02 April, 2014

...and in my NEXT life...

Hallo, all!

2nd April, 2014.

 Yes, another incarnation of my blog. For reasons that would take me too long to explain (and you don't want to read about, anyway), I've had to start up an entirely new blog. I wasn't able to export any of my old posts, so I had to copy-paste into new posts here, instead. The original date will be at the top of the post...the formatting might be off (including pictures, videos, links), but I haven't had a chance to go into all 50-something posts to correct everything just yet.

was able to glance through them all and noticed just how much I've changed in the past few years. Everyone does, but it still came as a bit of a shock.

One change that affects the blog: I've stopped making this about just my career. I don't get too terribly personal, mind you. Names are rarely mentioned...certain events or moments might be vaguely spoken about...but it's no longer just about the Business of Show these days.

I wear lots of different hats. I'm a multifaceted person, and the blog will reflect that. There's more to me than just being an actor or singer...so much more.

I am still learning.

~Michelangelo, 1562.


15 February, 2014

My last post of 2013 was a list of my resolutions--dares, challenges, and promises that I have difficulties with, but knew I could still accomplish.

Every month or so, I'll come back here and re-examine that list. You will hold me accountable to the promises I've made. You are my accountabili-buddy, whether you like it or not.

It's Bagel Day! Yes, it's Bagel Day! B-b-b-b-b-b-b-b Bagel Day!

06 February, 2014


(From the BBC series Maid Marian and Her Merry Men.)

Here at work (Deluxe Media, to refresh your memory), Thursdays are Bagel Day. (Also fresh fruit. But I devour the bagel days before my fruit is even touched.)

And every Thursday morning, as soon as I step off the elevator and smell the fresh baked carb-loaded goodness, I start singing that song--substituting "bagel" for "pancake," of course.

Every. Single. Thursday.

My co-workers love me. ;)

I choose the jalapeno cheddar and add garden veggie shmear, in case you're wondering.

For my American friends: in the  British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is also known as "Pancake Day," due to the tradition of eating pancakes on that day.

I could care less about shriving on a Tuesday. But I can get down with some Pancake Days.

P-p-p-p-p-p-p-p- Pancake Day!

A Many-Splendoured Thing?

20 January, 2014

One of my resolutions this year was to "dare to love."

What does that even mean?

Yes, I meant it as a general form of love...to open my heart to friends and family and even strangers; to accept love as much as give it. But, of course, I also meant love in its romantic form.

Which is even more terrifying, to me.

It's been a while. And I've often felt through the years that not only was it not meant for me, but that I wasn't really capable of it.

Do I still think that's true?

New Beginnings and Dares.

31 December, 2013

"A Toast! To new beginnings … " - Lang Leav 

This year seems to have flown by. But every year seems that way, doesn't it? At least, every year as an adult. I remember thinking the years just dragged when I was younger... is it just me?

At any rate, twenty-thirteen is leaving us and twenty-fourteen can't wait to come in. There've been some good, some bad, some downright ugly and painful things that happened this past year. But some beautiful memories and hard-learned lessons, as well. 

My Mister Man

19 February, 2012

The lights went out. Pitch black in a warehouse in Brooklyn. The silence was just as severe.

My heart was racing, which matched the sudden sounds of a man huffing, trying to catch his breath. It seemed an interminable moment...but then a light came on.

And there he was.

Thus began one of the most amazing nights of theatre I have ever experienced.

The Way Things Are

08 November, 2012

First, you *must* say that like the mice from the movie BABE. Had the darnedest time trying to find a clip, and could only manage this one; it's at the beginning, though, so that's something, at least:

The Way Things Are!

This blog is only about today. And you'll have to forgive my tenses. I go from past to present way too often, but I'm too tired to edit and proofread. Only have energy enough to add in this little warning and an apology: I'm sorry for my atrocious grammar and writing tonight.

Here's my day:

My Heart Is Stone, and Still It Trembles.

Well, here it is. My long-awaited LES MIZ blog. In the words of Eponine, 
"Well, I told you I'd do it--told you I'd do it!"

Sooooo many thoughts, which is part of the reason I've taken so long to 
write this. That, and my folks were in town...and I got sick. I'm still recovering
 from my cold and am feeling unnervingly dizzy today, but it's a day off. 
Therefore, things need to get done. Important things like laundry, cooking, 
cleaning, groceries, taking care of Ella, writing blog posts, and posting 
holiday photos to Facebook. Dizziness Be Damned.

And now: Les Miserables. (I try to warn you of spoilers when I remember,
 but really...if you don't know the story by now, you deserve to not be 
warned. :p )

(Look for the links, in blue and green. There's quite a few--have fun with that. Ha!)

I had some trepidation about seeing this. 

For years, this was THE musical for me. "Obsessed" doesn't even begin to cover it. 
Oh, I loved, listened, adored, watched other musicals...but LES MIZ was IT
And Eponine was my Dream Role. I read the book (the entire thing) twice in 
7th grade, and again in 8th. I know adults who still haven't read it. The 
looks on my teachers' faces as I pulled that out during downtime was 
priceless--but they got used to it. I was an odd kid.

Summer Sunday and a Year...

09 June, 2013

...(I guess I like it fine, so far.)

(By the way, Rothdell Trail, AKA "Love Street," is just a few miles up the road from me! I haven't visited it, or the Country Store, yet.)

This post is all about Los Angeles. And me. And dating...and how they all complement each other. 

The Art of Doing Remarkable Things

31 October, 2011


Okay, so much has happened, and I've got several blogs to write in order to get it all in. But for now, I'm skipping all of that and sharing something with you. This isn't just for artists, by the way--it's for everyone.

I have a few gurus in my life.

~Bonnie Gillespie.  

I've posted and shared many of her columns from The Actor's Voice. I finally got to meet her in person when I started her 5-week class, Self-Management for Actors. (It's a life-and-career-changing experience, and the timing was perfect. The first class started 3 days after I moved  to LA! If you're not in LA, you can now take the class, too. She's taking it on tour in 2012, so make sure you keep up to date, to see if she's in a city near you. But not only that, you can Get A-listed, no matter where you live! There's nothing like this out there anywhere and believe me when I tell you that if you want to skip all the BS and time-and-money wasters: YOU. NEED. TO. ENROLL. You want to work and have an actual acting career? Take this course. You want to *look* like you're working on a career and never get anywhere? Do what everyone else in this business does. I promise you will not regret signing up...and you'll save yourself years of frustration.)

Ha-ha--maybe I should do PR for her! Well, I *am* still looking for a job... ;)  (Don't worry, Bon, I won't hit you up with that one...yet!)

By the way, her columns are great for non-actors, too, especially if you want to understand more of the business and what we go through. But if you don't want to go through her many, many columns just to find the ones that would be good for you to read, I suggest at least reading these:

~Mark McGuinness

--love him. Check him out at Wishful Thinking and Lateral Action. (Sign up for his free 26-week course The Creative Pathfinder. He has a lot of free ebooks, as well as his blog, but one of my faves is "Time Management for Creative People.")

~Steven Pressfield. 

The War of Art.  Do the Work.  'nuff said.

Mark and Steven have gotten together a couple of times for "conversations," and you can hear/read them here:




If you can't listen to the MP3 now, download it for later--it's definitely worth it. It's about an hour long--there's supposed to be a transcript of it, but I can't find it. :p I've left a comment, though, so Mark will probably get back to me within a couple days.

Thought you guys might like to listen, too. :) Steven talks very candidly about certain times of his life before realizing what Resistance did to him--and does to all of us.

The things I like about all three of my gurus is that they're wonderful--fabulous!--for us Creative Weenie Types, as my dad calls us. :D  But they also help those *not* in a creative business or frame of mind. Even Bonnie's columns, I've often found, could be translated into other businesses/parts of  life.

It just seems that we CWTs need a bit more help in pushing through Resistance (or realizing that we're a BUSINESS and not just an ART) than others might.


christa. :)

Cannon Fodder: The Vlog

26 September, 2011

Because babbling in writing just isn't good enough. ;)

Cannon Fodder: The Vlog

Yep, I added a bunch of annotations and captions. I thought doing a video would be faster than writing.

I was wrong.

So very, very wrong.

Ready for the Magic!

16 May, 2011


Yeah, it's been a rough couple o' months. A rough year, even. One of these days I'll talk more about how I feel and how I'm working on getting out of my Cave. But not right now.

Right now, I'm writing authors and agents and directors and casting directors, inquiring about submissions. Across the pond, as usual. :) I can't help it--that's where I've always felt was my home, and my sensibilities are much more in line with what's coming out of the entertainment industry over there.

I don't hear back from people very often, but when I do, it's always from someone in the UK or Ireland. If anyone's going to take the time to reply to an unknown actor, it'll be someone from the British Isles. Maybe I'll blog about various theories as to why that is some other day. ;)

Today, I started the Do What Matters Challenge! I came across a tweet mentioning it yesterday--just in time, as they started today. I suppose it doesn't really matter if you start at the same time, but I procrastinate a lot, so if I put it off to start later, who knows when I'd actually begin?!

I didn't get to my emails till late in the day, though, so Day 1 wasn't super-productive. I learned more about the challenge and about each of the three systems, though, which was my #1 goal. (After chiropractor and errands, that is!)

Tuesdays and Thursdays will be tough, since those are the days I nanny for 10-11 hours. I'll set smaller goals for those days (and days where I have a lot of appointments), and do what I can. When I find another Survival Job, I'll re-organize my days and weeks, but I won't worry about that until it happens.

My goals:

1) To be able to write my screenplay WILD GEESE for an hour (to start), 3-5 times a week

2) To catch up with correspondence/organize inbox/implement an email system

3) To catch up on my Creative Pathfinder lessons

4) To notice when I'm distracted, and immediately be able to continue on with what I was meant to be doing

5) To find a system that works for me.

6) To manage my time much better

7) To relieve the guilt & stress that occurs when I don't accomplish my goals and to-do lists

8) To update my blog more regularly

9) To find extra time to devote to genealogy

10) To be able to have a day off--from everything, even emails--WITHOUT feeling guilty or stressed out!

I think those are pretty good goals...and do-able, too. That's on top of all the other things I do, but ehhh, whatever.

Hey! Did you know David Mamet started out as an actor? I didn't, either, until I picked up his book True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor.  (And damn, I wish I hadn't bought it on impulse at a certain book superstore, and waited till I got home and ordered it cheaper on Amazon! I also picked up Michael Caine's Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making. Again, for not that cheap.)

What pulled me in to Mamet's book, though, was the very first sentence in the first chapter: "As actors, we spend most of our time nauseated, confused, guilty." Oh, my GOD, I thought. Is he stalking me and taking notes or something? I read on: "We are lost and ashamed of it; confused because we don't know what to do and have too much information, none of which can be acted upon; and guilty because we feel we are not doing our job."

I shut the book and bought it. Rest assured I will be sharing many, many nuggets of fantastic information from these books!

Oh, I also downloaded Do the Work to the Kindle on my Droid...I haven't even started it yet, and I've had it several weeks already! (Queen of Procratination and Distractions! I will become Princess of Doing Quite a Lot in no time, though!) Download it now--it's free until the 20th!

Okay, peeps...I gots to get to bed. Another loooooong day tomorrow. Someday soon, my looooong days will all be on set, where they never feel long, and I never feel exhausted. Doing what you love is magical, isn't it?

I'm ready for that magic.

Waffling, Rambling, Stream-of-Conscious Zombie Talk

10 April, 2011

Been doin' a lot of thinking lately. Not a lot of doin', though.

My mind's been in such a bad state lately, that I decided to re-do my Vision Board. I figured it would help me focus, and remind me why I go through the things I go through.

Here 'tis:

[caption id="attachment_389" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Vision Board: 2011"][/caption]
It's divided into categories, like my last one. Those categories are: Career; A Few People I Want to Work With; Family & Friends; Who I Am/My Spirit; Causes; Leisure/Personal.

It did help. Let's hope I can now act on my dreams again, instead of falling back into my Cave.

As Anatole France said, "To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act."  And, "It is by acts and not ideas that people live."  I've got the dreaming down pat, that's for sure! I've lived in my own little world for as long as I can remember. It used to help me cope with the "real world," but now it just makes it harder and harder to actually live in the real world. It's depressing to wake up and see what my life is actually like, instead of what I fantasize my life to be.

I'm still in Denver. I'm neither in LA nor the British Isles.

I have 4 Survival Jobs just to make ends meet. Believe me, if I could have just one, I would. In a heartbeat. I'm exhausted, strained, miserable, and bitchy. But I still have to find time to write, audition, network, keep up with what's being cast and who's casting it, be sociable with friends and family, do the chores, spend time with the hubby, take care of the dog, etc. And I'm the type of person who wears a mask. Yeah...that smile you see on my face ALL THE TIME? It's not real. Well, not always, anyway. I just feel that people expect me to be the happy, strong one. I've been doing that since I was a teenager, and therefore, I have no clue how to deal with my anger, depression, anxiety, and frustration. I'm working on it--I've got a great therapist! She always gets on me for saying what I really feel, but with a smile on my face and in a peppy voice. But that's a step in the right direction--I'm actually voicing my frustration!

So let me voice some frustrations now.

I am an Air Force Brat. I am from Everywhere and No Where. I have officially been in this state for 6.25 years, and that's not only the longest I've lived anywhere in my entire life, it's also about 3.5 years TOO long. I've been trying to move for about 4 years now, but I can't. I'm here because I have to be. My husband currently makes the most money, and though we've discussed living in separate states or countries, I can't do that, because I can't afford it.

It's not that I don't like Denver or Colorado. I get the Moving Bug every couple of years...AND this is never where I pictured myself settling down. And now that I've been here 6 years, I know this isn't where I want to settle down. (Sorry, but the dry weather and altitude are torture for me...my skin, hair, lungs, and allergies. Give me a cloudy day and rain at sea level!)

I make the most of the industry where I live, whether it's in Belgium or Texas. I want to see the places where I live succeed. I want good things to happen to Denver. I want more films to come our way. I want money for our industry HERE! And I do what I can to help that along, however small my contributions.

But I'm not staying. As soon as I am able to, I'm outta here. My husband's folks have settled here, so it's not like I'd never come back. My folks are currently living here, but I don't see that lasting more than 5 years--they're like me!

I. Do. Not. Get. Work. In. This. Town.   I. Do. Not. Get. Cast. I will rarely work for free anymore, and that's what's being offered to me.  I don't need credits to build up my resume. I'm obviously not the type they look for here. I've seen who gets cast in the roles I audition for (mostly commercials), and they tend to cast a Mom-type with less personality. I'm aware that I have a big-ish personality, even when I'm just standing there. It's not what's wanted here, and that's fine. Sure, it's incredibly frustrating and sometimes I just want to give up.

But I can't. This career is something I've been working on, slowly and steadily, since I was 12. It's the only thing I've wanted, and I can't give that up. I'd regret it, and would probably spend the rest of my days as a hollow shell. This is what I live for, this is what I breathe.

I finally decided that if I want to work, I have to create it myself. I first tried with MILE HIGH LACI, which is now, finally, in post. This could be a whole other blog about why it took so long and why I'm maybe not so thrilled to be working with Denver talent anymore. (I would never write that blog, though. You'll just have to wait for my memoirs, That's What She Said by Christa Cannon.)

I've moved on to my first short film, WILD GEESE. It will be shot in Ireland. The talent (aside from me) will come from overseas (hopefully Scotland & Ireland, if I get the folks I want). The director is a London-based Aussie. But I have Denver to thank for that--I met Tom at the Denver Film Fest and we really hit it off. He does amazing work, and I was so in love with his film. I took a shot and asked him to direct mine, and to my pleasure and surprise, he accepted. My own sensibilities are much more in line with what's being shot in the British Isles, and if I can create this first step to getting over there, maybe I won't need to come back right away. :)  (Here's hoping!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I have a lot to learn, in all aspects of my chosen field--acting, singing, writing. I've also decided that I'm going to learn more post-production stuffs this year, and to shoot my own (experimental, unscripted) film (not the above-mentioned short). I'm going to get better at editing...not perfect, but have a better grasp of it than the minimal basics I know now. I love hearing what others have to say, learning from what they've done and seen. I hope to continue learning until the day I die. I don't expect praise for everything I do...but it would be nice to be noticed.

It would be even better to get paid. Decently.

I'm not able to go to as many screenings or events as I'd like to. What keeps me from attending those events is money. It keeps me from classes, trendy clothes for auditions, concerts, live theatre, after-parties, etc. If it says "free," I'm usually there, unless I'm exhausted and can't be around people. I hate to admit that, but it's the truth. I is po'. My new clothes come from hand-me-downs every couple of years. Do you have any idea how much that hurts my pride? Knowing that if I'm going to have anything new or fashionable, I have to wait a few years for someone else to throw the damn thing out? Money is a BIG issue for me. So is time. So is exhausting myself to the point of being a zombie, which I feel like 24-7.

I sleep horribly through the night. I was diagnosed with slight ADD about a year ago, thank God. I say "thank God," because now I'm on Adderall. For the first time in 20 years, I can stay awake through the day without needing a nap to get me through. But that still doesn't help me sleep at night. And that's another story...one I'm too frustrated to get into right now. I have to figure out what to do for dinner, anyway.

SO. When you ask me how I'm doing, I will always--ALWAYS--put a gigantic smile on my face and say, "I'm great! How are you?"

You now know that I am lying through my teeth. But you'll never get another answer.

Things I Didn't Learn in Kindergarten

04 January, 2011

Too often we focus on what went wrong, instead of what went right--or what good things came out of the perceived "wrong" things. For my first post of 2011, I'm going to take stock of the past year and share just some of the many, many things I learned. Maybe you'll learn something, too...or at least get a chuckle or two. :)

1) I can be pretty lazy about some things, I admit that. But I am not lazy about taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, or choosing to open my own doors (when available) instead of going through the automatic doors.

2) Opening my own doors instead of waiting for them to open for me creates a whole new world of opportunity.

3) The Xbox Kinect is amazing. Specifically, the Your Shape Fitness video. It friggin' rawks! I'm now working out at least 3 times a week, and finish myworkouts with a Zen Class (tai chi/yoga). My goal was to start working out 3-4 times a week, and go up to 4-5. I've been doing this for about a month now and so far, so good. This program really makes things easy, but it still works you HARD!

4) My baby girl Ella (the Jack Russell Terrier) is chubby! We've put her on a diet and will start going for more walks, which will also help out Mummy.

[caption id="attachment_360" align="aligncenter" width="180" caption="She poses just like her Mummy, too. (I'm serious.)"]

5)  I've learned that I can't manage time...but I can manage myself.

6) If you want something done, you really do have to do it yourself. I don't care what it is--websites, meeting people, thank-you cards, dinner, gigs, a short-film-to-be-shot-in-Ireland-Summer-2011-and-hopefully-star-me-with-my-favourite-actor...just do it yourself!

7) Being in an international movie doesn't necessarily open more doors. But it does teach a lot of lessons!

8 ) I love premieres and red carpet events, whether I'm on the carpet or not!

9) Go to every event you can--you never know who you're going to meet.

[caption id="attachment_336" align="aligncenter" width="180" caption="That's me with Danny Freaking Boyle!!!!!!!! (And bad lighting.)"][/caption]

10) Having one Survival Job on top of acting/singing/auditioning/writing/producing/etc. is hard. Having three is ridiculous. And unfortunately necessary right now.

11) Some people have expressed admiration for what I'm doing--going after what I really want in life. Some people think I'm a fool. Some people think I'm successful...still others think I'm a big fat failure. No matter what I do, I can't please everyone. I've got to just keep doing what I think is best for me.

12) Being married to me can't be easy! But my fantastic husband loves me the way I am...without running out the door screaming. Well, not often, anyway. ;)

13) I really don't like the fact that people from Jersey Shore make way more money than I do.

14) If I'm having a bad day, this site makes things a whole heckuva lot better. Also this site. And this one!

15) I have pretty good ideas. I need to follow through with them a lot better than I have been.

16) "Art is the only way to run away without leaving home." ~ Twyla Tharp

17) "Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

18) Life is too short. Make it count, and stop trying to do what you think other people think you should do. One of my good friends recently found out she has leukemia and is going through wicked rounds of chemo. Here are her words of wisdom: "Celebrate life! It's easy to forget how precious it is, but that's what these life-changing moments are for and I hope and pray that none of you have to go through one to realize that. Here's to a happy healthy 2011. Now let's all celebrate each day and not sweat the small things :-)"

18) "Experience is the teacher of all things." ~Julius Caesar

19) "When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there." ~Zig Ziglar

20) Nobody wants to see you try. They want to see you DO. "Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." ~ Yoda.

21) People will not read long blogs.
I wish you peace, prosperity, contentment, joy in all things for the coming year!

Thank you for reading...and thank you, as always, for your support. :)

Fests, Readings, and Geese

11 December, 2010

Howdy, howdy!

It's been a bit since I actually gave you guys an update, so that's what I'm doing!

The past couple of months have been ca-razy! I was able to attend several events at the Denver Film Fest, including red carpets, after-parties, late-night lounge festivities, premieres, and filmings.

The opening night film was RABBIT HOLE, and both John Cameron Mitchell

[caption id="attachment_332" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="JCM, Britta Erickson (Denver Film Fest), Aaron Eckhart"][/caption]

(the director) and Aaron Eckhart were there. (Most of these photos were taken

by my friend Tobias, by the way--great shots, huh? Much better than my camera phone!) Aaron Eckhart accepted a Best Actor award before the show, so that was pretty awesome to watch. :)

[caption id="attachment_333" align="alignright" width="300" caption="John Cameron Mitchell!"][/caption]

I've been a fan of JCM since he was on Broadway as Dickon in The Secret Garden. I just love his voice! Oddly enough, he's one gay guy I did not have a crush on.

Here he is singing one of my favourite songs, "Wicked Little Town," from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It was an off-Broadway musical he created and then brought it to the screen. (Sidenote: I dragged my husband to see this when we were dating, and he sat calmly through the entire show. He must've really liked me, because Hedwig is SO not his cup o' tea!)

ANYWAY! I met a great Aussie (based in London) who was invited to show his short at the fest. (That's how good it is!) More on him later! We hung out all night at the after-party, had a great time, and all exchanged contact info so we could meet up again during the fest.

[caption id="attachment_335" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Britaney, Me, and Tom!"][/caption]

Uh, I also had managed to get myself a flat tire that night, so Brit, Tobias, and Wesley graciously helped me change it at 2 in the morning. Red carpets and flat tires--my life in a nutshell!

[caption id="attachment_330" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="How many artsy-fartsy types does it take to change a tire? Answer: Just one, if you've got Brit! And check out those gams of hers, too!"][/caption]

A couple nights later, 127 Hours premiered, and Aron Ralston himself introduced the film. Danny Boyle was also supposed to be there at that time, but his flight was delayed. (They also ended up losing his luggage, but that's another story!) I loved this film--it's a must-see for me. But I love Danny Boyle, so maybe I'm biased. :)

[caption id="attachment_337" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Tom and I at the entrance to Jet club--we got caught by the "paparazzi." I totally wasn't ready for it, and forgot to take off my jacket! Found this pic at Denver mag's website! "][/caption]

The next day, I went to the Afternoon with Danny Boyle, where he received the Governor's Award and had a Q&A session. I then got a chance to chat with him...I dragged Tom with me, since Tom had done visual effects on Danny's film, Sunshine (starring my celebrity crush). I figured I'd have a better chance to talk with him if Tom was also there. So they chatted a bit about Sunshine, and Tom's film. Danny Boyle asked about it and Tom gave him a copy of the film and he seemed genuinely interested in it. I also gave him my business card (I'm sure it ended up in a trash can or stuffed in the bottom of a suitcase, but I had to try!) and grabbed a picture! The lighting is terrible...gives me lots of extra wrinkles and blobs on my face:

[caption id="attachment_336" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="That's me with Danny Freaking Boyle!!!!!!!! He looks thrilled, doesn't he? Poor guy."][/caption]
And while we're on the subject...Tom's film!!! Amazing. Sometimes the Moon is Velvet is the type of film I've always wanted to be a part of. It's visually stunning, has a great story, great actors...what more do you need, really? I am the proud owner of a copy of his film, but I've only had the chance to show it off to my parents so far. :)It was definitely one of the favourite shorts at the Denver Fest. (The gown was made by the same people who did costuming for Atonement. Yes--the gal who made The Green Dress made Tom's dress, too!)

Then the last night of the fest was Black Swan...we went to the closing party, and then to my favourite place in Denver, The Cruise Room...a little martini bar that opened up the day after Prohibition was repealed...and kept the same decor!

[caption id="attachment_328" align="alignleft" width="216" caption="I may have sneaked onto the Red Carpet before 127 Hours...or I may not have. "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_331" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Cruisers: Britaney, Tom, Deb, Me, Tobias"][/caption]

All in all, it was a TON o' fun! I paid for all those late nights, though...came down with a cold for the first time in years. :( Good thing I'm not a heavy drinker--it would've been a lot worse!


Before Tom left to head back to England, I asked him if he'd be willing to read my treatment for the short film (WILD GEESE)  I'd started writing last year. I also asked if he'd be willing to direct, if he liked the story. He said he'd be "keen" to read it...and after reading it, said he'd also like to direct! I was so nervous--the elements that originally led me to writing this I started to second-guess, but he said to definitely keep those in. He also thinks it'll be easy to get funding, which would be marvelous. I'm busy writing the first draft...and hope to have gthe second draft almost complete by the end of this year. I only have a few more weeks, though...so I may not get the second draft finished.

My biggest goal is to have my favourite actor attached, and to film near Galway next summer. I was always going to try to get that actor, but now I have a way in (I'll explain more in several months. Keeping my cards close for now.) ...so it's a bit more of a reality and a bit less of a fantasy now! Send good juju! If we get him attached, we'd definitely be able to get funding--and possibly more than we'd get without him.

I'd also like to get Joseph Mawle, who was in Tom's short. He'd be great for the other male character. There's only 2 guys, a girl, and a baby. Small cast. :)

I'll admit I'm a little scared! This is all totally outside of my level of comfort...but that's the only way we learn and grow, right? And it's also the best way for me to work and to get seen. I don't plan on making any money on it--that's virtually impossible with shorts. It's a story I originally conceived a few years ago, and finally decided I'd make it. It can have a prequel or sequel as a feature, if anyone's interested enough, but that's not my goal right now.

I'm doing it to actually tell the story, to get myself started doing stuff like this, to show what I can do, to open doors elsewhere.

It's set in 1691 Ireland, near Galway. And that's all I'll say for now! Except that this is very similar to the cottage I picture in my head:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="785" caption="Rain Clouds, Ireland, 1999 by George McLachlan www.georgemclachlan.ca"][/caption]

Coincidentally (or not), this cottage is near Clarinbridge,  just east of Galway. Who knows? Maybe this is where I'll film! I actually came across George's site looking for a background to use for my family blog/website. George had painted the Old Castle Lachlan, on the ancestral lands of my husband's family. I started looking at his other (gorgeous) work, and came across this!


I was recently chosen to participate in a reading of a new musical being written. It's called "3/22/72," about the day women were equal, pot was practically legal, and contraceptives could be sold to singles. I played Gabi, an underground punk musician who idolizes Jayne County, and Firefly, a far-out-there hippie chick. It was pretty darn cool getting to take a peek at a work-in-progress. It was also pretty darn cool getting to play characters I don't usually do, and I loved it! I got some good feedback on it so was pretty proud of myself, too. :)


Right-i-o...I think this is more than long enough. Sorry!

Till next time...

So Your Kid's Got Talent, Huh? (or Kidz in the Biz!) Part III

06 December, 2010

You've made it to my final piece on getting your child into show business...or at least seriously considering getting them into it, anyway. :) Congratulations! I know I can waffle on, so this is no minor feat!

I'm going to talk a bit about scams in this one, and it's very important that you pay attention to that! But first, I'll open up with this link from a book called Kids Acting for Brain Surgeons: Everything You Need to Know to Get Your Kid Into Show Business.

I only read part of the excerpt...to read the whole book, you'll need to find it at your local library or Amazon or the like.

Basically, it reminds you that acting is WORK, first and foremost. It's a BUSINESS. It's not glamour and glitz. It's at times gut-wrenching and disappointing... It also has several good questions to ask yourself, as well as your child.


Something really important that I need to discuss is SCAMS. They're everywhere in our daily life, but for aspiring actors, they seem to abound, no matter where you turn. They're a major trap that many people fall into. When you see or hear anything—an email, a website, a radio commercial, an audition ad—question it! Read up on it! DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! These people rake in thousands and thousands of dollars every month from innocent, unsuspecting people.

Promises to get you that audition for the Disney channel, to get you seen by the Nickelodeon VP, to get in the next Adam Sandler movie...they'll use anything to get you in the door. And once you're in the door, they'll tell you that you or your child has great potential—they've really got something. They could be the next Miley Cyrus! But first, they need to take classes. And not just any classes...they have to take their classes. So you fork over a few grand for classes, only to realize that these people can't get your kid auditions, after all.

And it's not just classes... Just keep your eyes open and your wallet closed until you're sure of what's going on. These people prey upon your dreams and count on your naivete. Don't let them get away with it!

It's so hard to know what's legitimate and what's not. Luckily, there's so much information available, so you can research a lot of stuff before signing that check! Ask fellow parents in your area. And there are a ton of forums where you can ask questions, if you don't find the answer to what you're looking for.

Here are some articles by casting director Lana Veenker (Twilight) regarding scams:





You will never have to pay your agent upfront. They only make money when YOU make money. 10% union work, no more than that. Non-union work differs between agents and markets, but I think it's generally about 15%. If an agent asks you to pay to get signed up with them, RUN! Also, no agency is allowed to have classes associated with them. Same with photographers. They can recommend certain teachers, studios, and photographers, but THAT'S IT.

Speaking of photographers...even kids need headshots! But to tell you the truth, I'm really not sure about the details on this. Kids' looks change so quickly, so you obviously won't want to spend a lot of money on new headshots every 6 months. But at the same time, it's very important that they look like their headshot. I use Reproductions for my copies. I get the kind that allows you to print your resume on the back...I love that—I can just print it off before my audition, that way my resume is always current. You can also get postcards and business cards from them. I have my business cards from them, but the next time I plan on using another company. These can be pretty cheaply made at a place like VistaPrint.

You can ask your agent or find out from some of the books what's best to do for child headshots.


A few great (free) resources that I find invaluable are:

The Actor's Voice

Tools 4 Actors

Casting Networks' Newsletter (I signed up through here: http://home.castingnetworks.com/ It should be free. I don't use it to submit myself to projects, but I love their newsletters. For submissions, I use Actors Access and NowCasting.)

Cathy Reinking (She's also just started a newsletter, so subscribe to that)

Answers for Actors

Brains of Minerva


IMDb Pro.(That will give you everyone's updated contact info. EVERYONE. Among other things!)


I also subscribe to several sources like Variety, Hollywood Reporter, etc., so I know what's going on. Who's directing what, what scripts are being written, what production company just hired who...everything.

For those of you in Colorado, get on CASA— It's the CO film community. Or one of them, at any rate.It's free to join and hooks you up with fellow actors (of all ages), crewmembers, directors, producers, casting directors, and everything in between. Every state has their own community like this--search it out and ask around if you don't know what it's called. :)

Read them. Subscribe to them. Follow their advice. There are so many more, but that's a pretty decent start. :) Because I subscribe to these, I have them in my online reader (Google Reader), and can get all of this in one place. Saves a heckuva lot of time, lemme tell ya! I check my reader almost daily.

Like I said before, it's a business. And a lot of it takes a LOT of time. Like reading all of the above! That's several hours, right there. And then there's marketing, self-promotion, social networks, studying, working on lines, etc. And we do all of this without getting paid. All of this is done to get us the next gig that WILL pay.

On Facebook and Twitter, you can follow a lot of CDs (casting directors), actors, directors, producers, etc. that also give out a lot of info and helpful advice. There's one MAJOR commercial agency in LA who has a Twitter account anonymously. http://twitter.com/#!/TalentAgentLA

You can look at the people I follow on Twitter to get an idea. :) www.twitter.com/ChristaCannon

I haven't even gone into union vs. non-union...SAG/AFTRA/AGVA/AEA, etc. Mainly because if you're just starting out, you've got enough to worry about. Get some experience under the belt and then start thinking about whether or not your child should be (or can be) in a union.

I think that's it for now! I'll leave you with this little checklist I found somewhere:

9 Things to consider before breaking into the ‘biz

1. Emphasize academics. Your child should be doing well in school and make academics his priority.

2. Points to ponder. How will your child deal with success should that happen? Does he have a good self esteem so his view of himself doesn’t rise or fall with every audition?

3. Consider the cost. Training, classes, auditions, rehearsals and performances are a huge time commitment, as is time you may need to help your child learn lines or prepare in other ways.

4. Do not pursue getting your child into show business until he expresses a genuine interest, and you both explore the commitment.

5. Be committed to helping your child in the process while still separating your emotions from the business.

6. Find your focus. If your child doesn’t know if he wants to do stage, film, commercials or print work, remain open to all of these experiences until he finds his niche.

7. Practice professionalism. When a child is paid to do professional work, he needs to develop a professional mentality and handle it with poise and patience.

8. Help your child deal with audition rejections. Encourage him to see what he can learn from the experience and be willing to audition again.

9. Remember every class, audition, performance and/or show is an opportunity for growth and networking possibilities. Be open to all experiences.

I hope some of this was useful to you and provided some insight into seeking a career in this industry! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! In the meantime...

Break a Leg!

Missed the first 2 parts in this series? Never fear! Parts I and II are here!!!

So Your Kid's Got Talent, Huh? (or Kidz in the Biz!) Part II

26 November, 2010

Welcome to Part II of my Kidz in the Biz series! Last week, I talked a bit about Stage Parent Syndrome, a couple of books with TONS of advice, and then I posted part of a Q&A session with Sharon Chazin Lieblein, VP of Talent & Casting for Nickelodeon.

Today, I'm going to finish that session, as well as post some of my own thoughts & advice. Plus, I found a blog by parents whose kids are working actors out in LA.  For Part III I'll talk about scams and touch a bit on headshots...and possibly also a list of sites with invaluable information!

Here's the rest of the Q&A:

Do you ever encounter parents who seem to want a career for their child more than the child does? If so, how do you handle this situation?
That’s a very hard situation. There isn’t much that I can do since it isn’t my job to interfere with the family. If a child comes in for an audition and I can tell that they really don’t want to be there, I just tell them that they don’t have to do their audition and they should go back out to the waiting room and tell their parents that I said they did a great job. Later on I’ll probably call the agent and let them know about the experience and that they should probably look into whether or not this business is right for that particular child.

For children and teens “between the coasts”, it may seem that opportunities for professional work are limited. What advice do you have for children and teens who really want careers in showbiz, but don’t live in one of the “major markets” like LA or NY?
Take classes, perform in school plays, try to get a local agent and work locally wherever they live. Before making a big move that will affect the entire family, you should see if you are successful in your local market and if you are comfortable with the audition process. It is possible to come out to LA for “pilot season” and get work, but the chances of getting work are obviously greater if you are out in LA full time. But that is a commitment that the entire family has to weigh in on. Sometimes families have to split up, where one parent stays with one child while the other goes to LA with their other child. It is also a major monetary commitment. A family has to be stable financially in order for one parent to not have to work because they need to be available to take their young actor to and from auditions, acting classes and hopefully sets for work. If you’re an actor at any age you can’t be in this business for the money. That is especially true for children. By the time your child’s paycheck gets to you, taxes have been removed (about 50% of the salary), your agent’s 10%, manager’s 10-15%, Coogan account’s 15%. If you are lucky you are left with 5-10% of the salary. And then you have to pay for gas, acting classes, pictures and resumes, etc. Definitely not a money-making business for an average child actor.

What do you wish more children (and/or actors in general) understood about the casting process?
The most important thing to realize is that this is a business full of people with many different opinions. You can read for me one day and I’ll think you’re great. The next day you can read for someone else and they can think that there is no reason for you to even be in this business. As long as you are passionate about it and are really giving it your best shot, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Just keep plugging away and the right role will come. Even if you are fully prepared for your auditions and give 110%, the majority of roles that you end up not booking have nothing to do with how well you did in the room. It could be that you are not the right height, you look like the girl that we cast for the other role yesterday, we really want a blonde, the role was just cut but the casting director didn’t have time to cancel the auditions so she sees you anyway, and the list goes on. Each one of these things is completely out of your control. So you shouldn’t even worry about it. Once you walk out of the audition room, you have to leave that audition behind you and move on. If you get a callback, great. If not, on to the next.

At ActorsLife.com, the majority of children who write seeking advice wish to become stars immediately with little or no regard for the craft of acting. In your opinion, which is more important for success and fulfillment: A passion for stardom, or the desire to be a great actor?
As I said earlier, the desire to be a great actor is key. A passion for stardom might be enough to propel someone into initial success, but it won’t help to sustain someone for a career full of successes.

Being cast in a Nickelodeon show will often result in stardom at an early age. What, if anything, does the network or the production team do to prepare children and their families for the changes that will occur if a show becomes a hit?
We support and train all of our series regular talent. All of our talent goes through a presentation we call our “Talent 101.” This basically teaches them about our network, what they can expect to happen when their show hits the air and they start getting more well known, how to answer common fan and press questions and in general how to conduct themselves on and off the set. Unique to our network, my team also serves as in-house managers for the kids. They are free to call us with any questions that they have and working with their representatives we try to help them navigate their careers while they are with us. We work hand in hand with the press representative for the show and make sure that the talent is prepared for interviews and appearances, and someone is usually with them during those events. They eventually grow up and move on either as actors or into other careers, either way, after their time on our network they usually have a great foundation for a very successful future. And because of how closely we work with them while they are on the network, we continue to have great relationships with them as they move into adulthood.


To kind of piggy-back on some of that, I'd like to add these:

1) You cannot go into this business for the money. It's incredibly expensive, to begin with. Headshots, classes, clothes, skin care, hair cuts, gas...the list is seemingly endless. Not to mention the time...commutes, rehearsals, practicing, memorizing, researching, networking, reading, classes, etc.

2) You have to be able to take “no” for an answer. Because you will hear it. A LOT. And you have to be able to take criticism constantly, as well.

3) If there is something you love just as much as acting/singing/dancing...do that instead. This is a HARD business. I know you know that, and I know you hear that all the time... but until you've actually been doing it, you don't know just how hard it really is. It's not for everyone. You have to be incredibly strong, and you have to have a great support system. And you have to be patient!!! But if this is your passion, your love, the thing you were born for—then GO FOR IT! And if you don't have a built-in support system, don't worry about it. Just don't tell the naysayers what you're doing. They'll only bring you down.

I found this blog, created by a dad whose 2 kids are in show business. They packed their bags and moved to LA. The blog follows the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of their life. http://childreninfilm.blogspot.com/

That's it for today! Stay tuned for Part III: Scams, advice, and tools you can use that don't cost a thing! (Except time.) Also, a handy checklist I found of things to consider before you and your child begin a career in the entertainment field.
Till then, I bid you adieu.


Read Parts I and III!

So Your Kid's Got Talent, Huh? (or Kidz in the Biz!) Part I

20 November, 2010

I recently did a commercial with a little girl whose mom was asking me about how to get more established in the biz. I figured I could do a blog on this subject, while also helping her out. :)

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on children in show business, but I do know some stuff.

My first, and biggest, piece of advice woud be to NOT BE A STAGE MOM! (Or dad.) I've known my fair share of these over the years, and they are not fun to work with. The odd thing is, most of the time, their kid wasn't even all that interested in acting/singing/dancing/whatever it is their parent was pushing them to do. There's a difference between being supportive and being pushy. Directors don't like pushy.

They also don't like suggestions about a certain shot. You have to be on set as long as your kid is. It's a long day. Most parents bring books, laptops, work—for themselves AND their child. And they stay out of the way. They make sure their kid is behaving and listening to the director and doing what they're supposed to do, but they stay out of the director's way. They don't insist that their kid needs a close-up here, or ask why their kid isn't being seen as much, or let people know that their kid can do a tap dance and wouldn't that be adorable in this scene?

On small sets where the crew is very minimal, things are a little different. It can sometimes be an “all hands on deck” situation. In this case, ask if you can be of service, and let people know you're willing to help out. But don't insist on it.

On the same token, your child should be very well-behaved and respectful. They must LISTEN and take direction, no matter what. Attitude doesn't belong anywhere in this business, all the crazy divas not withstanding. It just won't get you anywhere.

Now...on to actually getting your child IN to show business!

First, put them in classes. Acting, singing, dance...everything! Get them into school programs and community programs. It gets expensive, so those will cut your costs a lot. On occasion, splurge on a really good Acting For Camera course or something similar.

Even as an adult, one should never stop learning and training. There are some great books I recommend: How To Book Acting Jobs in TV & Film, by Cathy Reinking (a casting director I've had the privilege to work with)  and Hit the Ground Running, by Carolyne Barry. Both of these books have an enormous wealth of information for kids and adults. I'm sure there are some just for kids in the business, but I haven't read them and wouldn't know what to recommend.

I found a Q&A session with casting director Sharon Chazin Lieblein, VP of Talent & Casting for Nickelodeon. It had a section regarding kids:

What qualities do you most admire in the actors you’ve worked with?
At this point in my career, the majority of the talent who I work with is young talent. What I admire about a lot of them is their ability to do all of their schoolwork, do great work on our shows, and manage to have fun the whole time.

What are you looking for on a résumé? What impresses you?
With kids, I don’t really care about past credits. Most importantly, I look to see what acting coach he/she is studying with, or has studied with in the past. I don’t think that anyone – child or adult – is above training. Even if you’ve been told that you’re a natural, there is a lot that you can learn from an acting class. Plus, even if you aren’t employed as an actor on a full time basis, when you are in a weekly class you consistently get the chance to work out. That is very important for an actor.

At Nickelodeon, you’re no doubt working with children and teens. In your opinion, when is a child ready to enter the world of professional show business?
A child is ready when they go to their parents and say that they really want to do it. It can’t be the parent’s decision. If they aren’t passionate about it, they shouldn’t do it. I had a parent ask me once, “How do I motivate my child for an audition?” If you have to motivate your child, they shouldn’t be doing this. When kids enter into this business, they end up losing out on a normal childhood. Successful kid actors are okay with that and have figured out how to enjoy their childhood. Unsuccessful kid actors spend their days going from audition to audition, don’t book any jobs, don’t get to hang out with friends after school or play soccer or take ballet. A lot of them are even home schooled and miss out on the social aspect of school so that they can be available to go on more auditions. They are missing out on a lot for what they eventually will learn was a dream that really wasn’t theirs. Or in some instances they don’t fully understand the sacrifice that they were making until it’s too late. That’s really tough for a kid.

This is an amazing business for a talented child that is passionate about acting and enjoys what they are doing. A child actor learns discipline, how to take direction while getting to delve into their imagination. They make great friendships and bonds while on sets with other actors as well as other staff and crew. It could be a lot of fun if the child is guided well by their parents and representatives. Even if a child actor’s career doesn’t continue into adulthood, they will hopefully have had a great education and will be successful adults in whatever industry they choose to go into.

It’s the parent’s job to listen to what their kids say and how they act. Don’t concentrate on the dream of your child becoming a star, the most important thing is that you pay attention to when acting is or is no longer the right choice for your child. This is a tough business for adults to be in, and it’s even harder for kids to have to face rejection again and again. A child that still has many life lessons to learn and many experiences yet to experience, doesn’t really know if he is going down the right path or not. They need a parent to guide them.

That's a great place to leave off...stay tuned to Part II, where I'll share the rest of the Q&A session, along with many other great tips, tools, and advice for the young actor. Believe it or not, I have this whole series already written! I'm breaking it up into parts to make it easier to read. Trust me, you'll thank me on this one. ;) (And I'm going to try to do that for all my blogs!)


You can now read Parts II & III

Hard Times, Not End Times

30 October, 2010

"So, uh, what exactly was this? I can’t control what people think this was: I can only tell you my intentions.

This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear—they are, and we do.

But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus, and not be enemies. But unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.

The country’s 24-hour, political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the dangerous, unexpected flaming ants epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists, and racists, and Stalinists, and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned! You must have the resume! Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Party-ers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez is an insult—not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker—and, perhaps, eczema. And yet… I feel good. Strangely, calmly, good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us, through a funhouse mirror—and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist, and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead, and an ass shaped like a month-old pumpkin, and one eyeball.

So why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle, to a pumpkin-assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable—why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution, and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?

We hear every damned day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done. The truth is, we do! We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don’t is here (in Washington) or on cable TV!

But Americans don’t live here, or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done—not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.

Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do! But they do it. Impossible things, every day, that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.

(Points to video screen, showing video of cars in traffic.) Look on the screen. This is where we are, this is who we are. These cars. That’s a schoolteacher who probably think his taxes are too high, he’s going to work. There’s another car, a woman with two small kids, can’t really think about anything else right now… A lady’s in the NRA, loves Oprah. There’s another car, an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter; another car, a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan.

But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief, and principles they hold dear—often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers’. And yet, these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze, one by one, into a mile-long, 30-foot-wide tunnel, carved underneath a mighty river.

And they do it, concession by concession: you go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. ‘Oh my God—is that an NRA sticker on your car?’ ‘Is that an Obama sticker on your car?’ It’s okay—you go, then I go.

And sure, at some point, there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder, and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare, and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst!

Because we know, instinctively, as a people, that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together. And the truth is there will always be darkness, and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land.

Sometimes, it’s just New Jersey.”

- JON STEWART, closing out the Rally to Restore Sanity.