4 Amazing Lessons I Learned This Past Year That Will Empower You!

4 Amazing Lessons I Learned This Past Year That Will Empower You!

For the last few years I've kept a tradition of sharing things I've learned on my birthday. The number of items on my list always correlates with the number of my age. I'm beginning to think that might not be the best idea as I get older.  Not only do a lot of things get repeated but I realized that it's going to take longer and longer to create the lists - and your girl is getting busy with life! So I'm just going to keep the list to 4 of the most important lessons of the past year.

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5 Unexpected Ways to Reach Your Goals From TED

5 Unexpected Ways to Reach Your Goals From TED

At the end of every year I reflect on the past year and spend time dreaming about the future. Dreaming about the future has to be one of my most favorite things. In fact, it's one of my top 5 strengths from the Strengths finders test. My husband and I both love it so much that when we were first married we would have these things called "dream dates" when we would go on a date and just dream and make plans for the future. 14 years later we still do it - but we tend to grab a few minutes at the dining room table in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life...but dreaming we shall do!

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What I Use to Create My Film and Video Projects

What I Use to Create My Film and Video Projects

I have been creating online content since 2009. It started as a creative outlet to help me deal with the craziness of raising three little ones and continued to become a way of self expression and artistic growth. I had to teach myself how to use a DSLR camera, how to edit and how to deal with lighting. I remember sitting in front of my computer for hours trying to figure out how to use the latest version of Imovie or Final Cut Pro to create my videos. I understand that it can be intimidating when it comes to choosing the right equipment for your video projects, especially if you will be using it yourself. Thankfully technology has become more affordable and accessible and a person who is willing to put in the work and hone their craft can take advantage of what is available to us. 

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The Biggest Mistake I Made When Self Producing Projects

The Biggest Mistake I Made When Self Producing Projects

I have been self producing my own projects for the past decade. From plays, short films, online content and a web series. Each project had its own set of challenges, set backs and life lessons. I'll be honest, I've cried over some of the hard lessons I've learned. Sometimes I was left feeling depressed and other times I've had the chance to experience life long dreams of walking red carpets and getting festival nominations. However, over all these years there is one lesson that stands out above the rest when it comes to producing projects.

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3 SIMPLE TIPS FOR YOUR NEXT VISION BOARD THAT YOU HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF.

3 SIMPLE TIPS FOR YOUR NEXT VISION BOARD THAT YOU HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF.

I'm pretty sure that everyone and their mom are talking about the importance of vision boards this time of year. The fact is they are talking about them because they work. Anyone who has created a vision board and used it has had crazy awesome things happen in their lives. I'm one of those people! This year I simple wrote down and taped my goals to the side of my book shelf next to my desk. I was truly surprised at how many things came to pass for me this year. I hope that these few tips help you along your vision board journey.

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Artist Interview with Actor and Youtuber Ransom Pugh

Artist Interview with Actor and Youtuber Ransom Pugh

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend actor, producer and Youtuber Ransom Pugh! As usual we got into a really great conversation that spanned all across the globe of topics.

Ransom shared his current journey with acting and even moving into producing his own work. He also shares his newest endeavor of following his love for health and fitness as well as gaming and starting a Youtube channel. His channel is called Muscle and Magicka and has grown very quickly over the past year to thousands of subscribers!

In a place where you can't watch but want to listen? No worries! I got you covered!

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Artist Interview with Videographer Kristen Achziger of Kindred Cinema

I'm really excited to share with you today's interview with Kristen Achzigar of Kindred Cinema. I found Kristen on Instagram a few months ago and I was literally drawn in by the name "Kindred Cinema". I'll give you a little back story about why I love the word "kindred". When I was younger I always felt a little bit...different than everyone else. I was a dreamer since I was a little one. My mom introduced me to Anne of Green Gables and I will be ever grateful to her for that. Anne was a witty, incredibly smart, fire-y girl who was an orphan and later adopted. She was very different from everyone around her. In one of the books Anne meets another girl and they become great friends - best friends actually. Anne refers to her as her "kindred spirit". Ever since I found out about kindred spirits, I've always been on the look out for them.

I can tell you something for sure - I've found a kindred spirit in Kristen.

I'm so glad we had an opportunity to talk. We had a ton of technical issues but we didn't let that stop us! I think you will find great encouragement in this interview. Kristen literally shares step by step how God called her into this beautiful world of brandstory videos. I love that Kristen shared with us the DETAILS of her journey. I've always hated when people just share their triumphs in life - Kristen shares the ups AND the downs of being a young woman trying to follow the passion that God has called her too. Sometimes it's so hard to figure out what we are supposed to do after we get "the call" or "the idea" planted inside of us.

What I learned about dreams.

What I learned from this conversation with Kristen is that it's important not to talk ourselves out of what we know we are supposed to do by trying to figure out the how all the time. Yes the how is important when breaking down goals or making a cake but when it comes to life the how isn't always so clear. Sometimes it's about diving in and figuring out the how along the way.

Just like automatic doors don't open until you step right up to them, our dreams don't make sense until we start taking steps towards them.

One of my favorite stories in the bible is in Joshua 3 where God tells the people to cross the Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant. Now this time of year the Jordan River was  flooded so it was extra deep. The people of Israel were in the millions with children, tents, and animals that had to cross the river. You can imagine that when God told them to cross the river they might have been a bit perplexed at how this thing was going to happen. But when the priests obeyed and listened this is what happened:

"Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground." 

The water didn't move until their feet touched the edge of the water.

Sometimes that's what it's like when we have something burning in our hearts to do.

Listen to Kristen's story. I think it will encourage your heart if you are struggling with something in your heart to do and you have no idea how it's going to happen.

If you want to learn more about Kristen and what she does check out her website or her Instagram.

Share your dream.

What are some of the dreams that are burning in your heart that you've been afraid to start on?

Want to listen instead of watch? I've got you covered there too! Just click on the link below!

Artist Interview with Mr. Tim Swain (Author, Speaker, Poet)

 

"Get ready and God will meet you where you are." -Tim Swain

I had the pleasure of interviewing a good friend and fellow creative Mr. Tim Swain

This interview was jammed packed with real life advice on how to live a creative life and make change with your art.

Tim Swain is an author, speaker and poet who is also a co-founder of Ghana 360 where he takes young black men on trips to Africa for leadership development.

I met Tim Swain and his lovely wife, Tia in 2011 while working with the Impact Movement where we were commissioned to work on preparing a summer theater mission project and later got to perform at the National Conference in New Orleans later that year.


Sometimes the enemy of greatness is doing that which is good." - Dr. Miles Monroe

If you want to listen instead of watch that's cool. I got you covered. Just click the play button below. Please go visit Mr. Tim Swain at mrtimswain.com and hit him up on twitter at @mrtimswain.

 

 

 

Lost Premiere

Lost Premiere

This past weekend was amazing! In addition to the leaves turning all kinds of gorgeous colors we had the premiere of Lost! We had a really good turn out and lots of support for the film. It's always nerve racking to see a film for the first time with an audience but this audience was so awesome! I know it must sound crazy if you're not an actor to hear that actors don't always know what the entire film looks like. As an actor you really come in just to do the scenes that you are needed for and otherwise, you are not on set. So it was really cool to see the entire film come together. 

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The Watered Seed Short Film

My amazing cousin convinced me to shoot a short film for the 2016 American Black Film Festival McDonald's Short film Competition. This year the theme had to do with community. The inspiration was the phrase "Roots run deep."

And so being the great cousin I am I said "Are you crazy? It's in like two weeks!"

No I'm joking. I just thought that in my head. But I'm glad I shut that voice up and went on the adventure with m cousin. She wrote the first draft and together we tweaked and massaged it into a story we both liked. However disaster struck the night before when our camera guy had to pull out because of work.

Stupid work.

So my cousin and I rolled up our sleeves and decided that we were going to shoot and edit this thing ourselves! And so we did! We dove into the filmmaking process together with my actor friend and a friend who agreed to do make up. We hauled the kids around in my truck getting props and setting up the location. 

We did get some help on the first edit and then I took over and finished it up. I was so scared! Together we talked over face time watching and re-watching the film, adding music, and eventually writing and editing the voice over that made the piece really cohesive.

I'm SO PROUD of us! Self Producing work really is such an amazing experience! Every time I think back on what we did I get this surge of the "WE CAN ROCK THIS!" spirit.

90 seconds and I smile every time.

On Set With My Little One (Eli Lilly Shoot)

Growing up I never really thought that I would have artsy kids. I seemed to be the one who was most drawn to the arts as a career path over my siblings (who are both super creative but work in the medical and technical fields.) I always told myself that I would never force my kids into being creative if the wanted to do something else.

Much to my surprise (but no one else's) my kids are very creative and even come with me on acting jobs every now and then.

It's always a unique experience to have your child on set with you while you are acting. You have to rely on the help of others to keep your child busy and safe while you are running scenes. It's actually secretly quite stressful for me because I have to not only be a professional but I have to be a mother at the same time. It's hard enough being one of these alone! lol!

Last week my son and I had the opportunity to work together for a shoot for Eli Lilly. He is the type of kid that needs a little time to warm up and get talking. But once he's comfortable he will be the one to experience the most joy out whatever he is doing.

If you ever have to bring a child on set with you while you are acting here are my top 3 tips:

1. Always bring your own snacks

On set we were provided yummy authentic tacos from a local restaurant. But I brought my son his own lunch because I didn't want to risk him being picky, not eating and then getting crabby. I knew that as talent I wouldn't be able to just leave anytime I wanted. I even packed a few extra granola bars for myself. I'm glad I did because it ended up being a 12 hour day!

2. Trust that you know what your kid needs

Getting my son to warm up is not something that can be forced. No kid likes to be forced to do anything much less interact with adults and people that they don't know before they are ready. Being a kid actor isn't easy and it's a delicate balance of work and play. The other kids on set were more ready to open up and play. The director was so kind to spend the time to get to know my son and connect with him on different things. As a result I saw a self-confidence come out of my son that made me so proud. He ended up showing the director and DP some really beautiful acting work in the end. 

3. Stay calm no matter what

There were several times during the day that I wanted to let my worry overtake me. But I had to keep it together and stay focused. I  used a few tricks I've learned to stay positive while we worked around my son's scenes. In the past I would have spoken to myself in a negative manner, beaten myself up or worse which would have affected my performance and my son.

Instead I talked to myself in a positive way and kept trying to look for the good in the day while keeping gratitude at the fore front of my mind. It was very hard for me mind you. Earlier one of the other older actors made my son cry by telling him that he was costing everyone money by not doing his job. I'm still fighting my mama bear emotions just typing this!

Just remember that kids are still emotionally connected to you even if there is no umbilical cord. They feed off of your emotions and they want you to be happy. If you are not happy they can sense that and it affects them as well.

We want everyone to be happy on set day.

My son was on set because the other actors pulled out at the last minute. Acting isn't something my son aspires to do. So it's especially important if your child wants to pursue acting that you keep things light and fun. You don't want them to associate negativity and stress with being on set. 

In the end we are getting paid to play and pretend. What's more fun than that?

5 Reasons You Should Stop Comparing Yourself to Others Now

5 Reasons You Should Stop Comparing Yourself to Others Now

We all know that comparison is the thief of joy but it also is the thief of time. Time is our most precious commodity and we can’t get it back once it’s gone. Comparison eats up your time by causing you to spend time focusing on others in a negative way. Scrolling through social media sites looking at what others are doing and wishing your life was more like theirs takes up serious time! 

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2016 Indiana Black Expo

2016 Indiana Black Expo

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to the 2016 Indiana Black Expo downtown at the Indianapolis Convention Center. It was an amazing event and I was really pleased with the exhibitions.

The prior weekend I went to the first Indiana Black Expo Film Festival in which I had the opportunity to be a participant. Our short film Moving Still was accepted into the festival among other wonderful films that covered the topic #yourlifematters.

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Being a Team on Set

Being a Team on Set

I used to work at the hospital as a wellness coach and a health screener. I absolutely loved my job. It was a job that I could actually envision myself working at for a really long time. When we would go into the hospital locations I would get such a sense of team work from the hospital staff. Most people were there had a positive and generous attitude towards their jobs. There are lives at stake after all.

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