 miles every day!”  Then I’ll read an article about writing and decide, “I’m going to write a 6 page sketch every day!”  After that I’ll read two or three more articles and add two or more things to my new “schedule.”  By the end of the week, I find myself sleeping in only to wake up and eat a whole carton of ice cream.

 

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I personally don’t believe that you can ever have too much ice cream.

 

Self-discipline is a snowball rolling down a hill.  It doesn’t start large.  It starts very small, but on the way down it picks up more snow and more speed.  By the time it reaches the bottom it’s the boulder from Raiders of the Lost Ark and it’s speeding forward lightning fast.

The best way to start being self-disciplined in your life is to start good habits, but those habits must be small and must start slowly.  Otherwise they’re doomed to overwhelm you and fail.

So, start small.  Instead of starting an intense work out routine immediately, decide to go to the gym for at least 10 minutes every day.  You’ll find that once you get there you’ll likely spend more time there and you won’t feel the pressure to be amazing immediately.  After that, you’ll find yourself used to going to the gym and you can start staying longer and working harder.  Then maybe you can start juicing, then reading more, etc.  The sky is the limit.

What do you think?  How many changes can one person handle effectively?  How do you make your new life changes stick?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/quintanaroo/524318451/

Marathon Training

About a year ago I started training to run a marathon.  Why?  Mainly, because I’ve always wanted to.  Not only would the training make me healthier, but only 0.5% of the US population has ever run a full marathon.  I wanted to be one of the few people who could pull it off.  I wanted to be one of the .5% that could make something that difficult possible.

In the end, however, I failed.  When my friend and I started training, I knew nothing about running.  I just knew that you should go.  So, I bought a good pair of shoes and started running.  The problem is, I didn’t do enough research.  I got to a place where I was running 8 to 10 miles every Saturday.  I felt great about it.  What I didn’t know is that I have weak knees and I needed to have special knee support wraps and better cushions in my shoes.

So, one Saturday we decided to go big.  We decided that we wanted to run a half marathon.  At that point I had only run 10 miles, but I thought, hey, what’s the worst that can happen?  That day, I ended up pushing myself so hard that I not only permanently hurt one of my knees, but I also bruised the bottom of my right foot so badly that I couldn’t walk on it for a week.  After that I ended up having to stop to recover and never starting again.  I had lost momentum and couldn’t get it back.

Did I fail to run a marathon because my knees and feet couldn’t handle it?  No.  I failed because I never counted the cost of what it meant to run a marathon.  I didn’t prepare well and when the going got tough, my body wasn’t ready.

Next time you have a big project, count the cost.  Read all you can on the subject.  Know what trials you’re going to run into and BE PREPARED.  That way when the going gets tough, your knees won’t give out and you can finish the race.

Oh, and one day I will run a marathon.  I just have to figure out how to fix my knee and foot.


Make People Like You

Six Ways to Make People Like You

Dale Carnegie

Rule 1:  Become genuinely interested in other people.
Rule 2:  Smile.
Rule 3:  Remember that a person’s name is to him or her is the sweetest and most important sound…
Rule 4:  Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Rule 5:  Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
Rule 6:  Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

Holy Cow.  This is literally a guide to how to being successful in all areas of life.  If I can master this and get outside of my apartment more…  I could own the world.

Community is essential to a successful life.



Have a Personality

When I worked in casting I met great people.  I also met not great people.  Not to say they weren’t nice or that they weren’t good people.  They just weren’t great.

Some people would walk into the room and immediately not only shake my hand, but also drum up a conversation with me.  From the second they walked in the door the oozed of kindness and friendliness.  I actually believed that they wanted to be my friend, me, the lowly casting associate.  Other people only said hi and sat down and re-read their lines.  They didn’t speak to me unless they were asking me to get them something.  Not bad people at all.  They were just busy.

Guess who got on my good side and I fought for?

You’d be surprised how many times my lowly opinion meant something.  If I didn’t like someone, sometimes the casting director would listen to me.  Now, I did work on a major motion picture, so my opinion didn’t matter on the lead roles so much, but it definitely did on the minor roles.

So, next time you go into an audition, remember the little people.  No one knows that you’re a great person unless you show them.  That will significantly help your chances of getting any role.

Remember, they’re not just hiring you.  They’re hiring a potential friend that they’d want to work with.


Due Dates

I’m not great at getting things done.  When I was in college, if a paper was due on the 22nd of April, I didn’t even remember that I had to write that paper until the 21st.  I would get a text from a friend asking what book I cited for the paper and I would say something jokey like, “Get your own books!”  Then I’d freak out and write the whole paper in one night.

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Why does this keep happening to me?!? Oh wait, it’s because I’m a moron.

 

At least that’s what I did when I first started out.  After a while I bought a day timer/ planner.  This saved my soul.  Then I started giving myself due dates that were months previous to when the project was due.  That would give me plenty of time to actually read through my paper and check for mistakes.

What a concept.

Now, however, I don’t have due dates.  At all.  If I decide that I want to write a script, I write down the goal, but it never gets done.  This is where I’ve incorporated self-imposed due dates.

Do this.  It helps.

When you decide that you have a goal to achieve, immediately decide when that goal should be done.  Then use that motivation to get it done!

If, on the other hand, that still isn’t enough for you, there’s a website named StickK that has more motivation such as accountability, time constraints, and money on the line.  It’s pretty great.

The point is, get moving.  You’re your greatest mountain.  It’s time to get past you and get things done.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/wheatfields/4774087006/”>net_efekt</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>


How to Eat an Elephant

When I was in the 4th grade, I had a teacher named Mrs. Dyson.  No she didn’t make vacuum cleaners.  But she did make me crazy.  She used to say one phrase over and over. I’d go to her desk with a math problem and she’d inevitability ask, “How do you eat an elephant?” and I’d have to answer, “One bite at a time” before she’d break it down into tiny pieces and walk me though the first step. It was a cadence that we had to say all the time.  I used to hate that.  Can’t you just help me without making me repeat your stupid sayings?

However, as I got older, every time something overwhelmed me, I’d take a deep breath and say, “One bite at a time” before attacking the problem.  It took a lot of pressure off and helped me focus on the first step rather than the whole problem at once.

I guess she wasn’t totally crazy and MAYBE she permanently changed my life for the better.  Not that I’d give her the credit.

So, when you get stressed and everything seems out of your control or your problem is too big for you, just ask yourself, “How do you eat an elephant?”

It’ll surprise you.



My Three Jobs

When starting out I think every artist should have three jobs.  Sounds stressful right?  Well it is, but it’s a worthwhile process.

Here are the three jobs I’m talking about:

  1. Your full time job.  This is a job you don’t necessarily want, but it pays well. This is a job that you have to force yourself to enjoy.  This is the job that bank rolls your dreams.
  2. Your skill set job.  This is where you start your own business.  This is something that you’re good at and you enjoy.  It’s a job about creating something.  Photographs, making crafts, any hobby that you like doing.  This is not necessarily your dream job, but it’s a flexible job that pays well and you like doing it.
  3. Your dream job.  You don’t get paid for this.  In fact, you often have to pay for it.  You have to make it happen.  This is a job that you would do for free and you likely already are.

The idea is that this is a process.  It’s a refining process that will carry you into a place of success.  You start with all three, then slowly whittle down to one.

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This is going to take forever to become a tooth pick.

 
 
Most of us graduate college with debt.  Some don’t have education debt, but they tie themselves down with needless car payments, credit card debt, etc.  When you have the burden of life on your shoulders, you don’t have the luxury to make very little money.  You must pay the bills yet find a way to keep your dream alive, hence, my snowball-like process.

The idea?

Step one:  Get all three jobs going.  For example:  Get your full time job at an accounting firm going.  On the weekend, make a craft and sell it on Etsy, and on a couple of weeknights take an acting class while at the same time spending some time writing a script.

This is just an example, but you get my drift.  Work hard and get things moving.

Step two:  After doing this for a long time and making enough business at job number two, quit job one.  The time it takes to get to this step totally depends on your creativity and hustle.  CAUTION:  If you quit job one too early (Your full time job) and you’re not prepared then when you quit job one, you won’t have enough business in job two to sustain your life and/or your debt and you’ll financially die.  This is no fun.  Be SURE that your new business is ready before you drop your day job.  However, if you are ready, this is an exciting time.  You can quit your day job!  This gives room and flexibility to only do jobs two and three.  At this point you can use all the momentum that you were previously using to make jobs two and three a priority.  This is one step closer to your dreams!

Example:  You’ve quit your accounting job and now you can support yourself only making things for Etsy.  Now you spend your weekdays doing Etsy work and your weeknights and weekends acting and writing!

Step three:

At this point you have a successful second job and third job.  You can now support yourself completely through your third job and no longer need your second one.  You then have three choices:

  1. Quit your second job and sell it making some sweet cash.
  2. Keep your second job and just do it whenever you want
  3. Just quit your second job and keep it stowed away for a rainy day.

Example:  Your acting has taken off and your getting booked all the time.  You now write for a TV show that you star in.  You then can quit making things for Etsy and just live out your dream job, putting all that energy into doing what you love.

This is a long, sometimes painful, process.  However, it’s possible.  It’s real and it can be done.  It’s all up to you.

Only action is real.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/koonce/6296527293/”>Josh Koonce</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Prioritizing Life

I’ve never been good at remembering things.   I tend to let things go easily.  Mostly, this is the worst when I’m texting.  I have this terrible tendency to be busy, see a text from someone and think to myself. “I’ll respond the second I’m not busy.”  Then I forget forever and people end up thinking that I’m a jerk.

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Why doesn’t he answer my texts?!? Does he hate me???

 

Upon noticing that this is a common thread in my life, I decided to do something about it.  I started writing things down when I needed to remember them.  Not texts of course, I still clearly forgot those, but other tasks and things that I remember are important.  This is an example how my list started:

  1. Take out trash
  2. Call My Brother
  3. Shop for new TV stand
  4. Return all work related emails

This worked well for the first week until my list started reaching over 50 tasks and started to scare me.  I also, noticed that things still ended up being late because they weren’t sorted by priority.  At the time I was reading EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey and in his book he suggests a plan to prioritize your day.  So I started his plan by sorting them to know what’s most important.

A – Most Important (Done in beginning of today)
B – Medium Importance (Try to do today)
C – Important – (Can be done later)

  1. Take out trash – A
  2. Return all work related emails – A
  3. Call My Brother – B
  4. Shop for new TV stand – C

Then I had to further break it down to importance in each category.

A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, etc…

  1. Return all work related emails – A – 1
  2. Take out trash – A – 2
  3. Call My Brother – B
  4. Shop for new TV stand – C

This has literally, saved me on multiple accounts and got me in a place where I actually started succeeding.

Give it a shot.  You’ll be surprised how much less stress you’ll endure.

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/barkbud/4257136773/”>bark</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

21 Reasons You Don’t Need to Get a Job if You’re an Actor

21 Reasons you shouldn’t get a job if you’re an actor

  1. You love the taste of Ramen.
  2. You think welfare was made specifically to support actors.
  3. You use food stamps to buy protein bars.
  4. You think dental care is way overrated.
  5. Instead of going to bars, you’ve gotten really good at making your own moonshine.
  6. You can go to the bank and get all the free suckers you want.
  7. You only keep friends that wear your exact size in order to get their hand-me-downs.
  8. You think hot water is a luxury for lawyers and senators.
  9. Your parents send you gift packages with food that you can stretch out for a month.
  10. You love going “out to lunch” (AKA getting free samples from Costco).
  11. You find that living out of your car eliminates the need for roommates.
  12. You’re a professional at going to buffets and lining your packets with used zip lock bags.
  13. You’re version of steak is a “good can of tuna.” You know, the one with the white meat?
  14. You think having a bed is a sign of weakness.  The floor makes your back straighter.
  15. You know your neighbor’s password for everything is “Password.”  Free Wifi!
  16. You don’t need running water because you’ve mastered the art of cleaning your body with a wet wipe in a restroom.
  17. Due to the hipster movement, your glasses from the 5th grade are now stylish enough to wear again. No need in buying new ones that actually help you see.
  18. Your idea of a good first date is taking a girl to the Wal-Mart Aquarium (AKA the pet section to look at the fish).
  19. You call the hole in your ceiling from that falling tree your “sun roof.”
  20. You’ve named all your pet cock roaches.
  21. You enjoy checking your own prostate, medicating yourself with home remedies you find online, and finding medical students on Craigslist who need “practice” when your appendix explodes.

How to Make Job Connections When You’re an Introvert

As much as I say that I’m an extrovert, I have introverted tendencies.  A lot actually.  If I had a choice between going out after a long day of work to hang out with friends, or just sitting at home in front of a TV with some snacks, I’ll  always chose the snacks.  Why?  Because I love salty snacks and stories. It’s nice to get carried away in someone else’s problems for once.

The problem with my introversion is that I don’t make connections while sitting on my couch.  My TV isn’t going to get me a job contrary to those online college commercials.

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You can be successful enough to sit on a couch just like this woman after you get your degree at FakeUniversity.com

 

If I want to succeed in life, I need other people.  Plain and simple. Though, how do you go out if you don’t want to?  Should I just force myself?

Nah, just make it simple on yourself.  Start small.  What do you like doing?  What are your hobbies?  If you go online, you can find a multitude of groups to join.  If you like watching football, why not play football? There are several flag football leagues in LA.  If you like reading, why not find a book club?

The point is, you don’t have to be going to creepy industry parties at 2am where someone is doing drugs in the corner to make connections.   Most of the connections that you’ll need to find a job are going to randomly show up, like at your son’s soccer matches.  When I worked for Alexander Payne he told me that he found a girl for a role he was looking for because he heard some woman complaining about a neighbor.  How random is that?

Life doesn’t need to be as hard or as complicated as you’ve made it in your mind.  You can make connections easily by doing what you love.  You can’t make connections by never leaving the house.
That and you’ll be super lonely.  Trust me.  Lonely people eat a lot of cheese puffs.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mskathryn/4869311983/”>mskathryn</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

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