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Anzjuli Venter

Actor

Daily Prompt: Year

via Daily Prompt: Year

Another year has surfaced through the grim and grimy past of yesteryear. Or something like that. Often we look back on the time that has passed and think (or maybe this is just me?) “How the heck did I make it through that?”. I look back on 2016 and think “how the heck did I do that?!” We are much more capable then we think. I often OFTEN underestimate myself. It’s part of my character (that bad trait!). Apparently people who are talented often think they are untalented, crap and not good at anything. HERE HERE. That is me. I go through so much doubt sometimes that my middle name should have been Thomas (you know, from the Bible, doubting Thomas?)  I have no middle name. The point I am making is that when you simply put one foot in front of the other you will reach your goals, you will reach the finish line, you will get that assignment done, that work headache sorted out, you will get your short film made, nail that audition, get the training you deserve, get your big break (I am preaching to myself more then I am to you!)

I get days where I think I will never ‘make it’. For me making it means being successful as an actor, writer, director and entertainer. I should probably define what ‘success’ means to me too in these categories.

Success =
1.  Making my own work, with a big-ish budget – thus having a producer, money coming in that I can rely on (and don’t have to worry or manage myself) and a great crew! So I can just focus on directing/writing/acting.
2. A large audience (over a million) that watches and appreciates my work
3. Being in other peoples’ great films/shows. Great films are films with good storylines, interesting and complex characters, something that ‘moves’ me and makes me empathise with humanity, a story that teaches me and the audience something new, thrilling, exciting, funny, beautiful, deep!
4. Having my screenplays/TV series made really really well and having a firm hand in the creation of it
5. Being sought after to appear in great films/shows
6. Entertaining audiences across the world – bringing joy, hope, laughter and a deep connection back to the ones they love.
7. Working with the best of the best actors, producers, writers, directors etc that also happen to be really amazing and good people.
8. Oh yeah and being paid for doing all these things, enough to live comfortably on and maybe get a horse!

These goals seem really really high. Like astronomically high. Well all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and take it one day at a time. Eventually somethings gotta give and a door’s gotta open! I just gotta keep knocking and working my butt off!!

Anzjuli 🙂

Reason

Drive

Today I was having an interesting conversation with a writer. He was telling me about a novel he had begun to write. He was having trouble understanding the reasons behind his characters actions. Their motivations. It made me think about, well acting of course, but also what motives us as people and what motivates me. Drive. Motivation. Dreams. Ambitions. Food? Definitely food. That is a BIG motivating factor for everyone. I think food is too much of a motivating factor for me! Definitely too much since I haven’t been exercising enough. Who eats $36 worth of nuts in a week? THIS GIRL. #weirdpoops. (you did not need to know that but alas there you go. You’re welcome?)

As an actor it’s my job to understand why the character I am living does what she does. That’s one of the fundamental things you are taught as an actor. What is my objective? In normal person language – ‘what do I want RIGHT NOW!?’. You go for the first thing that you want in the scene. You get home, you’ve had a long boring day at the office and some drunk douche bag on the train called you a ‘slag’ and the first thing you want when you get home is to have a nice cup of tea and a sit down with your feet up. The first thing you want is to have comfort. Objectives change throughout a scene though. For me this is where it gets too complicated and convoluted. Go for the first moment. Then move moment to moment.

Now back to my initial question, what are the driving forces in people’s lives? The basic stuff of course. Food, water, shelter, sex (apparently) according to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid.

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He stated that if one need is not fulfilled, you cannot ‘progress’ to the next level in the pyramid. So if you can’t poop, well then you’re stuck at the bottom of the pyramid and should probably seek medical advice.

Ok so what does this hierarchy of needs then say about single people? Or those who abstain from sex? (for whatever reason) Are they destined to be stuck at the bottom of the pyramid for as long as they are single? And as an actor, well, I’m thoroughly stuffed then, cause honestly ‘security of employment’ is never going to be a 100% surety, unless I hit the ‘big time’? (Insert lots of dollars here). Say I somehow get all that sorted and I end up in the yellow section, but I’m single, then what? Forever mellow in the yellow? I’d like to think someone like myself could get to ‘self-actualization’. But apparently only 1 in 100 people do (according to Maslow, but hey where’s the research into that? I shall keep hope!) Perhaps it is true though. It is difficult to focus on your self-esteem, confidence, etc, when you don’t feel you have friends, or family that care, or that special someone.  Cant skip a damn level in this thing.

It makes me think about what motivates me to be an actor. I keep being reminded that this is the most difficult career choice in the world. Ah yes, it is. I can attest to that. I also quite enjoy it, despite all the drawbacks. And that matters. I have to enjoy it, otherwise I might as well get a job that’s stable if I dont enjoy it. I am an actor because I like telling stories. I like using my whole body, mind, soul and lived experience to bring a character to life through me. I like taking people on a journey. Drawing them away from their dull or most likely stressful life into something a bit more uplifting. They can forget about their mortgages for a while, the deadlines at work looming over their head and get lost in another world for a while. I hope that’s a good enough reason to do what I do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Risk is to Live

Cowardice

It’s hard to DO things. To do things that really scare you, yet also excite you at the same time. Is it just me or is it often the things that frighten us the most, that we really care about? And is that why often we don’t take the steps towards our goals because we are afraid of failure? Afraid that what we want is so big, perhaps seemingly unattainable that we don’t even try because we think it’s impossible? We fear trying in vain, working our butts of for something that might never eventuate. I know that’s how I often feel. But that is the risk of life, the risk of being a creative.

There’s many risks we take daily. Crossing the street – even when cars are approaching quickly, driving a car, riding a bike, taking a train, all of these things has resulted in people’s death, yet we continue to take these, what we deem necessary risks in order to live. To get to work, to school, back home. To do what we need to do in order to survive. To live our lives.

Perhaps we weigh up these risks and think that the chances of an accident outweigh the end result. We are positive of the end result, we focus on that more then the risk and there is a lesson to be learned from that. If we focus on what we want, what the outcome will possibly be, it is much more pleasurable to work towards that goal, instead of worrying it will never happen and feeling as if we are pushing a ton of bricks up a hill.

Worry is manifesting what we do not want.

So what is the opposite of that? Focusing on that which we DO want and making concrete, measurable and attainable goals towards that. To be specific. To say “I want to be a famous movie star” is not a concrete goal. But to say “I want to star in a feature film by the end of 2017” is something more attainable. Then build small steps towards that. And you can apply that to anything in life. From losing weight, to getting a new job or perhaps to finding that special someone in your life.

To not let fear, anxiety and worry overpower you. Realistically they may always be present, looming in the dingy corners of your mind, but like all things, life is not perfect and one has to push through the obstacles, the self-doubt, to make work that one really cares about. That’s certainly what I have to do.

Acting Investigations Empowerment!

Today is Monday and last week we finished filming Acting Investigations. I’m sad filming is over, although it was quite a bit of stress, a lot of organisation and people management. I was really surprised and delighted at people’s willingness to help, particularly actors. Of course I had left some things to the last minute and so needed extras for a café scene, I posted notices up on FB acting groups and BAM had lots of interest! Luckily I was able to get three people to come very late notice and be extras, they were very helpful, good to work with and was so willing to contribute their time, which gives me a whole new appreciation for extras! (One of them was an acting friend and I’m so blessed that he came along, he made the scene shine with his hilarity!)
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On film sets extra’s are at the bottom of the rung, which shits me because I think people should be treated equally. Yup their not the ‘big star’ or whatever, but they are living, breathing, human, flesh – just like you and me – not cattle or breathing props. Without extras films would suck, literally – no one would watch them and be drawn into the believability of the story, because who’s going to believe a scene is taking place in a café when we only have the main characters there? Oh so no one else goes to this café? What about an action film, there’s a massive earthquake and no one comes storming out of the building apart from the protagonist? Doesn’t make for a believable scene does it? Nope. Extras are integral to filmmaking, so is every part of the film creation machine. A film cannot function and exist if one of the cogs is missing. So I really believe extra’s should be given more respect, they make the scenes believable, living, breathing.

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Another talented actress!

After AI was finished filming, I thought more about extras and how I’ve shunned extra work because I see myself as an actor – not an extra. I should clarify – often extras are actors just starting out or people from the general public who think it would be fun to be on a set – so I’ve not always jumped at the opportunity to be an extra – also because you’re treated somewhat second class, especially on large film sets. I’ve had some actors turn down extra roles on my webisode because they weren’t speaking roles, which is fine, we all have standards to uphold but I think there’s something really important and supportive about helping fellow creative’s out in your city on their projects, if you’re the lead actor or not. It’s a bit of a humbling experience. One I do need from time to time! Honestly, I would usually not turn up to be an extra on a random person’s film, unless it’s a really organised, high quality production and I might learn something from watching the filming process. But if I had the time I would be an extra in acting/filmmaking friends personal projects from now on. I know how much they would appreciate it, as I’ve appreciated it greatly! And I remember who was willing to lend a hand and help, if they were on screen or off, actor or not.

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I think good actors make good directors!

I have a filmmaking friend who has really taught me about friendship and supporting each other in this industry. Before I even knew her very well she came and watched my production of “Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein” when I was at University. I remember being so humbled and grateful that she had come to support me. An audience really has no idea how much it means to actors when they come to see you perform (especially friends/acquaintances) honestly, it means more then they will ever know! Since that time she’s taught me lots about supporting other creative’s, we really do need it! Without the support of my personal friends, filmmaking friends and Brisbane’s filmmaking community I would not have had a chance in hell at making AI! I could never have done it alone. It’s very humbling and gives me renewed hope of this world we live in. If we can all work together and support each other, we really can make all our dreams come true. And I still believe that, at the age of 27. I am not yet completely jaded haha! Perhaps I am naïve, regardless I choose to surround myself with people who can make and dream and love and support together. Its so lovely to make art together!

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Lovely ladies on set

The day after AI was done I went and supported a local filmmaking group taking on a whole lot more then I am to bring their sci-fi creation to life! I was an extra and all you will see of me is a blur, but that’s ok. I was there to bring breath and life to the scene. The crew was really professional, the director was amazingly lovely, down to earth and easy-going. It was a real joy. I also met some very interesting people whilst on set. That’s the thing about film – you always meet so many different people and learn so much, I love it. I actually talked to a man who used to be a spy, not even kidding. So I asked him a few questions – things that will definitely help me in writing the next few episodes of “Acting Investigations”. Life has a strange way of educating us. Even when I’m not acting there are opportunities to progress, learn, make contacts and improve yourself as a human being, performer and artist. I think that’s so great! And exciting and serendipitous.

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Lending a hand

I can’t say however that going to be an extra was a completely self-less act, unfortunately I don’t think anything we do, no matter how selfless we try to make it, can be completely without benefit to us. I did go to network a little, but also to learn more about the cogs of filmmaking. It was great to see the DOP work with the lighting crew, see what they used to light the scene, how the DOP worked with the director in getting the shot that he wanted, the negotiation and team work of the sound recordist and boom operator, the relationships and energy from different team members. And being an extra also gave me the opportunity to act and improve my performance with every new take. So it was a great time all around.

Now that production for AI is finished its of course post-production time. The guy who said he would edit the work has unfortunately (or fortunately) been unable to, which has given me the great opportunity – and one which I honestly wanted – to learn how to use final cut pro and to edit my own work. I know lots of people say “directors shouldn’t edit their own work” or whatever, but I think it’s a good idea for me. I don’t know if I’m getting too many of my fingers in this metaphorical pie? I wrote the show, performed in it, produced, directed and now am also editing it…haha. Whatevers! I like it. If I had the money I would have definitely hired a producer, but I think the lack of funds has made me just be more creative and use all the skills I have at my disposal. Seeing as I want to make more of my own work I think it’s a good idea to be able to do most of it. Even things like lighting, knowing how to work a camera, at least at the basic level. I just feel its important as a director and actor. It does give me more of a voice of authority when it comes to directing. I know what looks good, so its good to know how to bring that to life. Because sometimes people will say “that’s not possible” or “that’s going to be too hard” and then I need to be able to say “well let’s try it this way” or “I know how to make it work”.

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Directing a great actor

I’ve really REALLY enjoyed editing. I literally have to DRAG myself away from the computer. I get so psyched about editing that I can’t sleep, cause I’m thinking about how to creatively solve this problem through editing, or how I can make this scene work better. Haha. Once I’ve cut everything together roughly, I’m going to go through it with a fine tooth comb, several times. Then I would like to get in another set of eyes – preferably an editor or someone whom I trust and I’ve worked with before. I’ll sit down with them and go through everything, take onboard what they say, heck even let them edit stuff…maybe haha. I’m a slight control freak. But it could be good to get a different perspective and angle, something fresh.
Well I’ve got a few more short film projects coming up with film friends and I would like to get back to writing the rest of Acting Investigations. I need to go look for some funding, or something….I really think AI has the potential to go further then just a no-budget community film project – not that there’s anything wrong or lesser in value then that – its what I’m doing right now and I love it! But I do believe AI could do with a platform such as the ABC with a few bucks thrown behind it. The only thing about going ‘global’ or whatever is that people will try to change what you have made. For instance with Quentin Tarintino, he sold one of his scripts and people made it, changed lots though, he hated it. I know what that would be like. I would HATE to sell AI and then for them to change it into the usual cookie-cutter-seen-it-before-fare which is so prolific on TV/Film these days. So I can completely see how in keeping my work low budget, I will remain to have ownership and creative power over it, instead of selling it out to someone else.

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Proud moment

Doing this project has also garnered me a bit of attention from other filmmakers and actors in my city, which is great – networking, we can make work together! It’s kind of a shame though as I am moving to Melbourne in February next year, but who knows, I can pop out heaps of work before then if I really work hard!

It’s funny the one thing I really remember being taught at University, that I think is actually applicable and relevant to me is “Make your own work – that’s how I’ve seen others achieve – they make their own work”. I think this is great, cause in making your own work you’re not handing over the power of your creativity to someone else, you’re not waiting on someone to say ‘yes I want you, you are good enough’, you are saying ‘I know I am good enough and I’m going to give my voice a platform’. I think that’s really empowering, creative and freeing! It’s really utilising all your skills, like what Shakespeare did back in his day. He wasn’t just a writer, or actor, nope, he and his gang ran the whole shebang! Wrote, directed, performed, produced! Uta Hagan talks about it in her book “The Actors Challenge” – this weird and disempowering notion of the actor just being an actor, whereas it was always actor-producer. Modern actors have given away their power by choosing to only act, instead of create and produce their own work. They are limiting themselves, their voice and creative expressions and talents. Well I’m taking the power back! Join me!

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Set dressing got real

Not working enough?

A few moments ago I was feeling guilty for not ‘working enough’. Again being the ultra analytical ‘think too much’ person that I am (though one wouldn’t guess it as I can be quite bubbly and air-headed, which is just another aspect of my personality) I have to discuss what one or rather what society deems as ‘work’. I can’t even write a simple blog without tangents and complications. Let’s try.

Work – I like to begin with the dictionary. I look up words every day on that thing. Its a keeper.

Dictionary.com (yes it is an internet one) has 13 different meanings for the word “WORK”. Hell, one way to make things complicated or comprehensive? Nevertheless I read through and thought the first three were most fitting.

work

[wurk] – (that looks gangster)

noun
1. exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.
2. productive or operative activity.
3. employment, as in some form of industry, especially as a means of earning one’s livelihood: to look for work.

I like this. I like this a loooooot. First of all the very first definition doesn’t include MONEY. That horrible cash cow that everyone kills either themselves (their ‘soul’ or ‘self’ – or even their physical body for) or others to attain. I like that the cash cow is third. Good place to be. BE GONE CASH COW!

“Exertion. Accomplish. Effort. Produce”

– sounds like an add for Nike or something- CUE SO MANY VIDEOS ON INSTAGRAM-

Niki add? #kickass #trustyourself #niki #cats #comedy #comedyshortfilm #actor #femaledirector #writer

A post shared by Anzjuli Venter (@anzjuli) on

Labor and toil suck. Those words can take a hike. They make me think of child labourers and some poor soul tilling the soil and breaking their backs for rich westerners, which is pretty much the truth. ALAS. Yorrick? ANYWAY –

Let’s focus on the positive connotations that stream forth from my brain when it comes to the first few words.

 “Exertion. Accomplish. Effort. Produce”

Many people have a negative connotation of the word ‘work’. I think that’s pretty crap, but when society has often said that “work is just work, you do crap stuff you don’t like to make money so you can live” its no suprise that people think work should be a dragging your feet through nails type of experience. But since I was a wee small child, as most children are (small and weeing) I have not wanted work to be “work”, not societies idea of work anyway. Yes being an actor, director, writer, artist person is difficult, tedious, tiring, stressful, painstaking, money sucking and sometimes extremely depressing BUT I love it, I mean I don’t love all those negatives, but I’d rather experience those negatives in relation to doing the things I love, then experience negatives in relation to the things I hate, make sense?

I’d rather be fighting over dinner with the man I love then fighting over dinner with a homeless man. Makes sense? (I kid) Or rather I’d want to fight over dinner with the man I love then fight with no one over the dinner with nothing to love…

I’d rather experience stress and pain from making wonderful works of art, then stress and pain from being a nurse,  teacher, waitress or psychopath (haha…) An insightful blog I read by Mark Manson on finding your life purpose summed this up WONDERFULLY! What kind of shit sandwhich are you wiling to eat? A shit sandwich with an olive please! – read the blog here! I highly recommend it (that is to say if you like olives…maybe in your case its a shit sandwich with cheese, or gherkins, or relish of some sort?)

“Exertion. Accomplish. Effort. Produce”

I felt guilt over not ‘working’ enough today. I find I get this guilt often because I am not (yet) earning money from writing, producing, acting, editing, making films etc (not heaps anyway). There’s also all the other things I do to keep myself up to date and healthy for my work – reading acting books, taking dance classes, doing yoga, practising my voice, marketing my work, eating well, networking, practising my other skills – singing, playing piano/violin, SCOURGING the internet for auditions…

So I feel guilty. This means that deep down I still connect work with making money and that what I do has no merit because its’ not earning me ‘a living’. Weird…a living. This term. Its terrible. You make money to ‘earn a living’? So you’re earning the right to live a certain way OUTSIDE of the confines of some crappy job which you spend most of your time at anyway? Doesn’t make sense.

I know 80% of the population are trapped behind desks of their own choosing slogging away a good 8-10 hour working day in jobs they are not passionate about (guessing stats here but I’m sure its not that far off and I take my hat off to them as I think my soul would be crushed doing that). I know they are earning money, making the world turn or whatever. And I’m at home able to walk into the kitchen, make myself another cup of tea, cuddle the kitten for five minutes – and then have it bite me (haha) and then go back to my ‘work’. Its pretty darn good – though lonely at times (part of the shit sandwhich deal for now). I decide what I will and need to work on today. But thats where the guilt creeps in. I’m not doing what the rest of society is doing, or what society might deem I should be doing – my work might not be deemed worth anything because there is no monetary value attached to it yet. I’ve thought about logging the hours I spend on my ‘creative pursuits’ to see if I clock in the average 40 hour week – I probably do, but more…or less? I dono. I wana test this theory but my hours are so often random and varied it would take more time writing and calculating then is worth the effort.

Again I need to remind myself that work is – “exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something” – there’s no mention of money here.

So when pursuing work-art related activities that do not generate a massive income (or any income at all) I need to learn to not feel guilty. I need to learn to not feel as if I am ‘wasting my time’. I am working. I am working on something I love. I am producing and accomplishing something that cannot simply be measured by money. If society deems it worthy or not is not my problem, what is my concern however is if I deem it worthy.


Let the Filming Begin!

In a couple of days we will begin to shoot “ACTING INVESTIGATIONS”! – side note: I began writing this blog about 2 weeks ago haha – but now this time REALLY we are going to start shooting next week…I hope. Producing is hard.

Herding cats! HAHA!
Herding cats! HAHA!

I realise most people don’t really give a crap as I’m not a celebrity nor am I gyrating in my underwear on the internet, which seems quite popular at the moment – so really I am writing this blog to myself and the off chance that one of my friends will read it. “Hello Anzjuli, well done! Hi friend, thanks for taking an interest in my life!”.

I am excited, despite the fact that I’m not dripping in gold and pulling wads of money from my derrière – which also seems quite popular on music videos these days – though looks less comfortable then just you know, not pulling foreign objects from your derrière – I DIGRESS.

I am excited because I am doing something I love.
I am making something I wrote, a story I want to tell.
I am not compromising on my values, or underestimating myself – I am just giving it a crack! ie – a go in other words, for those non Aussie’s out there.

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Today I sat down after a really fantastic audition – which I don’t feel I have that often – and wrote out how I was feeling. I had gone into this audition not really giving a damn, which is weird for actors because we always tend to care too much. At home I had decided to just have
 fun with it as I hadn’t exactly wanted the part super badly. So I played around with the character, the way I took it on, I was just gonna do it MY WAY to hell with the rest! And this had seemed to work, really really well. The director was really pleased. How very odd. I felt so happy afterwards and powerful. It reminded me of how therapeutic acting is and how embracing different characters – this one being WAY more confident then I and making them live and come alive through myself can make me feel empowered and confident! I was also really pleased because I had nailed an audition. I had done it my way and my way had been appreciated and praised – and freaking awesome. I had put a part of ME in the character and it had been appreciated, not something I have felt that often in my life. This experience also made me think about what kind of work I want to do and where I would like my career to go in the next FIVE years. Yes one of those scary ‘adult’ type plans I love writing out when I’m feeling ‘positive’.

You see in the world of Film and Television – as in most sectors of the creative arts – there is a very BROAD base of work you can CHOOSE to take part in. I highlight choose because often I’ve felt that I just need to do EVERYTHING in order to get ‘recognised/noticed’ and then I will be able to pick and choose the work I want to be in. But that’s kind of crap. Just honestly, no. The only reason to be in lots of random stuff is to meet people who you might want to collaborate with, or to learn how film sets work (so being a part of the crew – I’ve found this quite valuable)

But as an actor from the very beginning I believe you need to choose the type of work you want to take part in – not just do any ol thang!

What are you passionate about?
What do you want to be seen in?
What kind of story do you want to tell?

This will also pair you up with people who are interested in making the type of work you are interested in making, instead of people who are interested in say B grade slasher films with cocaine-washed-out-celebrities to pull a certain audience and half-sci-fi-soft-core-porn-wana-be-hbo-badly-written-films. It will also guarantee you have a passion for the work, cause we all know artists have a damn hard time making good work when their not passionate about it.

Where do ‘I’ (You) fit into all of this?

A lot of actors only see Hollywood, HBO, prime time TV etc and think – “That’s where I want to be! That is what ‘success’ means in this field!” Firstly – its disappointing that they only see America and their mass media as actual ‘acting’ or ‘film’. Secondly making it in Hollywood doesn’t actually guarantee you’re going to make something amazing or have a good life. You could be typecast as the best friends girlfriend in all the movies you play, or you might find that the large array of cookie-cutter-films (as I have dubbed a lot of films from the US – same storyline, just different actors and a way to big budget) as unfulfilling. Cause quite frankly, a lot of it is just thin air ‘Pooof’.

Meanwhile there’s so many other options out there! Options that will bring you a different kind of success and hopefully with it personal and career fulfillment. Insightful, poignant and life changing documentaries, indie films, webisodes, short films, funny sketch youtube shows and countless other smaller TV series and productions from all across the globe.

So how do you figure out where you want to be?

You need to follow your values! What do you hold dear? If its fame, then sure go get your kit off and do whatever in the hope that you might one day get famous…which will eventuate in….filling that gaping empty hole inside of you? Doubtful.

OR

Do you want to be a part of something wonderful? Telling stories that reach hearts and change minds and might even create catalysts for re-birth in other people’s lives? Well then follow that. Not the media’s bs versions of ‘success’. Success. Its such a funny word. Its like the word ‘love’. It has many different interpretations and can mean different things to different people. What does success mean to you? Figure that out and you’re on your way to it! I had someone ask me what my day would look like once I had reached my version of success and I was surprised that it was actually quite simple and that made it seem much more attainable.

Success to me isn’t about being famous the world over – although because I am human and love praise, gosh, everyone knowing my name and being all like “whooo she’s amazing Oooh my goooosh!” would be kinda cool. But then again, it would also be really weird and intrusive and so many people love Taylor Swift and I think she’s stupid so popularity isn’t really a measure of success for me. I want to be popular with the right people. A select group of fans or people who love what I do and are good, kind, generous, encouraging, thoughtful people who want to make work that makes a difference, not just dollars.

Its strange to think that we often get set in this – I’m going to call it MEDIA FRENZY BLINDNESS as people and as artists. I get caught in it daily. You think what you do is less important because you’re not getting paid or you don’t have millions of fans swooning over you! (or really anyone swooning in your direction). It wears down on you over time. You question if what you’re doing really has any merit when you get no pay, little work, little gratitude or thanks.

You grow up only really seeing what Hollywood pumps out and you think that that’s success, that there ain’t anything else. You think (well I have) that you just have to do crappy roles in films you’re not passionate about, until you get noticed and land some BIG role which will escalate your career into stardom in Hollywood and eternal acting joy and bliss. BLARGH. No. Enough of that bs. I honestly don’t even watch that many Hollywood films anymore! And why should I measure my success, worth and merit as a person and as an artist based on society’s standards? And why should I for a time, compromise on my values – such as being in films with themes/content I might not agree with – just to maybe ‘make it’ in some industry where you’re not even guaranteed long term success or happiness? That makes no sense to my brain and I reckon my brain is pretty good at judging things!

So today as I sat in this cafe I realised what I am REALLY passionate about in this broad, floating world of crazyness. And one thing stood out to me.

Women and comedy.

YES LADIES YOU! And not in a lesbian way, more in a –

“I am a female film-maker, writer, actor. I am sick of Hollywood/media/film/etc representing women in a certain often stereotypical, highly sexualized way – everyone’s sexual – but why do women constantly have to be eye candy whilst playing second fiddle to the main character who is 99% of the time a man? WHY!?

Honestly I’m sick to death of it and I’m going to choose to step away from that and MAKE MY OWN DAMN WORK! Where I will represent women the way I see them, I will represent myself, my sister, my mother, my friends, the girl on the street, the women I see, read about and come in contact with through my travels in all their perfect imperfections! I’m going to make work that shows empowered women, confident women who have grace and beauty – not just physical beauty – but character beauty! Women who kick-ass and aren’t afraid to go for what they want! Women who don’t have to flash their breasts in a HBO show to hopefully ‘get somewhere’ in their career or just because ‘that’s how the industry is now’. Cue spewing. Women who stick to their moral values – stick to their guns – don’t back down and demand respect. Women who help other women and men to be better human beings. Women who are more obsessed about the value of their character then the colour of their hair. Women who make their own way in the world and don’t need to be ‘helped’ ie – shown the way by men. I am going to carve my own damn path and take what’s already mine for the taking!”

So there that’s what I was thinking today.

Apart from writing shows, plays, random blogs and performing I also want to help in different ways. I have plans to make many documentaries, to travel overseas and witness the struggles and triumphs of other women and then to show those stories to the world. I also want to teach women the skills I have learnt in acting and film-making so they can tell THEIR OWN stories and claim back their confidence and power in this world!

I cant wait to be able to use acting/theatre/film-making/dancing/art/singing skills I have to help other women!

And so in conclusion to my perfectly imperfect blog:

– I am excited about Acting Investigations because I am telling a story I am passionate about
– I am pumped because it has a female lead and a strong female antagonist!
– Doing an audition my way and putting the spice of me in the character worked and was loved and appreciated – giving me even more confidence for AI!
– I’ve been able to reassess my values and what I see as success which gives me a target to aim for and means I’m not floating around aimlessly!

So yes. There you have it. I hope this has helped some of you to think about where you’re going and what you want to do with the talents you’ve got. I say stick to your guns, stick to who you are and dance with what you’ve been given!

x

Acting In Spite of Fear

You know sometimes I think that the difference between successful people and un-succesful people (depending on how you measure success of course) comes down to a few small things that can make ONE HUGE difference.

Today I’ll focus on – “Putting yourself out there”.

“Putting yourself out there” can be very scary, intimidating and generally induce pants wetting types of emotions. I know that whenever I update my showreel and have to ‘re-post’ it I get really anxious! ” I also seem to take at least half a year before I really put myself out there, well, before I put my own work out there. There’s a few different things between being an actor and being the creator of a whole new world. As an actor you play a part in bringing that world to life, but you don’t create the world, you simply live inside it. The writer on the other hand creates this new world, giving birth to a complicated new organism – as an actor you help that organism to live!

When I first heard someone say that actors aren’t creative artists but rather interpretative artists I was offended! I’ve always thought of myself as creative, how dare they!? But its true in many ways. The actor has to interpret the text – creatively, yes of course, but they do not create the text. Perhaps that is why it is often so difficult for me to put my written work out there. Its something I have created, it’s not someone else’s work that I have interpreted, to me it feels more personal if someone doesn’t enjoy my created work rather then if they didn’t enjoy my interpretation of a character. That being said I do feel rejected and disheartened when I am not selected for a role – but because I believe (most of the time anyway!) that I am talented I know that when I am not selected for a role it only means the director thought someone else fit the role better. That doesn’t make me a bad actor, it just meant the shoe fit someone else better.

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Now in the process of  casting my own webisode and being on the other side of the table has made me realise just how little control an actor has over wether or not they get the role. There really are just a million variables and gut feelings! The best you can do is prepare the best you can and be yourself, if the shoe fits it fits! If it doesn’t go try on another pair!

So if you are an actor, writer, director, visual artist or musician you have to learn to put yourself out there in spite of fear! You can let fear rule your life forever, never living to your fullest potential because you are afraid of the unknown, what people will think, if this big leap of faith will even pay off! But living in fear of the future is kinda silly because no-one knows what the future will bring! Really there are SO many possibilities that you haven’t even thought of.
Your present actions however can influence and change your future in ways that are unimaginable so why not try?

I have spent a lot of time living in fear of the great unknown, that magical ‘what if…’ followed by negative thoughts about the future and myself, and you know what that has produced? Anxiety, stress, hopelessness, depression and stagnation. When you are too afraid to even try just because you might not be  ‘good enough’ or the work isn’t ‘perfect’ you never do anything because nothing will ever seem perfect or good enough when it comes to your art! (to me anyway). I always see the flaws and areas for improvement in whatever I do, but that helps me to let go of my work – as in give it to the world despite its imperfections and also to strive to always be better.

Negative thinking patterns inhibit you from even trying, they stop you from enjoying the success you could have and learning from the experience! Learning means growth and growth means becoming the best version of you! These things really are invaluable! You have to break free from your doubts and fear by DOING things despite being afraid you will fail or that it might not be amazing. I figure that perhaps my doubts and fears won’t ever subside one-hundred percent (because nothing is ever 100% or 0%! Nothing is ever completely dirty or completely clean -a good psychological reasoning tool you can use) – so if your fears won’t ever go away you just have to do stuff anyway! I have entered festivals and competitions and have been scared out of my freaking BRAAAIN! But that fear has actually driven me to do my best work, so in a sense that fear can be utilised to help make you better!

I guess we all need a bit of fear as a motivation in life, just don’t let it demotivate you! Use fear to propel yourself off that metaphorical cliff and learn to fly or fall super gracefully 😉

Of course all this is easier said then done, but seriously if I can do it, so can you! So give it a crack and really pursue your dreams. You never know what might happen.

Anzjuli

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