Wednesday, November 30, 2011

75. In Celebration Of Submission

"We are social creatures to the inmost center of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong." - Karl Popper, philosopher & professor (1902 - 1994)

It's important to celebrate the small and not-so-small victories in our daily lives and share in the joy together. Sure.. there's always more to do, but don't forget to stop and celebrate how far you've already come, the obstacles you've managed to overcome and the friends who have supported you along the way.

You could have quit... just given up at any point... and that would have been waaaaay easier than sticking-with-it. But then you'd never get to be where you are now!

So today I am celebrating a great triumph... I have FINALLY submitted my online application for Juilliard. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!

And not a moment too soon... Deadline is Dec 1 (a.k.a. tomorrow).

Personal Statement Written... CHECK.
Online Application Sent... CHECK.
Application Fee Paid... CHECK.
Great Sense of Accomplishment... CHECK.

The busy-busy-busy schedule of November tried to crush me... BUT I WILL NOT BE CRUSHED. I will not let ANYTHING stand in my way of completing my MIT (Most Important Task): applying to grad school.

Taking steps to create the life of my dreams = My A#1 priority

Let's put this accomplishment in some historical context also...

If you had told 14-year-old-me, aspiring actress that I was, that some day in the future I would be living in New York City and applying to JUILLIARD. I probably would have said, "Ha, ha, ha,... Suuuure. Very funny. Stop making fun of me."

Truthfully, I wouldn't have thought myself WORTHY of even APPLYING. (And, in actuality, I never did apply to any undergrad acting programs for this very reason... and also, I knew my parents couldn't afford to send me even if I got in... So why try?)

I thought that places like Juilliard were only for special people with exceptional talent and people who came from families that had money and connections... not for people like me. I didn't think the opportunity to study at an "elite" school like Juilliard would ever be AVAILABLE to me. In my young mind, applying to Juilliard was IMPOSSIBLE.

...Well, Virginia, who just clicked SEND on that Juilliard application, huh?... YOU!... Maybe you should re-think what's POSSIBLE?

Now, I think it is time that we dance around the living room lip-syncing to Jason Mraz and acting like we're 14 again... because we DESERVE to celebrate! I could NOT have gotten this far or had nearly as much growth in the process without YOU! This has not been an easy task...

And we've still got NYU and Yale waiting-in-the-wings, but for now... Let's DANCE! We FUCKIN' did it.


A W E S O M E.

Love,
V

"The truth is simple. There are very few - if any - genuine cases of overnight success. The majority of successful people have dedicated themselves to a goal and persevered for a long time, experiencing several setbacks before reaching a high level of achievement that is finally noticed." - Alexandre Levit, Money Magazine's Online Career Expert Of The Year

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

74. Speak Your Truth

Sometimes I need to SPEAK words out loud in order to know if they are true for me. If it's false... it just feels wrong to say. Or maybe it's HEARing it out loud that's the thing? Anyway... it works.

"I am tired."

See?... Truth.

So the laaaaast step in writing this Personal Statement for Juilliard is to simply read it out loud and see if all of the words "ring true." (About to do this in a moment, in spite of the tiredness.)

And then I'll ask my roommate to proofread it, 'cause she's a pro and I ain't so good on grammar and tenses.

Remember, Virginia... the goal with this statement is HONESTY.

It's amazing how many layers of bullshit you have get through to get down to the simple truth. You'd think that knowing yourself would be easy... since you ARE you. But, no...

Anyway... Enough... It's getting late.

Where's my inspirational quote notebook? There's gotta be something in there about honesty or knowing yourself, ya-da, ya-da...

Hmmm....

How 'bout this one?... I like this one...

"First you have to know what you want, then you find a way to get it. It's that simple. The person you need to please is yourself. And there's no risk of failure when you never give up." - Jen Gresham, Everyday Bright

Not a perfect fit for this post... but, then again, who knows? Maybe it is.

Speak your truth.

La la la,
Virginia

Monday, November 28, 2011

73. Juilliard On The Web

Okay... This is soooooo freakin' cool!...

Juilliard posted an on-the-web Q&A session about the MFA program (though much of it applies to the BFA too).... It is soooo great. Informative. Inspiring. And no need to travel to NY... It's available to EVERYONE through the miracle of modern technology. How's that for equal opportunity!?

If anyone out there is applying to Juilliard this year... PLEASE SEE THE LINK BELOW.

CLICK ON ME.

And even if you're not applying to Juilliard this year, check it out.

Benefits to you for watching:

A. Inspiring educational philosophy... Some schools have a take-the-student's-money-give-em-a-diploma-and-kick-em-out-the-door mentality. Not naming any names, but I haven't had a lot of "hand-holding" in any of my past collegiate experiences. Now... I ask you... What would our national student body be like if educational institutions all over the country shared the same kind of philosophy in nurturing the qualities of innovation and creativity in their students as Juilliard does? We might have some better educated and happier citizens... And a society that creatively collaborates in coming up with SOLUTIONS to problems rather than wallowing in conformity and egoism. Not sayin' the Juilliard-philosophy is the answer for EVERYONE. Just askin' the question...

B. You will get an idea of WHY I'm soooooo excited to apply to this school. Sure the name "Juilliard" is impressive... but WHY is it impressive? Because they have GREAT TRAINING. They don't turn out cookie-cutter actors. They guide individuals to find their own unique voice and give them the opportunity to practice their craft in an environment that's safe to take RISKS. Because pushing yourself past the point of succeeding and beyond into BIG-FAIL territory is the fastest way to learn and grow. Success will come along as a result extracting the fear of failing. (I digress.) Juilliard is setting you up for a career as a COLLABORATOR, a contributor to the process of building a piece of theatre/film/whatever... They don't want you to be a tell-me-where-to-stand-and-I-will-say-my-line-and-look-pretty kind of actor. HEAVEN! I've attended TWO of the live Q&A sessions in NY and watched this Web thingy... and every time I learn something new and I LoVE to hear how the faculty react to the same questions in different ways. They are so respectful of each other and of the students. It. Is. Awesome. But don't take my word for it... experience it for yourself.

C. You may start watching and think... "Gee, you know who would LOVE this? [INSERT ASPIRING YOUNG ACTOR'S NAME HERE]. I think I shall forward it to them, because THEY might be inspired by this and want to apply to Juilliard. Perhaps, by forwarding this on I could help change the trajectory of someone's life and that would make me feel really GOOD." Share the LOVE. Support each other's dreams!

Anyhoo, still working on the Juilliard Personal Statement. Why is it soooo much easier for me to write this freakin' blog than it is to write this two page essay?

Riddle me that?

Get back to work, Wilcox.

:-p

Hugs,
V

"A great way to give thanks for the privileges we've got is to do important work. Your job, your internet access, your education, your role in a civilized society... all of them are a platform, a chance to do art, a way for you to give back and to honor those that enabled you to get to this point. For every person reading this there are a thousand people (literally a thousand) in underprivileged nations and situations that would love to have your slot. Don't waste it." - Seth Godin, Seth Godin's Blog

Sunday, November 27, 2011

72. Hope

"Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood that in the depths of the Great Depression, when he galvanized a despondent nation by telling Americans that they had nothing to fear but fear itself. Roosevelt was urging not to lose hope. Hope is a sustainable value that inspires us to see the world as a source of meaning and to connect with people in valuable ways. Hope is a catalyst. When we lose hope, we retreat into ourselves; we detach and dispair. When we have hope, we lean into the world, and a sense of possibility takes root that allows us to connect with others and collaborate with them to bring these futures about. Like trust, hope is fundamental to how we connect in a connected world. Without hope there can be no progress, no innovation, and no lasting prosperity. Hope impels people to get up out of their chairs, and inspires them to take on challenges that they never dreamed of taking on before -- and to stick with them however hard things get. Of course hope alone is not a strategy, but it is the essential starting point for any sustainable strategy. In this way, hope inspires the pursuit of significance." - Dov Seidman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LRN, How: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything

I love this book! Is that not the most incredible quote!?! It is! I mean, it gives me hope that hope is so valuable... 'Cause hope is what I've got in abundance right now... Tangible evidence of success will come soon... I hope. But for now, hope will have to suffice.

In other news...

I am taking a break from putting some finishing touches on the Juilliard Personal Statement. Or you could say... I'm taking a break from over-thinking, re-working and f-ing it all up... LOL!

Actually, I do think my writing does sometimes get worse as a result of editing. What's gained in clarity is lost in flow... All well.

Ultimately, this essay's gotta go out with my application... So I will do all that I can to be happy with it... and then I've gotta let it go and leave the rest up to the universe.

Can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, ya know? (That's a throw-back to blog post #1... for those of you that have been long-time blog followers.)

It's sooooooo close to being done, folks... I can almost taste it.

What shall we do to celebrate when the personal statement is alllll done and the Juilliard application is submitted? Ideas?

Anyhoo, HOPE you have a good evening... I'm gonna get back to the re-writes!

Fingers to the keys,
Virginia

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day." - A.A. Milne, author (1882 - 1956)

 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

71. Inspiration Is IN

"The first step to living a life of passion and purpose is to remove the barriers that hold you back." - Adam Baker, Man Vs. Debt
Sooooo, I'm still working on my Personal Statement Draft for Juilliard. It's coming together. But striking that balance between being honest/raw/open/vulnerable about where I've come from and what I had to do to get to where I am now... and still managing to show my bubbly-passionate-desire-to-inspire-self is really challenging.

It's a balancing act... Heavy/Light... Dark/Bright... Negative/Positive. One without the other will not give the full picture.

There is much shitty-ness that is a part of my story... and I often choose NOT to focus on that part... for various reasons... The greatest of which is... I have found that focusing on the negativity of the past has never helped me to create a more positive future. So I try to spend as little time walking down negative-memory-lane as possible.

But with this Personal Statement... it's tough NOT to go there... I don't want to wallow in the past, but I don't want to deny it either. The dark times have become a part of who I am now and have helped to shape me. They've made me appreciate my successes and blessings soooo much more than if everything had come easily.

And... as avid-AcceptanceProject-blog-follower-Alexis reminded me in a VERY HELPFUL phone call late last night regarding the Personal Statement... the thing that makes us unique and inspiring to each other are not our pains or our obstacles (everybody's got those to contend with to varying degrees)... but HOW we manage to overcome them and get to a more positive/happy/successful/awesome life. Everybody can relate to that struggle/journey and get on-board the HOPE train! Tell THAT story and people will both...A. root for your success and B. be inspired to pursue self-betterment themselves!

WIN/WIN!

Sigh... Anyway, that's great and all... But it's not enough to just to KNOW what  I want to communicate in the Personal Statement... The key (that I am trying to get to) is HOW to communicate that idea successfully... in 2 pages... double-spaced.... Still working on that part.

Luckily I've got 4 more days to figure it out... before I have to press SEND and submit the application.

TONS of time... Not.

I wish I was gutsy enough to send in a personal statement that looked like the following...


Ha ha ha!!! Can you imagine?... Sigh... Hilarious.

But.. no... that would be a cop-out. Because I'd only be doing it out of laziness... trying to avoid having to get to my bottom-line and be REALLY specific and concise about WHY I WANT TO BE AN ACTOR... and HOW I HOPE MY WORK WILL HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE WORLD... and WHY JUILLIARD'S PROGRAM SPECIFICALLY RESONATES WITH ME AND WILL HELP ME ON MY JOURNEY OF ARTISTIC GROWTH.

Soooo here's TODAY'S PLAN OF ACTION in re-writing my Personal Statement...

Step 1: Go to the movies... and (hopefully) be inspired by some amazing acting

Step 2: Go to yoga... to let my body sweat and allow my subconscious mind to mix-up all the ideas I want to incorporate into the next draft of the Personal Statement (perhaps inspiration will hit me during final savasana?)

Step 3: Come home, shower, make a cup of tea, turn on my computer, read what I've already written and see if I am even remotely inspired by my own words... If not... my "literary babies" will have to be sacrificed (cut or rewritten) in the interest of the greater good (a personal statement that is true to who I was... true to who I am am... and most importantly... true to who I am becoming!)

All that... in 2 pages... double spaced... 12 point font.

Noooow.... GO!

Gettin' there,
Virginia

"Human qualities like creativity, helpfulness, and hope can't be commanded; they can only be inspired in people. You can't order somebody to have a great idea. You can't mandate rich, creative collaborations. You can't command a doctor or nurse to be more humane and show compassion at a patient's bedside. You can't really motivate or coerce a teacher to be more hopeful and create a sense of possibility in the classrom. You can't sufficiently motivate a sales representative to engender trust in every interaction. The lucky ones figure it out early on their own, but others need to be inspired to bring out these qualities." - Dov Seidman, How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything

Thursday, November 24, 2011

70. My Surreality

"Have gratitude for how blessed you truly are. Be a blessing for everything around you." - Lena Stevens, The Power Path

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Seems like everyone is taking a moment to remind themselves of all the things they're grateful for today. So I shall jump on the band-wagon and add my two-cents to all the thankfulness shout-outs.

Today I am most grateful for... NEW YORK CITY.

My life is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT REALITY since I moved to NY in 2007.

It has been both DEVASTATING and EUPHORIC, but definitely transformational... becoming a New Yorker and making my own way in the big city.

I am thankful for both the challenges and privileges of living in this city. Life is really amazing here on a daily basis. It's like nothing else I've ever experienced. I never imagined it would be like this. But here I am!!!

"Nothing is predestined: The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings." - Ralph Blum

For example, this is a typical day for me as of 11/23/2011 (yesterday). I have many moments to be grateful for in a typical day... See below...

6:00am  - Woke up in the softest bed I've ever slept in. I am cat-sitting at a friend's house on 2nd Ave and 53rd St in Manhattan. The building has a doorman and 3 elevators and the apartment has a dishwasher... LUXURIOUS!

7:30am - Blogged. Happy to live in a country where we have freedom-of-speech and I can do such things without government censorship.

8:45am - Walked to work, enjoying the brisk air and blue sky. Listening to music on my iPhone, which is a device that I love, love, love and keeps me connected with people that I love, love, love.

9:00am - Arrived at my schmancy Madison Avenue office building where I get to feel super special because I have "security clearance" to get into the building and I have my own desk with my own direct line and my own bowl of York Peppermint Patties on said desk to lure people to come and say hello to me while I am working. Also, I have a super nice bosses who always smile at me and say good morning and are genuinely happy to have me working with them. Soooo I am BEYOND BLESSED to feel appreciated at my job.

12:30pm - Lunch arrives... This is one of the BEST perks about my job. (This is about to blow your mind.) Our company buys us lunch every day and it is delivered to the office. I can order practically anything I want. NO JOKE. Can you even believe that's REAL? It's the BEST. I am soooooo grateful for this EVERY DAY. Seriously... free food is the way to win company loyalty. That's my theory, anyway.

5:00pm - Normally this is the time when I leave work and go about my life... But on this particular day I am working over-time because we've got a big event coming up and I am staying late to make sure that everything is going to be flawless and awesome and smooth-sailing. I love that I am allowed to work over-time for two reasons: A. It's great that my job gives me the time I need to be able to do my job well and B. That they compensate me for this valued contribution. I am NEVER expected to work for free. :) This makes me feel respected and it's a feeling I like getting used to.

7:00pm - I throw on some jeans, leave work and walk a few blocks over to Carnegie Hall... where Jason Mraz happens to be playing his Carnegie Hall debut concert on his "You Are Loved" tour. Yup... just got off of work and hopped on over to CARNEGIE HALL. That is my SURREALITY, people! Having easy access too AMAZING, world-class and unique cultural experiences is one of the BEST things about living in New York. I am soooo blessed to be able to live here.

11:30pm - I walk across the island of Manhattan on my way back to the beautiful apartment where I am cat-sitting... in my after-concert glow... Jason Mraz branded t-shirt in hand... and I feel perfectly safe in my city. I am alert and aware of my surroundings, but feel secure in my ability to walk in Manhattan, alone, late at night and reach my final destination in safety. Grateful for that.

Sooooo that's a typical kind of day for me in my current life in New York. Can you blame me for loving it here?

It hasn't always been that awesome/amazing/cushy/loving. But I am grateful for the gritty/awfulness too... because I wouldn't appreciate the goodness without all of the tough times that came before... when I felt alone, unloved, broke, invisible, trapped, unsafe, sad and lost. There were TONS of those days too.

"For sleep, riches and health to be truly enjoyed, they must be interrupted." - Jean Paul Richter, writer (1763-1825)

"New York doesn't give a f*%k, but in a loving way."... LOL! That's a direct quote from Jason's concert. And I think that's soooo true. That's been my experience, at least.

Anyhoo, I'm a big believer that we create our own reality... by the choices we make, the people we chose to surround ourselves with and the information we choose to fill our brains with. (For this reason, I cannot watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills because it makes me too sad to see American women spending $40,000 on a pair of earrings that they don't even like and making themselves miserable... when they could be spending $40,000 on helping someone better their life and making themselves happier knowing that they've done some good in the world. They are living in the reality of their own making though, it's their choice... and it hurts my soul to watch and I don't want that to be a part of MY reality... so I will turn off the TV.)

"What do we live for, it it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" - George Eliot, novelist (1819-1880)

I hope that with all of the abundance that has come into my life in recent years, that I will always strive to be a good steward of the resources I am given. I want to strike a solid balance between taking care of my own needs in a self-loving way, but also using my resources to be generous to others whenever I have the opportunity.

Thank you, New York, for giving me sooooo much and constantly reminding me to appreciate what I've got. I never imagined that this kind of life would be possible for me. I am blessed.

Gratefully yours,
Virginia
 
"Gratitude, gratitude and more gratitude." - Lena Stevens, The Power Path

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

69. LOVE

‎"People are generally irrational, unreasonable and selfish. They deserve to be loved, anyway." - Mother Teresa

Give love to others... even when it's difficult.

Enjoy accepting love from others... It's the most valuable gift you will ever receive.

Annnd don't forget to give yourself love, too... in your thoughts and in your actions... be loving to yourself.

There's lots of LOOOOvE to go around.

Sending you some of mine... right now.

Feel good,
Virginia

"Never regret love. No matter how blind, it improved your world view. No matter how foolish, it made you wiser. And no matter how generous, it made you more." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

68. What Is Your MIT?

"It’s very simple: your MIT (Most Important Task) is the task you most want or need to get done today. In my case, I’ve tweaked it a bit so that I have three MITs — the three things I must accomplish today. Do I get a lot more done than three things? Of course. But the idea is that no matter what else I do today, these are the things I want to be sure of doing.... And here’s the key to the MITs for me: at least one of the MITs should be related to one of my goals. While the other two can be work stuff (and usually are), one must be a goal next-action. This ensures that I am doing something to move my goals forward that day. 
And that makes all the difference in the world. Each day, I’ve done something to make my dreams come true. It’s built into my morning routine: set a next-action to accomplish for one of my goals. And so it happens each day, automatically. 
Another key: do your MITs first thing in the morning, either at home or when you first get to work. If you put them off to later, you will get busy and run out of time to do them. Get them out of the way, and the rest of the day is gravy! 
It’s such a small thing to implement, and yet I’m raving about it like it’s a huge revelation. But it is. Sometimes small things can make big differences. I highly recommend you give it a go." - Leo Babauta, ZenHabits.net

This idea has been key, key, KEY for me in helping to keep my sanity this past month... (Though the jury's still out on that one.)

There's way too much going on for me to be able to accomplish EVERYTHING I want to do in a day. Just forgetaboutdit!

But if I do that one important thing, I feel MUUUUUCH better about life... especially if that one thing is something related to building my DREAMS.

Because, in the long run... a year from now... even 3 months from now... 5 minutes from now... which will I regret more: not keeping my room tidy or not getting my grad school applications submitted on-time?

Um, that's a no-brainer. Clearly my priority is the application!!! Having a clean room is okay, but that's not my tippy, top, top priority right now. So... laundry... you will stay on the floor for now.

"Put all your energy on what you love to do in your career and very little on what you don't." - Peter Pamela Rose

And if I have to let some things slide for a while in order to make sure I am accomplishing my MOST IMPORTANT TASK... then so be it.

(On that note... if I'm not returning your phone call or replying to your email... this is probably why.)

I gotta prioritize and can't keep all the balls in the air all at the same time. And that's OKAY. As long as I am keeping my focus on taking action on the things that are REALLY important to me, that I will be proud that I took the time to do YEARS from now... 

And, for now... all the busy-work and day-to-day whatchamacalits that come up... I'll get to you when I get to you...or... NOT.

Use your precious energy wisely, folks. Today... do the thing that matters FIRST.

Love,
V

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." - Peter Drucker, management consultant, professor and writer (1909 - 2005)

 

Monday, November 21, 2011

67. Feedback Request: HEADSHOTS

"If you look for what's right - in others, in relationships, in yourself and your journey - you'll always find it. Same when looking for what's wrong." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

Looking for my best option for a "get-me-into-grad-school" headshot.

Actually, the photo I give them with my application really has very little influence on whether or not I will be accepted. According to all information that I've gathered and my past experience, the headshot is not a big factor (if at all) in the decision-making process of who does or does not make it into the program. They just need it to be able to remember what I look like.

However...

I would like to have a shot that is an accurate representation of WHO I AM now.

So please take a moment to look over the choices below and comment on the blog page if you have an opinion.

Keep in mind that all photos are currently untouched... so the final version will be color-balanced and light-adjusted.

MOST IMPORTANTLY... look for what's going on in my EYES. That's the key to a great headshot. It's not about being PRETTY, it's about communicating my ESSENCE.

In your comments, please be sure to include WHY you like any given photo and what you think it's communicating about my personality that you think is valuable for my use as a "get-me-into-grad-school" headshot.

Thanks for your, help, my CREW!

3211


3059


2941


2929


3028


3094



BIG thank you shout out to Dylan Patrick for his amazing photos! The above are only a tiny sampling of all of the kick-ass shots he took in our session. If you want to see a great "body shot" that Dylan took of me... check out the "HUMANS" gallery on his website. It's HOT!

Dylan has been a DREAM COME TRUE to work with every step of the way. He's 100% pro... and super FUN. If you are in NYC, I highly recommend hiring him to take your photos. Can't say enough about how much I've loved working with him. Thanks, Dylan!

Loves to you all, thank you for sharing your thoughts and happy monday!

~Virginia


"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." - Marilyn Monroe

 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

66. My Bucket List: Personal Artistic Goals 2011

Bucket List: A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket".

The below is part "bucket list," part "goals for the future," and part "ways I want to create my life." I wrote this list as a brain-storm exercise for the Juilliard Personal Statement. Probably not going to include any of it in the final draft of the statement, but I thought that the act of writing the list was valuable. I also thought that it would be an important thing to post on the blog... as a record of what I would like to do in the future. 

Who knows? Maybe I'll look back on this post years from now and be able to go through the list and check off a bunch of things...or maybe even ALL of them. Hope so!!! Wouldn't that be an awesome feeling???

Here's my Bucket List of Personal Artistic Goals 2011...

  • I want to love my life and die knowing that I lived it exactly the way I wanted to.
  • I always want to remember to be grateful for every opportunity that comes my way.
  • I want earn the respect the artists that I respect and admire as a valued artistic collaborator.
  • I want to serve our society in the best way that my unique talents will allow and inspire others to do the same.
  • I want to be able to give back to those that have been positive influences for me along the way. I would love to be a mentor to up-and-coming artists or stay involved with my former school as an alumni who gives back.
  • I want the process of “getting there” to be just as enjoyable (if not more so) than achieving my “goals."
  • I want to work on projects with passionate people that also want their art to make a difference in people’s lives.
  • I want to be a person that others enjoy working with.
  • I want to create a sustainable life for myself, financially and creatively.
  • I want to be able to pay my bills and take care of my family and thrive on the pay I receive from my acting.
  • I want to attract an agent that truly believes in my abilities and versatility as an actor, understands how to best represent me within the industry, shares my vision for my artistic career and will have an unwavering work ethic because he/she LOVES his/her job.
  • I want to have fun.
  • I would like to voice an audiobook.
  • I want to find a life partner who will love me unconditionally and will always support me in my life's work.
  • I want to constantly grow and be challenged and always pursue excellence.
  • I want to get really confident in my skills as an actor. I want to create such a strong foundation in my work, that I can look forward to a life-long career.
  • I want to work with people I LOVE and am inspired by.
  • I would like to be a regular on a televisions series that feels like a company of  super-skilled, excellence-pursuing, like-minded artists all working together to create the best show on television.
  • I want to be a part of a community of like-minded artists in New York City and Los Angeles.
  • I want to be a smart business woman.
  • I want to live debt-free.
  • I want to own my own home.
  • I want to have health insurance.
  • I want to travel and experience different cultures.
  • I want to be able to afford to fly home and see my family whenever I want to.
  • I want to originate a role on Broadway.
  • I want to write a book and have it published somewhere.
  • I want to write a play and see it produced someday.
  • I want to create a successful enough career as an artist to be able to have creative artistic choice is selecting my jobs, such that I can choose my jobs because I LOVE them and I BELIEVE in them, not because I need the money.
  • I want to be remembered as someone that left a positive impact on the world in my own small way.
  • I never want to stop learning... EVER.
  • I will stop doing all of the above… on the day I die.


What's in your bucket?

Loves,
V

"You can't always get what you want

But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need"
- The Rolling Stones



Saturday, November 19, 2011

65. Powerful Questions

"The questions you have to answer pertain to what, where, when and WHY. Mine pertain to how and with whom. When you know the end result, I always know the fastest way." - The Universe

Working on my personal statement today... In my comfy writing-space at home with a cup of tea and the sunshine coming through the windows and all my papers and notes scattered about me on the futon.

I am enjoying some of the questions that have come up as I've been brain-storming and journaling and exploring what I really want to say with this personal statement for my Juilliard application.

I seriously love a good, hard-core, no-nonsense, well-stated question.

I'm so grateful to have the opportunity and motivation to reflect on these life-direction types of questions. I think they are important to ask ourselves from time to time... just to check-in and make sure that our daily actions are in-tune with what our own unique hearts REALLY value.

Below are my questions... and "my answers"... Which are in no way "your answers"... As you know, you've got your own answers inside of you. So please keep in mind while reading below... that I am simply exploring these ideas and none of these answers are meant to be etched in stone (not even for myself). Ask me these same questions tomorrow and you'll get a whole new set of "answers"... none of which are wrong... none of which are right.

:-p

Just asking the question and being open to listening for the universe to bring you an answer is a step in the right direction.

"And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." - Luke 11:9, The Bible: New Living Translation

Enjoy living in the questions...

Q: What job would your pay someone to let you do?
A: Do that.... If you aren't doing that now, do one small thing today to move yourself in the direction of doing that. You will be happy with yourself when you do.

Q: What is stopping you from becoming your "dream come true" right now?
A: Don't use FEAR of anything as an excuse... Run as fast as you can toward conquering that fear. Ask for help from experts when you need it.

Q: If you become like those you are with, who are you with that you want to become like?
A: Seek out people who inspire you and spend time with them. Learn from them. Don't waste your time on people that you don't enjoy.

Q: What is your measure of success?
A: Define it. Make it quantifiable in some way. That's the only way you'll know when you've reached it.

Q: What stories inspire you?
A: I like "rags to riches" stories. I like "overcoming the odds" stories. I like stories of successful entrepreneurs who experienced years of failure to finally rise from the ashes and do great things. I like stories of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. I like stories of people who don't wait around to be saved, but choose to save themselves and help others save themselves in the process. I like funny stories that make you cry. I like stories about change... changed hearts, changed minds, changed bodies and souls.

Q: How do you see your art connecting to the world?
A: I will answer this question with another question... "What is the universal truth in this?"... I am CONSTANTLY asking myself that question, unconsciously and consciously... Especially in writing, but in acting as well... What do I mean, exactly? Well... For example, you could be doing a scene about eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich... but what's REALLY going on in that scene?... What is it that's humanly universal about the experience of eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Which universal truth are we trying to communicate?....  Is is about satisfying a craving? Is is about nostalgically reliving a familiar childhood experience? Is it a suicidal death-wish because you are allergic to peanut butter?

THAT is what I love about art. It can be interpreted a million different ways, by both the artist and the audience. So that's how I'd like my art to connect to the world... I would like to be a skillful enough artist to make specific circumstances and unique personal experiences feel universal through sharing my creative point-of-view. That's my idea of fun. That's how I'd like to create more empathy and connection between humans. I truly believe that's the kind of art that changes the world. Because empathy leads to new ways of thinking, which leads to new ways of reacting and eventually motivates pro-action... for the betterment and benefit of ALL people... if I have anything to do with it... and I will... and I do. And so do you!

We are all participating in artfully creating this world. So the best question is... What do you have to contribute to this art project called life? Our society, our world needs you... so GIVE what you most love to give. It will be appreciated by someone.

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." - Henry Miller

Always in process,
Virginia


Thursday, November 17, 2011

64. Don't Know Mind

"In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on things you have long taken for granted." - Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)
The more I know, the more I know that I don't know.

And even things that I've learned before... I'm constantly re-learning over and over and over again.

I like to think of learning as an upward spiral rather than a straight line. Every time I learn a lesson and move up the spiral it still comes back around to the same questions, just at a slightly higher level.

Or sometimes not.

Re-learning things all the time can get frustrating, but I've begun to accept it as a part of my process and try not to beat myself up about it when I realize it's happened... again.

I like to try to cultivate something called "don't know mind," to take some of the pressure off of myself for not knowing things.

"A true "don't know mind" leaves a lot of room for your intentions to manifest in interesting and wonderful ways. When you commit to something 100%, without the need to know how you will get there, the universe will begin to weave it creatively into the physical world." - Lena Stevens, The Power Path

I find that when I release my attachment to knowing... that I am happier... I am more open. I learn faster and ultimately... questions are answered on their own time and in ways that I couldn't have foreseen anyway.

Some people use phrases like... "Let it go" or "It's all good" to help themselves release their attachments to things that they cannot control.

I like to say "Don't know."  ~ with a smile and a shrug~

And the more I practice not knowing... the easier it is for me not to know things. And HOPEFULLY, some day, I will get sooooo good at it that I won't know anything anymore.

That'd RULE!

I mean, who really KNOWS anything anyway? Ya know?

Life's gonna happen...whether I KNOW it or not,
Virginia

"The way of illumination seems dark,
going forward seems like retreat,
the easy way seems hard,
true power seems weak,
true purity seems tarnished,
true clarity seems obscure,
the greatest art seems unsophisticated,
the greatest love seems indifferent,
the greatest wisdom seems childish."
- Lao Tsu, 41st Verse of the Tao Te Ching, Taken from Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

63. A Non-Linear Path To Doritos

"Many of you have the illusion of being separate, alone, disconnected and unsupported and yet you are not. If you begin to focus on how everything is connected then you will begin to experience a greater sense of support, belonging and harmony. You will begin to streamline your intentions and trust the universe to deliver. Your life will become richer and you will feel more active and participatory rather than passive and victimized." - Lena Stevens, The Power Path

Ever look back on your life and realize that things hardly ever happen in the way you might think?

One thing leads to another... leads to another... leads to another... It's damn-near impossible to predict!

Today, I shall share with you one such example from my own life...

How I got to be in a Doritos Commercial that was entered into this year's Crash The Superbowl contest and will hopefully be aired during said Superbowl and win the grand prize of a MILLION dollars, but if not... is still a really coooool gig and a project I am really glad to be a part of and is only the beginning of a great creative relationship!!!

Here's how it happened step-by-step:

Four years ago I found out that the School of Visual Arts in NY was having an actor/film-maker mixer.

I attended said "mixer" and gave my headshot and resume to the casting director who put me into the database.

In seemingly unrelated news... My friend Christine dragged me to Yoga To The People one evening after work and I was HOOKED. I started doing yoga once or twice a week... and still do.

I would occasionally get emails from the casting director at SVA inviting me to come and participate as an actor in some of the student's film directing classes.

For years I never could make it to any of the dates she invited me to, but I kept resubmitting an updated headshot and resume with the casting director every year and kept in contact with her through email.

One day this summer she sent me an email inviting me again. This time I could make it work in my schedule and I agreed to do it.

I showed up at SVA and met student director Anna Alaimo. I was an actor in her comedic student short about a Nutellaholics Anonymous group. Fun!

I gave Anna my contact info and she promised to send me a link to the final cut of Nutellaholics Anonymous on YouTube.

In seemingly unrelated news... I began blogging on Sept. 5th.

Later in Sept., she sent me the link to the student short as promised. I sent her a "thank you" reply with a link to my BLOG attached.

She responded back with how much she loved the Don't Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good post and she said she felt like we were going through very similar spiritual journeys. She suggested we have lunch.

I gladly accepted.

We met up in midtown, had lunch at Dishes and hit it off like peanut butter and peanut butter.

She asked me if I ever do yoga and if I was free on Sunday.

I said... yes and yes.

In seemingly unrelated news... I work M-F, 9-5 and am often free on Sundays. :-p

She said that she was going to be shooting a Doritos Commercial for a contest and would I like to be in it?

Um... YES!!!!

Sunday came. I subway'd it over to the location in Manhattan. I brought my yoga mat. We shot the commercial.

Yesterday... she sent me a link to the final cut of said commercial.

Today... I am blogging about it.

Here's the "Ohm" DORITOS COMMERCIAL... Directed by Anna Alaimo.

video

So that's my non-linear path to Doritos.

Annnnnd we're shooting another scene on Thursday (unrelated to Doritos.. or Nutella) ... and Anna's working on a feature length script too!!! Soooo many fun things to look forward to!

But the best part of it all... is getting to have Anna in my life. She is first and foremost a great person and secondarily I LOVE working with her. I feel like we were sort-of meant to meet... Thank you, SVA! Thank you, Blogger.com! Thank you, Universe!

And THAT's how things happen in show business... or in business-business... or in life.


Ya never know!


Loves,
V

"The "right" circumstances, people, and opportunities are just like "good" ideas - they come to you fastest, once you relax." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

62. Water Break

"I'm shifting gears professionally.... I'm beginning to focus intensely on where I've succeed and failed in 2011 and what I want to build in 2012 and beyond. While I've accomplished some great things this year, I know I've also dropped a lot of balls and not come close to what I'm capable of creating in the world." - Jonathan Fields 

I'm still germinating on the whole "personal statement" idea before actually setting pen to paper... or fingers to keys (as the case may be). Maybe I'll get to an actual "draft" on the plane this afternoon. 

Planes always make me sentimental and self-reflective. Something about flying and looking down at the ground beneath the clouds. Thinking about all the lives that are being lived as we pass over in the air... There's something profound about that experience.

Anyway... I've gotten some great feedback and suggestions regarding my personal statement from several wonderful readers/friends/supportive souls. So thank you to all of you that took the time to write me a response to post #59.

I am packing-up everything from this business trip in Florida now and will soon be getting back to the "real world" in New York. Florida has been a welcome change of pace and there have been several moments for reflection on this trip... which I am very grateful for.

November has been an unusually unfocused month for me... Tons of stuff going on... Difficult to clear my mind of extraneous thought to focus on one thing: writing this personal statement for Juilliard. 

But that's where I am at. And that's okay. It's real. It's honest.

And I am hoping that today, I will be able to clear a space in my head for these thoughts and ideas to coalesce into form. But, these things will happen on their own time and forcing it neeeeeeever works out well for me.

So, for now, I will take my cues from the ocean: I will go with the flow. I will let the tide of creative inspiration pull me when it will. And hopefully, the result will be a personal statement that is deep and clear, just like the blue ocean water that continuously, persistently and beautifully writes in seafoam on the shore.




Love to you all,
Virginia

"Look, and it can't be seen.
Listen, and it can't be heard.
Reach, and it can't be grasped... 
You can't know it, but you can be it,
at ease in your own life.
Just realize where you come from:
this is the essence of wisdom."- Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching - Chapter 14 (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

 

Monday, November 14, 2011

61. They've Messed With The Wrong One Now

"The capacity to do great things is mightily dependent upon one's ability to do little, baby, trite, mortal, dull and sometimes silly things." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

I'm reading Gail Collins' bestseller The Amazing Journey of American Women From 1960 To The Present: When Everything Changed (for funsies).

And you know who is truly an AMAZING, COURAGEOUS, SHARP-AS-A-TAC and TOTALLY INSPIRING woman?

Rosa Parks

I would love to be half as smart and courageous as she has been in serving her community. She has been a huge force for CHANGE in her own small way. Her simple act of sitting down and staying put on that bus in 1955 has impacted America in a huge way!

DO NOT MESS WITH THIS WOMAN. She is a gentle lady, but she will not be your doormat. She will stand-up for herself... by sitting down and politely refusing to accept disrespectful, unjust and discriminatory treatment.

Check out this quote from Gail's kick-ass history book...

"Parks, an old schoolmate remembered, was "self-sufficient, competent, and dignified" even as a child, a student who always wore a clean uniform, planned ahead, and never sneaked over to the boys' side of the school like some of the other girls did. Even in defiance, she was a perfect lady. When the Montgomery bus driver told her to give up her seat to a white man or be arrested, the petite, middle-aged seamstress calmly replied, "You may do that." Later, when her husband begged her not to allow herself to be turned into a test case, she coolly went ahead. ("He had a perfect terror of white people," recalled a friend. "The night we went to get Mrs. Parks from the jail, we went back to her apartment and he was drunk and he kept saying, 'Oh, Rosa, Rosa, don't do it, don't do it.... The white folks will kill you.'") When she appeared for her court date, she wore a long-sleeved black dress with white cuffs and a small velvet hat with pearls across the top. "They've messed with the wrong one now," cried out a black teenager, who turned out to be absolutely correct.... Rosa Parks's simple act of defiance in 1955 marked the beginning of the modern civil rights movement."

Rosa would no longer accept the status quo. She would no longer accept discrimination. She would no longer accept being treated with disrespect. She would not accept unequal treatment. She would not be undervalued. She knew she deserved better... and she knew her fellow black Americans deserved better too. So she sat and refused to get up. All. By. Herself.

Ballsy!

But she wasn't going to start a riot or scream and shout about it or stick a gun in somebody's face. She just sat down and would not move. She knew that was within her power to do and she did it. Simple.

I want to be like Rosa and find ways to "sit down for myself" and not accept disrespectful, unequal or discriminatory treatment from others. Thankfully I've never experienced discrimination to the extremes that Mrs. Parks and many others have had to endure, but I have certainly experienced some major disrespect and sometimes abusive treatment from others... verbal abuse, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, age discrimination, class discrimination, discrimination based on appearance or job-level or race... We've all had it at some point, in some way... and it feels TERRIBLE.

Disrespect that hits me close-to-home and breaks my heart to hear about... is disrespect toward actors. Ugh! It's so awful to hear stories like this one... CLICK HERE.

I wish that I was surprised by this incident when I first read about it, but unfortunately I wasn't shocked in the least. This kind of attitude and disrespectful treatment of actors is not uncommon and it really breaks my heart to acknowledge that reality.

Rudeness and disrespect are soooo unnecessary.

EVERYONE DESERVES RESPECT.

Let's be kind to each other and treat each other with care, as equals on this journey of humanity. It takes a bit of extra effort sometimes, but it's soooooo worth it.

If you give respect, you are much more likely to get it back too. Nice, right?

Compassion and empathy are signs of strength. Cruelty is weak. And karma is REAL.

Rest assured... I would be very unlikely to attend a casting call for a casting director that has a reputation for rude or disrespectful behavior toward actors... whether they "tweet it" or not. Life's too short to put up with that kind of behavior.

Unprofessionalism?... No thanks!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T... Yes, please!

Accept nothing less.

Kindness is worth the effort. I'll sit down for that.

Love,
V

"Being fair and reasonable will earn you respect and admiration, but being genuinely kind will make you a total love magnet." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe




Sunday, November 13, 2011

60. Back Stage

"Get to your bottom line. Figure out who you are, uniquely, at your core and name it. Be consistently and authentically you. Be your own Tiger. Because you'll never be sorry about that." - Christina Shipp, The Savvy Actor

I love reading the articles, interviews and advice columns in Back Stage (the trade newspaper for actors). I've been an actor for most of my life, but just got my own subscription to Back Stage about a year ago. 

Why now?... I realized that for an actor, not reading Back Stage was sort-of like a finance-guy never reading the Wall Street Journal. 

How can you know what's going on in your industry? I figured, if I am really serious about being a professional actor, I'd better provide myself with some solid resources coming into my mailbox each week. It'll keep me in-touch with "the business"... even as I dabble in day-job-land... for now.

I also get the Equity Newsletter and have a subscription to American Theatre Magazine. I am sure there are many, many, many more resources that I could subscribe to that would also be very helpful to building my knowledge about "the industry." But I've got to start with SOMEWHERE... So these three resources seemed like the best start at keeping myself aware of what's going on in the acting world... and Back Stage has been an especially valuable investment.

For those of you that are like... "What the heck is Back Stage?" See the quote below, taken directly from the BackStage.com FAQ... 

If you already know all about it... then you can just scroll-down to the next section...

What is Back Stage?
Back Stage is the actor's resource, a brand that aims to give actors all the information they need to succeed. In practical terms, it is actually two products: a national newspaper and a website. The newspaper is sold on newsstands in New York, Los Angeles, and select other areas, as well as nationwide by subscription. 
First and foremost for our readers, both in print and online we publish casting calls and production listings, especially for New York City and Los Angeles. Both also include some news, features, columns, and theatre reviews. 
In the newspaper, we publish current events as well as over a dozen weekly advice columns, many of which never appear on the website. The Back Stage newspaper is best described as a publication to curl up with on a Sunday or take with you on the subway-stories you can savor. 
BackStage.com delivers updated news and casting throughout the day. Plus, BackStage.com offers casting from all over the country-many not available in print. Every week, we publish dozens of notices from areas like Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, Seattle, Atlanta, Denver and many more. 
Most importantly, web subscribers get free access to our incredible Multimedia Resume Database. With that, you can store your resume, several headshots and audio or video reel-for no extra charge! (Included in the price of membership.) 
BackStage.com also has video, weblogs, and a dynamic message board. We have web-only features and columns. Finally, we have our Actors' Yellow Pages, which allows you to access a wide range of photographers, classes, and more.

Such a worthy investment! 

Most recently I've been loooooving the newspaper interviews with super-top-notch-actors-with-great-craft-and-amazing-careers.

I will share with you two such examples today...



(You can also check-out their bios at IMDB.com... another great resource for info about working actors.)

This is the Frank Langella quote of the day:

"...His career has been defined by many ups and downs and dry periods when he had neither work nor representation. But he never toyed with the idea of doing something else nor even questioned his talent. "When I had difficulty getting work or representation, I told myself it was not a reflection of my ability, but rather a reflection of my demeanor or manner, or it was luck of the draw. I never felt, 'Now I'll go do trash.' My motto is 'Never give up, never give in, if the dream is still strong in you.' If the need to act is so strong it wakes you in the middle of the night, then stay with it."  
He adds, "If you think you'd kind of like to be an actor because it'll get you laid, or you'd kind of like to be an actor because it'll make you famous, or you'd kind of like to be an actor because it'll make you lots of money and you won't have to work much, then you shouldn't be an actor. You should be a commercial commodity." 

And the Kirsten Dunst quote of the day:

"I think for everyone it's good to have your own personal work on a character and a film before you even start rehearsing, to have an inner life. I've always been someone that has, like, "character therapy" between me and whoever I'm playing. I'm the type of actor where when I get on set, I throw it all away, and then it becomes about being in the moment with whoever you're acting with and that inner life. You've worked on it and it's there, but then it's about being there for whatever happens in the scene. I'm not a very "this is planned out" person when I get to set. "This is how I'm going to do it"—I'm never like that. The energy with whoever you're working with and also of the place you're in, the set, or wherever it is. Your environment feeds what you're doing as well. You have to be open to whatever happens and not be afraid. That was the biggest thing from being a young adult actress to now being in films. There's a period where you have to break through this fear. It's okay to do a terrible take. Try something different. Or if you start laughing, or wherever it goes, it doesn't really matter, because by the end of the scene it could come to something really special. If you had this way in your head of thinking about it, it would have fell flat. That's usually the way I work. Also, I'm not a big fan of rehearsal, for the most part. I think when you find something for the first time on film, you get something special."

This is the kind of stuff that "pops-out" at me when I'm reading. 

Thank you, Back Stage, for making these resources available. There's so much to be gleaned by learning from the expertise of actors you respect and admire.

Makes me want to be a better actor myself... and also makes me feel good to know that actors with a strong point-of-view that don't necessarily "fit-the-mold" and aren't always cast according to "type" are some of the most successful actors out there. They've made their own way and get hired for jobs because of WHO THEY ARE and what they bring to a project creatively. 

I greatly admire actors that have created careers that are sustainable, creatively fulfilling, inspiring to others annnnnnd that can actually pay their bills and save for retirement with their actor-paychecks. They choose projects based on what inspires them and work with people that they LOVE and/or will challenge them to grow as artists. Now... THAT's the life.

((((LoVe))))

Dreamin' BIG & takin' cues from the experts,
Virginia


"I’m a big believer in relative expertise. For most purposes, you don’t need to be the world’s foremost expert on something to benefit from what you know. Being expert enough means knowing enough or being good enough to accomplish your goals, however modest or grand they may be. 
Someone once told me to think about expertise as a scale from one to ten, not as an absolute. If you’re a two or three on the scale, you’re expert enough to help people who are ones and twos. In fact, you might be better suited to helping beginners than a ten on the expert scale, because you’re closer to their level and better understand where they’re coming from." - Corbett Bar, Expert Enough

 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

59. Juilliard Personal Statement Draft

"The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or a new thing in an old way." - Richard Harding Davis, journalist and author (1864 - 1916)

Soooo I'm in West Palm Beach, FL right now... on a business trip for my "day-job."  Tough life, right?

It's beeeeeautiful here. And between doing all my job-related duties, I've been resting and taking some time to do a few things that I lovvve... like staring out at the unending horizon of the Atlantic Ocean and breathing in the smell of the sea salt or taking a luxurious bubble-bath in the ginormous hotel bath tub.

I love water. Baths seriously rule. There is nothing like the soothing feeling of warm water and the smell of super yummy fragrant suds. Very healing after a couple of very stressful/busy weeks.

Relaxing a bit is good.

Annnnd... I set myself a "grad-school-application-prep-goal" for the weekend too... I want to write-up the first draft of my Juilliard Personal Statement, which is due (along with the rest of the online application) on Dec 1st.

Hopefully, with the inspiration of being surrounded by so much beauty, comfort and H20... I will be able to come up with two pages, double-spaced in a 12-point font.

It's funny... I write about my creative process and reasons I want to go to grad school six days a week on this blog... so you'd think that I'd be like... "Personal statement? No problem!"

But I'm actually rather intimidated by the prospect of narrowing all of my millions of thoughts/feelings/ideas/reasons/motivations/inspirations for this whole grad school endeavor down into two simple pages.

I want to tell my story in a compelling and concise way. So I've got to be selective about what I chose to include. I can't tell them EVERYTHING about me. So what are the most important thing(s) that they should know about me and my story?

There are sooooo many different angles I could take. I could write 20 different personal statements and they all would be 100% TRUE, but still only a small snapshot of WHY I am making this choice of applying to grad school for the third time.

So what's the best picture to paint?

Here's what I do know for SURE... I definitely want to write about the blog and how overcoming my fear of being publicly transparent about my creative process has helped me grow as a person.

So that's that... but there are million different WAYS for me to tell that story and many different personal examples I could include... ya da, ya da.

So this is where yooooou come in...

What do you think is the best way to spin my story? You guys have been reading the blog and following my process and being believing mirrors, supporting me since I started this project back in September... and before. So I feel like you are all incredibly qualified to weighing-in on this particular subject of what best to include in my personal statement.

Need some structure to hang your thoughts on? How 'bout this...

Juilliard spells out their "Criteria for Acceptance" on the website. In auditioning and interviewing potential students, the Drama faculty looks especially for the following qualities:
  • A serious commitment to an acting career in the professional theater 
  • A potential for meeting the technical standards of Juilliard’s professional training program 
  • A potential for vital, individualistic, trainable growth—regarded as more important than the applicant’s present state of technical accomplishment 
  • Energy, openness of mind, enthusiasm, and a readiness to take risks 
  • A body, voice, and imaginative/emotional powers promising significant dramatic development 
  • A potential for identification with the thought process of a text 
  • A generosity of spirit essential to ensemble playing 
  • A sense of humor, a sense of language, a sense of rhythm, and a capacity for sustained concentration 
  • A readiness for hard, rigorous work 
  • All applicants must be completely fluent in written and spoken English.

That's who I want to BE!!!!

And...here are Juilliard's guidelines for writing the Personal Statement Essay:

Juilliard’s Admissions Committee uses your essay to learn more about you as an individual, and gain a sense of who you are beyond your application, transcript and audition. Please write about why you have chosen to become an actor and your personal artistic goals. We encourage you to write frankly and openly about your life, your connection to your art, and how you see your art connecting to the world. Share your passion about people or politics or other art forms or about anything that speaks to you.

So what comes to mind about Virginia Wilcox when you read all that? Any ideas sparking from anything you've read in a previous post or a conversation that we've had?

Ultimately, I know that it's going to be ME who's going to write the thing... But I am very interested in your perspective, because I feel like we're not always the best judge of our own best stories.

If you want to go the extra mile and be really super OVER-ACHIEVING... You can click on the "Personal Statement(s)" tab on the AcceptanceProject home page and gather some context from reading my two past personal statements for NYU. Then you can flaunt your knowledge by posting a incredibly insightful suggestion for possible inclusion in this year's statement in the comments at the bottom of this post.

Yes, you can help shape this girl's future success, by your participation with this blog! How cool is that?

I mean... if you were on the audition panel at Juilliard, choosing which students would be accepted to your program, and you read an essay by this blog-writing-failed-twice-but-won't-give-up-Virginia-Wilcox-actor-person... What about her would make you sit-up and take notice and motivate you to want to help her succeed as an actor soooooo much that you'd be overjoyed to take her on and work closely with her for the next four years to help mentor her into the best possible artistic collaborator she can be?

THAT's the essay I want to write.

Send me your thoughts, peeps! Let's get this draft goin'!!!

Loves,
Virginia

"The storylines we create around a particular circumstance are far more determinative of success than the circumstance itself. They affect not only our willingness to act, but the quality of our ideas and solutions." - Jonathan Fields, Uncertainty: Turning Fear & Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance
  






Thursday, November 10, 2011

58. Self-Destruction 101

"There is hardly anything worse than fatigue. It will insult you, berate your performance, cast false comparisons and sneer. Even your worst enemy is not as cruel as a tired mind." - Jennifer Gresham, Everyday Bright

Confession: I have officially over-extended myself... And all the tasks that I'm usually able to juggle in the air are dropping like bombs. 

The day-job is kicking my ASS right now. I am freakin' exhausted and have not been able to make time do any of my 5 daily practices that lead to happiness in more days than I'd care to admit. I haven't been sleeping enough. I haven't been writing my morning pages. I haven't been exercising or eating well. I haven't even been doing the dishes!!!

Life feels super sucky and stressful right now. Bleh!!!

I mean, it's not like I'm performing brain surgery at work or anything. It's just that I really want to be spending more time working on my monologues and my grad school applications and I JUST DON'T HAVE TIME right now. UGHHHHHH! It's frustrating. 

I just gotta take it moment-by-moment and breathe and get to the end of November and things will all turn out fine. I am hoping that December will be filled with me doing less and getting more of the IMPORTANT things accomplished... Not all this November busy-work that's driving me to insanity.

But in the meantime, I am noticing a reoccurring theme that happens when I hit my exhaustion threshold... I get blatantly, unabashedly, passionately SELF-DESTRUCTIVE.

You may be thinking.... "Ha! Virginia? NO WAY. She's like the QUEEN of self-care."

Yeah, right.

Well, get this... I was craving a cigarette last night... and I don't smoke. I KNOW. SCANDAL, right?

Oh, no... people... it gets worse... way worse. This is a deep, dark secret I am about to share with you...

We've all got our "go-to" self-destructive activities or whatever... those not-good-for-us things we do that help reinforce our already bad feelings about life/self/the world... And this is mine... 

~ Gulp. ~ Here goes...

I've got an email from my ex-boyfriend that I have saved in my phone that I allllllllways have the urge to read when I am really feeling self-destructive. 

DON'T JUDGE... You know you've got something that's your self-destructive equivalent... Maybe it's not an email... Maybe it's eating a full pint of Ben & Jerry's in one sitting or biting your cuticles (okay, I do those ones too), but there's SOMETHING...

Anyway, you KNOW it's not good for you, but you do it ANYWAY... Because you don't want to do something GOOD for you... You WANT to self-destruct! There's something soooo self-destructively satisfying about it. 

;-p

The ex-boyfriend email one of the nastiest emails I have EVER received. Oh, it is a self-torturer's dream come true!!!...

Put yourself in this scenario:

The person that you love more than anyone you've loved in your life and that you shared your heart/body/soul with for yeeeeears and yeeeeears and the person you thought had some unique insight into your soul and knew you better that anyone else in this whole-wide-world... He is telling you in WRITING that you are.... disloyal, duplicitous, competitive, a narcissist, a coward... that you lied to him, that you used him, that you never expressed remorse for what you "did to him." He goes on....You are a talker and a taker. You can't stand to be alone. You blame others for things to make yourself feel better. You were only interested in him because you weren't otherwise occupied with another guy. He'll never trust you. He doesn't want to be the "back-up-sucker you lean on when you're not feeling good about yourself." And he wraps it all up in a nice bow by ending with...I still love you and I wish you happiness.

#epiclovefail

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Kill me now!!! Why do I keep reading this over-and-over? 

Help! I need my quote of a lifetime!

Wait... Self-Destruction-Fest-2011 does not end here... Ohhhhh, noooooo...

The scorned-woman Facebook message is a close second to the ex-boyfriend email... but I never have the urge to go back and READ that one. Don't need to... I have the most hurtful section MEMORIZED. 

She called me a "second-rate cruise-ship actress." OUCH!!! 

But, seriously, that REALLY hit me hard at the time. She said a lot of other mean things about my character, but none of those really resonated with me, because she didn't really know me... but the second-rate-cruise-ship-actress thing... Yikes! That HURT. 

But it was motivating too... because I felt like I resembled that remark... and I KNEW I could do better than second-rate. 

#getyourshittogether

Anyhoo... I stopped falling for cute boys who had "open relationships" and started focusing on my own life and how to move myself in the direction of "first-rate."

Sloooowly, but surely...

"It's often from a sense of discontent, feelings of incompleteness, or even a twinge of true unhappiness that the seeds of great accomplishment are sown." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

Should I really let these emails go? YES. Yes, I should. But then what would I do in my self-destructive moments? Huh? Love myself? That's not the POINT!!!

I know, I know, I know... I seriously need to go get some sleep. That solves WORLDS of problems in my own head. It's true.


H.A.LT.

Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired. 

I know the self-destructive starts to happen when I am hungry, angry, lonely or tired. (Mostly it's TIRED that's the issue for me.) I am getting better at learning to pay attention to these inner signals and practice more appropriate ways to meet my needs and resolve issues in a healthy manner... and not resorting to reading mean emails that will continue to break my heart over and over and over again.

"Being scared doesn't mean you can't make a difference, broken hearts can still love just fine, and feeling lonely doesn't mean you're actually alone." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

Imperfectly,
Virginia

"Forgive me, first love, but I'm tired. I need to get away to feel again. Try to understand why. Don't get so close to change my mind."
- Adele, First Love

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

57. Top 10 Things I Love About YALE

"Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." - Sydney J. Harris, journalist & author (1917 - 1986)

Oh, YALE... How I love you?... Let me count the ways... Let's start with 10 (in no particular order):

1. James Bundy, Dean of Yale School of Drama and Artistic Director of Yale Repertory Theatre, is a great man. I went to the Yale visitor's day last week and got to hear Mr. Bundy speak about the school. He is soooo passionate about training the next generation of American theatre professionals. It's awesome. AND He's got an inspirational personal story of applying to Yale twice as an actor before finally being accepted the third time when he applied as a director... Cut to now... He's the DEAN. Now THAT's persistence! Way to go, James Bundy! And congrats on receiving the John Houseman Award!

2. Ron Van Lieu is a legend amongst acting teachers and just a genuinely down-to-earth human being. I love hearing him talk about acting because he's so unpretentious about it all. He approaches it with a sense of play and curiosity. And TCG did this AMAZING interview with him that I strongly encourage you to check out. He really gets into his whole philosophy of teaching. Very cool.

3. Being in New Haven... It's close enough to New York to be accessible, but far enough away from New York that you have a nice little cushion of space. And as a graduate actor who will be taking risks and learning and growing in starts and fits... I think it might be nice to feel like I'm far enough away from the "industry microscope" (a.k.a. NYC) that I can feel free to grow at my own pace without the pressure of being in the thick of "the business." School is about LEARNING... There will be plenty of time after graduation to get cozy with "the business."

4. The Yale Cabaret is an amazing outlet for students. You can work at the Yale Cabaret in any discipline... meaning... Actors can direct, playwrights can act, dramaturgs can design, designers can stage manage... You name it!!! You just need to apply to the board/artistic staff, which is student run, and BAM! You're in the season and you're producing your own work. SUPER. FREAKIN'. COOL.

5. The Financial Aid package at Yale cannot be beat... And as someone who is still paying-off my undergraduate student loans... this is a hugely attractive benefit of attending Yale. How wonderful would it be to launch back out into the world with an MFA from a top-tier school and under $10,000 in student loan debt? That is actually POSSIBLE at Yale. True story.

6. The Yale campus is BEAUTIFUL. I love the architecture. It'd be like going to school at Hogwarts. ((((LOVE)))).

7. The collaborative focus at Yale is incredibly inspiring and attractive. There are students studying at Yale Drama across all disciplines and you're all working together... collaborating... learning... being mentored... establishing creative ties. It's brilliant!!! So when you graduate you've got a whole network of people in your back-pocket who are... A. Super talented, B. Trained, C. Speak your language, D. You already know you can trust, E. You love to work with... How could that not be a great foundation for establishing life-long creative collaborations that will lead to great work!!!

8. Jo Jo's Coffee is my "go-to" hang-out every time I am in New Haven. Just love the vibe in there. Many a journal-entry has been penned at that fine establishment. Thanks, Jo Jo's.

9. James Franco is a student at Yale University. That guy is insanely ambitious and just plain insane. Love him!

10. Working with pros at the Yale Rep would be such a treat! Also, Yale Rep does a lot of co-productions with my home-town-hero-favorite-CA-regional-theatre... Berkeley Rep!  Sooooo many great new works are premiering at these places! Love that!

There are many, many more reasons that Yale Drama is an awesome place to be, but these were the first 10 that came to mind this morning... so that's whatcha get.

I mean, the fact that places like Yale and NYU and Juilliard even EXIST... where you can go and study theatre for 3 or 4 years and walk out of there with a whole-lotta amazing experiences and new relationships under your belt... Wowzers! It's so wonderful! Who wouldn't want to be a part of it? Clearly, I would... And hopefully, come 2012... I will.

Loves to you all,
Virginia

"We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves than by those which have occurred to others." - Blaise Pascal, Philosopher & Mathematician (1623-1662)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

56. Just Say No

“The brighter your light, the more you attract… everything. Moths and butterflies. At which point you begin learning what to celebrate and what to let fly on by… or who.” – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe

I have a hard-time knowing when to set boundaries in relationships sometimes. I wish this was easy and clear for me. But I am naturally a "giver" and I have this instinct to take care of people and their feelings... even when it's not really necessary or beneficial to either of us.

I’m becoming more aware of this. But it’s been a slooooow process.

I think it comes back to my identity. I see myself as a nurturing person who sees the potential in people. I love being able to see beyond what’s literally happening in this moment, to the greatness that is possible in the future.

But, in relationships, it’s also a big investment of energy to give that kind of focus to someone… and right now… that is the focus/love/energy that I want to be giving to myself in order to keep the Acceptance Project going and to make the progress I need to make to prepare for my grad school auditions.

However, letting someone “fly on by” is not hard if they’re going away all on their own… But what about when they’d like to spend time with you?

And you have to be the one to say… “Well, I work 35 hours a week plus a lot of overtime in the month of November because work is crazy/busy, I blog about 15 hours a week, I try to sleep 8 hours a night, I exercise 3-4 days a week and I am working on preparing the written applications and essays for grad school and the 4 monologues required for the audition and try to have the occasional brunch with a friend. I am really in love with what I am doing in my life right now… and you are just not a high enough priority to tempt me to be a distraction from all of that.”

Yikes!

Feels a bit mean/harsh to me… But it’s honest. 

I just wish I could feel “nice” while communicating that idea… but I just don’t. I feel like I am letting a fellow human being down and I don’t like that feeling at all.

However, not feeling "nice" hasn’t actually stopped me from setting the necessary boundaries recently. I feel mean, but I set the boundaries anyway. 

In action, I have been extremely protective of my time and who I spend it with, but I do still feel a little bit guilty.

I wish that I could be all things to all people. But I can’t.

As a recovering “people-pleaser” I realize that I can only be me and do what I need to do to live my life the best way that I know how in this moment and that what other people want/think/feel about that is really irrelevant.

I really need to focus on taking really good care of myself, because the path I've committed myself to is not an easy one for me.

And learning to take good care of myself includes getting really good at setting limits with others… because nobody’s gonna do it for me… Nor should they. That’s my job. But getting good at it takes practice. And I know it will get easier the more I do it.

Boundary-Setting 101

Ha ha ha! I really wish I had aced that class in school. 

I just want to be able to do what I want to do and not care so much about hurting people’s feelings. They can take care of themselves, right?... Right.

I can still be a "good person" and take care of myself first.

So give me a call and ask me if I want to hang-out… and it’ll give me an opportunity to get over the mini-freak-out that I inevitably have in my own head about disappointing someone I love and  say “No, thanks! Gotta focus on building my dreams right now.”

Loves,
V

“Instilling ethics is a timeless objective. We need to talk about it because it gets into everything we do every day. Every situation gives us a choice, and the key is to have that moral compass that points you in the right direction regardless of the situation.” – Mohammed Aljishi