YBY ep 227: Meredith Binder’s dreams come to life!
This week on Yes But Why, I talk to producer/ screenwriter/ actor/ director, Meredith Binder.
Meredith Binder is a bicoastal filmmaker and actor, spending some of her time in Seattle and the rest of her time in New York City. She is known for her acting roles in Beloved Beast (2018), Still (2013) and Mommy Heist (2016).
In our conversation, we chat about acting and Meredith mentions that she didn’t start acting until later in life. She talks about how she got started at the Freehold Theatre Lab/Studio, and her subsequent path toward filmmaking.
We talk about making a career change and how it affects the people around you. I bring up my 18 year theory (which I swear, I almost cut out but it just really makes sense in what we are talking about…I promise.). We agree it’s best for you to fulfill your own dream no matter what other people think.
There is great inspiration in this interview for anyone on the fence about starting their creative journey. Meredith gives some sage advice for breaking into the film scene and how to acclimate with the community.
This was also a super fun (and kinda wild) discussion. We had a pretty great rabbit hole about interpreting dreams and using them to inspire writing projects. We talk about acting teachers – about being inspired by the ones that taught us and about how much we both love teaching theater. Enjoy this great warmhearted episode!
Support Meredith by checking out her films on Amazon and Netflix! And by checking out her youtube channel!
Yes But Why Podcast is a proud member of the HC Universal Network family of podcasts. Download the FREE HC Universal Network app for Android and iDevices or visit us at HCUniversalNetwork.com and join the fun.
This episode of Yes But Why podcast is sponsored by audible – get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at http://www.audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY.
This episode of Yes But Why is also sponsored by PodcastCadet.com. Swing on by PodcastCadet.com to get help for all your podcasting needs! Go to PodcastCadet.com and put in offer code YBY20 to get 20% off your first consultation!
(production notes: recorded phone call with Rodecaster at the home studio on 7/15/2020)
TRANSCRIPT by Otter.ai
Hello, yes, but why listeners? This is your host, Amy Jordan. Welcome to Episode 227 with filmmaker and actor Meredith Binder. But first, let’s seriously consider patronizing our sponsors. This episode of Yes But Why podcast is sponsored by Audible. You can get your free audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/YesButWhy . In my conversation with Meredith, we talk about dreams. So I’m going to search for dream interpretation books. Wow, there’s a bunch of different stuff even Freud. Wow. If you dig that part of my chat with Meredith, audible has you covered for follow up material. Audible is available for your iPhone, Android or Kindle. Download your free audiobook today and audibletrial.com/YesButWhy . This episode of Yes But Why is also sponsored by podcastcadet.com . Podcast Cadet is me and my husband and our connections within the podcasting production scene. We want to help you get started with your podcast. And we want to connect you to resources so that you can get better and better with each and every new episode. Swing on by podcastcadet.com to get help for all your podcasting needs. Let us know you heard from us from Yes But Why and you’ll get 20% off the workshop or service you buy. Let’s get into this week’s episode! In this installment of yes but why I talked to filmmaker and actor Meredith binder. In our conversation, Meredith mentioned that she didn’t start acting until later in life. We talked about what it’s like to make that kind of career change. There is great inspiration in this interview for anyone on the fence about starting their creative journey. We also talk about dreams and senators and zoom meetings. We had fun. Enjoy this great warm hearted Episode. I now present Yes, but why Episode 227 Meredith Binders dreams come to life. I’m Amy Jordan. And this is yes, but why podcast? Yeah.
As a child, I took ballet lessons like many girls do. And also some modern dance and I loved it. And I just kept doing that to everything to college. I was have a master’s degree in electrical engineering. So it’s working. It’s an engineer, but I still have my ballet lessons and And then I had an injury, and I couldn’t dance anymore. And, you know, I hadn’t been dancing professionally or anything, but you know, I really missed it. It was an important part of my life was one thing I did just for me, you know, not for the family, not for the company I work for. And I didn’t know what to do. And I took some yoga lessons, tried to find something else. And then I woke up one day, and I said, I want to take acting classes. And then Hudson said, Oh, of course you should. And it took me a while to find the right studio. But there’s a studio in Seattle freehold theater studio, and it’s just an independent acting class, but it shares faculty with the universities in the area. So you get a lot of really good instructors, but you don’t have the academic part. And you don’t have the big productions but You do end of class scenes that you can invite people to and so on. I was just fascinated with acting. And that was all I wanted to do, from then on out. And at some point I started, I started auditioning for films because theater was too much time away from the family. I had two small children at the time. And I really liked to film it. It was fascinating to me both technically how it worked and then performing in it. And I came up with an idea for a short film, in a dream about people who lived in a community they lived in a laundromat and sideload dryers and that’s where they slept. And in my dream, it would be it was a youth hostel, but the x I traveled a lot as a young person and staying in youth hostels and you know, they’re warning about, you know, back injuries if two people climb in the same dryer, you know, for evening activities, shall we say, or there were signs saying no sleeping on the benches in my dream. And I thought, Okay, I have to do something with this. This is crazy. And I was working on a film at the time, had the lead role. And so I was on set every day and I got to know the crew and the producer. And at the end, I asked if I could use his equipment to make a film. And I had already talked to everybody in the crew and they all wanted in on this project because it was so unique. And they said, he said, Sure, everybody’s already been handling my equipment, I will lend it to you. And everybody said, No, you It’s okay. It’s a short we’ll do it for free. And then the my co star who I become friends with Let’s play my boyfriend. He. He turns out he has a lot of directing skills and he was eager to direct it. So we made a great short film that’s still I still get phone calls about. Could I show it to my class at Columbia? Or could I, you know, play it on an online festival or something. I still get called about that film and it’s up on YouTube. It’s called rents do rents do? Yeah, that’s why I started making films.
That’s so fun. I love it. All right. Let me go back. I have questions. I love it. This was wonderful. I love this whole idea. Have you always had creative ideas in your dreams? Like if you like written and created like did you when you were dancing do you come up with like, you know moves for, for your, you know, individual performers. moments in your dreams are anything.
I have a lot of things that happen in my dream bedrooms are really good. I also will dream sometimes conversations that then happen. As I said, dreams come true. It doesn’t happen as often now as when I was younger. But even as a child, I would dream a conversation with my mother. And my mother was a bit explosive. So you didn’t want to set her up. And I dream in a dream, what was happening in conversation, then I tuned in, I put my fork a certain way on the napkin that had a certain pattern on it. And then I said something that sent my mother off. So when that day happened, like two or three days later, and I put my fork on the pan, and I’m like, Oh my god, I dreamed this. Don’t say it. Don’t say it. You’re going to start an argument and I said it anyway, I can stop myself. And I don’t even remember what the argument was about to this day, that I remember putting my fork on the pattern so it follows a pattern. Thinking, don’t say you hit you know what’s going to happen. You drink it.
Wow. That’s fascinating. It’s also really interesting that you said that you’re you feel more connected to that idea when you were younger. I have this theory that we’re like, perfect creative creatures as children, you know, and that like sort of the world kind of barnacles on you as you get older and older, to the point where the barnacles kind of block you from being able to sort of receive the creative world around you, you know.
So, we carry too much baggage. You know, if you ask, you go into a kindergarten class and say, who’s an artist, everybody raises their hand, go into like a second grade class and say, who’s an artist? Nobody raises their hand.
Yeah. Yeah. You know, it’s funny. I I teach it. summer camps for kids. And I do like a middle school group and a high school group. And it is crazy how different those two groups are, like as far as creation goes, because like I’m my camp is I teach them how to write. And then they write their own scenes and perform their own scenes. And just like, what the topic of the scenes are about, and the structure and how they want it to go, so different, like so like, the younger kids are just more sort of open to the absurd and to like, wacky things like things like the suspension of the disbelief, you know what I mean, where you’re like, yeah, of course, we’re all you know, pieces of cheese in this, it’s fine. And they’re like, yeah, of course, my piece of cheese. But you present that to like a 16 year old and they’re like, but I don’t get it. I’m not a piece of cheese. You’re like, okay, yeah, I see that you’re not in real life. Sure. However, in the scene, you are in They’re like, What do you mean? Okay, cool. Yeah. So like, it’s interesting how that is like, it’s like hormonal, maybe at least as a kid, I think it’s hormonal, where you like, are open to all the creative stuff. And then you kind of like dark and you’re sort of darkened your point of view to the point where like, now you’re afraid of what people think of you and that like, causes more like, you don’t want to take the chances. So I wonder if sort of this idea of or talking about, had to, you know, like, is the same sort of creativity that like, now potentially holds back your dreams from really revealing everything that they could to you at this point?
I know I feel sad. I miss it. I didn’t have a real shocker of a experience with a dream. I Gosh, I was Hmm, I think it was a little bit pregnant at the time, maybe I had more hormones. Sure. I was taking a programming class at the community college just as a way to pick up a class while I was working. And I had this dream that then came to word by word. And I was working on a project and I was building a database for a veterinarian. And this guy was sitting next to me. And so he kind of asked me what class I was taking the head that, you know, students thing, and he was also an older student. And then I asked him to try my database, and he did and there was a problem with it. And so we’re talking about how to solve it. And then he said to me, you know, and I had dreamed all this and I’m like this is true, and then planning out his kasnia mentoring cat’s name into And now but I’m going to write the wrong name, I’m going to write psyllium Ciliates his life. And because Wait, that’s my wife’s name. And I said, Oh, right. And then he says, I’m having deja vu. And I said, me too. And he said, Would you marry me? And I said, I can’t. I’m already married in his bed. I knew you would say that. And we’re both so tense. There’s so much tension between us. Like, I wish the camera was running, it would have been brilliant. And then just kind of sit back and has a huge exhale to the holding our breath was so tense. And he’s like, I can’t believe it. This. This happened to me all the time. It’s gonna happen with another person. No me either. So then we went back to having this nice collegial relationship of working helping each other programs. When we walked out of the lab when it was closing together. We had We keep in touch, we exchanged phone numbers. And he told me, you know, the best movies I’ve seen lately and he gave me a list. I actually went and saw them all this was before there was online streaming. And he said, we should get together, you know, the four of us and their spouses. And he never called me I called his phone once in the middle of the day when I knew he would be at work. And he said, Hi, this is whatever his name is. I forgot it. And Celia his wife’s name, and then it’s castling. So I knew I had the right phone number. And I just hung up. It was like, I did not want to see him again. It was just too strange.
Yeah. I like the idea too, that like, there’s this I knew you’re gonna say that you never talked again. You know what I mean? Because there’s, it’s like, yeah, time you meet somebody where there’s that like, crazy, weird connection. It’s like I’ve Are you? No, I’m Stella and I’m about to get my groove back. Or we’re never going to talk again. Like, you know what I mean? It’s either complete connection, or No, we can’t. This is not the kind of connection we need to have, if only just because the idea of like both of you dreaming that, and then like, yeah, coming true in that moment. Yeah, there’s something I can see being spooked by that for sure.
And being like, you know, no, weird, but it was like, I wanted to leave the moment perfect. And if I got to know him, I kind of got a sense when we’re saying goodbye, that he wasn’t someone I would choose as a friend. Not that he wasn’t delightful and wonderful, but that we just wouldn’t get along with friends. If somehow we wouldn’t have enough in common or something. I just got that feeling from what he was talking about, as we were leaving and just So I didn’t want to try to get to know him and find out that I wanted him to be like, my soul mate for the night. And that was it.
Yeah, totally. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Man, it makes me think of that makes me think of like, various, you know, like short term boyfriends I had in my early 20s, where it was like we had a great, like, we went on two dates. And then my other of us called each other again, because it was like, You know what, those two dates were great. That was great. Yeah, go us. We did that. But if we talk again, we’re just going to be real, and it’s out. I want to be real.
yeah. There’s something so interesting about that connection. Hmm. Fascinating. So when you made the movie that you had dreamed, did it really come together the whole way that you imagined
Well, no more choice. We got the creative team together and we talked about it the director I said, I realized I wanted it to be I didn’t have like dialogue written. And I’m trying to get people to make this film with me. And her dialogue and I need a script. And I realized it’s a silent film. Then I realized, since I love slapstick that I want to be Buster Keaton style black and white old style film. And the director loves that style as well. So I wrote the script, and he and I rewrote it together to make it more of a combination of ideas. So the the actions and everything was still in there. He changed a lot of the blocking to make it something that worked better on film because I was new to the medium of film. And the director, the editor was on set with us. So he was telling us what would cut and what wouldn’t cut in and he was an award winning editor. So that was amazing to have him giving us I would say like that and it It just became this wonderful thing. It played in festivals all over the world. And it’s still the film. I like the best out of all the ones I’ve made. So in some ways, it’s a little sad because I’ve been making films for a while. But it was really a special project we had in the Pacific Northwest ballet played the score for it. So we got some of the top talent in Seattle and this little tiny film.
Yeah. And well, everyone was just like, into the idea. I love the idea that you’re on this other, you know, film just sort of chatting up people about this idea you had and then they’re like, yeah, I want to be part of that fun. Like, that’s so cool.
Yeah. Plus, there’s something great about a passion project, you know, versus a lot of the business that we do at this point. You know, once you done it for a while. It separates from the from like, just doing projects that you love to just doing projects. And sometimes they’re great and some are not. And it’s like, oh, everything becomes a job.
Yeah, I feel that way as an actor. I love every role I’ve ever played. Because you have to as an actor, you have to find what’s in it that you really delight for you. But I don’t love every project I’ve been in for various reasons. Sure. And I think part of it is I’ve been spoiled by a lot of really good projects. Everybody just worked really well as a team.
Yeah, that can be hard. That can be hard. I feel that way too. I feel like because I live in Austin and sort of like, I haven’t done a lot of film but as far as like, creating shows like live theater shows, there have been a lot of things Here were when I’ve created it, everyone was just so excited to be part of it, that it was wonderful. Whereas a play that I worked at in New York City that like looks good on the resume was like a nightmare. Because, you know, it just didn’t have the same kind of excitement. People were like, yeah, I guess I’m just doing this and like, you know, various people feel like they’re high status, low status, blah, blah, blah. And it’s such a different vibe than when you’re doing something where like, everybody’s like, yeah,
I’m excited to work on this. So cool. I love it. Like, just a lot better. Yes, it really is. And to have people weighing, you know, the cost benefit analysis, like how much am I going to make versus doing another project? It’s sometimes it’s heartening when it’s your baby and you’ve written the script, and you know, it could be brilliant. So yeah, it’s too bad. We don’t have Have no artist stipends or something.
Right or at least, you know, like they used to have where they were like real patrons that like went around and found people that were, you know, working on projects and say like, I like what you’re doing here’s a bunch of money you know, like now it’s all in Yeah, analyzed and like, you know, caught up in various, you know, systems where it’s like, if you’re part of this university, you get this or if you’re part of this club, you get that you’re like, I guess but can I just be me and be cool and somebody swings by and says, I like the cut of your jib and give me some money. I mean, I feel like that’s a good plan. Right.
So talk to me about you mentioned so you took the acting classes at was it freehold
freehold studio, I took classes at freehold I teach it rekindle, we talking about teaching or assignments Taking taking classes. I’ll write down
rekindle talk about that one in a second. You mentioned that you took classes there and then that you got into film because it was like easier for your schedule and stuff. What about acting for film Do you love like, what are the parts that excite you versus like live theater?
It’s more intimate, which is interesting for some people think that live theater is more intimate for them. But for me, it’s, it’s just you in the camera, and it’s right there. It sees everything, particularly a close up. It’s so intimate. And when you’re performing with somebody on film, it’s really your own little world. You’re not worried about including the audience. Where’s the idea of onstage elite actor is leading the audience in The cat’s with the audience keeping the audience in the in the story, whereas on film, you know, that’s the cameras job really, and you’re playing the ball. So, in telling the story, honestly, with without having to worry about what’s going on in the audience, you do have to worry about a lot of other things, you know, the camera angle, the shot, the framing.
You know, some would argue that those particular details, though, are the sort of psychological way that they get the audience in the same way. You know what I mean? Like, there are certain dramatic vibe things that they do with cameras that like, do the job that like a guy on stage doing a monologue would do to draw the audience or the idea. So it’s fascinating.
I do. I have done stage work, and I do love it. I’m here in Seattle I perform with the theater 912 company where I take classes so it’s a Mr. Singh class. So when I’m in town, I usually take that and it’s by audition, and it’s a chance to work with some really good actors. So and the artistic director Charles Blacksburg he’s an amazing teacher. He did his teacher training program at the Selma Avenue Institute and then went on and was still Abba’s personal assistant for eight years. Personal teaching assistant for eight years. Wow. So yeah, he’s, you know, one of the legacy from the group theater.
Yeah, he’s got he got the real master course.
Yeah. And he’s just brilliant. He wrote the only book out there and script analysis. And so so it’s a real treat to get to work with him. I’m when I’m in town. And then I do some Theater in New York. I’m rehearsing right now for a play written by a Senator Joseph Cordero from New Mexico. He was a senator for 24 years. And it’s called conversations with an average Joe. And it covers all everything that’s happening politically right now. And the characters arrive in a bar, and they have a conversation. And they go from feeling, all having different opinions to respecting each other, to coming together with a plan of what to do about the situation and to take back our country and influence the people who we’ve elected. So it’s a powerful piece. And that’s been really special working with the senator and that way.
Wow, that’s a that’s fast. nating you’re rehearsing it right now. Where are you are her sing it? And I mean, that is possible way. Oh, zoom. Great. Okay. I was gonna be like, I’m just concerned for you. Sorry.
Well, it’ll be opening in New York. I’m actually heading to New York at the end of this week. So I’ll be there. Or if we’re able to start rehearsing in person. Well, all right. How did
you get involved with this? Was it through the theater? 912?
No, um, it was, it was actually on the actors access call board. Awesome. But no audition tape. It was that simple. He’s had, you know, hundreds, maybe even thousands of auditions and he actually watches all the tapes. God bless them. And yeah, and I auditioned for one role and he offered me a different role, which ended up being a really good match for me and it just, you know, got lucky
That’s awesome. I love that. Especially because the idea can sometimes be you know, you get to a point and you’re get an agent and that’s it. And you just like, wait for the agent to hand just stuff. But I like the idea that you’re like, Yeah, I was looking around Sam what was up and this seemed like a super cool project to do. And then you got involved even though it’s like not in your backyard or anything like that. That’s, that’s super awesome. And like, what a cool like political piece to be part of in this like, heightened world that we’re in.
Yeah, it’s it’s really how I’ve been feeling about things politically, that the biggest problem we have now is how divided our country is. And, you know, between red and blue and people not wanting to talk to each other people only talk to people who they agree with. So we never have any real discourse, and that somehow this has to be Kind of political mastermind to divide us and control us in some way? I don’t know. But maybe that’s just a very direct view of it. But the real thing we need to do is break down these barriers and talk to each other. So this piece really speaks to me.
Totally. Plus, it’s such a reflection of like, the founding fathers, if you think about it, like, they’re all hanging out in the pub, having conversations, and then they’re like, Hey, we should go do something. And they’re like, yeah, we should. Yeah, let’s make a committee. Okay. You know, so I mean, that’s how everything happens. It starts with a bunch of people who are like, hey, let’s get together and see if we can make a change. You know, like that if you don’t, sorry. Yeah. Super cool. And I love the insider’s view that the senator will have into that whole scenario. You know, just because of their experience and like what happened in their own Sort of life, in that, you know, playing in those circles and seeing what was up there. their point of view when talking to you about it must be so fascinating.
It I’ve learned so much. And I’ve actually had some opportunities, you know, logging on to zoom, right, you know, a few minutes early. And he’s already on and we have the opportunity for private conversation or he’ll say, I want to ask you something, you know, things about my character, my schedule or something. So I stay on afterwards, and then we end up having conversation. And, you know, it’s been the same for everybody on the cast. We’ve all had some times just talk to Joe. And, you know, it’s writing him letters, dear senator Corrado, you know, and he was signing everything. Joe when he opened the email. It was like, the guy used to be a senator, how do I call him by his first thing? You do?
I’m sure after you get to know I’m sure but I’m You being polite was probably excellent and a good way to start. Of course, if you opened up with what’s up, Joe probably wouldn’t have worked out quite so well. Man, that’s so cool, though. I love that you’re, like actively involved in like this project. And, man, I mean, I totally want to find out what happens when you go to New York. I want to hear all about that. But that’s a that’s a different story altogether. Um, but as far as I love what you had to say about about film, and I wasn’t necessarily trying to say that you didn’t do theater. Clearly you do. But, but you had mentioned that you you really liked film. And, like, from my point of view, I’ve always found it a little too, a little weird. So I was like, tell me why you like it. I’m into it. And I like your I like what you have to say about the intimacy and whatnot. And I’m like, Yeah, you’re right. I need to look at it. A little bit better. Sometimes I’m like, when I’ve done stuff before Now, granted, almost every time that I’ve been on film, it’s been for commercials and the vibe of a commercial is a very different situation than like a film. But, like, one of the things that always makes me laugh is how close you have to stand to one another. Like, you know, they’ll have like a shot of five or six people like standing and talking for whatever. And yeah, they’re just like squishing you into like, no human people stand this close ever. But I get when I look at the photos and the good the film later, I’m like, Alright, I get it. It makes sense. Like,
But I’m always like, gosh, we’re so close to each other right now. Oh, man, there is something fun about you know, all of the suspension of disbelief though both the film and the and the the theater stuff.
So you mentioned Wonderful. Yeah, it is nice. It’s nice.
That’s one of the reasons why I like it. I like to pretend I like to pretend other things are going on and, and also like the idea of like, trying to be so completely in a scene with another person while there’s like 50 people around you staring at you. But I also really love that and whenever I watch movies where there’s like a super serious scene like that, I’m always because I’m fascinated with the process. I’m always pulled out just slightly thinking like, there’s 20 people staring at them right now. Like they’re trying so hard. They just made that happen. They’re just seriously going through that emotion in front of so many people. Oh, man, and that’s the part that like, always blows my mind. Because like in film, you do have an audience but the audience can’t
Not out loud to you know, like, you finish and they’re like, yeah, good job or not, but like When you’re doing theater, it’s like, I was just talking to somebody about, like performing theater. And if you’re doing a play, you know, you’re doing it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. And sometimes you’re trying to do it, you’re trying to do like a scene or a line reading one way, and the audience is just like, nope, nope, don’t like it. Not good. And you have to just change, right? You have to be like, Well, nobody likes it this way. So I’m gonna try to do it this other way. They can you can have notes like halfway through a like six week run where it’s like, yeah, your character is different now and you’re like, what, you know, based on how the audience reacts. So it’s, it’s Yeah, such an interesting sort of vibe, the way theater becomes this like constantly changeable if you watch the first performance versus the last performance, they’re going to be different, versus film where it’s like, perfect and counting. captured and it’s like they take the editor takes one bit makes that decision, boom. That’s it. Like, oh, something interesting about that. Yeah,
it’s, um, I do love the rehearsal process, and, you know, working off of other actors in that way over time. There’s something really special about that. I mean, I feel like film and theater both have aspects of them that are so special and unique. I thought when I started taking acting classes that I would do theater, but I hadn’t really thought it through and realized that raising children and being on stage don’t really go together.
It’s hard to commit all that time. Yeah, it’s a lot more of a time commitment. Yeah. I’m glad that you had the opportunity to do the other you know what I mean? Because like in a lot of cities, like here in in Texas, there’s, there’s film, you know, but it’s like a lot of independent film and commercials, right. So it’s a very specific kind of market. It’s not like, you know, oh, Maybe they’re gonna make that amazing new film in Austin. They just don’t do it. Like, there’s like one
bad either. It’s mostly independent films, but I’ve had the opportunity to be in no film The premiered at Sundance and some, you know, other big bigger festivals and some of the got distribution on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu. So I’ve had the opportunity to be in some, you know, top independent film, which was great. But I don’t know top top, didn’t get into the theaters. But to be in some better independent films, and then I hit the New York market and it was just great because it was so much out there so much audition for
Are you living in New York sometimes or are you like by Coastal?
I’m by Coastal. My husband in his big You start here. And you have a son in San Francisco and a son in New York. So great half the family’s eastern half as West. Oh, that’s
nice that you’re able to have family to visit when you’re in New York. It’s not like you just go to work and you’re like, Oh, I guess I’m alone now. It’s like, now I get to have dinner with my son occasionally. That’s fun. That’s cool.
That was very cool. I’ve also got some great friends in New York. Some of them were West Coast friends moved out there. And some are people in the industry I’ve met. Oh, that’s fun.
How many years? Like how long have you been going by Coastal like back and forth based on the gig.
Um, I started like six years ago, but then there was a period of time when I had to stay in Seattle. For family reasons, and then I just got back to going back out to New York. So I was actually out there when COVID hit. And I realized that I’d better get back in case they shut down the airport and I can’t get back. Yeah. So and also, I didn’t really want to be spending money on rent, if I wasn’t working. Sure. Yeah, absolutely.
Yeah, no, don’t don’t waste the money. If you’re, if your job is all of a sudden not there, for sure. Man. So were you involved in a play at the time when, when you had to go away the day like cancel the play?
I was working on two films simultaneously. And both craft one rep the very last day. Like they were shutting down the city that night when we wrap that day Yeah.
Are you ready? All right, I’m wrapped in the like jump on a plane and you’re out of there. You’re the last plane out.
Yeah, I don’t I don’t know if the airport ever actually shut that. I remember I was saying I need to get out. You know, he said we’re only letting people fly if they have to for an emergency. I didn’t really have an emergency. But my mother in law was in quarantine because she had been traveling. And she was on a ship and they turned around halfway across the Atlantic. They turned around landed in Miami. And then she flew back to Seattle, and she was immediately put in quarantine. And I thought, you know, I, I just what if he gets is sick or B? She just needs something and she can’t get out. She’s in a retirement home and they have locked down she’s not allowed to leave. So I should just get back there. Yes, my husband’s working, so I should be there to take care of my mother in law, she needs anything. And just the thought of her, you know, potentially being alone and needing something was very compelling to come back. And so I called them and I just said, Look, my mom’s in quarantine, I need to go back. And they said, okay, and they gave me a ticket. Oh, good. But, but that wasn’t sort of the whole story. Like, they wanted to be a blood relative. I didn’t say my mother in law. And you know, at this point, we’ve been married for 33 years, she might as well be my own mother and this and they wanted it to be like an actual emergency where she hadn’t even been tested yet. You know, she was healthy at the time. But I got on the plane and came back and I don’t know how restricted it became Getting flights after that. Hmm. Yeah, I
wonder, as I recall, near the beginning, Seattle was a bit of a Epicenter as well. Now I’m currently in the epicenter, but at first, and first it was up there. Now my current home, where my husband and myself and my child just sit and don’t talk to anybody else, but everywhere else around us, apparently. But, but man, I’m glad that you’re able to, you know, get back and be closer for your family. And like how fortuitous that both of the films, two films at once. Go you and they both like actually finished. So it wasn’t like they just stopped like, I have so many friends who were like, Yeah, I don’t know if we’re gonna keep making that movie anymore. Or like, yeah, we were halfway through a season of a show. And then they were like, go home. We’re like, are we making more and they’re like, we’ll call you. Okay.
so yeah. I mean, so like, I’m glad for you that your projects were at least finished enough that you know the editor who can go home and quarantine himself or herself to like, they can be like sweet. I have all the footage now we can do this. I can do this by myself. No problem. I hope so. Anyway.
Marie is premiering it rain dance in London.
Oh, so they got it done good on them. Good, excellent use of their quarantine time. They’re like I edited faster than I’ve ever edited in my life. Oh, man. Yeah, festivals right now are going to be like, very interesting. That’s why like earlier when I was talking about people who are like, the, you know, festivals, festival, movies are the ones that are gonna end up being our blockbusters of next year because you know, they’re done. And we don’t have to wait for them to be finished or whatnot. I mean, I’m sure There’s plenty of like billion dollar movies that like just needed some finishing touches, and then they’ll be released. But like, but at the same time, like I love the idea that there’ll be more opportunities for all sorts of like, different stuff. And like you said with the festivals that they’re like online now, because like, I don’t know, there’s just something interesting. I don’t know about you. I’ve, in the Austin Film Festival, I’ve done. I’ve hosted Q and A’s before, right. And when I host the Q and A’s, they send you the movies ahead of time, so that you can watch them and be prepared with questions and stuff for the q&a. And I love that. I know that I should probably be one of those people who’s like, I want to be in a movie theater with a million people and hear their laughter and stuff. But no, I love being alone, staring at a movie screen by myself, soaking it up with all of my deep emotions. You know what I mean? And like really getting into it.
So when I go
ahead of time, and then I get to meet the PMM. And then I get to meet the people that made them like, What? How is that not the best thing in the world? Like, then I get to go and go Hi, you’re the person who made this. Oh my god. Like, I don’t know. It’s just like the best I it’s my favorite.
It’s really bad though.
Yeah. Oh, man festivals.
I end up crying when I’m watching something really emotional. So how did you
Well, I mean, that being said, I have said this before, but like, I really feel like people who are creative, like, who are acting and who are going to be working on showing the breadth of emotion as an actor, actually have to have the ability to feel all those emotions that they’re there like, you know, emotional IQ has to be higher, so that they’re able to truly feel the breadth of emotions, even if they themselves have not personally gone through whatever it is. They they’re like vain is better, because it can really go I know what that will feel like and I will make. I will do this as an actor. So, yeah, I definitely cry real hard and laugh too loud because I am it also helps being one. I’m a comedy teacher because I’ll be teaching improv and sketch comedy. And so I laugh loud for my students. You know, I laugh loud in general. As a child, I was yelled at plenty of times for laughing too loud. But I also like to laugh loud for my students to support them. You know, they’ll hear me in the back. Oh, I heard you laughing Oh, good. I’m so glad.
Like every audience laughs leader. It’s like an audience needs permission to laugh. Yeah. Yeah,
totally. Yeah, absolutely. I always try to get a couple plants because I, when I teach improv, I teach one on one. So they’re the new, the the most new of all of them. Right? And I love them. I love them. I love a good terrible level one joke, or like, Oh, no, they’ve gone political so soon. And then you just watch it crumble and you’re like, Oh, no, but it’s great. I love it. I think it’s great. And at the end, I’m always like, I can’t believe you were so brave. Why would you talk about that? Like, just cuz it’s like, Hey, man, they spoke. I tell them all the time I go, Hey, if you say words, you win. You’re a winner. Hey, did it. But when I have their recital show, I get a few of my loud laughing friends and put them around the space. Like they can hear me. And I get this friend and that friend, Hey, could you come see my recital? And then I hear them go. Like, yeah, that’s right. So give them that support. They need it, right?
Yeah, yes. If they’re gonna continue doing it. They can’t walk out and feel terrible. It’s no good.
So you mentioned that you teach as well at Was it the rekindle studio in Seattle
rekindle school? Yeah, yeah, tell me about that. Such a great place. My friend Neil is one of the first directors I worked for. He started the school with the idea that we all are creative beings, and we need a chance to express that. So it is to rekindle your creativity. And he has every kind of art he teaches. Writing and acting and drawing and painting and stand up and everything. He’s got teachers to do everything. And he himself teaches a lot of the classes. He teaches the filmmaking and editing and some of the beginning acting classes. And then he teaches a class called let’s make a movie. And he writes and directs something for the students he has. And they all get to be part of a movie. And he’ll either put it up online or have it in a local festival. They’ll do a 48 with his students every year, also. So he gets them their first credits too, which is wonderful.
Yeah. I like that. I like the idea of like, actually getting it done. I find that if I hear anything from students who have taken various other classes, you know, they’ll they’ll be like, I just want to have something or like, like I you know, when I talk about my improv classes, having a recital show, there are a few theaters that I’ve heard of where like, if you after level one, you don’t get a show. I was like, This shows the whole point. The whole shows the thing oh
my god, you need to Yeah, they need to get up in front of a real Audience I mean, I guess it’s not quite a real audience. We’re like a recital, you know? Sure. I sometimes I feel that way in French theatre. I’m a little girl going to her ballet recital, because I know everybody in the audience sure, but
sometimes those audiences can be harder though.
Sometimes, but you’re still in front of an audience, which is really important. Yeah. There was actually something that was nice about doing Theater in New York was I didn’t know anybody out there. And for the first time, I had no stage fright. Hmm. And I realized that it’s not the audience, I have stage fright. It’s that one person I want to impress or care what they think. And so if I can figure out who it is who’s out there, that’s causing my stage fright. I can just dismiss it in my mind. Wow, and go on and not worry about it. But I learned a lot about stage fright by being in front of 500 strangers was easier than 14 people I knew. I feel
Exactly the same way. The larger the crowd if I can’t see their faces best, great. Give me a million no problem. I’ll talk in front of them right and see any of them. They’re just a big pile of color in front of me. And I’m like, What’s up everybody? Like, I don’t know. But you’re right, five people in a room and you see one guy kind of like, glanced at his phone, and you’re like, Oh, no, like,
it’s hard. Yeah. I mean, you can see if somebody doesn’t want to be there, or you see how many chairs filled up? You know, right. So it’s small theaters, like eight or 912. You know, like 50 people would be as many as we would have. But sometimes, you’ve got like 10 and it’s hard to build them all.
are like an improv where it’s to improv troupe One improv troupe performs for the other because nobody else came. Yeah. You know, like, while there’s 14 of us in each group, so we might as well watch.
Hey, that’s sometimes 14 is a big audience and a small theater doing a production of Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune. So I was playing Frankie, obviously. And we were rehearsing and then we were on break. And my team and I were talking about, well, at least, you know, it’s going to be a small theater and we said, hey, at least you know, there’ll be more audience members and people on stage because it’s only the two of us on stage.
Oh, man. Yeah, yeah, that’s a it’s always a comfort. You’re like, I just want there to be more of them. Maybe that’s why stand ups like it’s so much they’re like I had least there’s more people than just me
more so far. Oh my
So my son is starting to To prepare some stand up, go to open mics, the one who lives in New York. He grew up to sort of a theater and then he ended up studying accounting in college, but he wants to get back to doing some performing. And he’s thinking about stand up. So he was home visiting in Seattle, and we were asking about what he’s talking about. And he starts telling us the stories he’s going to tell. Now. I’m like, What? Wait, they’re all about us. They’re all about your parents. Yeah. Yeah. So he’s making fun of us in front of crowds here in New York are that’s the game plan. He hasn’t started yet. He’s still writing.
Is he in his 20s?
He’s very funny. No, is he in his 20s? Or within the 20s? Yes, yeah. 24 right on.
Yeah. Well, just because I was like, what else do you have to talk about except for your family when you’re in your early 20s like, you don’t have really like Any of your own life yet? I mean, you do but you know, there’s not enough to really sink your teeth into. That being said, My family is kind of a train wreck, and they think they’re hilarious. So when I did comedy, they’d be like, I am making funny family when you’re going up on that stage. I’m like, No, you’re tragic. Like, I’m not gonna be like, oh, guys, what do you think about 45 drunk family members? Is that fun? Hilarious. You guys, like whenever I know, you know what I mean? Like the ways that they think they’re funny
forming in the bar.
Or like, or like, what do you want me to make fun, like the family stories that we all laugh about? Were legitimately like, traumatic, like, terrible stories in which the elder members of our family were very drunk, and we and younger people had to save them. Like it was like, Guys, I get that it’s funny for us because we made it through the other side. I’d have that. But I’m not telling people these stories.
Like, you guys
will be arrested for child abuse like no, like, Oh my god, you know, it’s just like those things where they’re like, tell the story about how your grandmother has a voice she does when she gets real drunk and I was like, say that sentence again and try to hear it. Like no. So I hope that at least at least he told you the stories, right? If he told you the stories, they can’t be too bad. They can’t be like, Why Am I dying? I bought this terrible lady, my mom. It’s like funny, weird things that happen or ways that he is newly seeing the world that’s different.
We don’t really have a backyard yet. There’s six compost bins in the backyard. And then when he called me a hippie Jew, I took offense like I’m not a hippie. So the fourth thing That is funny. Family members not understanding each other. Okay, fine. It is so funny in front of the older generation, I guess.
Yeah, it’s the only way that like I said, it’s all it’s the only frame of reference. Yes. Right.
He actually now that he’s old enough, you know, he’s heard about people’s families, you know, from college, his college friends and so on. And he, you know, people, he was so funny, he was out late drinking with friends in New York, which they fit naturally here, but it was pretty late and didn’t spin out really likes my phone during that one. So no, it’s for him there and he said, Hey, I was out drinking with some friends and the topic came around to our mom. And I just wanted to say thanks for that seat plus upbringing. It was just what I needed.
Like Alright, let’s
Oh my god so funny. It is weird though those years where you kind of start realizing the world. Like, when I came out of the fog of the way my parents raised me and was like, wait, everybody’s not like this. Wait, what? Like I I only like certain things that my mom told us we had to do that we found out later like no one did we were like, What? No way. My mom was deeply political. And we were at rallies and hold held picket signs and handed out buttons and T shirts everywhere for our entire childhood. And I did not realize that wasn’t just what you did. I was like, What do you mean when you when you go home on the weekends, you and your mom don’t just go and stand in front of a building for all of Saturday with her friends. Is that not the I know what you do. What do you mean? How many? How many? How many envelopes? Can you do in an hour? What do you mean you don’t stuff? I’m, what do you mean? Like?
Like, Grace, just like little things
where you’re like, your parents didn’t have political dinner parties at your house, where people were screaming at each other about different points of view. That’s not regular. Oh, man. What is happening? You know what I mean? Like, but it’s funny how I love that he’s in that position right now where he’s like talking to other people. And he’s like, wait, everybody’s not like my mom. This is crazy. This is crazy. I have a theory of like, that we, our life goes in cycles, right? And it’s 18 year cycles. And it’s low. So like true, actually. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate you affirming me, because I really just think like, you know, like zero to 18 where our parents we learn from our parents, we do what they say we live The world they want to give us more like, Okay, great. And then 18 to 36 you’re like breaking down the walls and trying to create your own world. And then after you’re 36, you then have to live in the world that you created for yourself from 18 to 36. And
I find it hard. It is the hardest part.
Yeah, they make it seem like, you know, 18 or 36 would be hard. But it was like, No, man. It’s the it’s the later cycles that are the rough ones, because there’s no milestone.
There’s no like, you can’t undo. Right? Oh, and so whenever I get into economic, you know, times when things are a little tight or whatever, I’m like, why did I give up my engineering career? Because when which by now it’s like you realize it’s not flexible? I don’t have the choice of going back now.
Yeah. Oh, believe me. Absolutely. I was just thinking that the other day I was like, What skills do I have? I can teach theater hub. I have some skill. Oh, what’s gonna happen, you know, but, but yeah, I mean, I don’t know, I feel that like, as you get older though, if you look at it the right way you can be more have more ingenuity, you know, like, like you’ve seen a lot of stuff so you’re able to like, you know, solve a problem in a way that is different. But but I find that people in there, you know, like, like then like 36 to 36 to 54. That’s the tough one. And that’s when a lot of people have what they refer to as midlife crises, right? Because there’s
one, but here’s
the thing. I think we’re just not letting people go through their cycle. Would you be mad at like, like, every kid who turns 27 is like, Oh, I don’t know. I’m like, what’s my life like, and nobody’s mad at them? Right? When a kid turns like 15 he’s becomes a crazy different person than but we’re not like Oh, did He like so why not for when you get older when you’re between 36 and 54? Why not allow for some ups and downs there? Of course, they’re crazy sometimes and No, they’re not. Other times. They’re human. They’re just figuring it out. You know, it’s,
we’re, people were angry when I took up acting, no, it’s 40 when I took my first acting class, and people were angry. I wasn’t it. I had a friend tell me that I was being irresponsible about my family because I should be out earning money for them. Like we’re getting by, we’re not living in the street. You know, and even my husband who you know, was very supportive spouse, he even felt like, but you’re out at night. Now, why can’t you do this during the day? Because it doesn’t exist during the day. It’s a nightlife. And, you know, I’m limiting it as much as I can, but, you know, yes, it’s evenings and weekends. That’s the independent film world. So You know, so people kind of angry with me for changing the rules. But I felt like if I had always been an actor, if I’ve been an actor when I met him when I met everybody in my life right now, they will be cheering me on. Instead, they’re wondering when this dais is going to stop, right? Why don’t I get to change? Why don’t I get to learn something new?
You know, why don’t you get to evolve into another person every single time? I mean, like I said, You’re not, you know, you’re not mad with a 10 year old for not knowing what they’re gonna do in college, like, give people a break. Like, we need time to ebb and flow and become different people. You know why they’re mad?
this is my fairy. They’re mad because they can’t change. They’re mad because they don’t see that that their abilities to adjust things. They can’t widen their minds to the idea that something could work that doesn’t make sense to them, right? Everyone should be able to do whatever they want to do. And, and as far as making money and taking care of the family, you can figure it out. It’s just a matter of like juggling in a new and different way. I’m super glad one of your kids went into accounting. That’s gonna be helpful,
right? Like, yeah, well, the other one. The other ones, we talked to our engineers so great, but the accountant is rethinking it. He’s not sure this is the right thing for him. No one freaks out with this kid has 24. And he has a master’s in accounting. So, you know, we’ve plugged money into his education and everything. And he’s very well qualified to accounting. I mean, I’m not, we’re not knowing things, except that he might not want to do that right now, like, Oh, you should have known this earlier. So we didn’t send you to these. Cool, so whatever. It’s just like, Okay, well, that was part of the process of figuring out what he’s going to do for the next 1020 years. Whatever.
Right? Yeah, it’s that lack of ability that hardens adults that makes them feel like they have to, because you’re right, like so what he’s 24 that’s like six years into his second cycle, right? When you were 40, you were four years into your cycle. Heck, you do that you clearly You did the right thing. I mean, if if your son had done it four years in me, you know, maybe could have saved some money on grad school. You are so quick. You figured it out in four years and your new cycle, right? Like, you were like, Am I gonna be what’s this all about? especially to the point where, especially when you have kids, because you’re you, right? You’re you you grow up as a kid, then you’re an adult, right? Then you have kids, the kids part is a totally different vibe from other adult parts. So while you’re being a parent in that 18 year chunk, your personal ups and downs ebbs and flows have to be dictated by these other people. So when your kids grow up, you should absolutely be able to try some wild dream that you never thought you could before. You should be forced to. Because it’s like, okay, you don’t have to take care of these kids anymore. They’re fine. Let them be you find something new and different. learn a new skill, find something that will enrich you are enrich the world, whatever you think is more important for you right now. And go for it. Right. Otherwise, what are you doing? I’m still working at the same insurance company for 30 years. Great.
Good for you. Yeah, that’s, that’s beautiful. I mean, if people should be required at a certain point, you know, to Okay, two years, you’re gonna have to take two years off and do something else. You’re just gonna have to figure it out and you can come back because this is really what you want to do.
Absolutely. You can learn lessons, you can be like, Hey, you know what? I haven’t been working in accounting for two years, but I’m missing it. Give me that spreadsheet. I want it up. Great. Sweet. Hop on back. We’ll happy to take you right. As in the same way where it’s like, even creatively, right? A lot of us don’t do creative stuff. I haven’t. My kid is three. Right? I haven’t really done much as far as like performing or creating as much since I had him. I asked,
okay, you’re probably exhausted with a three year old. Yeah, absolutely. But at the same time, it’s like,
I don’t I don’t like hate myself or feel bad or think all of a sudden I’m not an actor or not a creative. No, of course I am. I still am. Just because I’ve taken this hiatus to focus on this other dude, who’s a great dude. I want to Spend some time with him right now he needs me to write, then go back and do it in the same way that any person should be able to try out other things. I also think, as a side note, that it would be interesting for people to truly experience other socio economic levels that they are not used to. Because it really, yeah, give you perspective.
One, yes. Interesting. My cousins all have more money than me. And so when I say to them, even the younger ones, like the children of my cousins, and if I say to them, well, it’s not really in the budget. In my budget right now, you know, I don’t say I don’t have money or whatever, because, you know, I have money, I manage it. That’s it. And so. Yeah, so that’s not really in the budget for this month, or for this year or whatever. They kind of look at me and they seem really shocked because they don’t hear that from their parents. Yeah. And they don’t feel about themselves.
Yeah, if you don’t understand that it’s going to be tough for you to understand it and other things like money is a is a great way to learn limits, right? And the idea of not having money in the budget is great, because it allows you to create limits. Like, the best part about not being able to buy everything I want is that sometimes I realized I don’t want it. Like,
like, Oh, actually, one of my favorite pieces of equipment on the film. Is that wheelchair they’re using for a dolly you know, it’s like, that’s an independent from making, you know, yeah, make it work.
Yeah, I got a guy. I got a friend who makes like props and stuff, and he’ll make anything you’ll be like, hey, I need this ridiculous, insane thing. And he’s like, Okay, give me a week and you’re like, great. Um, but he always has some Jerry rigs like that, where it’s like, Hey, we don’t technically have a problem. rigging hanging from the ceiling. Can we figure this out? And you’ll be like, yeah, hold on, okay, I got this. Like, we were doing comedy sketches. And he would hang himself from the ceiling, like over and over and over. And people were like, why does he keep doing it? We’re like, he’s got all the equipment. That’s why, like, he just wants to show off that he can. And he’ll like, put it all together. He’s safe. He’s fine. But like, you just never thought of it because it was like, oh, how do I do this? Well, he’s gonna grab this thing and connect it to that thing, but it doesn’t look safe. But it is because I’ve like tested stuff. I’ve been like, please do not hurt yourself. I cannot have you break your neck in the middle of a sketch comedy show. It’s not funny. But, but yeah, I love that kind of stuff. I love putting random things together and making it work. I think it’s so much better. So much better than the like highfalutin extra expensive stuff.
Oh my god. You’re sure Necessity is the mother of invention. Yeah, yeah, exactly. It’s fascinating how you get there when you when you don’t have something. And of course until you can do so many things, you can make it look like you’re falling off a cliff and all you’ve done is fallen onto a mattress you put on the floor.
Totally. Yeah, I know. Oh, man, that stuff is uh, I talked to a few people who did like stunt work and I’m all like, Oh my god, are you okay? You know, and they send me clips before I meet them. And it’s like, oh,
my God, I can’t believe you did that.
You know, like that kind of stuff that kind of like, I don’t see what happens past this section so they can fall anywhere. Oh my god. Or even like my favorite is like when people are climbing up on the shot is like them hanging off a building or whatever. And it’s really just them laying down. I love that. That’s my favorite.
That’s why I love that too. It’s so cool.
Oh, man. Um, a lot of times I’ll ask people, what a cool project that they’re working on that makes them excited. I know that you mentioned the play with the senator that you’re working on, which is super fun. But Have there been any other sort of like, creative things or projects you’ve given yourself while you’ve been sort of home and quarantined that you know, anything that you’ve been working on personally since you’ve been home?
I, I’ve actually been really busy with projects people have asked me to work on and teaching. I’ve been teaching over zoom. And although I have smaller classes over zoom, so more difficult to teach. There’s been a steady stream of students wanting to take classes and one of my friends I wrote a script, I guess we helped to write part of it about, about the COVID. And I think we’re not supposed to talk too much about it, but my character is having an internet date or zoom date, and how, you know, trying to have some sort of intimacy in the conversation over. Over zoom. Yeah. You know, how do you get to know somebody in that context, but it’s a comedy, so all kinds of funny things happen. You know, things falling and spilling and trying to get the camera Okay, wait, I can’t see you and things like that. And then another project is more serious project. I’m narrating a documentary film on auto Turk. So that’s, that’s fascinating. Cuz they don’t know that much about Turkey’s history.
Oh, well, hey, I mean, you don’t have to know you just have to read what they give you, right?
Yeah, yeah. So I’m learning a lot. So those projects have all sort of come together. And then when I’m not working on those three projects are teaching, I find I just really need downtime. It’s kind of like, you know, it’s it’s all working on the cells, it’s working alone, or you’re working over zoom, which seems the same as getting the energy from the people in the room, and I just need to know go out for a walk with my husband or something.
Yeah. Yeah. Plus, the extra hustle involved in our current sort of like, gig economy that is entertainment right now is a little bit more intense, because it’s like, yeah, we’re doing similarly things that we’ve been doing but there’s also this extra added level of tension and stress that we have to think about while we’re talking to these people, it’s like, we’re talking to you, and we’re having a great time. But the specter of death exists at all time. So it makes it a little bit harder. I think that’s like, weighs on us a little bit more as we’re trying to do stuff. Like, yeah, I taught some over zoom too. And it’s like, great. We have a wonderful time. But it’s like, at the end, when I say goodbye to them, like good luck. Stay safe. I’m like a, like, hang up. And I’m just like, Huh, I have to acknowledge the reality all of a sudden, like smacked in the face again.
Yeah, well, I’ve had some students who needed to miss a class, because they just didn’t feel up for it. Yeah. You know, they’re just feeling so disconnected to the world. They became depressed. And even, you know, we’re here. You think oh, but you get to be, you know, performing, at least for your few classmates on zoom. But that’s not enough. It’s not being in the same room. It’s not the same Unity, you don’t feel like you’ve really gotten to know somebody over zoom call, or I don’t feel that way.
Plus, like, I find that changing physical location has always been a great sort of like mindset changer. So like if I, if I had a tough day like a day job, but I still have to go to my improv class after just the sheer act of getting in my car and driving to the other location, and then getting out that downtime in between is a major help, you know, in between, whereas you’re sitting in your house, and then you’re sitting in your house, looking at your computer screen, and then you’re still sitting in your house. You just don’t get that sort of like, mental refresh. It’s almost like when you walk through a door and forget what you walked in for. It’s like a mental refresh. You know, like you saying, you want to go out for a walk totally. You got to check out you got to move around, getting a different location.
No yeah looking acting real human. Yeah, yeah,
absolutely talk to a person. Um, yeah, there’s a lot more hugging in my house than there used to be. We’re all like, Hey, can I have a hug? Yeah, okay. Are you You’re the classes that you’re teaching are you teaching acting or writing are both
from teaching acting on camera acting specifically. So I have commercial acting classes, monologue classes, scene study, audition classes, self tape classes. You know, whatever I can break up and make into a new class, I’ll ask my students. What do you want next? And they’ll tell me something they don’t know how to do. And sometimes I hadn’t thought of making a whole class out of that and I’ll go home design the curriculum and run it by the Head of School and there we are. Class. Love it. Love it.
Mental about payment.
I guess that’s been some creative work I’ve been doing is designing these classes. Yeah, that’s been a lot of fun. challenging. Yeah, for sure.
Yeah. Especially because it’s kind of a new medium to do it over zoom. like it’d be one thing if you’re creating syllabus for a class in person, but you’re creating a syllabus for a class where you’re going to be on video and you have to create intimacy, even though you’re all separate.
Right? Yeah, awesome. They have homework to self tape some things and send it to me. And then they don’t get to see each other’s work. Because if I showed all of that, I wouldn’t have much time to instruct them. Sure.
Yeah, exactly. Plus, like sometimes you’re like, Hey, man, I don’t need everybody here in my notes. She told me to change this, this and this. You don’t need to know
why see one thing I do is after I give feedback, I may send somebody that’s okay. So go out, meaning, you know, leave your computer and work on your own for five minutes to make sure you’ve got this for when we get back to you to try again. And I don’t say try again, the phone’s off when we get back to working with you again. So I, I found that I had to send people out. As I generally teach to our classes, I found that eight minutes is a perfect time for break in between the first hour and the second. Just all these little things you don’t think about before you start, you know, log on and start teaching on zoom. Yeah.
That’s a good tip. I like that eight minutes,
a minute, but it works. I mean, it’s 10 to 15 depending on, you know, the age of the students when I’m teaching in person, but on zoom, it’s always eight minutes. Hmm.
I like that. It’s an excellent tip. We’re all going to be teaching on zoom for a bit so you might as well use it right. I like that. I like it.
All right. Awesome. So,
one final question. Thank you so much, by the way for chatting with me. One, thank you. What is any advice that you would give to a person who is in your similar situation? And by that I mean, a person who later in their life decides, I’m going to I want to do acting stuff. What? How do I get involved with it? What do I do? Like they’re not gonna go to college and do it and I find that a lot of older people are intimidated to take like an improv class. But like, what’s the advice that you would give to somebody who’s 40? Who wants to get into acting right now?
Um, well first of all, do it because there are fewer and fewer roles as you get older. And starting at 40 you’re already going to find some slim pickings. For women, men, there’s still roles. As we always say, in acting, the roles are different for boys. But I would say do it start don’t don’t waste time. Get started right away and get to know like, if you’re interested in film, get to know filmmakers. And see, you know, create your own. Create your own projects. And likewise, if you’re doing theater, meet people in French theatre, create your own write your own or pair up with writers and work on ideas, and cast yourself. It gets you out there and also people see you the people who will be casting you see was one of their own. So after I made a couple short films, people saw me as filmmaker, and they would just call me up and offer a role in the film because they knew me. And they would think of me as they were writing or casting, and then feel like Oh, well. Cast Meredith in this Okay, then we’ll have auditions for others. rolls on this day. So you become part of the in crowd. And that’s the best way to get going. When you’re young, you can just go out and do showcases, and audition for people and it’s expected. But when you’re 40, you can’t show up in that same showcase. Air and like you said, You’re not going to go to college probably at that age. So go back to college and study acting, because it pays so well. It’s worth the investment. Probably not. Yes, yeah. Don’t do that to yourself. So find, find your find your tribe, whether it’s theater or film, and find people to work with and then the rest of that community will get to know you.
Yeah, that’s great. device that’s really awesome. People are always talking about trying to get in, you know, get into the crowd, get them to know you, but you’re right, like, make your own stuff, show them that you’re gonna be doing it. You’re You’re legit, you really want to be part of this. And then and then just, you know, being on the team.
Yeah, I love it. And also, if you’re able to show that you’re willing to come up with some money to split the cost. Often an independent film, the person who writes the script pays all the money. You know, it’s like, Well, why don’t we split it, the director wants to direct, you know, but it’s up to the producers and the writers to pay the if you come in and you’re like, Hey, I’ll be a producer. And here’s some money. Maybe it’s not as much as they’re putting in, but it’s something that shows goodwill, and that it’s not like you’re buying them respect, but you’re showing that you’re one of them. You’re putting something on line. Yeah, you’re contributing? Yeah, no and continue saving time and money are both important. It’s important to do most. And it’s okay. You don’t have to be a sugar moment here, but just a little contribution. It’s really appreciated. Even if they have the money for the project. They just appreciate the sentiment. Yeah.
That being said, if you’re somebody like the people we were talking about earlier, who, like, don’t understand what a budget is, and like, have plenty of money all the time, give a lot of money, get just take whatever you would spend in a month, give it to that film, because they’re going to need that. They’re going to need that. And if it doesn’t matter to you, hey, hey, go do it up.
Right? Well, hey, if you’ve got that kind of money, can somebody write you an amazing script and make you a lead? and get yourself out there? Yeah. And provide opportunities for all these other people while you’re at it? Totally. Right. Absolutely.
Doesn’t matter what level you’re at, you got money, but you’re trying to do it. This is what you can do to get yourself in. This is how you can show that you’re really want to help people give them opportunities, right? And if you don’t, well then great. Maybe you can be, you know, Jane of all trades and you’re like, Hey man, I don’t have two nickels buy a hotdog, but you know what I can do? I can hang lights, I can put makeup on people and I can act I’m available.
Yeah, and one thing I would do is I would donate a meal. So if I was an actor on the set, and they’ve got you know, sorting pizzas or something, you say, hey, what would you bring dinner tomorrow night. Great. How many people are vegetarians, any other things people can be dairy free, whatever. And you make a beautiful homemade meal that everybody can eat and tie what’s on sale in the grocery store, whatever. And bring it in the really appreciate it. So there’s a lot of things you can do that are just really simple and I used to do that because I would Cook with my kids. And then we’d all bring it together. And my kids would eat with a crew. And yeah, so it’s like so they had a sense of me when I wasn’t acting and have a mom. Yeah. And some of them would say, taking your kids come and be extras in my film. You know, the thing I could do for them, they couldn’t do for themselves. They didn’t have kids.
Absolutely. That’s fun.
Your kids are in a bunch of independent films too.
Well, thank you. They have IMDb pages. My oldest boy was in college. And there was no you know, no talk of that. from him. You know, he was studying software. And one of his friends found. A found his page. And of course, some of his friends from high school had written things like Oh, he’s so awesome. He’s so hot. It was just funny things, especially with the movie star and they clicked on some link and it brought them to the project page is a picture of my son sitting at a table at a family dinner. And there’s the nice on social media, his friend had tagged me and my son said, Do you have an explanation for this? No, explain yourself. This isn’t who you are.
We get to be lots of people in life. Embrace it. Don’t limit yourself to being one person. Be many people.
Hopefully we get to.
Absolutely. If we try, we open ourselves up to it.
Yeah. And if you open yourself up to it, it will happen. Yeah. Awesome.
Meredith, thank you so much for being on the podcast. Thank you for chatting with me. And exploring so many interesting topics. I really appreciate you being on the show.
It was a lot of fun talking with you Amy. Thank you for having me.
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