Sometimes you need to adjust your expectations and definitions to fit the period of your life you’re in. Not forever but for now. This month on ABQMom, I tackle mom hobbies. What? How!? I have some ideas.
ICYMI: I’ve got a new writing gig!
I am so pleased to announce I am a new ABQMom contributor! ABQMom is a blog that connects and supports Albuquerque moms while helping them enjoy all there is to offer in this wonderful city. You may recall that I did an Instagram takeover for them a while back.
As an ABQMom contributor, I’m so looking forward to meeting some new Mama writer friends and getting to know my new hometown.
Make sure you’re subscribed here and then check out my very first blog post, “This Hike is a Hug from Nature”.
There are two things that I have always wanted and known myself to be: an actor and a mother. Before I had kids, I scratched the maternal itch as a teacher, a nanny, a children’s theater director. I am very grateful to now have both things enriching my life.
When I was young, I was the kid curled up all day Saturday with a new book. I was the kid who brought home a grocery bag of library books and who could endlessly browse in a bookstore (ok, I’m still that kid). Reading, storytelling has a special place in my heart. I LOVE reading to my children. And as an actor, (and just general believer in sillyness) I am PRO doing voices. 🙂 So! I decided to put that joy and passion to use with a simple project, reading some of my kids’ favorite stories and sharing them with other families. This is “Kate reads…”
If you have children in your world, please enjoy this story-time with them (or use it to buy yourself a bathroom break alone! What a thought!) If you do not have kids in your life currently, I’d so appreciate you passing it on to friends who do.
Please enjoy one of my son’s favorites. Kate reads,,, The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
I’m takin over! I’ve been invited by ABQ Moms to take over their Instagram stories for the day. If you’re on the gram, come follow along with me, won’t you? Tuesday Feb 23rd all day long!
Q: What’s the weirdest acting experience you’ve ever had?
A: I’m sure there are a few that I could throw in the running but as I’ve been reviewing footage to update my drama reel (see the new version here!), I was reminded of this little doozy. A number of years ago I played the romantic lead in this super cool, black and white noir film called “The Invisible Man Departs”. Perhaps you can see where this is going already. Romantic lead… Invisible Man…
The team did a great job making the scene look believable. BUT! I had the very weird job of kissing no one… In front of the entire cast and crew. And taking it very seriously (NOT a comedy.)
It was… a bizarre and ultra specific challenge, lol.
Try it. Do it right now, I dare you. Try to kiss the air in front of you in a romantic, saying goodbye sort of way with nothing to press your lips against. Pursed lips is sorta juvenile. Open mouth is sorta gross… Surely not with tongue? WHAT DO YOU DO!?
You’re doing it too right? I’ll wait…
Wanna watch the whole short film? Check it out here!
Last week we crossed a major milestone in my overlapped parent/actor life. My 4 year old daughter #BabyABC was in a movie with me! In fact the whole family was, but #OBaby is voiceover only and Joe’s been there, done that. I must say, one of my proudest moments was this one right here: ABC highlighting her own lines.
Ugh! Heart explosion! She has been watching me work on scripts her whole life and around 3 years old even started “writing scripts for Mama” to work on. *swoon* So to see her with her very own script, highlighting her lines like a little pro really moved me.
In the weeks leading up to the shoot she would often resist working on her lines (she actually had quite a lot to learn!) but then I’d find her wandering around the house muttering them… along with whoever’s lines she found funniest.
Pretty much from start to finish, she identified as being “excited but also worried about acting”. I, Daddy, and the director assured her this is exactly what prepping for a role feels like!
I shot most of the script, the parts that didn’t include the family, earlier in the week.
When Sunday rolled around, it was on. ABC did great. But let me tell you, the shoots that were me only were a loooooot easier on me. Ha! It’s pretty hard to focus on acting when you’re also trying to wrangle 2 kids as both a parent and acting coach.
Imagine that! Plus the fantasy of “being in a movie” didn’t appropriately prepare her for doing the scene over and over. After about 3 takes, she announced “I’m done with this scene”. Ah, 4 year olds. Guess you’ll have to become a director, sweetie!
I’m so glad we shot this film together. It was really cool having my daughter “at work” with me (We actually shot from our home), to experience what I do. Afterwards she asked “So am I an actor now?” I told her that was completely up to her. If she’s interested in doing more, I’ll support her. And I’m happy for us to work together but I’m certainly not pushing her. I sure am proud though! I’ll have more details about our comedic short film, “You’ll Be Doing Alright” over the next few weeks.
I created the short film “Meditations By Shadow” a few years ago now, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. 1) (Obvi) Because Halloween is upon us and 2) because this is a short that could have been created under COVID circumstances. I shot it in my own apartment, using my own props, lights, sound, and my husband as my Director of Photography. I recorded the voiceover in my clothes closet and edited it all on my home computer. We made do with what we had and had a lot of fun doing it! Of course, at that time I didn’t have littles running up and down the halls. (I was actually pregnant with my first at the time.) I just had a curious kitty photobombing the shoot.
Another reason I’m revisiting this project is I know a lot of us are turning to meditation and other methods to retain as much calm and sanity as we can in these tough times. As I’m trying out new apps and streaming meditations, I am reminded again how something so relaxing can really be blown by the wrong voice, lol.
So Happy Halloween! I hope you are finding some time to enjoy the pretend scary season amidst the real scary stuff. And I hope you find time to laugh. May “Meditations By Shadow” help with all of the above.
Click the pic!
I was watching an episode of Sesame Street with my 4 year old the other day. I stepped away for a minute and suddenly heard her screaming “Mama! Turn it off! Not this! Turn it off!” She’s at this age where there are a lot of things on shows and movies that freak her out, so we have an agreement that I will fast forward through whatever she wants.
So I rush back into the living room figuring it was Cookie Monster (scary), someone fighting (scary), maybe someone making a mistake they get upset about (scary). But no.
It was Tina Fey singing a delightful song with some muppets. Wait, was one of the muppets too freaky? I didn’t see cookie monster…
“What’s wrong kiddo?,” I asked “What don’t you like?” She pointed at the TV and whimpered “The pirate.” I looked again. Ah yes. In fact, Tina Fey was wearing a pirate hat and an eye patch – but also a big smile.
“That’s Tina Fey!” I said, excited to clue my daughter in on a strong funny female role model “She’s an actor like mommy. In fact she’s sorta one of Mommy’s heroes.”
“Well, she’s really really smart and funny, and she’s a wonderful actor and writer. I just really admire her. Don’t you think she’s funny wearing that hat and dancing with those monsters?” #ABC eyed the TV warily. “No. I don’t like the pirate.”
“But it’s Tina Fey, she’s not a real pirate-“
“I don’t like the pirate!”
Alllllllll righty then. My daughter is officially scared of Tina Fey. Damn. So is this a ding to my mom cred or my comedian cred?
I’m so looking forward to being on set later this week in the short film, Pointing Fingers. It’s a dramatic morality tale about grey areas and tough circumstances. I play a supernatural professional, whose job just happens to be judging and ushering people into the afterlife. No pressure there, right!? LOL. Follow me on Instagram and check out my stories to peek behind the scenes!
Ok, let’s just get right to it and bring everyone up to date. We are leaving LA and moving the family to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Well, it’s a complex answer. Let’s start with cost of living. LA’s rental costs are getting out of control. You can see it in the rising homeless population and the number of middle class who are living paycheck to paycheck. It’s real bad. It’s always been important to Joe and I to be saving regularly for rainy days, emergencies, retirement. We’ve been making that work while in LA by living below our means for many years now but with a pair of young kids, our needs have changed.
We’re currently walking sideways around our small apartment to accommodate 4 people and their things (and their wiggly bouncy bodies). To go play outside is a big production which involves making sure both kids are awake at the same time, properly attired, that we have snacks and diapers and water and and and… By the time we walk to the playground or park after all that, it’s almost time to turn around for somebody’s nap or lunch. It’s an event. We need easily accessible outdoor space. We need more indoor space. And we need all this without jeopardizing our savings because we now have 2 little ones who are depending on us being able to feed them in an emergency, ya know? (Pffff kids are so NEEDY!)
Now, there is a chance we could find all this in LA for the low low price of Mommy getting a full time non-acting job or Daddy quitting the freelance life and working for a company that requires he be out of the home 9-10 hours a day but that completely defeats the purpose for us. We are in LA for my acting work. We started a family to spend time with them. Neither if us are willing to trade away either of those things.
…Plus earthquakes. Plus fires. Plus summer air quality (see fires).
OK that’s why not LA anymore. Why Albuquerque?
ABQ has acting work. A number of shows already shoot there. Netflix just bought ABQ Studios and the new film-friendly governor just expanded tax incentives. It’s a market with a TV/film scene and all signs point to it growing over the next few years.
ABQ is really not so far from LA. A 2 hour flight or 12 hour drive. When I need to get back here for work, callbacks, meetings, I can. It’s closer than Atlanta and Chicago, 2 other promising smaller markets.
And of course, affordable housing. We are renting a 4 bedroom house with a yard (see easily accessible outdoor space) in ABQ for the same per month as our 1 ½ bedroom apartment in LA. And that’s before June 1stwhen our LA rent is scheduled to go up 10%.
Plus honestly, I’m drawn to the slower pace of life. This has been a surprising realization for me. I am no stranger to hustle. But my kids are too young for hustle. I’m hoping that by putting a little distance between my family and LA, we’ll all be able to slow down and enjoy these early years together. I don’t want to miss them.
This is a very strategic move. We plan to try it out for a year and reevaluate. I am feeling very optimistic and my LA agent is completely on board, reassuring me that as long as I’m willing to travel there’s really no reason I have to live in LA as an actor/writer anymore. Things are changing. Most first auditions are self-tape, even if you live right next to the casting office.
And just to be clear, I’m not an LA hater! LA has been very good to me and if it were still just Joe and me, I doubt we’d be leaving. I look forward to visiting and working in LA every few months. It’s just not fitting our current goals.
I’ve got a vision of a new way to do this actor/mom juggling act. I’ve thought about it a lot (like A LOT!) and I think it’s going to work. But there’s only one way to find out. Wish us luck!