Recent Posts

Embracing Your New You

Embracing Your New You

Pre-divorce Melissa and post-divorce Melissa are two very different people. Before my divorce, I was pretty co-dependent. It was very difficult for me to do anything by myself: eat in restaurants, drive anywhere outside of the towns I lived in, talk to people I didn’t […]

Don’t Be Afraid to Tell People What You Want

Don’t Be Afraid to Tell People What You Want

I think I touched on this subject briefly two posts ago, but I was reminded again this week just how important this is. Brendan Burchard talks about this too in his book “High Performance Habits.” He says (and I am way paraphrasing) to be open […]

How Journaling Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams

How Journaling Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams

Ever since I was in middle school, I’ve found journaling to be an incredibly helpful tool to help with life’s toughest problems. Up until last year, it was just me writing out my feelings whenever I needed to. But in the past year I have upped my journaling game.

I began studying the Law of Attraction early last year. I don’t necessarily believe in all the things associated with the Law of Attraction, but the people I listened to did have some solid advice about achieving your goals. Advice that I keep hearing over and over again, from some of the most successful people in the world. They recommend things like visualization, saying affirmations, writing lists of things you are thankful for, and focusing on positive thinking. So, I turned to journaling to help with those things. I think they made a huge impact on my budding acting and film career.

Here is what I put in my journals:

  1. Lists of compliments I receive. This helps whenever I start feeling down or self-conscious. It’s nice to go back and reread all the nice things people have said to me (and, for me, help make me actually believe the affirmations I write for myself).
  2. Lists of affirmations. I take any negative thought I’m having (i.e. “I suck at acting”) and turn it into a positive (“I am always improving as an actor”). I do this any time I am feeling less-than-confident (when I need to drive through a big city, when I am preparing for a gig, when I have to socialize, lol). I cannot stress enough how much these have helped me. I don’t think I would have gotten through my last two shows without them. Believing in myself and telling myself I could do those roles really gave me the confidence I needed to pull them off.
  3. Lists of things I am thankful for. This really puts into perspective just how blessed I really am and that my life does not suck as hard as I once felt it did. It puts me in a much more positive state of mind.
  4. Lists of my daily accomplishments. This can be as small as sweeping the kitchen or as big as getting that film gig. Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing much, because I’m still in the same apartment and job as I have been for years. Those lists remind me that I am not a lazy person. 🙂
  5. Lists of fears I’ve overcome. Since fear has been the biggest thing holding me back, I wanted to document how I’ve been working to overcome that. It helps when I’m facing a new fear to look back and see how far I have come.
  6. Drawings of the things I want to accomplish. I do have a vision board I made last year. My journal is a mini version of that. I draw anything that comes to mind that I want to do. The following, for example, has already come true:

I drew this early last year. Later in the year, I auditioned for “Evil Dead the Musical” and was cast as Annie. For my big solo, I was given a mic, just like in this drawing (which is unusual in a musical). I was also dressed in a skirt. I couldn’t believe just how similar my drawing was to my actual performance.

All of these things help me to focus on the positive and on my goals. I don’t think I would have accomplished near as many things as I did without them. I have been hearing over and over just how much these things have helped some big names succeed: Tony Robbins, Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Brendan Burchard, Oprah Winfrey. It seems like every time I listen to a motivational speech given by a celebrity they attribute their success to the Law of Attraction (even if they call it something else, the ideas are the same). And just from the small amount of time I’ve been journaling like that I have seen more success than I ever did before.

I also recommend watching some of these guys on YouTube. They are incredibly motivating.




How Being a Production Assistant Can Lead to Awesome Things

How Being a Production Assistant Can Lead to Awesome Things

This past Monday I got to work as a production assistant on the same film I worked on a couple weeks ago. We were in the same location but this day was much different than the first day I was there. The first day was […]

The Challenge of Playing Honey in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

The Challenge of Playing Honey in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Each character I play has its own set of challenges, and my role as Honey in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is no exception. In fact, it may have been my most challenging role to date, as Honey is, at first glance, a very different […]

Jana Acevedo, Seamstress

Jana Acevedo, Seamstress

To say Jana is just a seamstress seems like such an understatement.

I went to high school and college with Jana. I watched her go from acting and creating costumes in our small town to working for some of the biggest T.V. shows and films we have today. She is truly an inspiration and proof that you can absolutely make a living as an artist.

So, without further ado, here is our interview about what Jana does for a living and how she got to where she is today:

1. What is your current job/position?
I work as a seamstress. I’m a part of the IATSE 479 union. I am currently working on Zombieland 2.

2. What films/shows have you worked on?
Too many to name! Some of the more recent ones would be Stranger Things season 3, The Haunting of Hill House, Black Panther, Ant Man and the Wasp, and a new HBO series about the Watchmen.

3. What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
I get to do something different everyday. Like the other day, I walked in and we needed to make Santa beards out of found objects. You just never know what’s going to happen.

4. What steps did you take to get to where you are today?
Well, I learned to sew in high school (shout out to Mrs. Hooper), then studied theatre in college. I worked in the costume shop my first semester for work study and just kind of started from there. After working for Lawton Community Theatre for a few years, I knew I wanted to do more, so I went to grad school to study production design with a focus on costuming. Luckily, Georgia is a hot spot for the film industry right now, so it was more of a right place right time that I transitioned into film.

5. What are your future dreams/goals?
Work with Joss Whedon! Make cool stuff…I hope to eventually design costumes for film.

6. What are some things you don’t like about working in the film industry?
It’s a high stress environment. The hours are long and it can be exhausting, especially if the show has a longer run. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have a life outside work. Weeks can go by where I can’t get things done like grocery shopping…or laundry. There’s no calling in to work. You also deal with lots of different personalities. Mostly good, but sometimes bad.

7. Best on the job moment?
Hmmmm….that’s a hard one. We get to make cool stuff so I guess when I see the finished piece on camera. Oh, and when I was on set for Spiderman Homecoming one morning, I was walking and this guy smiled and said good morning. I responded and walked on. Then realized it was Michael Keaton. Trying on Thanos’ gauntlet and one of Loki’s helmets from The Avengers prop department was fun, too.

8. Any advice you have for anyone wanting to pursue a career in film?
It’s a hard industry to work in. I’ve heard a couple of people describe it as carnie life…always picking up and packing up, moving onto the next one. It can be exciting and fun and difficult and exhausting. But if you decide to do it, I recommend starting as a PA, learning all of the departments, writing every task you’re given down…networking, because that’s how you get your next gig.

9. Anything else you would like to add?

Lol. Well, I’m just a small town girl who decided to move across the country, away from everyone and everything thing I knew, and ended up with my name in the credits. So I say take a chance. You never know what can happen.

 




My First Production Assistant Gig and What I Learned

My First Production Assistant Gig and What I Learned

This last Sunday, I had my first gig as a PA. (A production assistant is basically a person who helps run errands or help set up/break down sets or whatever production needs help with.) What was supposed to be a 12 hour day (9 a.m. […]

Why You Should Ignore Your Critics

Why You Should Ignore Your Critics

I recently came across this picture on the Pinterests: It reminded me of two very specific people in my life: an acquaintance of mine and a certain local writer who reviews plays for the newspaper. The first one harshly criticizes everyone, so I try to […]

Self-Doubt and an Answered Prayer Deferred

Self-Doubt and an Answered Prayer Deferred

A few posts back I wrote about how I was ignoring the answers to my prayers. After that, I didn’t ignore them, per se, I just put them off for a bit (…several months).

One thing I need more of (and I’m sure no one else can relate to this) is money. I began looking for part-time jobs, but was finding it difficult to find one that would work with my full-time job/private lessons schedule. Around the time I started praying for help, I had three friends ask me for private ukulele lessons. Since I am self-taught, I was hesitant. I don’t want to teach someone the wrong thing and mess them up.

Still, I was interested, so I bought a beginner uke book and began working through it. I re-researched proper strumming technique and how to hold it correctly. But alas, I am filled with an incredible amount of self-doubt and decided I was not good enough to teach anyone ukulele.

I did, however, continue to work on learning songs for myself, which I would sometimes practice while tuning ukes at work. I began getting compliments on my playing.  One guy asked what song I was playing (I was actually improvising) and said it sounded great. One guy from a local band told me I was hired. 🙂 Several compliments later,  I finally, finally, decided that hey, maybe I am better at uke than I give myself credit for (it only took me eleven years of playing…).

It still took a couple months for me to make it Facebook official, but tonight I posted that I am now offering ukulele lessons.

My sister told me a while back to not discredit the knowledge I have. She told me the things that seem like common knowledge to me (i.e. music stuffs) are not common knowledge to other people. (Which should have been painfully obvious to me but was not.) She was right. I worked through the beginning uke book in a matter of days, because I already know how to read music and uke basics. Other people don’t, and I am more than qualified to show them what I already know.

If you see a recurring theme in your life (like I did with the uke stuff), pay attention. It might just be exactly the answer you’ve been looking for.




Secretly Hoping They Won’t Pick Me

Secretly Hoping They Won’t Pick Me

One of my goals for the month of January was to get my head shots taken so I could start submitting for acting gigs and try to find an agent. All throughout December I was antsy to get them done, but I had to wait […]