Making a YouTube channel

I know it’s old news for most people, but for me it was a little scary. Between wondering whether anyone would be interested in what I have to say, and worrying that the technology was going to be difficult, I managed to avoid YouTube and vlogging for a long time. Now here it is. With help from my lovely and talented assistant Layla, who was not scared at all, here is my

YouTube Channel.

Thanks for watching!

Moral: Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Empower Yourself

I keep coming back to this, no matter how busy or not busy I am, no matter how widely I may circle around it.

As an actor, it’s so easy to get into a lazy habit of waiting for somebody else to tell you what to do and when to do it. Especially during a busy time auditioning or working on set. There are teams of people herding you around and telling you what your next move is. They are paid to do it and I am happy to abdicate responsibility for planning my day, as I have become accustomed to it, starting with letting my agent do the thinking for me.

The problem with that is, when it stops, you can feel a little lost. Having given away my power to external forces many times, I can attest to the empty feeling when the phone doesn’t ring, my agent doesn’t want to talk to me, and the AD is not looking for me! It may be a week of no auditions, a year of no work, or even an empty afternoon after a job has wrapped, but this time will come. Maybe you haven’t even worked yet and are wondering if you have what it takes.

Part of this puzzle of down time and the ensuing depression is the question of self worth. Who am I when nobody wants me?  Ew! I wrote it in a blog! Will I regret this moment of honesty? No, because I coach actors, and I know when someone is going through this. I can see it on their faces. I can hear it in their voices, and I can feel it in their energy. I know what it is because every human on the planet experiences some form of it, not just actors and not just me when I’m not working. Many people are adept at covering and faking (Um, INSTAGRAM) but that won’t solve the inner feeling of a bottomless pit of despair.

What will?

It’s an inside job.

No amount of fortune and fame will fill it. In fact, you may OD on fame long before it gives you any satisfaction. Like heroin, it provides a quick hit of feel-good, then leaves you wanting more, and too much is never enough.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy success and money and people telling you that you are amazing, it just means don’t count on it for happiness because it comes and goes, like everything external. Like the weather.

Generate your own weather!

When you feel restless irritable and discontent, and that phone isn’t ringing, instead of checking Instagram (which I guarantee will make it worse), get curious about You. Spend some time with yourself and get to know what you want, who you are, what you need and what you’d like to contribute to this collective consciousness we call CULTURE.

I’ll tell you the secret to real success that lasts, that makes you feel good, and that serves your fellow humans: If you want to work on your art, work on your life.

Here are TEN EASY TIPS, because I know people love those and let’s keep it simple cause I want you to feel better, I want you to be EMPOWERED from within so you can go out in the world and succeed or fail and still feel good and be fun to hang out with. These are culled from 35 years of experience in the business of being on camera and sometimes behind it, as a performer and coach of performers. This is how to sustain a career.

1 Most important: Take Care of Yourself. Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually. This is a full time job. Give yourself one from each category every day.  MEDITATE, READ, WRITE, EXERCISE, HEAL, GROW.

2 Study. Train. Never stop learning. Acting dance music languages whatever interests you, keep stretching.

3 Inspire Yourself. Go see plays. Go to art galleries. Make a list of artists you admire and watch their work. expand this list.

4 Be Healthy. You are your own business so if you are addicted, get help. If you are sick, research health. There are so many resources I could make a whole website just for links. Check out Healing The Broken Brain on Youtube for a start; and there is a 12 step program for just about everything.

5 Create. This takes a little initiative but once you get past the first 5 minutes it’s easy. Pick something you like to do, don’t worry or even think about the results, and play like a kid. Remember why you wanted to be an actor to begin with.

6 Make Lists. Make Big Plans. After your morning self care routine of (strongly suggested) meditation and exercise, from an uplifted and inspired place, make lists of what you want and break those down to do-able actions. That’s how to get stuff done.

7 Dream. Go into your mind palace on a long walk in nature (or central park) and imagine your life how you want it to be. You are making the blueprint. Make sure it all feels good.

8 Feel Good. Nothing is more important than that you feel good. If you feel bad, that means you must make an adjustment. That is your built in guidance system telling you to do or think something different. You don’t have to fix the world, just adjust yourself.

9 Help Somebody. Lots of people need help. Go do some selfless service for instant perspective, gratitude and feeling of worth. You may get inspired to do it full-time for a while. I did. Your acting career will be there and you and the world will be better for it.

10 Show Up For People. Participate in life. You can call it networking, but I prefer to do it without an ulterior motive, trusting that what is mine will come to me if I show up for myself and others with an attitude of gratitude and contribution.


If you do these things, you can show up at auditions full of self worth and love and a desire to be of service, knowing that you are a whole human being who deserves to be there and has lots to give. Casting will be happy to see you.

If you do these things, you may wind up being the one doing the hiring for the film you wrote.

You don’t have to do anything perfectly, but the next time you want to beat yourself up for being a failure, try something from this list instead.

We are all in this together, and everything you are contributes to the whole. You are creating your life and the lives of all of us with every thought you think, so for all our sakes, I send you tons of love and wish you all the happiness you can hold!

Now go be a Shining Star.


June 10

Bobby Brown, Me and Fenulla Jiwani on the set of her short film Blackbox Shadow
Photo: Bobby Brown, Me and Fenulla Jiwani on the set of her short film Blackbox Shadow

One of the best times I ever had as an artist and in my career was when I was making my own work.

I had just moved back to New York after doing a TV series in Toronto, and I had a feeling that if all I did was audition, I’d get frustrated if I didn’t book within a month. I realized that to avoid this neurotic trap, I had to get proactive about my career, and my life! My creativity had to be fed and nurtured, and I needed to feel like I was contributing something rather than standing there shaking a cup. (More on that cup in another post.)

So I joined a theatre company.

We wrote mostly short plays, directing and acting in each others’ work. We met once a week at The Ensemble Studio Theatre with Artistic Director Curt Dempster, and we created stuff. It was fun and crazy and inspiring. In the summer we all went to writing/directing/acting bootcamp in the Catskills and had long impromptu poetry writing sessions by the campfire. (There may have been some beer involved, for some people!) While sitting at my computer writing my short plays I did not worry about whether I had an audition or not. When I did have one, I saw it from a different perspective, as a fellow artist with something to give. (Full cup!)

I also saw casting from a different angle after casting my own plays. It became less personal. More business. and thus, less neurotic!

It empowered me.

It empowered me so much, I started booking those jobs I auditioned for and eventually had to bow out of the company as I was away on location so much!

So when Fenulla, a former student of mine, emailed me to ask if I would act in a short film she had written and was producing and acting in, I was thrilled to say yes. Not only because I was so happy for her, and proud of her, but because the story she wrote was so wonderful and I loved my part. She wasn’t just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, she created her own work and added her own beautiful voice to the business. I was inspired by the story she had written and the fact that she was taking charge of her own career. She also cast Bobby, from our class!

Maybe not every actor feels that way, neurotic when they are not working….but I sure can! and in these blogs, I will try to share what helps me deal with that, as well as the joy of getting and doing the work.

So today I will share this Thing I Have Learned: If you feel restless irritable and discontent about your career, or lack thereof, start creating something. Not for money, just for the love of it. For fun and inspiration, for the excitement of possibility. Dance, sing, write, draw, read, do what you love, feed that artist in you…..maybe….pick up a pen.