Thursday, June 23, 2011

Empty Pockets, Full Belly: My early days in LA as an actress...

When I came out to Los Angeles from New York to pursue a career in acting, I was dirt poor. I mean, so poor that when the earthquake of 1994 hit, I couldn't buy a gallon of water. I'd been drinking it out the tap (don't look at me like that. That's how we do it in NYC!) until somebody told me that LA water was the worse there was. And LA water after an earthquake is nothing short of poison. I couldn't scrape together enough money from the couch to even buy a no-frills distilled brand of H2O, so I resigned myself to boiling a pot-full of agua on my rickety fire- hazard- of -a hot -plate, 'cause the room I was shackin' in didn't come with a kitchen. Or a closet. Or a bathtub, for that matter. But no matter. As long as I had some heat, I could burn. And burn I did. I fried chicken, stewed lentils (a bag cost a whopping .79 cents and it could feed you for a week!) Anything that required the use of an oven was not an option (I don't like what microwaves do to food). Nothing would stop me from making good food. Most meals centered around the old college staple: Ramen Noodles. Did you know that you can put almost anything in Ramen Noodles? Cut up some onions, a can of tuna and a dash of salt and pepper and you got something resembling a tuna casserole. Veggies are cheap enough (and healthy too!) and, with a few lesser cuts from the chicken (backs are cheapest), you've got just enough protein to make a full-fledged meal. When I had a little left over from paying the rent on my $314.50 apartment, I splurged and took myself out to a meal. But I couldn't go far, 'cause I didn't own a car. No sweat in any other urban metropolis, but in Los Angeles, it's virtually impossible to get from one end of town to the other without a car and not spending the whole light of day doing it. But I let nothing get in my way of my pursuit of Good Food. It's true then. It is true now. It will be true always.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Hey, all!

Please forgive my extended absence-- I was down for the count with a bout of bronchitis, but...I'm back! Right before I found myself in the emergency room, I shot my scenes for the upcoming movie, PREDISPOSED, with Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo and Tracey Morgan. SO FUN! PREDISPOSED is the story of a musical prodigy (Jesse) whose having, uh, a very bad-good day. Won't say much more than that. You'll have to just go and see the movie!


While I was flat on my back, I had a lot of time to think: about acting, specifically. The truth is, I love what I do and I marvel everyday about the fact that I'm able to make a living doing what I love. This fact is not lost on me-- not even for a second-- and I am so grateful for the opportunities that come my way. What I have noticed, though, is that work begets work and acting-- well, acting is a bit like baseball...

First, like most sports, it takes an inordinate amount of practice (in the form of acting lessons, rehearsals) to perfect your craft. Just like a baseball player (or anyone in sports for that matter), lotsa TIME is put in WELL BEFORE you see the player get up to bat. And then there's the waiting. Lotsa waiting in baseball and even more, sometimes, in the acting profession! How long do you have to wait to get your "turn"? How about when you get to bat? How many auditions (in the case of baseball, how many times do you have to swing) before your ball actually connects with the bat and you get a base hit! And you get the job! Sometimes your "hit" will land you to first base, maybe second. And sometimes-- ah, sometimes-- you hit a HOMERUN! Then it's time to run, run, run as fast as you can-- the door is open--and the opportunity for you to win (and bring all your friends who have been hanging on second and third base) to come on home, too! WOW! What a feeling!

But so much of it is waiting. Even when you book a job, you're waiting! Waiting on set. For your hair to get done. For your make-up to be applied. And, ah, yes, there are THE LIGHTS! Those little lights have to be angled just so by your friendly cinematographer so that the director can be sure to capture your performance...

Like baseball, PATIENCE is the name of the game in entertainment. But while you're waiting, make sure you're doing everything you can (practice!) so that when your time comes to hit a HOMERUN, you'll be sure to knock it out the park:)

XO Tanya :)