10/17/15 – Tips for Beginning Actors


I’ve been hard at work on working with BETA readers on my novel Song of Edmon http://www.songofedmon.com and of course working my daily acting checklist and goals.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose of this blog and making it more accessible as well as more focused. That has led me to the conclusion that I need to be of service in the words I write so that my updates aren’t just about what I’m up to, but provide good usable information. I don’t consider myself an expert in any topic. However, the things I do know a little about, like acting and writing, I can certainly speak at length about what “I wish I knew” when I was starting out. So every month, I’d like to put out there a tip for beginners who think they might want to act or pursue the arts.

This month I thought I’d start at the beginning- What I wish I’d known when I decided I wanted to be an actor was really how hard it was was going to be and that I would need a certain mindset to carry me.


The highest percentage of actors make less than $14,000 a year.

In college I took a class called “The business of acting.” It was one quarter my senior year and was supposed to cover basic things like getting headshots, how to interview for an agent, and finding your “type”. Those things are all useful, but at the same time, without any practical experience from actually living in Los Angeles and actually trying to do it, it was kind of a case of “in one ear, out the other.” The class had us read articles with glaring statistics regarding the percentage of actors that actually make a living (it’s frighteningly small), those statistics meant nothing to the young, invincible, faithful, hard-working students in the class. Even now, as someone who has been trying to work as an actor for years, statistics hold little value for me. It’s just impossible to fathom odds.

What I wish that class had really told me, in hindsight, (and this would be step one for anyone thinking of pursuing a career in the arts) is one needs to cultivate an attitude of positivity. The path to making money as an artist in the US is difficult. The government does not subsidize work and the playing field is glutted and the odds are not stacked in most peoples’ favors (unless one has a parent that is already extremely successful in the industry and they can help). There is so much out of one’s control. Rejection is a daily ritual. Most of the time one won’t even get to do what one wants- Act, because its contingent on others choosing to give the part. Over time, most people will not be building skills other than acting skills, but that won’t allow one to do anything but work in the service industry. Most of the acting jobs one gets actually have nothing to do with acting, but what one looks like, who one is related to, how tall one is, whatever. (Here’s a very truthful cracked article on the subject: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-awful-things-nobody-tells-you-about-being-actor/) And on and on… It’s hard. It’s so easy to be bitter when one has trained and worked hard and doesn’t have monetary or emotional success for long periods of time.

65627d9419e1d467abe113b855750ea6What pulls one through is a mental attitude that enjoys performing and finds joy in life even through the rejection and pain. A healthy detachment from material wealth and status is helpful. And the ability to be kind and smiling even when through being treated like garbage by life, or the person one is serving food to gives a lousy tip, or another parking ticket is left on the windshield. This is a whole lot easier said than done. But the fact is, survival depends on one’s level of “happiness” (for lack of a better word).Studies have shown that happy people tend to live healthier, longer, and more productive lives (http://www.healthline.com/health/happy-healthy-living).  And that’s for everyone, not just artists. But it’s doubly important for artists whose careers are absolutely dependent on creating vibrant working relationships. And people WANT to be around others that are happy and enjoying life. So it HAS to be a priority.

That’s what I wish I had known. To be an actor one has to work on their acting skills and their marketing and business, but even more, their mental attitude and happiness. It’s the number one priority. That healthline.com graphic is a pretty good starting place to put in place a foundation of cultivating a positive outlook and happy life. Next month, I’d like to talk about some concrete steps one can take to start laying that foundation. And from there move on to the more practical things like headshots etc.

As always, follow me on twitter – adam_mouthsoff@twitter.com
Hit Like, hit Subscribe, leave a comment if this was helpful.

Man stands between boulders on summit, arms out


8/17/15 – New Website – Hard Work – Rest Well deserved

Planet earthGreetings friends! I’m not much of a believer in astrology. It just doesn’t seem scientific – everyone born within the same thirty days has the same personality traits and or occurrences in their lives? That pretty much seems to fly in the face of what we now scientifically know of genetics and physics etc. Additionally, a lot of it seems sort of arbitrary. Okay people born in the month of April under the sign of Aries (like myself) are… Oh I don’t know dominant, firey, don’t like pain, etc. I can look at almost any Zodiac sign and see some commonalities with my own personality.

But a friend mentioned I should look at my horoscope for the month of August. On a whim I did. And lo and behold the online astrologers all said that this is an amazing time for Aries. I think this has something to do with Saturn being in my house this month or something. Regardless, I’m happy that I’ve had a fantastic month and perhaps shifts in the gravitational pull and planet alignment might have some minor affect on mood and behavior in the population and influence the outcome of things. I’ll take it.

Through the month of July and August I have –

  • Taken new headshots
  • Learned to video edit with new video software
  • Edited a new comedy reel
  • Edited a new drama reel
  • Took Voice Over class at Kalmenson & Kalmenson
  • Took the orientation for the Don LaFontaine VO Lab through SAG and completed three sessions in the Solo Booth
  • Queried Literary Agents
  • Continued to research Self- Publishing
  • Continued to rewrite/edit a draft of my novel
  • And I’ve redone my entire website and given it a whole new coat of paint which you are seeing here and at http://www.adamburch.net

I also finished two fantastic novels – Red Rising by Pierce Brown and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Both were incredible reads and will be turned into films. Both inspired me in my own writing and also let me know how far I have to go. Up next is the Lost City of Z, by David Grann.

I think it’s time to acknowledge my hard work, take stock and remind myself of how much farther I have to go, and open myself up to new adventures and what might come my way. Which is why I’m headed out of the country to Peru to explore the Amazon and Machu Picchu!

Bon Voyage and enjoy the new transformation here at http://www.adamburch.net

Machu Picchu (Peru)

Machu Picchu (Peru)

7/29/15 – Headshots Re-Cap

originalWhew. I was chilling in the hot-tub last night thinking about what I’ve accomplished this past month of July. The theme was re-vamp/reinvention as I posted a few weeks ago.

So far in just the last few weeks, I have edited together a new comedy reel, taken new headshots, took a VO Orientation at the Don LaFontaine VO lab through the SAG Foundation, had my first solo session in their booth, started VO Level 2 class at Kalmenson & Kalmenson, recorded some more tracks for the upcoming video game, Phantasm, auditioned for a couple of Episodic TV shows, and of course maintained my daily acting routine which includes reading an article a day, checking the Breakdowns, contacting casting directors, attending casting workshops, querying literary agents while reading about self-publishing.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish setting small daily goals and doing them consistently over time.

Now that my new photos and reels are in the mix, I do plan on revamping this web-site as well. The goal, as it has been for everything, has been to update the look and feel and bring it in line with a new direction. I’m looking to present something simple, but graphic, representing the specificity I am going for in my acting and writing. That is, a more comic, off-leading man vibe with my acting- from nerdy Big Bang theory, to sarcastic office guy/quippy lab tech. Writing-wise I am really focusing on my science fiction novel and have decided to place my screenwriting a bit on the back-burner. So with that I’ll leave you with an edit of my comedy reel and a few samples of my latest headshot session!


7/13/15 – Hiatus and Re-Vamp #1

Commercial HeadshotThey used to say that Madonna was the queen of “reinvention” because every few years she would release an album and she would have a whole new look and sound. I’m feeling like the process of me getting new headshots, creating new reels, and redoing this web-site is not unlike this process of reinvention (though I don’t plan on rocking a Marilyn Monroe homage wardrobe any time soon).

When told by various career counselors, managers, and casting folks that I needed to get specific I thought about what I would need as an artist just starting out. On the acting side I laid out these things – Specific Goal/Timeline, Headshots, Reel, Resume, Website, Demo, Classes, Targeted list of Contacts, Scenes for workshops, Self-Developed Projects, Agent/manager. A lot of these things I’ve built over the last couple of years, but now it was time to tear it down and start rebuilding it from scratch.

sign-picI’m going on a little hiatus to visit family as my sister gets married this week. During that time I will be resting, relaxing, disconnecting, but also (hopefully) just spending some quiet time listening to myself and where I want to go with this stuff. I’ve already begun the process a bit by booking a headshot session, taking VO workshops and the SAG Foundation and signing up at Kalmenson & Kalmenson for a second level VO class, I edited together a comedy reel, and shooting the first episode of a possible web-series. I’ve been querying literary agents for my book and also starting to read up on self-publishing. (you can check out the first chapter online at http://www.songofedmon.com). It’s good to feel proactive.

So, I’m off and looking forward to a little mini-vacation. For now I’ll leave this little reel I edited last night showcasing some of my comedy. All the best –

6/24/15- I’m a nerd. Nerds wear glasses!

New HeadshotGreetings fans and friends! Last week I talked about my pattern of being well-rounded and having a lot of talents and interests. (I’ve blogged in the past about polymaths like Leonardo who express genius in multiple fields). And I further talked about the deficiency lack of specificity this can sometimes lead to in terms of business and success.

I’ve been told by career counselors, casting, and agents that it’s time to get specific. In terms of acting career that means defining a “type”. In his book BLINK, author Malcom Gladwell talks about how human beings make split second decisions. This is an evolutionary adaptation that humans have evolved to be able to accurately assess a situation in an instant. For example “can I safely drink water at the watering hole without getting eaten by a lion?” or “can I trust this person, or do I need to run?”  For better or worse, we judge a book by its cover. And ninety percent of the time we are right!? Crazy?blink_malcom_gladwell

What that means in terms of business and success is again, specificity. People want to know exactly who you are and what you are selling in the “blink” of an eye. If they cannot, they move on to the next person or product.

I’m someone who has prided myself in my acting and my writing on my flexibility and versatility. I’ve played parts in things from the stolid warrior Richard the Lionheart in “The Lion in Winter”,  to the lovesick Romeo in “Rome and Juliet” to my last role, the whacky stuffed-shirt Mr. Collins in “Pride and Prejudice”. In my writing I’ve tried my hand at half-hour comedies, to feature length action/adventure scripts, to a Sci-Fi novel (check out http://www.songofedmon.com for a sample chapter of my work). Even just with my physical appearance and demeanor I kind of fall solidly in the middle between handsome lead and odd looking character.

Homer Simpson as Captain Everyman

Homer Simpson as Captain Everyman

I’m sort of an every-man. And that’s great because a lot of fantastic actors and writers working at the highest levels have this degree of flexibility. But I won’t ever be able to play at higher levels unless I get my foot in the door and with the arts being so competitive, the only way to stand out is to be specific and as original as possible.

I’m not someone who has liked to think about this a lot. I just have wanted to be myself and allow people to see me how they see me without trying to get caught too much in how I should present myself. But notes from casting and agents and managers I have met with have tended to lean towards a particular direction.

That direction seems to be comedy and characters that are slightly more nerds. I was initially resistant to this idea. “I get it, I’m a nerd! I like nerdy things! I’m not a super-model, but I’m not a very funny person, and I don’t gravitate toward comedy.” I don’t want to have to walk around with a messed up haircut pretending I’m one of the characters from the (much maligned in REAL nerd communities) “Big Bang Theory.” I’d like to stay in shape and healthy get a date once in a while, right?

But this isn’t personal. And if people see me as something, whether or not I feel that way in my heart, I can resist and continue to create dissonance, or I can try to embrace and give this reinvention a shot.

c_kent_vs_superman_a_herveetWhile swimming I thought, “This isn’t unlike Superman creating his Clark Kent persona,” (or vice versa if you prefer). As Superman, Clark created a symbol that stands out. When you see the S symbol there is an immediate graphic resonance with his powers, his attitude, and what he stands for. As Clark, Superman created the most unassuming, un-Superman-like persona he could think of to blend in and turn people’s attention away from him.

Ironically, what I need to do is create a Clark Kent that people actually like and want to pay attention to! This should be a lot easier for me, right? I’m already a nerd and certainly no Superman!

With that in mind, over the next few months I’ll be sort of revamping everything starting with my headshots to express a slightly more specific, perhaps charactery or nerdy look in the hopes that this will give people a clearer impression of me (and therefore lead to more auditions). The trick is to remain true to myself while accentuating my already nerdy/character qualities. I’ve set up an appointment for headshots already. Following that I will look at my Reel, my web-site, which classes I take, the casting offices I hit in workshops, my VO work, and even my writing. Reinvention is always important. And this should be an exciting and interesting challenge for me.

I did a google image search for “Nerd”. And the only defining characteristic across gender, race, and physical type is that all nerd pictures seem to have someone in glasses! I’ve never worn glasses before or needed to. Interesting…Clark_Kent_013




6/16/15 – Specificity Equals Success

divpie300I met with a career counselor recently and together we identified an old pattern of behavior for me. I love being creative in a lot of different areas. I write, I act, I play and sometime write music (guitar), I practice martial arts, I rock climb occasionally, I paint… I’m quite good at a lot of different things!  And even within those fields I tend to diversify. With acting I’m kind of equally skilled (I believe) with drama and comedy. With my writing I’ve written a Sci-Novel, a couple half-hour pilots, an action/adventure feature. Even within Martial Arts I’ve tried everything from Kendo, to Judo, to Wing Chun Kung Fu!

The_Qualities_of_Leonardo_da_Vinci_Mind_Map_by_Paul_Foreman-2000x0This pattern hearkens back to my youth when my parents would sign me up for trumpet classes, soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming, art class, singing in summer camp, acting at the local playhouse. I was pretty well rounded and did a lot of activities. The pattern is great because I can always entertain myself. If I get bored with one thing I can jump ship and try something else. I’m always creatively stimulated. (And diversification doesn’t hurt if we’re talking financial portfolio)

fitnes8The bad news is that success often comes with specificity, not generalization. Think about it. When you generally go to the doctor, sure, you see a general practitioner or internist, but when you need surgery, you go to a specialist in the particular area or expertise that’s needed. Athletes are the same. Those who excel in a particular sport train for that sport alone. So while P90X or Crossfit promote all-around fitness, in order to be at the top of the game in climbing or marathon running or whatever, one HAS to train for the specific sport in order to excel.

quick-tips-for-small-business-brandingThe same is true with acting and writing I’ve learned. People have to know exactly what category you fit in, at least until you are at the upper levels. Only then can you play with different types of roles and genres. So my counselor encouraged me to get specific about the niche I fill. I’ve always been an every-man. But Hollywood wants to know exactly who you are the moment they look at you. Whether or not it’s something I really love about the business, it’s the reality of the game. So to that end I’m embarking on a “Re-Branding” campaign. Hopefully in the coming months those changes will pop here on the web-site and lead to greater success.

This is all with the mind that eventually, with the success I gain from being specific, I can parlay that into exploring my diversity even more fully. But success comes first!

Commercial HeadshotI encourage you to write me, leave a comment below, tell me your success with finding your niche, or what you’ve done to “re-brand” yourself and get specific, no matter your profession or activity!

Helpful tips: I know that Dallas Travers and Kevin West’s Actor’s Network talks about these things heavily. SAG has now encorporated these principles into their free “Branding” Workshops through the Sag Foundation!

5/22/15 – Chapter 1

Yin-Yang-PlanetGreetings! This blog/website is mainly dedicated to my Acting and general thoughts, however, I also occasionally mention my writing.

At the end of my 35 Things for my 35th Birthday Challenge, I noted that I had launched the website for the full-length novel I have written- SONG OF EDMON

The project grew out of a Table-Top gaming experience I shared with some great friends. When the game ended, I wanted it to last so I kept writing and the book was born.

I worked long and hard on writing the novel and got feedback from my mentors and peers. I created the website and a facebook page to slowly build a fanbase-



I’m now pleased to share a full chapter with you all. The Prelude and Chapter 1:First Lyric may now be read or downloaded by clicking the icon in the upper right hand corner of the page at http://www.songofedmon.com.

Please read and if you enjoy, comment on the site. Please tell your friends and share if you would like to read more. It’s my great hope that you really like the story I have to tell and that someday soon I can share it in its entirety with you all.

I’m extremely proud and grateful for the work and deeply appreciative and humbled by any of you who take a few moments to read.

Thank you!

-AB BURCH- Commercial Headshot

5/13/15 – Birthday Challenge update 29-35/35

Commercial HeadshotI apologize to any of you who have been following my Birthday Challenge updates on here (maybe not many of you but still), for not posting sooner, but the last items on the list are a couple of the bigger things. I’m sorry I couldn’t do them all within the 35 days leading up to my birthday, but I did them, which is what counts right? So without further ado here are the last five challenges on my list followed by the total number!

Drama-Masks29. Go to a Friends’ show- So I wanted to complete this challenge earlier and I was going to see a production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead directed by my friend Matt Ritchey. However, the show overlapped with my own production of Pride and Prejudice as well as my work schedule and as it turned out, there was only one day where it would have been possible for me to see the show. Unfortunately I just couldn’t make it. So I suppose I completed this challenge by seeing my friends in several other things. I think it’s important to support each others’ work and it happens very rarely. So I saw Ms. Jennie Fahn, my co-star in Pride in Prejudice in her production of the original play “Grow a Pair of Wings” and went out to lunch afterward. Jennie did a great job playing an anxious Jewish mother (I can relate) . I saw my friend Samantha Barrios in her production of “Black Comedy” By Peter Shaffer at the Morgan-Wixon through May 24th. Sam sees almost everything I’m in and it was great to support her doing a fabulous job in this funny play. And I saw my college friend Ivy Khan play the lead in Rebecca Gilman’s drama “Boy Gets Girl”. Ivy was fantastic in the show. Also notable, I saw the production of “Immediate Family” a the Mark Taper Forum, playing through June 7th and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I highly recommend the production if you can catch it. So looks like I saw quite a bit of theatre in the past couple weeks.

PB200630. Write a speech for my sister’s wedding- My sister Lindsay is getting married in July. She wanted to include me in the wedding, but I”m not exactly Bride’s Maid material, and while her fiance is a great guy, his groomsmen are his best buddies and I don’t know him very well. So she asked me to officiate the wedding! That’s right, I am “marrying my sister” (fortunately to someone else). I’ll admit, I’m kind of terrified. What if I screw up? What if I am not funny or witty enough? What if I don’t please everyone? But this is happening right? I’m an actor, I can stand in front of a group and speak right? Well, not without a script. I’ve learned that as excited as my sister is to have a wedding, she’s not a planner. I think she’d prefer it just “happened” for her rather than having to plan every detail. So I went online and found a template of something to say. I registered as a minister in the Universal Life Church, and I went over the speech with my sister. We will probably have another session of checking in with each other so that everything I say is copacetic with her (she wants everything pretty vanilla as she’s gauging the crowd). But we did this during my 35 days leading up to turning 35. I better start memorizing now! the real question is can I please my mother who has MUCH stronger opinions about what I should say and hand wrote me four whole pages of notes and quotes. Sigh…

d78d1db446131. Tell Someone you love them- This was one that was just a whim. but I think it’s important to appreciate the folks in your life who are there for you and stick by you. I had it on my list and actually accomplished it and didn’t make a big deal about. I could have actually posted it earlier. But I’m going to give a shout out to my best friend Samantha Barrios who is incredibly kind, and loyal, and caring. She’s a special person and always listens without judgement and is open to others. I really appreciate her friendship and support that she has continued to give me over the years. Sam always ends every conversation with “I love you.” And makes it easy for me to say it right back to her “I love you, Sam.” – for all you do to support me and those you care about.

8532909234_d903430d55_b32. Try a Krav Maga Class- I’m a Black Sash in Wing Chun Kung Fu. But several years ago I quit and have been looking for something new. I tried a few other Wing Chun schools, Wu-shu/Shaolin Kung Fu, Kali/Escrima, and spent the last year getting a taste of Eagle Claw Kung Fu. Eagle Claw was pretty cool but it was hard being a beginner in a class that was focused heavily on repeating grading material over and over that was either review or not difficult for me to learn. The school was also a bit far for me and expensive, so I thought I might look for some other options. It was a little heavy on the “art” and not much on the “martial”, at least for me (since I couldn’t afford to buy into the more advanced classes which included sparring). So I thought I would try something new. There is a Krav Maga school within walking distance of work. Krav Maga is Israeli in origin, and since I have Jewish heritage, that’s kind of cool. It’s also strictly self-defense based so I figured at the very least I wouldn’t get bored doing forms. Each Martial Arts school has it’s own vibe. This place was fancy, like going to a high end 24 Hour fitness. They had three rooms, tons of instructors, showers, towels, and classes morning, midday, and night. A basic membership gets you unlimited access (except for the more advanced classes which you do have to graduate into). Each class was totally full with lots of people including women (which was nice to see). So on that end it’s pretty phenomenal compared to what I’ve experienced. I could even spar if I wanted in a controlled environment as long as I proved that I wasn’t totally spastic (something I would have had to pay DOUBLE for at the last Kung Fu school I was at). But at the same time, the place also felt like a well-oiled machine and I didn’t feel the “art” at all, and I guess I kind of like a mix of both. It’s curious how successful and clean this business was in comparison to the places I’ve been. But at the same time I did miss that I was a part of a lineage and a traditional art which kind of makes you feel like you are learning something special other than just jab, cross, front kick, round kick combinations (which you probably get to a degree anywhere). So I’m not sure what I will do if and when I decide to commit to a school again. Though I am leaning to continuing my Wing Chun training, albeit at a different location than I trained in before.

11018101_10152898248951903_2974355742246620227_n33. Go Skydiving- This has been on the list for a while. Movies like Point Break have made me want to experience this for a while. When I was 13-14 I saw the Power Rangers movie (yeah that’s right) and there was a skydiving sequence in the movie and I really wanted to be one of those skydving Power Rangers. So gave a shout out on facebook to see if anyone else wanted to go. My friend Deidre said she was interested, so we booked out session with Skydive Santa Barbara and this past Monday drove out to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Once we got there anxiety level was pretty high. Were we actually going to risk our lives? The 1980’s safety video starring the ZZ-Top bearded inventor of the tandem jump with the horribly synced audio did not assuage my fears. But as we suited up (I got the yellow suit- so I guess I was the Yellow ranger?) I played the jokester. During the photos and video interviews I was kind of hammy, because it was an easier way to shrug off the fear. We rode in a tiny airplane by the Santa Barbara coast up to 13,000 feet with just a clear piece of plexi-glass off to the left that let me see EVERYTHING. We opened up the panel and the instructor told me to sit on the edge. He said “ready” and before I even said “okay”, we were plumeting toward the Earth. the closest thing I can liken it to is drowning as wind rushes up your nose and you can’t breathe. There was a lot of screaming and thumbs-upping at the camera! Partly because it was fun and partly because it’s better than saying “Please don’t let me die”. Once the parachute deployed it was a peaceful coast to the ground. That was probably the coolest part of the experience I’d say, looking out as you calmly sail to the Earth. I wasn’t really afraid once the chute had deployed, even though really the landing is when injuries and mistakes could happen. It was a fun experience. I would do it again… maybe someday.

Machu Picchu (Peru)

Machu Picchu (Peru)

34. Plan a trip to Peru- So every year or two I like to go on a vacation. Last trip was Cancun. For whatever reason I haven’t really explored the United States very much. I much prefer to see other countries. There were several that I am interested in seeing- Nepal, China, Japan, Spain, Italy. But for whatever reason, I had it in my head to go to Peru and hike the Inca trail. My friend Hayden mentioned too that he wanted to get out of the country. I told him I was going to Peru and he was totally game. So we went and had some Peruvian food and discussed the things we wanted to do and then went back to his place and booked our flights. We have since also booked a tour that will explore the Amazon and hike the Inca trail. We will see Machu Pichu and we also plan on doing something a little crazy by going to an Ayahuasca ceremony. I’m really excited. this year has been about flourishing and opening myself to new experiences. Career-wise acting and writing is hard. I’m very good at those things but I make no money doing it. I wish I could translate my talent into an actual vocation. So often it feels like a closed door. But I am determined to not let the competitiveness inhibit me from living a full rich life replete with experiences, self discovery, and growth. That’s what this trip is about.

galaxies-colide-abstract-cg-cool-destruction-digital-art-fire-flames-planets-sci-fi-space-universe35. Launch the Book- I am a writer. I have a few irons in the fire right now, but none more personal or that I’m more proud of than my novel, Song of Edmon. The novel grew out of a role-playing game organized by my friend Philip and has been a wonderful project. I’ve never been published before and it was suggested to me that as I go through the final edits and try to connect with contacts who might take my work to an agent/publisher, I should begin building a fanbase. I started a website where some additional content is being displayed as well as a facebook page. I’m very excited to put this work out to the world to read and share. I think it’s really well written and is an exciting story. I’d love for you to check out the website- www.songofedmon.com and like the facebook page- www.facebook.com/songofedmon

I’m so proud of this challenge and that I’ve started off my 35th year being active, doing things, and experiencing some new things.  Here is the total list if you would like to see it all:

35 before 35 challenge list

  1. Use the Condo pool
  2. Write a poem
  3. Paint a picture for the bathroom
  4. Give to a cause
  5. Eat a new Cuisine
  6. Buy an item for the bookshelf
  7. Buy flowers for the apartment
  8. Use the condo hot tub
  9. Write a mentor
  10. Sell something on Ebay
  11. See a movie on my own
  12. Learn a song on the guitar
  13. Buy lunch for someone else
  14. Buy a chair for the bedroom
  15. Buy a shirt for myself
  16. Play an April fool’s joke
  17. Go rock Climbing
  18. Go a day without the cellphone
  19. Go for a picnic
  20. Go for a day hike
  21. Buy a bicycle
  22. Cook something new
  23. Learn a monolgue
  24. Restring the Fender Guitar
  25. Get a Massage
  26. Host a game night
  27. Ride the bicycle to work
  28. Hike to the Hollywood Sign
  29. Go see a friend’s play
  30. Write a speech for sister’s wedding
  31. tell someone you love them
  32. Take a Krav Maga Class
  33. Go Sky diving
  34. Plan a trip to Peru
  35. Launch Book Website



4/22/15 – Birthday Challenge Update – 23-28/35

Commercial HeadshotWell Sunday was my 35th Birthday. I have to say that this birthday was kind of  a let down for numerous reasons and left me with a depressed emotion. It wasn’t so much the fact that I was getting older as other circumstances surrounding it. Additionally, I totally cop to the fact that I have depression and things that happened definitely triggered it for me. But, I feel that for me the important thing is that my feelings do not deter me from trying to carry out things I plan for myself. With that, here is the latest on the 35 things for my 35th Birthday Challenge-

My roommate says I'm a regular Larry Oliver.

My roommate says I’m a regular Larry Oliver.

23. Learn a monologue from Hamlet – Ok I half-assed this one. I could have easily looked at the “To be, or not to be…” monologue from Shakespeare’s seminal work. I already mostly know it. And considering that I am doing all these tasks while working and rehearsing for a project, that might have been smart. Instead I looked at the “Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I!” monologue. I memorized perhaps the first beat of it. But crap if that isn’t a long monologue. So I’ll probably make this a longer term project and continue looking at it. I’ve committed some of it to memory, but would definitely need to spend more time than an hour one evening to get it all.

fender-dave-murray-stratocaster24. Restring your Fender – I have a Fender knock-off my sister won for me in some sort of drawing that was at a concert for a band named Third Rail, I believe. Along with the guitar, I also got some strings and a humbucker pick-up. So I thought, “Why not learn how to install it?) After watching a tutorial on how to restring a Fender (simple enough), I discovered that installing the humbucker was going to take cutting away the pick-guard to fit the pick up and the re-soldering the wires to make sure that the pick-up was electronically attached. I understand the principles and doesn’t look enormously hard, but I certainly have no cutting or sanding tool to dig into my pick-guard, nor have I ever soldered wires before. Hmm… this might be a project that takes some more time and effort than I thought. I can either re-string the guitar now and not worry about the pick-up, pay someone else too much to do it (Guitar Center), or keep it as a long term project to try to do. Not sure what I’ll do, but I did make the effort. So I’m counting it.

logo25. Get a massage – Finally a truly completed challenge. This was easy and something I’ve never really sought to do for myself. I am glad I did. I found a place in South Pasadena called the Massage Place which wasn’t exorbitant (like under $60 for an hour). My roommate gave me a little guff for not saying that I really preferred a female “massage therapist” (I had to look this up- masseur is a male, a masseuse is a female, and masseuse is apparently negative because they give more than just back rubs apparently). But I didn’t care I just wanted the best treatment to work out the knots. Of course I got a guy. It was cool though and got my back worked on. I think I may go back once every month or couple of months just to decompress. The price is totally worth it.

gamesnight26. Host a Game Night – This was kind of a bummer for me. I really wanted to host a role-playing/table top game. I bought this game “The Resistance” and to play it I would need five players. After sending out invites and gathering a group I was really excited. I bought appetizers and wine and cleaned the whole condo, only to have several people tell me they got the date incorrect or that they were under a work deadline and cancel at the last minute. I did not even have the requisite number of people to play the game. I suppose I can’t fault people for honest mistakes or unforeseen circumstances. I suppose what was a little more disappointing were people who didn’t even answer e-mails or scheduled things instead of (possibly before) coming to my little soiree. I read about them on facebook the next day. Regardless, this was a good exercise in letting go of expectations I have regarding others, and focusin on the fact that my friends Matt R., Samantha B, and Katy S. DID show up and we had an excellent time playing Cards Against Humanity. I love you guys!

fuji_sportif_15_13_z27. Ride your Bike to Work – This is a goal I’ve had for a long, long time. One of my tasks this birthday season was to buy a bike. So then of course I had to ride it to work! And I did. It definitely took my about ten minutes longer than driving and I felt a bit vulnerable cruising the streets of Downtown LA. I will not be able to ride as a commute regularly because I often have rehearsals after work or auditions across town during the day. I need access to my car. But on days where I have no commitments, this will be a nice break from the routine and a good way to save gas and exercise!


Hollywood sign from the back!

Wisdom Tree28. Hike to the Hollywood sign – I’ve lived in Los Angeles for almost 15 years now. I’ve hiked in Griffith Park numerous times but usually taken trails that sort of pass the Hollywood Sign at a distance and end up near the Observatory. So this time I sought out a path that would take me closer to the sign. I knew I didn’t have much time as had rehearsal before and my bud Matt R. had his Hollywood Pie Night event later that evening I was scheduled to attend. The path was actually pretty damn hard, and I’m in good shape. But I was rewarded with the bonus of the Wisdom Tree, a well-known local hiking landmark that I had not been expecting to pass on my journey, and then getting right behind the Hollywood Sign. I wanted to actually touch the sign but there were fences everywhere and time was short. All in all, a hike well worth it. I ended up running practically the 4 mile downhill return trip to make it to the pie night and a little free pie on my birthday.

Happy Birthday on Pie Night. Photo courtesy of Katie Roberts.

Happy Birthday on Pie Night. Photo courtesy of Katie Roberts.

4/15/15 – Birthday Challenge Update 17-22/35

Commercial HeadshotGoodness gracious. This Birthday Challenge has fallen WAY behind, but I can’t blame myself too much (although there is no one else to blame). Not only did I come down with a very powerful cold AGAIN which knocked me out of commission, I also have been busy doing Voiceover, working on a show, writing, and doing acting workshops! So all very cool productive things, but onward and upward with the Challenge.

The Challenge can no longer be 35 things BEFORE my 35th Birthday, but I still plan to accomplish most of these tasks. Here are things 17-22 of the 35.

The V2 I climbed was right where the Atari section is.

The V2 I climbed was right where the Atari section is.

17. Go Rock Climbing – I’ve been rock climbing before, but I haven’t really been able to go regularly. My ex was really into climbing but I could never really go with her consistently because her ex worked at her standard gym. Without a belayer, my options were limited. But that’s okay, because I really like Bouldering. So I went to the LAb(oulders). In Downtown. Started out great on a Friday afternoon. The place wasn’t packed. As I was there, this one girl with her boyfriend climbed up the wall. She called down “Come up little boy”. The guy tried to make the climb on this V2 and couldn’t do it. I looked at the problem and thought I could solve it. So I waited for them to leave and gave it a shot. It was clear that the first move was going to be the toughest and required me to go around an arete (I’m learning the turns). From there it would be a matter of using opposing pressure to shimmy my way up on the holds. I made the first move after some considerable effort and then sat there glorifying min my triumph. A guy watching me said “Nice job! It looks fun!” I responded “I’m just happy I got that first move and I’m almost thinking of quitting!” But he said “Go for it!” So I did and I made it and topped out! What a great feeling since I had only been doing V0’s and V1’s up until that point. Yeah I’m a newbie. Sue me. But I Made it. I completed some moves on a V3 before I left but I was pretty tired out and the place was getting super-crowded. But I definitely need to go back.

download18. A Day Without Cellphone Technology – This one was an interesting one and almost impossible. We are so tied to our phones not only being an actor and relying on it for work and emergencies, but also for a social aspect. I also use it as a clock since I hate wearing watches. But I woke up and check my e-mail once to make sure nothing was pressing and then shut it off and didn’t check all day until after sundown. It wasn’t that hard, but I still felt like it would have been better if I could have not had a computer or phone and just took off for parts unknown. Off the grid. Stop tracking my facebook FBI!

6617949613_642d2bd58819/20.  Go for a Picnic/Go for a Day Hike – It only made sense to combine these two since I was falling behind. So I went to the grocery store, bought a sandwich and an apple and headed to nearby Debs park for a hike on Easter Sunday. The park was packed, but the trails were actually nice and not many people on them. I stopped by the pojnd, ate my lunch, mind-mapped for a while (a thing I picked up from the book How to think Like Leonardo Da Vinci) and had a nice little day.

fuji_sportif_15_13_z21. Buy a Bike- Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while has been to buy a bike and ride it to work. I brought my old bike from my parents’ house in the Bay Area down south for this purpose and my bike was STOLEN from the supposedly “secure” parking garage in my condo facility. Anyway, riding a bike is just not practical for me. I’m never just commuting to work, but going to rehearsal or class after work, but I know that I can do it at least 1-2 days a week. So I went to the local bike shop and the bike I wanted in the right size needed to be assembled. So I waited a few days after the initial visit and then went back and got the bike and I’m excited to use it. This Sat. will be it’s first test run!

C-pork22. Cook Something New- I tend to cook a lot of the same things over and over. So when I got sick I really couldn’t do much, but I knew that I would be able to cook something new, even if it wasn’t totally gourmet. I went through the P90X2 Nutrition Guide and picked out a recipe for Porch Chops and pears and gave it a go. It actually tasted pretty good, but probably won’t become part of my staple diet. Still it was nice to try something new.

Until next time-

Chinese new year Goat 2015 greeting card