Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Library Fundraising Challenge: GO!

Hey all,

I'm taking part in my first library-loving blog challenge!

Who doesn't know a library that can use a few extra dollars here and there? Probably nobody. Who wants to help a library (or a lot of libraries) raise some extra dosh, at no cost to you, with just a few clicks? Everyone? Great!

Here's the skinny: for every commenter who comments on this blog between now and midnight on March 27th, with something you like about libraries, I will donate one dollar to my local library, The Brampton Public Library.

How easy could it be? You comment, I cough up the money, the library gets a gift! It doesn't get much easier than that.

Note that my pledge is “per commenter”—so if a single person leaves 50 comments, that still only counts once! But you can do more by spreading the word ... So, LINK! TWEET! SEND PEOPLE HERE! More people = more comments = more cash for libraries.

If you want to make a flat-fee donation to your library, or to start your own challenge, you are quite welcome to do so; please leave that information in the comments, with a link to your own blog if that's how you are going to do it.

For a complete list of participating bloggers (and to visit other sites where you can help libraries just by leaving a comment!) visit the writerjenn blog at

And thanks for taking part!

P.S. I've had a thought: I'll only give the first $50 to my local library. The rest will go to my old High School, Walnut Hills High School. They run a great program there - especially the English program - and they could always use some extra cash.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


We... Have... HYPERLINKS!

How sexy is that? And if you want to know how I did it, just click on that link right up there in that first sentence and a new window will open and show you! It's internet MAGIC, I tell you, MAGIC!

And coming soon: pictures!

And also: a new look for the blog!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh, Cheez, How I Do Love You

I'm a big movie watcher. I sometimes fool myself into thinking that it's a form of professional research, but really, I just like to watch movies. Two movies I've seen recently have proven to be pretty educational from the standpoint of the struggling actor, however, and when that happens I do a little happy dance and watch them again (and again, and again, and again...).

imdb: What Just Happened In this spirit, I am encouraging every actor who hasn't hit the really big time yet to watch What Just Happened with Robert DeNiro, supported by a stellar cast including Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, and Robin Wright Penn, among others. Everyone was great in this hilarious send-up of the film industry, told from the perspective of an over-caffeinated producer during a turbulent two weeks of agonizing, bribing, berating, threatening, begging, acquiescing, painful film-making.

But that's not why I'm recommending it to you. I'm recommending it to you because one of the bonus features on the DVD is a collection of some of the actors' audition tapes, paired with the scenes as they appeared in the film. This is far and away the most educational DVD extra I have ever seen. By turns making me think "WOW, he is so good! Look at his eyelines! He's so ALIVE in this audition!" and "WOW, that audition tape was nothing like the way they played the scene - I wonder what process they went through to get from there to here?" and everything in between, this had my eyes glued to the screen from start to finish. Rent it. Watch it. Learn from it. Know that one day, that could (will!) be you.

I am also encouraging you to go out and rent a really bad movie or two (or ten). I had the pleasure of renting and watching a (blockbuster!) movie recently that was so unexpectedly bad, I laughed out loud. A lot. It was not a comedy, but it was hlarious. And then in the middle of the movie, I realized that despite the cheezy special effects and wooden acting and plastic sets and overdone musical score, I would be lucky to get cast in a movie like this. I would be so lucky to get cast in any movie that hits the mainstream theatres, as this one had. Sure, I can aspire towards better, I can dream about the Oscars and the Emmys and the Golden Globes, but to actually get cast at all? I would be lucky. It was a very humbling moment. I need those moments once in a while; I think we all do. So, next time I find myself smirking at the contrivances in a script or about to complain that I have an audition for this thing that really looks lame, I'm going to rent this movie. And remember that I am LUCKY to even have an audition to go to in the first place.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Actors blog, Too

I was just surfing the net a bit looking for actors' blogs, and came across this gem.

With posts about working in the theatre, in front of the camera, and everywhere in between, this varied blog provides information, inspiration, and some downright hilarity. Check it out!

And thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The iPad Cometh

There has been a lot of e-buzz about the recent announcement of the iPad, the ensuing fallout between MacMillan and Amazon, and all things eBook recently. And I mean, a LOT. Other than to briefly say that I'm really not that into the digitization of the stuff in my life - I like my books on paper, and my movies on video - I'm not going to get into what I think of the pros and cons and forevermores of this medium, that medium, and the other one. Everybody else is already doing that, and what's already out there is dizzying enough without me adding my own two cents into the mix. Besides, it doesn't really matter: the eBook is here, and so are Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and everything else. And this has led to a number of prominent bloggers talking about how this heralds the leveling of the playing field for creators of art, (be it music or film or books), because now we don't have to wait for a publishing house or a film studio or a record label to pick us up and make the world see our work for the brilliance that it is: WE CAN DO THAT OURSELVES.

This, to me, presents a problem.

First, because most of what we collectively create is just not that brilliant, and with all of the cyber-clutter out there, it's getting harder and harder to find the good stuff. It's like panning for gold a decade after the gold rush folks gave up and left. There's a lot of schlock. And I don't want to have to sieve through all of that schlock. It's bad for my eyes. And my brain. Not to mention that with all of the Tweeting and blogging and posting going on, it's hard not to feel lost in the morass of cyberspace that has become the modern social networking medium.

Second, the lines between promotion of our work and promotion of ourselves have become blurred. Once upon a time, a writer could toil away in comfortable obscurity, secure in the knowledge that his work would stand on its own. The rules for an actor have always been different - the nature of the profession has always mandated a certain degree of public accessibility - but any public hawking was typically limited to the usual promotional tour of chat shows, late night shows, and premiere appearances.

Flash forward to today, and it is quite a different story. We are all now exhorted to maintain a blog, keep an up-to-date website, tweet, use Facebook, etc., as well as continue to write/act/audition/query/research possible agents/publishers/producers/future projects/stay current on what's out there, and have you made sure to have a life on the side, by the way, because your fans will want to hear about that, too. Except that I don't think that last part - the part about my life on the side - is anyone's business. And I don't want to know what Ashton Kutcher had for lunch, either.

We're operating now in a world where the most talked-about, most publicized, most visible people are enjoying a lot more success than their mediocre work deserves, simply because they self-promote ad nauseam. I don't want to be one of those people.

I want to enjoy success when my work is good enough to deserve it.