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HER*STORY

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I’ve been seeking inspiration for a long time. As a not-twenty-something actor who got a late start in Hollywood, I want to know that what I dream of is possible–that other women are blazing a trail alongside or ahead of me. The idea kept coming to me that I should find out who these women are and talk to them about what they want and how they keep going after it despite inevitable obstacles and setbacks.

I decided to start a blog project to interview female artists who are at least 35 years old but preferably much older. Why artists? Because it’s the one of the toughest fields to find success in, particularly for women, and also because I’m an artist who is insatiable when it comes to talk about process and perseverance.

Why a blog? I thought about a podcast or documentary and I’d still like to explore those things. But I don’t have the equipment or money right now and my interview subjects live all over the country. My blog is easy and free. It’s kept me sane and creative for many years, most of all during those times when nothing else was happening for me creatively. It’s something I can do right now with what I have.

I don’t know if other people will find this interesting but finding and talking to these women has already made a difference in me. I was literally moved to tears when I started reading their e-mails and stories. So many of them need to be inspired just as I do–to know they’re not alone. So many of them got late starts or continue to encounter serious obstacles to their creativity. So many of them thanked me for providing an outlet to share their story and to hear stories from the other women.

At first I thought I wanted a blog about “success.” I wanted to hear from women who had achieved their dreams at an older age in life. But the more stories I read, the more I realized that we’re all stumbling around on this path together, and that sometimes the only thing that helps me put one foot in front of the other is knowing that other artists are standing next to me–not racing way ahead–and doing that too.

So, in about a week or two, I’ll start featuring one artist per week on this blog. I have actors, musicians, fine artists, writers, comediennes, stunt coordinators, directors, models and I hope to find some dancers too. I really hope you’ll take the time to find out who these women are and what they have to offer. I think it’s going to be great.

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#FavWomanFilmmaker Campaign

I’m pleased to support Agnes Films’ #FavWomanFilmmaker Twitter campaign that’s blowing up the Web this week. Here’s a link to the full chat I participated in this morning around the topic of entering the film industry as a woman: How to Enter the Field as a Woman Filmmaker

DID I MENTION SHE WAS CRAZY?

Most of the time I manage to stay positive about this whole acting thing and to keep a sense of humor about the process and my place in it. But there are some mornings when I open the Breakdowns and have to indulge in a great big eye roll. Great roles (0r even good, solid, relatable roles) for women are hard to come by anyway but when you’re an unrepresented actress without access to the good stuff, this is what you’re going to find:

crazy, pretty – but crazy, did i say crazed?

pretty, edgy, looks vaguely nuts

beautiful, super hot, aims to please, lives in a world of fantasy

good-looking, insecure, needy, clingy, very talkative

She is still a sexy beast. A hooker by trade, she is not to be crossed, and watch out if you do.

She is very submissive and antisocial, her mom mistreats her emotionally so Julie found a way to channelize her anger and sadness: killing people.

She loves her husband, even though she suffered domestic violence for 10 years.

Can relate with abuse. Signs of abuse is prominent on her face.

She’s emotionally needy but in a very dangerous, self damaging (self mutilating) way, which Levi will soon discover. Rebecca has an inner darkness that manifests itself with a preoccupation with zombie movies and grim tales of cannibalism. 

loud, overbearing, humiliates her son, emasculates her husband

Mrs. Williams is unbelievably hot and unbelievably bitchy.

She is a super hot freaky chick.

The math teacher’s slutty, cheating wife. White trash suburban fabulous. Materialistic. Unbelievably hot. Unbelievably bitchy.

Sweet girl in her early twenties kills people to fight the mistreat of her crazy mother.

Self destructive and emotionally damaged. She relies on substances as a way to cope with her abusive relationship.

Her night ends in date rape, but she’s determined to seek out her own justice, and calls two of her tough guy friends to help her beat the crap out of Titus.

I’m sorry, who are these people??  Do the men writing, directing and producing films only know crazy and damaged women? Have they ever met a normal, intelligent, complex woman? And what’s the fascination with writing these fantasy, one-dimensional female characters?

This has always been part of the industry and I don’t know that it’ll ever really change until and unless more women start creating more of the work. But imagine being an actress – of any age, really – scrolling through auditions and reading these descriptions day in and day out. It’s disheartening.

There are men out there who are champions of women and who write thrilling, amazing characters that I would love to play. I know who these men are and I keep them on my radar. I feel sorry for all the other guys out there who either A) only know crazy or B) only want to write from their adolescent fantasies.

I don’t know what else to say or do except to applaud the artists – male and female – who create with vision and to allow myself a day every once in a while to feel dismayed about the rest of them.

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