In Audrey's Shoes

Dealing with Self-Sabotage

Spoiler alert! I don’t have the answers yet.

I’m not perfect. Heck, there are reminders every day of how imperfect I am. And even though I know that I’m not such a bad person, that I’m actually probably in the category of “good people,” I seem to have such huge insecurities that they subconsciously sabotage me. I’m calling you out, subconscious.

So back in December, I scheduled the first 2 of 3 dialect coaching lessons, because my coach is very busy and was booked up until January 7. He’s located in London, so I was very careful to figure out the time differences and I put the first lesson in my calendar. For some reason, I did not enter the second lesson, and I’m sure you see where this is going. These lessons cost about €75 each, and I’d also paid for 2 hours of research time for him to analyze her accent. I made it to the first lesson on time, bright and early at 8am on a Monday morning. But for some reason, starting some time before this day… I had it in my mind hat my next lesson was around the same time the following Monday. 7 or 8 AM, couldn’t remember exactly so I figured I would check earlier in the morning since I would be up for another webinar (on Forex, boring, I know, but I’ve never been able to count on acting to pay the bills) at 6AM. I’d left my friend’s house early the day before telling him I had to spend more time that evening preparing for my lesson, and get to bed early so I could wake up early. Which I did.

So I was fast asleep when my teacher Skyped me and texted me around 11:45PM wondering where I was. Because it was 7:45AM for HIM… and time for our lesson. When I woke up and looked at my phone at 5:45AM, this is the first thing I saw, and the air was just sucked from my chest. I panicked. I texted and emailed and couldn’t pay any attention during the webinar. I was texting a friend in London, freaking out. And for about 3 hours I was just a mess. Had this been a French lesson for which I pay $10 or so, I wouldn’t have been so distraught. But this was a lesson I couldn’t make up right away, and couldn’t really afford to pay for again. I had been trying so hard to save money, and to make more money (hence, the Forex webinar)… I’d already been going through my belongings and listing things on eBay, and was so thrilled just a few days before, when an old French magazine with Audrey on the cover fetched $87. And now I’d just blown it. Not only had I wasted a large sum of money, but I missed a lesson that was really very important to me. This role means a lot to me, and all I had to do was double check the time before I went to bed on Sunday. I was just SO certain that it was the next morning, and I don’t really know why. I’m usually very good with appointments. I think I’ve only missed one or two others in my entire life (and I’m older than you think I am!)

I was crying and kicking myself, and my friend tried to assure me that surely my teacher would understand and take pity and wouldn’t charge me for it… I stayed in this state for 3 hours before hearing back from my teacher, who no, did not take pity, and would not excuse my mistake.

“Hello? Hello, is this thing working? I don’t understand…”

I knew it wasn’t a good idea to stay in a foul mood all day, I know things can just snowball if you do that, but I was miserable. I hid under the covers for another 3 hours until I knew I had to get up and go to another appointment. This one has nothing to do with Audrey, but you might find it amusing anyway, so let’s take a detour.

I’d received a call a few days earlier from a guy who just introduced himself as Josh. From his message, I couldn’t tell if we had already met, or not. He didn’t introduce himself or anything. He was interested in casting me in a short film he had written and wanted to meet to read the script. So that’s what I thought we were doing. It was raining that day, and he arrived at the café in Burbank a few minutes before me. He texted to say he was there and outside. I soon parked, got out my umbrella, and found him. Turns out the place was all outdoors, and basically closed (Also, I didn’t recognize Josh at all). Not quite sure why he couldn’t have said that before I got wet, but OK. I followed him in my car to another shopping area, where he turned in and then led me into a Chinese restaurant. “I’m guessing they won’t serve coffee here…” I said. We sat and for at least 20 minutes he talked about the character, and also made sure to mention that he was the best writer in Los Angeles. Seriously. Then he suggested going elsewhere. Which I agreed to, because the smell of Chinese food was getting to me and we obviously weren’t going to order anything, so why be rude to the owners?

We drove again, and ended up in a bright bakery with high ceilings and pretty cakes. I ordered a late and a tiny tira misu. He didn’t get anything, nor offer to get mine. He continued on about the character and script and finally took it out of his bag to ask me to read “just the first line.” Which was 3 words long, two of which were profane. Fine, OK. I did. Then I asked, “is there a reason why the script isn’t formatted…?” “Oh, it’s still rough” etc etc… So I asked “When do you think it will be ready for me to actually read?” “Oh, it’s ready now! It’s done! We could shoot it today if you’re ready, even.” And that’s when I knew that he didn’t know what he was doing, for sure. I apologized and said I’ve learned from past mistakes and had to insist on reading the script and seeing some of his previous work, and the work of his DP (if there was one), before committing to the project. He then started getting extra-weird, saying he doesn’t give his work to people who might not like it, why would he do that? “Well, not everybody is going to like everything…” I said, staring out the window at the women waiting for the bus and wondering if I should just get up and excuse myself. “That’s not even an original thought, you probably heard that somewhere,” he said. “Yeah,” I replied. “Because it’s something everybody knows. It’s not original, it’s common sense.” Who is this man, who thinks he’s a genius and is afraid of people not liking his writing to such an extent that he would behave this way?? Then he started getting aggravated and said that it wasn’t just up to me to accept the role, he had to want me in the role too, and now he’s thinking I’m just not right for the part… then he packs up his bag and gets up, saying “you’re not right, there’s something wrong with you,” as he heads towards the door. To which I reply, in between sips of my latte, “something’s wrong with you!” I sat for a moment digesting this whole event, before packing myself up and heading home.

Normally, something like this might have been just amusing, but in my mood, it was one more sign that I should leave L.A. for good. The universe was laughing at me, sending me crazy people rather than actual work. It’s never been confined to L.A., and I knew it. The project I had once agreed to act in without reading a script or seeing the director’s work was a French man in Paris, years ago. Taught me that lesson. But I had come back here hoping to get decent representation and a few impressive things for my résumé that I could bring back to Europe, and in nearly 2 years, I had failed. And the only person calling me up about a role was this crazy person.

I was not seeing the positive side of life on Monday. I managed to get myself to ballet class that evening, but found myself struggling with combinations that were a bit beyond what I could easily do (I finally decided to start attending a more intermediate level class recently, which has been challenging). I know one must practice practice practice, and that’s what I’m there for, but I was so down on myself for not being able to do anything right that day. I felt I couldn’t do anything right. I forced myself to dance even when I had no clue what I was doing. The feeling of failure was heavy that day, but I made it through to Tuesday.

Somehow I had attracted this. This failure, this sabotage… I am still trying to figure out how. The biggest goal in my life has ben simply to act, to create beautiful, thoughtful, magnificent films (ideally set pre-1960 and based on true stories) and somehow I’ve sabotaged myself the entire way. In my 20’s, I was so quiet and introverted that I didn’t understand the value of networking, and missed numerous chances to connect with people who could have potentially helped me. In my 30’s, I started focusing on that, but then now had no clue where to meet these people. I didn’t have access to the same successful crowd I had been exposed to as part of my previous relationship. Life has felt like one of those films where the protagonist is in a hallway of doors, opening each one in search of someone, while the person they’re seeking is zig-zagging between doors right behind them when their back is turned.

I need to get clever and stop the self-sabotage somehow, especially if I’m going to be successful in this current goal. I’m aware that something inside of me is afraid of success. But what to do about it? That’s what I need to work out…

She said yes!

Well thought it was a funny title!

Last night there was a seance at our house. It was something my flatmate arranged a few weeks back with a few friends and I hadn’t initially intended to take part, but in the end, curiosity won out and I joined in. I don’t think I can say a lot about it, because it was being filmed for a project, but I want to share a little of it, since it involves Audrey. Maybe you don’t believe in this sort of thing and this will sound silly. I have to say I do believe in he spiritual realm, I’ve heard too many stories from people I trust. However of course I’m skeptical about things I don’t directly experience, or things that have other possible explanations. Until I have a real experience of my own, I can’t fully trust everything a psychic tells me. But I don’t disbelieve it. I take it with a grain of salt, I suppose you would say. Here is what happened, in any case!

We sat around the table, in the dark, only candlelight to illuminate our faces and the objects in front of us. We tried a Ouija board occasionally but nobody wanted to spell anything. However the Paratek app on someone’s phone was quite active. I don’t know how to explain this app, but somehow spirits are supposed to be able to manipulate a dictionary in it to pick out words or short phrases. Sometimes the words were pretty appropriately timed, and other times the words seemed out of place and random. Looking online later, it seemed certain numbers, words, and phrases were frequently reported between a lot of users. I’m wondering what the word list is and how it really works. It could just be a random word generator and we could just be searching for meaning in the words that come up. Or energy could really be manipulating it – but whose energy? Could have been our own. Questions, questions…

When it came my turn to ask if there was anybody I’d like to be in touch with, I couldn’t choose just one person and of course have a whole list. But I started with my dog, Meily. I wanted to know that she was OK, and that she didn’t think I had abandoned her. For those of you who don’t know, for the past 13 years I was a Yorkie momma. While I was in Paris in October, she passed away at home, one day before her birthday. I felt so terribly guilty, because it was the last thing I wanted to happen. I wanted to be there for her. The psychic said she was OK, that she would help me pick out and train (haha, Meily, did you learn something since you’ve been gone?!) my next dog when I’m ready, and that she wanted to go this way. She didn’t want me to be there when she passed. Too bad, dog, I DID want to be there for you.

I next asked about Marieke, my ex’s daughter who died in 2006 of an epileptic seizure in the bathtub. She got a visual of her holding her hands out to the sky, gazing up. She saw butterflies and lizards… I’ll have to interpret that one. I would have liked more of a conversation, but I think we got sidetracked by something on that app.

Thirdly, and hesitantly, I asked about Audrey. I know asking for famous people, people you have no relation to, isn’t always productive (she told us her story of Elvis, who only appeared when she unknowingly was speaking with a member of his family), and it also feels a bit silly. But what the heck.

I asked Audrey if she approved of the new series being planned, and through two dowsing rods, she said yes. Most of her communication came through the rods being held by the psychic. The psychic said Audrey was hanging back from the table, and seemed a bit hesitant. She mentioned something about her hair, that there was something Audrey felt self-conscious about when it came to her hair, and something about her thumbs, but I didn’t know what that could have been in reference to. We asked her a few more questions with the Ouija board, but the indicator didn’t move. The board wasn’t popular with the spirits that night! I was feeling so… I don’t know the correct word to use… presumptuous? Well, definitely awkward, but I finally asked the question I was curious to ask – if she would be happy if I were to play her in that series. I was fumbling with my hands and staring down at the Ouija board, so when the psychic laughed with a definite “yes!” in reply, I looked up and saw that she had the rods again, and that apparently they had crossed quite forcefully to indicate her answer. Then they turned to point at me, and now I’m going to have difficulty describing things! The one in her left hand held steady and the one in the right hand waved back and forth. She explained something about how each rod indicates something different (I hope it’s on film, because I didn’t quite understand). She laughed and said it looked like Audrey liked my energy.

Audrey indicated through the rods that she communicates (or had at least tried) with her children, but that they weren’t aware of the ways in which she tried to communicate with them. I felt a little sad over that one.

I have a feeling there are spirits trying to communicate with all of us, and most of us are so blind to it that we will never hear them… I know I tend to overthink, and that prevents me from being open to experiences… I keep trying to work on that. I’m too analytical, and I get wrapped up in the physical world. I don’t spend enough time in meditation or in nature, listening. I admire those who are so open, spiritually.

Well, if we can trust the spirit that was chatting with us tonight, she said she would be helping me to win the role. I don’t know how, but I’ll take all the help I can get, and if it truly was Audrey, I couldn’t ask for anybody better to be on my side! I felt silly asking for her at the table, and I feel silly writing about it, but you know, it’s kind of part of this whole journey, and it’s an interesting little story, so here we are. I just used a bunch of commas there, how many am I allowed in a sentence? ha!

After everyone had left, I got comfortable with some pasta and tea and sat down to watch Green Mansions, which I hadn’t seen in years and years. A sweet friend found it online for me and downloaded it. I found it interesting in one scene where Anthony’s character compares Audrey’s Rima to a hummingbird, because I’d recently received the same observation from someone. Fragile but strong, I believe he explained. I have to say, I enjoyed the movie. Oh, it’s not the greatest of her films, but I loved seeing such a different setting. I loved the tropical forest, and to think most of that was in a soundstage in Los Angeles! I’m so envious. What fun! And to have a little deer to take home, as well. Who else gets to do things like that?! That’s what I always loved about the idea of acting… just getting to experience all sorts of things most people wouldn’t in their normal lives. I haven’t gotten to have that amazing luck yet in my professional life, but that’s why I try to make my real life as adventurous as I can! The difference is that actors get paid for their adventures, while I’m paying for mine. ha! Green Mansions reminded me of my favourite little swimming hole in Panama… it’s one of my favourite spots on earth. No deer there, just snakes and howler monkeys! Well, crossing my fingers and toes that I’ll get to play Audrey playing Rima and have my own “deer” little friend for a brief moment in time. 🙂

The Rain in Spain…

Well I woke up bright and early this morning (well, it wasn’t so bright, actually!) for my first session with my dialect coach via Skype. He’s based in England, and several hours ahead so 7am was the only real reasonable time he had available for me. He’s in high demand! I was a bit relieved that his camera wasn’t working today, so he couldn’t see me propped up in bed with a barely smoothed over bouffant left over from yesterday and my ratty blue sweatshirt (hey, it’s been cold here!). I considered filming a few minutes of the lesson to share with you, but I look terrible and throughout the hour I became aware of how many funny faces I would pull (glad he couldn’t see me either!) when I wasn’t sure of what I was doing. I guess you’d probably get a laugh out of it. Maybe next week. We’ll see. 🙂

So I was thrilled to have a professional ear analyzing Audrey’s speech and helping me to break it down. Especially a British ear, because he’s familiar with British speech patterns that I’m not, and can also notice Americanized pronunciations that I might overlook.

He had four pages of notes to go over, of which we covered about three and will finish up next week.

He asked me to pull up a photo of Audrey to look at during the lesson as inspiration, and I chose this one:

A good, easy one to recreate, actually. Should put that on the “to do” list!

Anywho, we spent a whole hour going over his notes and practicing pronunciation. She has quite an interesting accent. He also had noticed that it changed slightly over time. That’s fascinating to me, and something I hadn’t noticed. If I get the role, I want to keep that in mind and hopefully work with him on each period of her life to get the accent right.

My homework this week is to choose a couple 2-4 minute audios of her speaking (interviews or acting – I think I’ll choose at least one of each) to work on verbatim, to prepare as I would a scene or monologue for a scene study class. Then we will go over them and work on improving them in our next session. I’ve gathered a few already from YouTube that I sent to him for the initial research, so I will probably choose a few from there, but if you can recall a good monologue from any of her films you want to suggest to me, please do! I know there are a few in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but perhaps some from her other films? This week I’m going to be rewatching some that I haven’t seen in ages – like Green Mansions and Secret People! What a busy, Audrey-filled week!

My New Year’s Resolution? Start Smoking!

Pretty funny, right? While so many people set their New Year’s resolution to stop smoking, mine is to start! Herbal, of course. My family used to be in the tobacco industry about a hundred years ago, and because they all smoked back then, I got to see the results. My grandma didn’t seem too affected, she died around 80 years old. But my grandpa died when I was a child, and all I really remember was the tracheotomy, the tube in his throat, the oxygen tubes in his nose… he was always seated in his chair in the living room. I was never tempted to start smoking tobacco.

This is a temporary resolution. Just enough to look like I know what I’m doing, to play a role, and then most likely never to pick up another herbal cigarette again!

I made a video of me smoking my second cigarette (I could lie and say it was my first, but I won’t!), so I could get some feedback on how to properly smoke, from all you smokers out there. I’m lacking an ashtray at the moment so I’m a bit of a mess. I’ll get it together eventually!!

Setting Intentions

I’ve been using the word “goal” a lot, lately, but for some reason the word “intention” came to mind just now and I started thinking about that practice of setting intentions. I admit, I’m not in the habit of doing it, but I should start! I have a few affirmations stuck to my bathroom mirror, but I think I need one specific to this goal. Something like,

I am a capable, talented, and prepared actor, and I take joy in the preparation for this role!

I don’t know, I’m not very good at this… Maybe…

I am right for this role, I am prepared for this role, and I am grateful for this role.

I could use your suggestions on this, affirmations were never my strong point and I can’t find any pre-written ones for actors online! ha!

In addition to thinking about intentions today, I also made a YouTube video about this project. I will be making more videos, since so much of this is about making progress with speech patterns, mannerisms, habits, etc. This one just goes over what I mentioned in my last post, but I wanted to keep the YouTube audience in the loop. 🙂

Audrey in Training

So I’ve decided there are at least two tasks I need to focus on when it comes to getting this role, and I’ve broken it down from there.

There is the business side to it all, and the creative side.

When it comes to the business side, I must be sure to be in contact with those in production on this series. I must somehow show them that I am a worthy candidate, and be able to secure a meeting or an audition.

On the creative side (the fun side!), I must “become” Audrey.

I’ve been making notes on what steps I can take to understand and emulate Audrey to the best of my ability, and these steps will become my roadmap. I’m going to share with you some of what I plan to do to “get into character.” Some of these may seem silly, maybe trivial and unnecessary, but as an actress you just don’t know what may end up being a key to an important part of your character (I hate referring to her as this, but it’s a role in a production). Audrey relied on her costumes to help her get into character, for instance.

Physically, although we are very close in measurements, I’m going to put some effort into losing an inch or two from my waist, and losing a bit of my upper arm fat through exercise.

The specifics of that plan are as follows. I will be taking ballet class more regularly, and also adding some yoga to my daily routine. Any additional exercise is of course welcome! I’m going to be sure to drink much more water than I usually do, as this flushes out the system, makes you feel fuller, and can help you lose weight. I have a friend who lost I believe 40 pounds and mostly what he did differently was stay hydrated! I’ve also read that hot water, especially in the morning, is good for all of this as well. Looks like I’ll be drinking a lot of tea! I will also be cutting back on sugar and carbs, and in my free moments, being a weirdo and planking on the floor.

As for my facial features… this one is tough. With make-up and the right lighting, yes, I can resemble her. We somehow have features similar enough to make people comment nearly every time I leave the house that I “remind them of Audrey Hepburn,” and yet when you take our features one by one, they’re all different. I’ve decided to see if I can add some chubbiness to my cheeks (I have such defined cheekbones) by some “facial yoga” exercises. Mostly a lot of smiling sort of things. My face already feels sore. Hydration should also help out with this a little bit, plus aloe massages and whatever else I come across. I’m wondering if “flexing” my nose will widen it? As for my little lips… praying the hydration reaches them as well.

One thing an actress playing Audrey must master is her accent. I didn’t trust myself to do my best on my own, so I called upon my dialect coach (confession: haven’t used him in 2 years) and fortunately he had some time to help me out. Starting in January, after he does his research, he will teach me her accent. He is so thorough, too. I have a 300 page pdf with as many audio files just for Received Pronunciation. I’m so lucky to have found him and have the money on hand to pay him for his help!

After learning her accent, I plan to speak like her in as many situations as I can, until it becomes second nature.

I’m also toying with the idea of spending a few months in London this year, in part to be around non-American-English accents, and in part to get to know what it might have been like for her to live there.

If I can manage it, I’m also considering spending several weeks in Holland and Rome, after London. I’ve made quick trips before, but I want to know a little more about these places she spent so much time in. I want to have some of the same (or rather, similar) images in my mind, the experiences of walking those streets and hearing those languages. And of course, I’ll do my best to learn a bit of the languages as well. I’m still working on French but surely I can handle a little bit of Italian and Dutch, too! I’ve already got my little language books (I’ve had them for years, but decided to do my best with one language at a time).

I was reminded yesterday of how much she smoked… and I don’t smoke at all (Nail biting was my preferred bad habit. Now I carry a nail file with me everywhere). So I looked up the kind of herbal cigarettes used in film, and ordered 10 cartons of a lightly flavoured cigarette. Then I started getting into it and bought a cigarette case on Amazon, and, to be a little modern, a cool electric lighter. I figure it’s small enough to put into the case with some ciggies. I hope. Oh, and I found a sweet little pocket ashtray on etsy that I couldn’t resist. Why on earth did people stop using these?! We need to bring these back, and quit tossing cigarettes into the streets.

If you followed my other blog at all, you might remember the short little series I did about Audrey last year. Well, I’m so glad I did that, because it’s now an easy reference guide for myself. I’m going to follow her diet which I went over HERE , and her exercise habits HERE . I went over her fashion choices HERE , which I think I already implement pretty well. Not to say that I try to dress like Audrey every day. Her advice was to not try to dress like someone else, but to find what works for you and be yourself. It so happens our fashion sensibilities do overlap somewhat, but I’ve also found that I adore more 1940’s silhouettes as well. I’m very happy with my style right now, and I feel my vintage wardrobe – even if it’s not identical to Audrey’s – gets me in the right mindset. This post HERE gets more to the core of Audrey, past all of those physical considerations. Her kind of inner beauty is something I continuously strive to cultivate in myself. And while playing Audrey, it must shine through. I know (because I’ve been told more than once!) that I can come off as withdrawn or aloof, and I think I need to work on that. I’ve never met Audrey, of course, but I can’t imagine people would think that upon first meeting her. For myself, it’s more of an anxiety or shyness, sort of a protective shell, I suppose, that I’m not even always aware of. But I’ll work on it! For you, Audrey!

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions (especially on the business side of things, because I have an uphill battle with that, I’m sure!). And don’t forget, you can find me on Instagram!

About This Blog

Over the past few years, I’ve kept a blog over at www.dreameroftheday.com, although as you can see, I haven’t written anything there in the past year (I’m not much of a blogger!). But because this is a specific project I want to document, I decided to set it apart and give it it’s own space on the internet. So here we are!

And what is this project, you may ask?

While awake at 3AM, in London, a few weeks ago, I was browsing Facebook and came across this article:

Nearly fell out of bed.

Let me back the truck up a little.

I became an Audrey fan as a teenager, after renting Breakfast at Tiffany’s for my grandmother and I to watch. She had told me it was her favourite film. I knew nothing about Tiffany’s except that they made pens (she had a silver pen marked “Tiffany’s”), but I assumed it was some kind of café somewhere… I mean where else would you get breakfast? I was so fascinated with Audrey, because she was so different to all the actresses I was aware of at that time. Olivia Hussey was the actress who really inspired me to act, and I wanted to look just like her. My hair was already to my waist, but that bust… no lotions or bras could get me to look like that. And I tried. By the time I was out of high school, I was nearly 5’7″, 105 pounds, 32A and size 8.5 shoe. Nothing seemed to fit me, my teeth were a mess, I didn’t know how to apply make-up or do anything with my hair… and so of course I left for Los Angeles.

That same year, Jennifer Love Hewitt portrayed Audrey Hepburn in a television movie. At first, I admit, I kind of liked it. It was probably the first “documentary” I’d seen on Audrey. But I soon learned how wrong it all was. So I started doing my own research. Between work as a background actor, I’d spend days at the Academy Library, going through microfiche and files of letters and papers (which I did again this past year). And on set when I wasn’t working, I was writing. I had stacks of index cards with every fact about Audrey I could find, notebooks full. And I wrote. This was my mission.

But life got in the way, and I had no idea how to ever make it become reality, so it sits in volumes on my bookshelf. The dreams of 20-year-old me.

So now, in 2018, to see that there is a production that is actually going to get made, and will most likely be accurate and well-written, all I could think was “maybe this is my chance.” And maybe my only chance.

Of course the voices in my mind tell me, “oh, no, they’ll probably want someone like Natalie Portman or Lilly Collins, someone bankable, someone known… you’re nobody, what chance do you really have?”

But then there’s the voice of hope, shouting at me, “don’t give up that easily! You have no idea what they want or who they want. You are just as talented as any other actress, and you have more passion for this project in your pinky finger than any of those well-known girls. If you don’t even try, then you’ll never know if you could have gotten the role. What do you have to lose?”

So I won’t give in to that other voice. That voice that tells me I’m not good enough, that I shouldn’t even bother, that I’m delusional. I have plenty to offer, and several months from now I’ll have even more to offer.

In this blog, I’m going to document my journey. I have no idea how often I’ll post, or what I will post, really. But this is the journey of an actress with a passion for a role. This is my journey to “becoming” Audrey Hepburn. My goal is to make myself into the best candidate to play her on screen. Audrey has given the world so much (and she wouldn’t even understand how!), and was such a unique human being, that she deserves the best of everything. If a series is going to be made about her, it’s got to do her justice. She’s given me so much, that this would be my way of giving something back to her, if I succeed at my goal and actually get the part.

So, let the journey begin!

via Gfycat

“Won’t you join me?”