Sonora's Corner of the Web

Failure is Just as Hard as Success

Grown ups told us that if we just work harder we would succeed. Or to try to be better. Not true. We only need to work and evolve; success or failure is a side effect. And frankly, I find failure to be fertile grounds for creativity and productivity. 

For some, work is a panic-filled roller coaster ride, dodging failure before the clock runs out.

God’s clock has no numbers.

failure and success signsThe outcome of our efforts is not up to us. That said, failing is rough. Firing our agents is rough. Realizing we enlisted the wrong people is rough. Scrapping hard work is rough. Closing a business is rough. Starting over is rough.

But it’s also the only way we are going to level up.

Eat the fish and spit out the bones. Some things just don’t work. Some dreams die. Some goals do not end in achievement. The war is over and we lost. It doesn’t mean that our aspirations end. We don’t have to wait to take action until we feel recovered. We bounce back by doing, not by thinking about doing.

When things go South and we look at our efforts, we notice that it takes the same amount labor as success.

failure builds characterBut with failure, we get something special. We learn things about ourselves.We absorb the lessons of the journey more fully. There is no happiness haze, no victory goggles, and no sense of completion settling in and bringing comfort. We have to stare our shortcomings in the face and cozy up to them and bring in the healing powers that change who we are.

I think we are transformed by failure; success diverts transformation from us.

When we achieve success, we have a deep, fleeting, happiness. The lessons we learned along the way are out-shined by the feeling of accomplishment. However,

feelings last 90 seconds

…unless we attach a story to them. Therefore, success is fleeting.

On the other hand, the more we fail, the better people we can become. We can change, do things differently, and collaborate with fast-learners and people who are inclined to evolving, which leads to excellence. Without championing workaholism, I believe that the more we do and risk, the more we fail and learn. risk_failure_940x470The side effect of doing and growing is success. Success itself is actually not a tangible endpoint. Evolution is.

People who are exhausted with chasing achievement highs have described success as a moving target. Now we know why.

Success can’t be a goal because it is in fact, a side effect.

And because success is a feeling, it is guaranteed to fade.

If failure is the underbelly of learning, how can we close our file on a job or project?

  1. Acceptance: It is statistically impossible to succeed every time.
  2. Examination: Take in the new information. Evolve. Level up. Clean house.
  3. Renewal: Start fresh with this renewed perspective and keep the focus on the new job.

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This year we closed our file on a web series and a pilot, and have been in scouting locations for our feature film, The Opposite of Everything. We are travelling to Palm Springs and Birmingham for Airport Douchery this month, and are developing a pilot for a multi-camera comedy filmed in front of a live studio audience for network television. It’s a never-ending cycle of renewal and commitment and there’s always room for change, renewal, and raising the bar.

Scouting Locations

My feature film is coming along! The Opposite of Everything has received all if my attention during our industry downtime over the summer.
Here are some possible locations, all in Texas towns.

https://vine.co/v/MEj5TvI6L6x
http://www.instagram.com/sonorachase.com

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Capacity for Change

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Patsy Rodenberg said, “Actors connect. We walk into a room and we spot each other right away.” I would broaden that to include all theater makers.

My personal theory is that we connect to people who have the same capacity for change.

People who have the same upper limit on how much good we can experience and the ability to raise that upper limit to grow. Or as one might say grow up. We meet these people in classes, workshops, parties, day jobs, interning, on set, in line at the stage door to get a playbill signed – everywhere.

The important thing is that we recognize our people when they’re in front of us and we say hello.

This is the undercurrent of collaboration.

It starts small, it grows steady, and it serves as a great example for how we make memorable theater, improv, films, and performance art.

 

Brooklyn College Aluma of the Year Award  2014-05-13 20.59.25

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2014-05-15 18.55.43Thank you to Isabelle Pierre for posting these group shots on Facebook!

Twinkle is in the NY L.A. International Film Festival!

Are you in NYC? Come out Saturday, May 10th to see our short film, Twinkle, directed by Rosalyn Coleman Williams! Roz is part of an amazing duo with Craig Williams guiding actors to self produce: Red Wall Productions. Twitter: @RedWallPro

It was a fantastic collaboration that I am so proud to be a part of. Join us!

http://nylaiff.com/NY_Tickets.html

Twinkle also own audience favorite at The Brooklyn Girl Festival!

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Taking The Sting Out of Pilot Season

Who booked a new TV show?

Lots of actors did. It may not be their dream role, but they got it. And there weren’t enough roles to go around. Are you feeling the sting, too? It’s okay, we all are. Fancy people lost out. Unknowns lost out. It’s now time to bounce back.

We can take this opportunity to raise our game on self care before we regroup. I don’t mean numbing out, I mean actually feeling the sting and knowing it will pass, then taking care of our psyches so we don’t burn out. Yes, we can and should get massages, haircuts, or take a weekend trip, but -

Here are my favorite acts of self care, for fun and for free:

 

1. Take a long walk where the sky is bigger than the land and take it in. The gaping hole will match the hole in your heart and somehow fill it at the same time.

2. Leave the house and make conversation with one new acquaintance a day. Its like daytime bar hopping, minus the depression that follows a hangover. It may make you feel less alone in the world. Say hi to all dogs along the way;  they really like it.

3. Join a meet up group and meet entirely new people who did not audition for a single pilot. Conversely, attend free improv shows to laugh in pain and in sync with other performers and experience a shared experience other than the TV system.

4. Complete all incomplete chores that you can in one hour, then pat yourself on the back & bake a cake.rainbow-cake-4

5. Spend the afternoon with that book you meant to read last year in your favorite chair, or get a new one from the library.

6. Be of service to someone or a charity, then go write a 2 minute short film about how it changed you.

7. Take a social media break. Swap it out with meditating. Or something that refills the well.

8. Write funny limericks about the baffling nature of TV and our response to it, then call an artist friend & leave it on their voicemail. Make it a human connection, not just a clever, witty Facebook post.

9. Move furniture around, draw something that makes you laugh and hang it on the door.

10. Re-watch Bridesmaids. Recall your most obstinate moments in life and find the humor in it. Bridesmaids

11. Watch TED Talks, Pema Chodron videos, or listen to The Moth – whatever resonates and will bring you back to your true nature.

12. Make a list of the most frustrating obstacles and reverse them into new game plans. Or simply release whatever goals you have that those obstacles are blocking in order to clear a path to receive new inspiration in due course.

Receive * Release *Recover * Rebuild *  Relish

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Power of Women in Film: Portland!

I had a great time in Portland, Oregon at PowFest! 

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All the films were directed by women and told stories through a woman’s P.O.V.

Back in L.A., I had just turned down a role in a pilot that starred all men – but 3 tiny female characters were written in to be their maid, their naked one night stand, & a worshiping fan.

When a show is missing real women, it is missing half its comedy.

Enter PowFest- a well-needed escape to Portland(ia), which is the love child of Austin and NYC’s meat-packing district. In addition to sharp, thought-provoking animation, narrative shorts & features, PowFest programmed short documentaries about 73 year old basketball players, teen wrestlers, & the sweet highs and lows of a girl with Turrets. [trailer]

Sometimes I don’t know how thirsty I am for films & panels of great substance & depth until I get an overdose. That’s why I love festivals.

This was enough of a jolt to go back to our pilot we developed last year and close my file on “pilot season.”20140317-163617.jpg

I officially got passed over for a series and have been unable to sell our own pilot to a traditional broadcast network. That said, I LOVE Amazon’s new series, Transparent, by Jill Soloway.

Maybe new media will continue to broaden their programming beyond men?

Maybe if we self produce and direct,

women can be portrayed as more than the fantasy of a woman or the nightmare if a woman.

 

What do you think? Want to see us make our own pilot on location in Detroit? Pregnant or Not, Here We Come!

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 (<<My fav PDX coffee house,bookstore, and their very civilized train!)

Airport Douchery wins an Award!

Great news! Airport Douchery: Boarding & Hoarding won the 2013 Fall Golden Eagle Award! Special thanks to Betsy Walters & Jon Gann who referred me to the competition during D.C. Shorts!

Check it out here: http://www.cine.org/film/airport-douchery-boarding-and-hoarding/

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Pilot Update

bannerPREGNANT OR NOT, HERE WE COME!

A Single Camera Comedy By Sarah Knapp

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Acme Red Caroet Mini Cropped We presented our industry read for producers for our pilot Tuesday night at Acme and it was exhilarating! No news yet, just photos. Pictured above are Ashlie Atkinson, Jessica Blank, Keith Gerchak, & myself. The next photo is my horsing around backstage with the screenwriter, Sarah Knapp and photo-bombing her talking to Devon Michael Jones.

Below, pictured left to right: me, Keith Gerchak, Ashlie Atkinson, Jessica Blank, Claire Bocking, Devon Michael Jones, & writer Sarah Knapp.

I want to give a special shout out to Ajarae Coleman for reading the stage directions and glamming up the place with her vibrant energy and presence! 

I am so grateful for every person who showed up that night! And when we have good news, you’ll be the first to hear it.

XOXO

Sonora

 

 

Happy Holidays!

 

Please vote!

http://tinyfilmfestival.com/vote/airport-douchery-boarding-and-hoarding/

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We were in the lead last week – there are two more weeks of voting and the competition is stiff! How cool would it to be to win an award and end the year with a bang?! And please feel free to share your shining moments of overcoming travel jerks in the comments!

 

 

 

I love to take November and December to wrap up, reflect, & renew

As I let go of this year’s projects that came to an end, it propels me towards next year’s potential and I find that exciting! My pilot and feature indie are still in development, while my last TV appearance happens Monday MomPostcard

  • My episode of Mom airs this week: Monday, November 18th on CBS at 9:30/8:30 Central
  • Our pilot, Pregnant or Not, Here We Come, is getting its reading for producers in December
  • Airport Douchery: is up for Audience Favorite Award in The Tiny Film Festival

Mom

I took a break from working on my feature to shoot Chuck Lorre’s new mulit-cam comedy, Mom, on the Warner Brothers lot last week! Allison Janney and Anna Farris were comedy gold, as was the amazing Octavia Spencer!

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I think this picture really says it all:

In my trailer:

I can’t tell you anything about the show, except that it is very funny & I can’t wait to share it with you!

 

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