Thursday, September 29, 2011

Episode Two of "LCWL"

So I just realized I never posted episode 2 of "Local Couple Wins Lottery" on my blog! Epic fail. Failure of epic proportions.

Let me just give you a side-note about episode 2..."Mike" is Michelle's brother, who obviously has his own ideas of what he would do if he won a shitload of money. "Mike" is played by my good friend Phillip Nathaniel, whom I met at Second City in Jenny Lamb's acting class. What a great experience that was, considering I had been acting for years, and she taught me so much more on top of that. Phillip, though, is one of those people that you meet and instantly connect with, which I rarely do. He has such an amazing energy! He's from this reality show that came on Vh1 called "Money Hungry", which I had never heard of before meeting him! I have several friends who were like "Yes, I know who that is!" cause they watched the show. I haven't...yet! Nonetheless, we filmed this episode at my mom's house also, which is supposed to be the two main characters' house. We had to keep stopping during filming because so much background noise on the street kept interrupting! I have a shitload of outtakes from that day and bloopers! There was the noisy ass garbage truck, the guy with the leaf blower, and then a school bus pulled up and started unloading elderly passengers, that  I swear, took 4 hours!

Enjoy episode 2, party people! Episode 3 will be released soon, and introduces a new character, "Benny", played by Marcellus Norwood, another Second City alum!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shooting Episode 3!

I had so much fun shooting episode 3 of "Local Couple Wins Lottery" yesterday! I was kind of nervous all day, trying to figure out how to shoot this thing, and if we were going to make it there on time. We were to begin shooting in the evening, and we had a bunch of things to do before that. Like grocery shopping. Oh, and I hit the gym for an hour that morning. But by the time we got to my mom's house to shoot, I was so tired! I really should have had more coffee! And Marcellus, who plays Benny, got there maybe a minute or two before we did because me and Bry still had to drop off the kids at my Aunt's house down the street.

Joey showed up maybe 10 minutes later and we got to work. Thank God me and Bry had planned out every shot we needed (storyboarding, without the board). We realized it's a little harder to shoot with 3 people, figuring out where everyone is going to stand and where the camera needs to be, but it's also way more fun. I had never worked with Marcellus before, but I'm so glad we found him because he turned out to be hilarious! He was so funny and so consistent with his facial expressions! So when we got home last night and put the kids to bed, Bry hooked up the camera to our living room tv and just watched the raw footage. We watched every take and laughed our asses off! And it got funnier as we got more comfortable! We were even laughing at the way Bry yelled "ACTION!"  and the guys came through the door, talking about God knows what, to find my character, Michelle, standing there. The look on Marcellus and Joey's faces, take after take, just friggin' priceless!

I'm having so much fun shooting this web series! And me, Marcellus & Phillip are so close to becoming SAG eligible! Not Joey, who's had his SAG card since he was a kid! What an amazing story he has! If you Google him, there's stuff about the play he did at Steppenwolf as a kid with Jane Lynch! He's an amazing actor.

Okay, enough about gushing over my actors, however amazing they may be. Mommy duties beckon. Ani's on the desktop computer playing games, Mia is playing my guitar and singing (I'm not kidding...she's 2 and plucking strings and singing 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'!) And Laila is blow-drying her teddy bear's hair with Ani's toy blow dryer. Hilare!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Think of Me (poem)

We could be beautiful together
If you chose to make it so
But you don't think
Don't think about me

I could hate the moon
And laugh at the stars
And walk the streets confused
And you still won't think about me

I could die among the thieves
Or lie and cheat and bruise
And cry a million tears
But you won't think of me

While my chest pounds and beats
And the children are asleep
And though I still chose to breathe
You will never think of me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

More Than Nothing

More new poetry:

"More Than Nothing"

Call me insane
I’ll dye the words into my skin
Just as a reminder of the shit I’m in
Just call me crazy
I’ll call you unfair
Injustice spreads through the world
Like a wildfire in my back yard
The back of my brain knows these things best
As I pull the thoughts from my mind
Praying they make sense in words and phrases
Adjusting to new times and new sounds
Running towards freedom,
Bare feet on gravel and sand
You sleep soundly
So comfortable in your own skin
Mine is dyed and tainted
Relaxing is not a form that I can take
Appreciate the sounds and the smells in the air
And laughter
And a full moon
Is more than nothing
I’m here.

With Armor

I hadn't written poetry in a while...I wrote a chapbook a few years ago that's available on Amazon now, but poetry...well, I have to be struck with some sort of inspiration.'s something:

I don’t care if I’m seen
Or breathe near you
I expect the lesser
Not the greater
Just happy to be near
Or next to you
I’m falling in a circle
Perhaps a pile
At your feet
I know the deal
It’s true to me
And who I wish to be
I falter
I fail
I’m lies and deceit
You’re everything and nothing
As I’m at your feet
And just when it’s safe
I hold my hand to you
You give me strength
As you move in me
With calm
With armor
Within you.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Web Series Shootage!

We filmed two scenes yesterday for my web series "Angelina's Scene". It's a sketch comedy show that I'm going to put on Youtube.

I wrote this 4-part sketch called "Local Couple Wins Lottery". Basically, a young married couple win the lottery, and they haven't even gotten the money yet, and the husband is already spending it. It's really based on the last season of "Roseanne" and an episode of "Martin". And me and my own husband talking about what we would do if we won the lottery. I remember telling him "You would spend all the money before we got a dime!". That's where the idea came from! Lol

But anyway, it was a great experience. For those of you who don't normally read my blog, I've been talking about how I got SAG signatory status to film it so I can use a SAG actor, and on top of that, me and the other actors will become eligible to join the guild! Joining the Screen Actor's Guild really opens up doors for you, so I'm trying to do that as soon as I get to Hollywood!  Besides, I like being a producer! I wrote my first film when I was 8! It was ridiculous, it was called "Deadly High" and looking back on it, it made no sense, but I guess it was impressive for an 8 year old to go around calling herself a screenwriter!

We started filming yesterday, with my husband Brayman behind the camera as the DP (Director of Photography), myself directing and acting, and my friend Phillip Nathaniel, whom I met in acting class at Second City. Phillip was playing my brother who had a long list of ideas of what we should do with the huge lottery payout. I swear, he got there on time (before I did! LOL) and had his lines MEMORIZED! It was so exhilarating hearing him recite words that I wrote from the top of his head. And he made them his own too! What a professional! And he's so much fun. He was on that reality show on VH1 last year called "Money Hungry". He is so ready to have his own show!

And then I filmed with a SAG actor...Joey Ascaridis! He was amazing. Did I say amazing? I mean AMAAHHHZING! He had everything memorized also, and came in there and nailed it! He plays Jake, the guy who wants to spend the money on everything! In real life, if this guy existed, his entire lottery winnings would be gone in a week! He was so funny and at first it was distracting because I was so enthralled with what he did with my words! I felt like I just wanted to watch him act, and not do anything myself! He says he's moving to L.A. sometime next year, so I will definitely use him for another project in the future. I already started thinking about the show Jontynise and I wrote called "Me, You & Josh"! And Phillip, I'm trying to think of other ways to use his talents for my own gain! He has such a great personality!

I'm really looking forward to filming again this Friday. We'll be filming 2 more scenes, parts 3 & 4 with my former acting teacher from Second City, Jenny Lamb. She taught me that I didn't know a damn thing about acting before I took her class! She definitely made me a better actor! And this guy I met through an ad looking for actors from this project,  named Marcellus Norwood. This guy has been working for a while, and went through Second City's acting program himself! Can't wait, can't wait!

I think I'll post a snippet from what we filmed yesterday on Youtube, but I don't want to give it all away, so you'll have to wait until the episodes are fully edited to get the whole caboodle.

Did I just use the word caboodle??


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Black Tina Fey

Filming today!

Truthfully, I didn't think I was nervous, but of course with anything that you're doing and really put your heart and soul into, you just want it to be perfect. There's always that fear of failure in your mind when it's something you want so badly. I want this web series not only to be successful, but I want it to be a stepping stone to something else for me. I even thought about the fact that it's a sketch comedy show, perhaps the people at SNL (Lorne Michaels!) will get wind of it. SNL has been a dream of mine for years! I remember being a little girl in my room late Saturday night and sneaking and turning on my tv when I thought my mom was asleep. And one of my biggest inspirations, Tina Fey, started at Second City, then went on as a writer on SNL, now she has her own show and everyone loves her. I tell people I'm going to be the black Tina Fey!

So while I'm getting my stuff ready to go film at my mom's house and drop off the kids at my aunt's, I'm just thinking about what all could go wrong. I have to get out of that section of my head, the worrier section, and get into the WARRIOR section. You see what I did there? I did a play on words. Worrier/warrior. Lame! LOL

At the end of the day, all will go well, I'm sure. And soon, I'll have this show posted on Youtube, or as Jontynise and I call it "The Tubes of You". And then Lorne Michaels will be hitting up my cell phone and I'll be "Hi Mr. Michaels!" and he'll be all "Don't talk, just, audition, airport, New York, now!" and I'll be all "Laters hubs...I got a business meeting in New York!".

Okay, I'm going to go have my coffee and read over my lines. Why am I having trouble memorizing words I WROTE?!

Monday, September 12, 2011

You're Really Not Kidding??

So my best friend always tells me how funny I am. I sometimes feel confident that I am funny, but when I'm around others, especially people I don't know, I don't feel like that life-of-the-party comedian person. I picture Kevin Hart going around being funny wherever he is. At McDonalds, at Starbucks, at friend's weddings...always funny, right? So why would I think that I could some day be a stand-up comedian? I'm really working on it, thinking about some of my earliest comedic inspirations. I think, honestly, the earliest stand-up shows I could remember seeing on television were Sinbad and Tommy Davidson. My mom would record them off late night HBO and then watch it over and over and over again. Me and my brother could quote the jokes, even if I didn't fully understand each and every joke. My earliest memories of comedy, period, was "I Love Lucy" and Carol Burnett. My mother was a comedy addict. She watched comedy more than anything...other than "The Young and the Restless".

The point I'm getting at here, if there is one, is that comedy is who I am. I don't try to be funny when I'm around my family and friends. I don't feel like I'm always "on". But perhaps it does get out of hand when my 4 1/2 year old daughter says to me "mom, you're really not kidding?" to everything, because I'm so sarcastic and usually kidding. And my kids are hilarious too! I also love that if I call my mom and tell her a joke, she laughs hysterically. It feels awesome to make my family and friends laugh. I can't even imagine how it will feel to make an entire audience of strangers laugh. The way people love Conan, I want people to love me because they were sad and put on my HBO comedy special DVD and laughed their asses off. Or even if they just watch it out of boredom, still, I want to make people laugh!

Watching that 9/11 documentary on CBS, hosted by Robert Deniro, and seeing actual footage of what happened inside of one of the towers after it was hit by the plane...I had to watch "Friends" on Nick at Nite to get some of that imagery out of my head. It didn't work, fully...I did wake up in the middle of the night still thinking about it, but watching comedy, even for just an hour, calmed my mind for a little while. I laughed. I was able to forget, for a small amount of time, that there was evil and sadness and tragedy in the world, every where, even as I type this. Not everyone is happy. Some people will never find true happiness. But if for a short amount of time, I can make people laugh, make people forget just for a moment or two how horrible life can be, then it's worth it. I have to work harder. I need to work harder to contribute. But that's a whole other blog about feeling as if I'm not doing enough all the time, and that's part of the reason I'm an insomniac, but whatever, blah blah blah.

I'm going to go watch "Conan". Every single night at my house is ended watching something funny as hell. Whether it's "Conan" or "Friends". I even watched old Mr. Bean shorts on DVD tonight. Hilar!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mama Wants to Look Rockin'!

So I had this super-uber important phone conversation with a manager who owns her own management company in West Hollywood. I was talking to her about representing me and the girls. It was one of those conversations where I was sure if my phone company dropped the call, I would've called them and screamed for 3 1/2 hours. It's true. I would have. My phone reception acts so shittily in my apartment lately! But the call never dropped, and we talked for about an hour! She gave me so much insight into the business out there, and we talked about how it seems black girls with natural hair get more commercial work out there. I guess it's really "in" to be black nowadays. But if you really think about it, I think there is way more variety in what men fantasize about when it comes to female entertainers and models. Most of the Victoria's Secret models seem to be Brazillian. And a lot of men name Halle Berry, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian as objects of fantasy. I also like that curvy women get a lot of attention, not just stick thin girls. And nothing against my stick thin girls, cause I love them too, it's just great to have variety.

With that being said, I think I'm going to rock my natural hair for a while. I don't think I've fully gone on to discover all the possibilities. There are so many things I can do with my curly curls! And I'm not joining the league of black girls who say in order to be true to yourself, you can't straighten your hair, because I could change my mood in two weeks and decide to flat iron the shit outta my curly locks (which I love doing...who doesn't love a hot ass flat iron?). I just think that just as there should be more variety in the business (More black and Latino shows on tv please? And ones with substance! Thankx), I like variety in my hair.

Didn't I post something about this already? About hair, looking at my hair like I do jewelry and how wishy-washy I am about this? I'm like The Simpsons, recycling my own ideas!

Nevertheless, I think I'm going to keep my curly hair for the web series! Yay! We're starting work on it already, no longer in pre-production, but in PRODUCTION! Whoaaaa....I even went to different make-up stores with my cousin scouting new things I'd like to try, as I am filming in HD! Even if it is just for YouTube, mama wants to look rockin'!

But that manager, getting back to my first idea, she thought my girls were adorable, especially after watching them on Youtube, and she was giving me advice about what to do once I get there, about staying SAG eligible for a while so I can do some non-union work and put more on my resume, before actually paying to join the union, then I'd be held to only doing union work (which is fine too, but later). So, I'll keep everyone posted! Just a couple of months to Hollywood! Yayers! (lame)


Friday, September 2, 2011

Paranoid Mommy Rant

I'm having a rough day. A really rough day. I'm trying to work on the contracts for the web series, making sure I understand every little bit of information SAG provided for me, while also trying to figure out this move to L.A., and take care of 3 sick little girls, oh, and did I mention I'm sick also?

It's weird how you can have so many days of being on cloud 9, then something pushes you off, sending you tumbling back down to the Earth. To this reality. The reality is...I am still in Chicago, I'm not where I want to be and I don't know how, as of right now, to fight off the "you can't do it" resounding loudly in my head. And I know this is all jibber-jabber, not trying to make a joke, but seriously, people around me will say "Keep your head up" and "you're allowed a bad day". Yes, I'm allowed a bad day, but when you've dealt with a lot of back-to-back bad days, you can't help but to wonder will there be more.

I've been happy, as of late. It hasn't been too hard to stay motivated when it comes to my career. Great things have been happening, but I do have moments of doubt. Can I do it? Will I fail? And I don't believe I'm necessarily fated to do something, or God has a plan for me, because if I were to look at it like that, it would allow me to be lazy. "Well, I'm meant to do this, it'll all work out". I can't rest. I won't stop. I have to look at my dreams like this "This is what I've wanted since I was a child...I have to fight for it". My whole life has been about the fight. People thinking I'm weak, thinking I can't do it. I've had people tell me "what are the odds of you becoming an actress?" or "only so few have the status of Angelina Jolie". I don't need the status of Angelina Jolie. I don't NEED fame. I need to WORK. I want to produce. I want to write. I want to edit. I want to be paid enough to take care of my children and provide them with what they need. I want enough money so they can go to college...and yes, all three will be in college AT THE SAME TIME!

So while people are wondering why I'm not busting my ass to go be somebody's secretary, guess what? That's not going to make me happy, therefore in turn, my kids won't be  happy, and that's not going to pay 3 college tuitions!

And while I'm on the subject of kids. I'm having the working mommy dillema. Putting the kids in daycare to work. This idea scares me shitless, because they were in daycare while I was in beauty school and I missed so many days because all three kept getting sick! So now, I'm terrified everytime it seems like they're getting sick. Right now, it's just stomach upset, but I've been checking their temperatures all day, praying no one has a fever.

Paranoid mommy rant, I know. Hey, I think that's what I'll name this blog post!