gratitude

5:00am Alarm.

Still jet lagged like crazy. Feels more like 2:00am. How long should this tired feeling last before becoming a concern?

On the 101 by 5:15 and hiking in Griffith Park by 6:00 (we got turned around once or twice). The city at sunrise, the Hollywood sign pretty much up close and personal. Photo shoots (obviously) and a beautiful start to a successful and beautiful day.

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Film, video, producing, directing. What in the world is this world? I’ve come to realize that all arts communities are small, intricate, nearly impossible to break into, and have a ton of lingo that only the true insiders on the inside understand.

The program classes began today, where we were confronted with the reality that this trip is not a vacation – it’s work. Even through the thick of it all, the work will help us weasel ourselves into this exclusive, elite world that is the entertainment industry. Cheers writer and executive producer, and not to mention theater alumnus from our university, Phoef Sutton, came and spoke to our class about how he broke in to the unbreakable world of film. By chance, his submitted script idea that sat unread for years got picked up, which inevitably led to his offer to be a part of Cheers during its pique on television. The takeaway from his talk? Listen up, say yes, make connections, and be open to any and every possibility. There are going to be down times, but there will also be up times. It is wise to know when not to talk. Bring a positive, collaborative attitude. His most important piece of advice? Write.

Believe it or not this idea of blogging daily has been lingering with me for the past three years of college. Every day, at least once a day, I have an urge to write, to create, to tell a story. To put what I am seeing and feeling and wondering about down in words. Dad told me once about a successful screenwriter who, prior to said success, was a pestering kind of man who inserted himself in odd ways. One of the best pieces of advice he ever got? When he walked into a big producer’s office (whose name escapes me, so sorry), the man handed him a pencil and a pad of paper. He mumbled something to the effect of, “Son, take these. They are worth more together than they are apart,” and sent him away. The lesson? Write it down. All of it. Anything and everything that comes to mind and, maybe, one day soon those words will strike the right chord with the right person. Even if they don’t, they will be a daily reminder to you of how important storytelling is.

As a dancer, artist, and designer, stories have always been an important part of my life. Understanding stories and being able to read them and tell them in a variety of ways has been a gift I am so unbelievably blessed to have. Reaching people in a way they have never known creates an entirely new level of communication. Storytelling is essential, and storytelling is beautiful.

In between classes, a couple of us went downtown to check out where one of the summer jobs will be. This East Coast girl was shocked at the amount of homeless that walked the streets. As someone who has frequented DC and the New York City area as well as London and several big cities in Italy, I was stunned at the sheer amount of people wandering the streets that clearly had nowhere to go. In many cases, these individuals seemed to need serious medical attention and yet were being ignored, shunned, pushed away, made invisible. How can a city filled with people with huge amounts of money also have the largest homeless population in the nation? I am not the first to ask this question, but I am certainly appalled at the amount of need and sadness I witnessed today. Since that moment all I can think about is gratitude.

I am so incredibly thankful to have my mom, dad, and brother, close friends and the ability to communicate with them, my health, my youth, opportunity, enough money to eat and live comfortably, a chilly apartment to sleep in, the luxury to go out to dinner, the luxury to own up-to-date technology, intellect, talents, friendships, dance, the arts, my jobs…

What are you thankful for? Give yourself two minutes to type/write/say out loud those blessings that you sometimes forget aren’t available to every person you pass by on a busy street.

“The secret to having it all is knowing you already do.”

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