As expected, my inbox is filled with wonderful feedback on our final 100-Day Challenge of 2014. I’m sooo excited to celebrate you! Let’s dive in!
Thank you again for the encouragement. It’s nice to look back and see that you’ve taken solid steps forward, then turn back around, take a deep breath, and continue that forward motion!
Highlights from the past 100 days, plus some projects on the horizon:
- Femme Noir, my one-act play set in 1944, had a reading in New York, produced by The Naked Expedition Project, at TheaterLab NYC. We are currently casting the world premiere production, which will be held in Los Angeles this November as a part of GLO 2014. I just had a great meeting with the director, and I cannot wait to find the actors who are going to bring these characters to life. Thanks to Actors Access and Backstage for helping us with that quest, and to our executive producer Alexandria Dilks Pandola for making it happen!
- Sending you a virtual high-five from one recording studio to another! I know you recently completed your audiobook, and I just booked one.
- Two of my comedies, This Used to Be My Playground and Tofurkey Day, had readings in Los Angeles. Tofurkey Day also had a reading in the UK and was selected as Best of the Fest, Audience Choice in Florida. It will have a full production in LA this December as part of the Hard Candy Christmas festival. I have the story available as both a screenplay (short film) and a stage play.
- I was in a series of high-energy musical comedies alongside three talented, joyful, and supportive actors that made every day a blast.
- I completed 31 Plays in 31 Days, writing 31 distinct pieces in the month of August and emerging with 130+ pages of new material.
- I participated in readings of new musicals. I love being a part of the development process of new works and watching them grow.
- I performed in a variety of Los Angeles cabarets, singing about everything from wolves to Russia to psychosomatic symptoms.
- You Me & Her was screened in Norway, Belgium, and Temecula, California.
Goals for the next 100 days:
- Meet with potential agents. This SAG-AFTRA 18 TPY firecracker is eagerly seeking new representation!
- Continue to appreciate and embrace every audition as a chance to connect with others, show them what I can do, and embody that character, even if it’s just for five minutes.
- Find agents, directors, casting directors, and other artists that are just as eager to work with me as I am to work with them. Every project is a team effort; every set is built on the creativity, dedication, and dreams of many people.
- Remember to breathe.
Now I feel like getting two more* bulletin boards, one with the headline “In the past 100 days, I have…” and the other declaring, “In the next 100 days, I will…” — what I’ve done, and what I’m going to do next.
* I can’t use my existing bulletin board because both sides are covered in story beats and notes as I map out the television pilot I’m writing.
Time for a trip to Staples for MORE BULLETIN BOARDS! 🙂 I am so excited for you and thrilled to share these accomplishments and help celebrate all that’s still to come. You’re so awesome! Thank you for living large and sharing your toys!
You know I love me a good 100-day challenge. I wanted to share with you something that I learned during my last challenge (which ended September 19th). The challenge I had set for myself was to create a new reel. I had a plan: although I was away teaching at a summer program for most of the summer, I was going to spend that time writing my scenes and then when I got back, the team I had assembled and I would shoot the scenes by the end of August, so that they could be edited into a reel before September 19th.
Well, you know what they say about making plans. I came back, with my scenes written, only to discover that one of the locations I had written for was no longer available to me. Around the same time, I had my free mini-coaching session with you and, as a result of that coaching, I realized that the scenes I had written were not perfectly in my bullseye and on brand for me. The window that I had to shoot my material was closing (I was about to go into intensive rehearsal for a play) and I had to go back to the drawing board.
I met with my team and we set a new shoot date (it’s next week!) for after my play closed. At first this felt like a setback (I wouldn’t have my reel by September 19th!), but then things started to line up: I found a location that inspired an absolutely “on-brand” scene, my team has grown as result of the extra time and extra discussions, and now I feel confident that the shoot will be even more professional than I imagined (I even acquired an art director), and the play that I was in helped put me back in touch with the two fantastic actors who I will have the great pleasure of acting alongside in these scenes.
So, after all that, what is the moral of this story? 100-day challenges are a just another opportunity to practice that dichotomy that is so important to this career: be prepared and then let it go. Just like for any performance or audition, you do your homework so that you can be open to the surprises that the moment will bring, this 100-day challenge helped me do the necessary work to set the wheels in motion, but the relative low pressure (no one was waiting with an open hand for my new reel on September 19th) allowed me to be open to the new opportunities that emerged as a result of things not going according to plan.
Needless to say, I am SO excited to shoot next week. It’s a perfect way to begin this chunk of 100 days before 2015. As for my goals for this next 100 days? Find the rituals and habits that allow me to do the homework that I need to do in order to be ready for opportunities as they arise. It’s so easy to focus on the immediate, most important thing (the sides that need to be prepared, etc.), but I’m pretty sure I can find some rituals that help me to balance those things with the work that will build the foundation for bigger opportunities (researching for my show bible, sprucing up my website, self-submitting, daily craft work, daily writing practice, etc.).
I often begin the year with the resolution of doing these things on a regular basis, but it has never worked out because I never had a strategy. So my goal before 2015? Experiment with different strategies and find something that works.
Thank you, so much, for all you do!
Ms. Merkel, you are so awesome. I swear, you just light me up with your emails. I’m *glad* you shared this because you’re exactly right. The sublime dichotomy of our business is caring a lot *and* letting it alllllllll go.
I was thinking about you when I crafted this last 100-Day Challenge of 2014, so I’m thrilled you’ve written in. You are the poster child for the 100-Day Challenge, so make it count, hon, despite the speedbumps. I was telling one of my private coaching clients just Wednesday that the way *I* make my 100-Day Challenges WORK is by cutting them into 10 10-Day Challenges.
That way, there’s no failure I can’t scoop right back up, a week and a half later.
Ten 10-Day Challenges is also powerful because you get to try out various ways to build in systems that can make all the difference. Try breaking down these remaining days of 2014 into mini-challenges within the bigger whole. I bet you’ll be writing me again with some really fantastic goals (do-able goals) for 2015.
Hi Bonnie. How are you?
I hope you had a great summer. I certainly did!
So, I did (actually, I am still in the middle of doing it) my 100-day challenge. I am very happy about how I am organizing my career. The concept of challenging ourselves is truly powerful. Thank you.
I decided to embark myself in this 100-day challenge cruise ship with the clear intention of becoming more active/proactive and less shy about putting myself out there.
First things first: I went through so many articles you wrote through the years because I needed (and I still need) to understand better and better all the various concepts and aspects of this industry. I read and read and outlined the most important passages.
I had new headshots done. They look great and I am happy about them.
I check religiously Actors Access every single day and I throw myself at the newsagent every single Thursday to get Backstage.
Resumé: oh well… God bless your feng shui technique. My resumé looks so much better, lighter, fresh.
I still send my pics, cover letter, and resumé to agents and sometimes I overdo it (I admit that) but… I am aware of it!!! Hahaha.
Results? I got cast in a lead role in a commercial for a bank and I am rehearsing for an off-Broadway musical (my first musical ever — that is a challenge for me).
I audition every week. I take care of myself, as I always did.
I know that the road is long and not easy. I have to work on so many aspects: I have a thick Italian accent, sometimes I feel totally lost, I have to work on my work permit, and blah blah blah… but, hey, I am here… challenging myself.
Thank you, dear.
What a wonderful email! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing run of good work and great results! Thrilling stuff! 🙂
Stay awesome and finish the year strong, always keeping in mind that there are those things you *can* control and those you cannot. You already have some significant results in the “can’t control” area which tells me you’re doing great work with those things you can control.
Keep at it! I can’t wait to hear how this year rounds out for you. 🙂
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001877.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.