Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bonnie Gillespie

When I moved to New York, like any actor, I took a bunch of temp jobs, which ranged from highly stressful to total boredom. Someone who got me through the tedium of those desk jobs was a casting director from LA named Bonnie Gillespie. She wrote for Backstage and Actors Access, and her down-home vibe combined with a crystal clear knowledge of show biz plus her generous spirit in helping actors fine-tune their tools totally won me over.
Fast forward to a few years ago when I met actress Suzanne Smart who's been on Daredevil, Madoff, and Iron Fist. We were chatting at a casting director workshop, and she told me that Bonnie makes biannual trips to New York to teach the basics of her book, "Self-Management for Actors." So when Bonnie visited next, I was in her class, and it was FANTASTIC!

(Masterclass with Bonnie Gillespie and some NY Ninjas)

I don't want to give away her process. Like they say for the Harry Potter movies/play #keepthesecrets. All I can say is I went in with my headshot and resume, and walked out with a better understanding of how I'm seen as an actor - one paper and in person - and much more! One of the gals in class, Lisa Budwig, created a Facebook forum where we NY ninjas could meet, and from there, I met this entire community of creative artists.

I began coaching with Bonnie, because I wanted to dive deeper. Then I met actress-producer Laura Dowling Shea through Bonnie's Get in Gear for the Next Tier, and Laura gave me a big nudge to start filming my own work, and she connected me to Ela Thier who helped me with some of the "how's" of filmmaking.

Bonnie always says, "Flip out your phone and just DO IT" with regards to self-taping auditions, so I figured, "Let's put on a show!"

I thought about my love for New York, and how I have friends and family who can't get here easily, so I created my web series, Laura Loves NY, as a way of sharing my love of the city with others. An incredibly cool bonus is that I've been able to interview other artists who love this city as much as I do. I always ask them their favorite place in the city, and we usually film there.

Last month, Bonnie was in the city, and I had the immense honor of having her on my show. Dive into the deliciousness!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Laura Loves Bali: Beats of Paradise

One of the things I love about New York is that it's a melting pot of cultures and film festivals. :) So when I was asked to interview director Livi Zheng at the New York premiere for her beautiful documentary, Bali: Beats of Paradise, I was SO psyched!

The film is GORGEOUS! It's about a Balinese performer-dancer-musician, Nyoman Wenten, who teaches gamelan in Southern CA where I grew up! Talk about a wild connection.
The film also shows how Wenten collaborated with Grammy Award winner, Judith Hill, to bring Balinese music and dance into the modern world.

Judith Hill is a fabulous singer-songwriter in her own right, and their collaboration is delicious!

I was fortunate to interview Judith at the New York Premiere as well, and she shared some behind-the-scenes stories on learning the Balinese dance for her music video, Queen of the Hill.

I also met American composer Jody Diamond who's been teaching gamelan and arranging for this ensemble of instruments and artists for almost 50 years! She had awesome stories about Lou Harrison whom she worked with in Joshua Tree, and she told me how the instruments "found" her when she was a college student, and that a chance encounter where the instrument "played her" became a lifelong profession.

Catch all this gorgeousness in my web series, Laura Loves NY:

Bali: Beats of Paradise is currently playing in theatres in New York and LA, and I hope you'll treat yourself to this beautiful film! It'll leave you breathlessly inspired!