Sometimes it is difficult for us to proclaim when we are proud of ourselves. When we do, some view this as arrogant or self-absorbent, but in an industry that can tear us down, I believe it is important we build ourselves up. One of the ways we can do this is by sharing our experiences and truly celebrating our accomplishments as we walk on our individual paths. I would like to share my Valentine’s Day adventure, and what I learned about myself in the process.
I had the pleasure this Valentine’s Day to work on set for a commercial with an adorable 6-year-old kiddo, whom I will refer to as Ashley. It was so awesome; on this extensively commercialized day of boxed chocolates and teddy bears, I was fortunate enough to celebrate my love for acting by being on set. I am very grateful for the opportunity, and I learned a number of things on this day of shooting.
- I am really great with kids.
Any time that I am nannying and doubt my abilities, someone should slap me and shake me out of that doubt. Time and time again, I am reminded of how great I am with children. Ashley was a very well behaved child to begin with, so that always helps. The director was great with her, and it was wonderful to have her mother on set as well. However, it was awesome to rediscover that I think I have this way of talking to children that they truly appreciate. I talk to them as adults; and while they may not be adults, it is approaching them with a deep sense of respect, that in turn, makes them respect you even more.
For example, a quarter of the way through the shoot, Ashley would complain that her little feet hurt from standing so long; she kept whispering this to me, so I already knew I had her trust because she was confiding in me. Instead of telling her to “hang in there” or ignoring her, I would attempt to build her confidence and excitement. (Or my personal favorite, make her giggle until her next take by improvising bits with her or being silly characters). By distracting her from the fact that she would be standing for several more minutes, I helped take the attention away from something that was upsetting her, and allowed her to find joy in our silly moments together between takes. (Don’t get me wrong. I was not causing a ruckus on set – just making silly faces and being a kid again. A very well behaved, non-distracting kid.) I could tell these distractions really helped her while being on set for hours at a time. She was a real champion! Go Ashley!
- I am a really great director.
When working with Ashley, I realized I truly am a pretty great director. I noticed that children are not always able to “be happier” or “say that louder”; they need a more imaginative direction, in my opinion. This can apply to everyday life for children, too. Although they want you to respect and treat them like adults (to a degree. See #1.), they are also still children with beaming imaginations. I believe this is why improvisation can be so thrilling and fun as adults, because we are literally just stepping back into the imaginative way we used to think as children. So when talking with Ashley between takes (after my amazingly funny characters, of course), I would give her “if, then” scenarios to help her through direction she told me she “didn’t get”. For instance, she had to yell off to her Mommy (me. Yeah I know! How could Brooke possibly be going out for mother roles? I was thinking the same thing. #blessed #youngmom), and she needed to sound louder. So I suggested that she think she is upstairs, and her Mother is downstairs in the kitchen, so she better yell really loudly to make sure she can hear her! BAM! She got it.
- I am so grateful to be doing what I love.
This industry can be tough. Auditions (if we are grateful enough to get them!) can be daunting. Traffic to auditions can be ridiculous. Set times can be early, and even fall on Valentine’s Day. The letdown after you thought you BOOKED THAT SHIT can be heartbreaking. But you know what? We are choosing to do what we love, in what is quite possibly the most creative city on the planet. I meet new artists (film, music, paint, production, artists in all capacities) every day that inspire me by their love for their work and what they do. I continue to be humbled by this, and am constantly reminded of the beauty of this city and everyone surrounding me. So lets keep going, lets stay persistent, and continue to raise each other up and cheer each other on through the beauty of CREATING.