Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve 1990

This is me.


New Years Eve, 1990.

It was the first time my parents had let me stay up to ring in the New Year.

Clearly, I’m pretty excited about it.

Note the adult-sized glasses and the bangs that don’t quit.

I had worked diligently to make the confetti. My mom had provided the party hats, and my parents had sacrificed one of the last adult holidays they had.

My father looks like he wishes it was New Year’s Eve 1981.

But all that aside, the thing that stands out most for me in this photo is my crazy joy. I mean, I look like I’m going to have a happiness seizure.

It was the excitement of staying up late and the promise that it was a new year. Who knew what would happen in 1991!

(Turns out, my first boyfriend would tell me he loved me and my mom would decide that a bowl-cut would really ‘bring out my eyes.’)

But all that was still unknown for me. The year had not yet begun and it could be anything I wanted it to be!

I miss that.

These days, I have a better haircut but a worse attitude. I’m cynical about resolutions and new beginnings. I just don’t have that hope like I used to.

But this year, I’m bringing it back.

Who knows! This could be the year I get the role that will change my life. This could be the year I
make more money as an actor than at all my other jobs combined.

This could be my year.

So here’s to the girl from 1990. To the girl who was convinced joy could be found in anything. To the girl who knew with all her heart that the future would be bright.

Twenty years later, I want to be that girl again.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanks!

I went back home for Thanksgiving.

It took me four planes and fifteen Dramamine but I finally made it to my grandparent’s farm in the middle of North Dakota.

It was 7 degrees. It was desolate. It was wonderful.

In between eating ‘salads’ made up of whipped cream and cookies, explaining to my grandpa that being unmarried in LA does not mean I’m a leper, and warming up the car for an hour before it’s warm enough to drive, I had time to think about all the things that I was really thankful for on this trip back home. (It was Thanksgiving, after all.)

And when I returned from all the peace of North Dakota to the bright, harsh light of Los Angeles the transition was a little rough.

My manager called and told me I did not get that role on Parks And Recreation and my health insurance company informed me they do not take IOUs. I needed a little pick-me-up and decided to pull out that list take a good hard look at it.

To remind myself of the clarity I seemed to have back home.

It was surprising home much better it made me feel.

So…with no further ado:

I Am Thankful For…

1. The flight attendant who high-fived me after I accidentally hit a button that turned on all the
flashing lights on the plane.

2. The snow.

3. My grandpa who still asks me to recite the nursery rhymes he taught me when I was four.

4. The fact that I rarely laugh as hard as I do when I’m with my family.

5. My direct flight back to LA from Fargo.

6. People from my hometown who always ask, “So – are you famous yet?”

7. Lots and lots and lots of wine.

8. Lots and lots and lots AND LOTS of food.

9. The fact that despite serious turbulence our plane did not crash.
10. The clarity I seem to have back home.

And even though it’s harder to make a list of simple, thankful thoughts in Los Angeles I am thankful for one big thing.

That I’m here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mean Reds

Yesterday I almost drop-kicked a morbidly obese meter man for giving me a ticket.

Which is very unlike me.

If you ask any of my friends they will tell you that I am unendingly cheerful.

Once, while working as a hostess in a restaurant, a guest filled out a comment card that said, “the hostess was too chipper.”

TOO CHIPPER.

I remember thinking at the time:

How can I possibly be too chipper?

And then I went on picking wildflowers and whistling.

I’m all about avoiding conflict. I think the worse thing I’ve ever said to someone was:

You make me feel angry.

After which I covered my mouth, horrified I could say something so cruel, burst into tears, and begged for forgiveness.

So I don’t just go around drop-kicking people.

Just so we’re clear on that.

I’m sure at this point you are wondering what the hell this has to do with acting in Los Angeles.

Well, I think I’ve traced all my anger and frustration back to my career.

There are times when I feel like things are moving forward. Things are happening and changing
in ways that I’m excited about.

But I’m tired.

Tired of hearing “no” disguised in passive aggressive compliments and wishes of luck.

In other words, can someone just give me a fucking break??

I have a bad case of the mean reds.

Classic movie reference, anyone?

Audrey Hepburn, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s says:

The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.

I am afraid.

Afraid this whole dream of mine, this life I’ve been pursuing for what seems like forever, is just too far out of my grasp. That I’ve wasted years of my life on something that won’t happen.

And that makes me angry.

Pissed, actually.

And what makes me even more upset is the fact I let myself think those things.

That’s not me. I’m not a “mean reds” kind of girl.

I’m a bright blue or sunny yellow!

And when I feel like the world is against me (or at least the Los Angeles Parking Enforcement) I need to remember who I am.

I am the girl who believes in herself.

I am the girl who is on the right path.

I am the girl who is too chipper, dammit!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vintage Boots

Yesterday I auditioned for an acting class.

Which means that yesterday I almost threw-up, had continuous cold and sweaty palms, and wanted to die for the better portion of the day.

There is nothing that makes me more nervous than to have my peers and a renowned acting coach watch me as I try to prove I’m good enough.

At least in an actual audition there are only casting directors and producers who want you to be good to make their jobs easier. In an audition for acting class, you’re surrounded by people that are secretly hoping you will fail to make them look good.

As soon as I walked into the building I was uncomfortable.

The guy at the desk wearing a headset and suit jacket, greeted me with a smile that said, “I’m
way more comfortable than you and know exactly what I’m doing but I’m still going to be over-friendly just to prove how cool everyone is here.”

He told me to hand over my headshot and take off my shoes.

Excuse me?

He looked at me with an unwavering smile. He had obviously had this conversation before.

Just, take off your shoes.

I looked around. Everyone was in socks. Shoes were stacked in little cubbies all around the entryway.

I started to panic.

These shoes make my outfit. This is my power outfit. The one that says, “I’m cute and pulled-together but still edgy because look at my vintage boots!”

Without the vintage boots I was just…cute. Who wants to be ‘just cute’ in LA??

Now, I know taking off your shoes was supposed to make everyone feel comfortable, but of course (as things like that often do) it just made me feel less comfortable.

As I trudged up the stairs to the group audition in my tights with the giant hole in the toe (BECAUSE I DIDN’T THINK ANYONE WOULD EVER SEE IT) I already felt defeated.

But – I have to say; I really loved the acting coach.

For my audition I chose sides from one of my favorite real-life auditions. I played (as I often do) a comically upbeat woman who is desperately trying to hang on to reality.

Wait a second…

Something just clicked.

ANYWAY.

Afterward, as I was simultaneously listening to feedback and trying to swallow down my vomit, the coach asked me why I chose that particular scene.

I explained that I always go out for characters like that and I think that’s how casting directors view me.

And you guys, she literally said:

I don’t see that at all. You are sitting here right now and you look so cute and pulled-together.

I wanted to jump up from my chair and yell:

Wait!! Just let me get my boots!!

But despite my shoeless audition and ridiculous nerves, I got in to the advanced class.

Just one small step for me and one giant leap for my pocket book.

And as I was walking back to my car (in my boots) I thought long and hard about the shoe situation.

If taking off my shoes is going to help me get more acting jobs than I guess it’s worth it.

I’ll just have to buy some really cute socks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Someday

I try to see as many live performances as I can in Los Angeles for two reasons.

1. If they are horrible (which, let’s be honest, most of them are) it makes me feel smug.
2. If they are amazing (about 5% of the time) it inspires me.

A few nights ago my friend Noah and I ushered a Sutton Foster (big Broadway star) concert. We couldn’t afford tickets but somehow Noah was able to snag us jobs as ushers.

As the House Manager of the theatre was explaining our very important role of handing out programs, he mentioned “unfortunately, you will be unable to meet Ms. Foster after the show because she has a red-eye to catch back to New York.”

That was fine with me. I would rather not meet someone I’m a fan of so they don’t have an opportunity to ruin my crazy, unrealistic, view of them.

When the concert began, I settled in – ready to be inspired. As I listened to Sutton’s incredible voice something crept in on me that I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t inspiration and I definitely wasn’t feeling smug…

No.

It was pure, unadulterated bitterness.

Sorry, Sutton.

All I could think about was how much I wanted to be up there. How much I wanted to be able to say I had a red-eye to catch back to New York after a doing command performance in LA.

Instead, I’m doing a command performance at a restaurant and then catching the red-eye to my nanny job.

I tried to push my bitterness away: She had worked hard! I will be just like her someday.

But I’m tired of saying someday.

I’ve fed myself those stories for years.

Someday… I’ll tell Jay Leno how I used to eat popcorn for dinner because I was too poor to buy food.

Someday… I will give an Oscar speech about how struggling for so long has made me the artist I am today.

Someday… I will look back on my experiences and think about how being dirt poor was truly the happiest time of my life.

But I’ve come to a conclusion: Someday sucks.

And there’s no amount of pep talks or good vibes that will change that fact.

Actors are always trying to reassure themselves that their situation is not permanent, but what would happen if we were simply okay with the fact that sometimes its just too damn hard to see the positive?

To just… sit… with that reality? And it’s okay… It’s okay to hate it.

It occurred to me the other day – after I opened my fridge and found only mayonnaise – that I’ve struggled enough, thank you.

I’m done now.

So, Hollywood, you can call off the dogs! You got me! I admit it! I didn’t know it would be this difficult, I thought I would rise above the average actor, blah blah blah.

I know now that this business can be rough.

And ugly.

And unfair.

And lately I’ve felt like taking a big, heavy sigh and just…giving up.

(I imagine it sometimes and relief washes over me like tequila – I mean rain.)

How good it would be to admit defeat… To look Hollywood, and all it’s bullshit, in the eye and say, ”NO THANK YOU. I choose something… else.”

I’m sure Hollywood would respond with a resounding, “What was your name again?”

And inevitably, just when I’m on the edge, ready to fling myself into the sea of other failed actors and writers, something pulls me back.

Sometimes it’s my competitive nature.

Sometimes it’s my friends.

Sometimes it’s not really anything at all.

This time it was an audition.

I think my manager must have sensed my desperation when she called me the other day.

I had an audition for Cameron Crowe’s new movie starring Matt Damon!

And like a bolt of lightning I was back. (Matt Damon can do that to a girl)

I could be in a movie directed by Cameron Crowe…

Someday.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Show Me The Money

In the last few months the words “Book Club Distribution” have become as elusive to me as the words “Work Out Every Day.”

When Book Club began (I know, I’m talking about it again…feel free to navigate back to Facebook, or Twitter, or that website you were looking at that you don’t want anyone to know about.)

But seriously, when Book Club began the feeling of all involved was that if we just made this one pilot Hollywood would come knocking! They would burst down our door with streamers and money and a maybe a gold leaf plaque that said something like “BEST WEB SERIES IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.”

It was a glorious feeling.

It was an uplifting feeling.

It was a shortsighted feeling.

Now, as another month sneaks up on us, we are still waiting for that call from Hollywood.

I’m starting to think they lost our number and maybe I should try calling them.

Yes, hello? Is this Hollywood? Yes, I’m just calling to tell you that we are still waiting! What? You’ve never heard of us? But…we did this really great pilot of a web show about a book club and – What? Oh, no…I’m not a millionaire….I beg pardon? Oh, um…no I would really prefer to keep my first-born child. But thanks for asking.

Apparently, you not only have to create your own work (check!) but you also have to create you own distribution deal. Everyone always told us that if we just took the time to create what we believed in, work would come to us. It turns out those people failed to mention they already had major connections in Hollywood.

Hollywood is full of people with money. But guess what? They are all financing their own movies.

So this begs the questions, how to three young producers who live in small apartments and consider “splurging” turning on the air conditioner, find the funds to film the first season of a really great show?

I think this is all coming to light for me because I’m in panic mode.

I’m just done waiting around. I feel like if I have to follow one more dead-end lead my head might explode.

And then Hollywood will be sorry!!

Or they’ll rejoice because they can stop listening to me call them and ask for funding…

I’m sure you’re all wondering how much our little web series could possibly cost.

Let me say, it’s a lot more than you might think. To do it well, to pay people what they deserve and keep up the quality we set in the pilot it would be…are you ready? Somebody make sure my grandmother has oxygen…

$200,000

For twelve episodes.

It sounds like a lot, right?

But then, if I think about what people spend on TV shows out here (7 million an episode!!) it sounds like pennies.

But it’s not pennies to those of us who actually count our pennies.

And so the search continues.

I cannot tell you how maddening it is to have the actors, the scripts, the crews, the location, and the passion. And just not have the money.

It’s like building the perfect car and not having money for gas.

For those of you who think I’m losing faith – I’m not. So many people have told me Book Club is worth something. That it’s a great comedy worth funding.

And it is.

We just need to find the people who say that and then hand us a check.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BANG

I was late.


As usual.

And not in the pregnancy scare kind of way.

I was late for my audition at Warner Brothers Studios.

I love that I can write that sentence.

I had an audition at Warner Bros Studios!

For The Big Bang Theory on CBS!

CBS!

On a TV show my grandpa has actually heard of. Finally, he wouldn’t have to utter his famous line (after seeing another confusing piece of theater his granddaughter was in.) “Well, I didn’t understand it but I support you.”

So as I gunned my little Toyota Yaris into the parking garage of Warner Bros I was prepared.

I had thought of everything. My lines were memorized, my character was analyzed, even my dress was perfect.

Perfect, and sweat-stain free.

Let me explain.

Earlier that day, as I stood in my pre-planned outfit reciting my lines, I noticed my short-sleeved dress highlighted an unfortunate occurrence of my rising nerves:

Sweaty Arm Pits.

Well, that just wouldn’t do.

I had to think on my feet. My audition was two hours away and I still needed to rehearse at least five hundred more times! I couldn’t let an annoying body function ruin my chances at getting this role!

So I did what any self-respecting, eager, young actor would do.

I improvised.

I dug through my bathroom drawer and found the perfect tool to stop the sweating.

Maxi-Pads.

In the armpits of my dress.

Before you judge me, let’s remember that these things are advertised for their moisture-locking protection!

It was the perfect, fail-proof plan!

As I checked in, got a visitor’s badge (which I later had mounted and framed,) and ran onto the lot I was confident.

I was ready.

I had moisture-free armpits!

I smiled at maintenance crew, spoke to a security guard, and joked with a producer. Every person I saw was my new best friend. I was on top of the world!

A few minutes before my audition I stopped in the bathroom to do a final check.


Teeth – check!

Hair – check!

Make-up – check!

Armpits -

I stopped.

Armpits!

OH. LORD.

There, hanging out of a sleeve of my dress was a bright pink maxi-pad.

I just stood there, staring at myself in the mirror.

Not even at a big audition, on a glamorous movie lot, can I pull it together.

At these kinds of auditions you see a lot of different types of girls. There are the girls that always smell great. The girls that always have the perfect make-up. The girls that always have the perfect hair.

And then there’s me.

The girl who has feminine protection hanging out of her armpits.

I have stains on my dress, runs in my tights, and chips in my nail polish (who am I kidding, I don’t even wear nail polish.) I’m over-sensitive, too hard on myself, and I care too much what other people think.

But I’m here, dammit.

I’m here.

I’m in LA, doing what I promised myself I would do.


And it can suck. Hard.

But it can also be really great.

Like that one time I had maxi-pads hanging out of my dress but still got a callback.


In case you were wondering.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

www.bookclubtheseries.com

Last weekend, in the span of 15 minutes, I saw a woman dressed completely in hot pink loading groceries into her hot pink corvette, a man in his underwear running and screaming down a residential street, and a bulldog wearing Ray-Bans.

You can rest easy knowing that, despite my lack of blog posts in the last few weeks, LA has not changed.

Thank goodness.

I don’t know what I would do if animals in Los Angeles stopped wearing accessories that cost more than my car payment.

The reason for my lack of posting is essentially because I’ve been so busy with this:

www.bookclubtheseries.com

Have you heard of it?

If not, you should really check out www.bookclubtheseries.com

What is that, you ask? Well, by all means learn more here:

www.bookclubtheseries.com

Is this joke getting old yet?

www.bookclubtheseries.com

Okay. Seriously, I’m done now.

Book Club took up A LOT of time. More time than I could ever have imagined.

So much time, in fact, that I realized – after not sleeping more than four hours a night and putting “eat” on my list of things to do if I have time- I needed a more flexible job.

Now, as you know it’s my policy not to speak about work on this blog.


HOWEVER.

I will say this one thing:

I quit my job.

And found a new one.

Waiting tables.

Okay…that was three things.

So, now I’m a server and my mission to become the most cliché woman in Hollywood is complete.

Move to the ‘big city’ from my small town….CHECK!

Dye my hair blonde…CHECK!

Hardly have enough income to buy food….CHECK!

Start waiting tables….CHECK!

I’m just waiting for someone to tell me I would be perfect in their “tastefully nude feature film.”

Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll decline.

But yesterday, as I had all the time in the world to write, work on acting, and watch copious amounts of Law and Order SVU, I realized I’m totally comfortable being that cliché.

Because it's time for me to be scared.

It's time to be brave and trust that I won’t be waiting tables forever.

It's time to believe in myself a little more.

At my old work place, I was comfortable enough to have been there for years. But that’s not why I'm in Los Angeles.

I’m here to write. And to act. And to make my dreams my first priority.

So keep the clichés coming! I don't mind. As long as I have time to do things like this:

www.bookclubtheseries.com

Monday, July 5, 2010

Rapids

Last weekend I escaped the Los Angeles jungle for a new kind of wilderness.

The mountains of Montana.

After two plane rides, one hour-long car ride, a two-mile hike, and a 450 foot free climb (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating) I was at Rainbow Ranch for my cousin’s wedding.

Along with a weekend filled with family, friends, and $1.50 draft beers, my getaway also included checking something off my “I Really Need To Do That To Feel Like I’ve Experienced Life” list.

Whitewater rafting.

On class four rapids, bitches.

(I might not be able to get away with putting “bitches” at the end of sentences…)

Anyway, it is probably in the top 10 coolest things I’ve ever done – right after finding an apartment in LA for less than a thousand dollars.

My cousins and I were all in the same raft and we would be sailing down the calm river, enjoying the beautiful scenery until suddenly, our raft guide would yell “paddle!!”

And just like that, we would be flying through rapids that seemed to have some sort of personal vendetta against the Runck/Bollingberg/Haugen clan.

That is how Los Angeles can be. One minute, you are cruising peacefully along, thinking that life is really beautiful and then BAM – you are in over your head and think the waves are definitely going to consume you.

My friend (who asked to remain nameless) told me the perfect story, upon my return to LA, which really confirmed my rapids theory.

This friend (who is an actor) was going to therapy. He had always told me how much he loved his therapist, how he was really getting along with her, and how she was really getting to the bottom of some of his issues.

He was riding smoothly along in his therapy life raft and didn’t even notice class four rapids ahead.

One day, he was drinking wine and innocently searching the web, watching different TV shows and web series programs.

He saw a title that caught his eye and was intrigued. He told me later that he kept thinking there was something very familiar about the show. Something calming and almost….therapeutic….


And then he realized it.

His therapist was the lead actor.

Let me say that again.

HIS THERAPIST WAS AN ACTOR.

Now, we’ve all heard of actors working as servers, nannies, and even tax preparers.

But never, in my entire life, have I heard someone say they are getting their PhD in psychology “just in case the acting thing doesn’t pan out.”

Whose “fall back” career is therapy???

My friend said he felt totally violated and exposed. I mean, can you imagine?

You are telling your deepest darkest secrets and she’s thinking about what time her next audition is.

You’re explaining how hard it is as an actor to face rejection every day and she has to resist fist bumping you and saying, “been there, brother.”

Only in Los Angeles do you have to worry about seeing your therapist on the cover of OK Magazine.

Now that is a class four rapid.

Needless to say, my friend stopped going to therapy.

And now needs it more than ever.

When I think about that story, the following image from my rafting experience comes to mind.

Now that is a rapid.

Bitches.

Friday, June 11, 2010

In Case Of Emergency

A few weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night looking like a cross between Angelina Jolie and the Elephant Man.

I was having an allergic reaction.

My eyes were swollen almost completely shut, my lips were huge, and my stomach and legs were covered in hives.

I know what you’re thinking – What are you allergic to?

My answer, dear reader, is this:

WHO THE HELL KNOWS.

Seriously, to this day, I have no idea what it was. And yes, DAD, I’m getting an allergy test.

After I woke up and got a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I called Noah in a panic and let him know that he needed to immediately get in his car, pick me up, and take me to the Emergency Room.

Somehow, Noah was able to understand me through my swollen lips. You know you are good friends with someone when they can decipher the words “allergic reaction” from what must have sounded like “amphergeek eashon.”

We got in the car and (thanks to Google maps) headed to what we thought was the closest ER. The “ER” turned out to be located between a Taco Bell and a Used Car Lot in a building that “used to be a church.”

Let me just say, when you think your throat is closing the LAST thing you want to be able to say is that you sought medical attention next to a fast food chain in a building that was once used to pray for the dead.

We finally made it to a legitimate Emergency Room (in a real hospital!!) and I checked myself in. As I was hastily filling out the required forms I came to the “Contact In Case Of Emergency” box.

I looked through the narrow slits that were my eyes at Noah who was supportively sitting there trying not to fall asleep. He just looked so tried, so worried, and so totally there for me.

So I wrote down his name.

It then asked me what my relationship to him was. I thought about that for a second. Neighbor? Writing partner? Producing partner? Acting Partner? Friend? Person Who Will Drive You To The ER At 3am?

They didn’t seem quite good enough.

So in my haze, with my fingers barely able to hold the pen I scribbled:

BFF.

I’m sure the nurses are still laughing about that one.

The night ended with lots of Prednisone and a hefty charge to my credit card.

Oh, and I lived…in case you were wondering.

And the very next week, my BFF and I filmed the pilot episode of Book Club. (Hive free.)

And it was amazing.


Partly because of Noah.

Partly because of the incredible direction by Ms. Katey Wheelhouse.

Whom I met because my car died outside my apartment one day and she offered to jump it. The rest is history. We became great friends (despite the fact I am her noisy neighbor who lives above her.)

When Noah and I asked her to direct this project she threw herself in headfirst and hasn’t yet come up for air.

And I think that’s the reason the filming of Book Club was such a success.

Because the people who I’ve surrounded myself with are the kind of people who jump your car without knowing you and forgive you for wearing heels and walking on your wood floor at 1am.

They are the kind of people who take you to the emergency room at 3am even though they have to get up for work early the next morning.

They are your “In Case Of Emergency” people.

And in a way, Book Club was an emergency.

For a while I’d been feeling like if I didn’t make something happen for myself here in Los Angeles, nothing ever would. That I would end up always regretting not living the life I had dreamed. Worried that I was on the verge of giving up, and moving on to something else.

And I can’t think of any greater emergency than that.

Unless maybe your throat is closing.

So thank you – to all my “In Case Of Emergency” people (you know who you are.)

Without you, this dream of mine (and Noah’s and Katey’s) could have never happened.

If I could put you all down in that little box on the hospital form – I would.

These two are great if you need to go to the ER or have your car jumped. They are also wonderful people to call if you want your dreams to come true.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Club

As a little girl I was the star of many big movies.

That I wrote.

And directed.

That my dad recorded.

That I forced my friends to be in.

There was:

- Dolls In The Night (a gripping short film about dolls who come alive at night.)

- Cody Lover (based solely around my love for a boy named Cody.)

- And the critically acclaimed Runaway Orphans (an action-packed thriller about – you guessed it - orphans who run away.)


I even created an entire silent film based around Wynonna Judd’s self titled debut album. Unfortunately, this was never captured on film but performed in a ‘one-night-only’ concert for my mother.

I know what you’re thinking: Her lucky, lucky parents….

And they only got luckier!

I bet when I went away to college and announced I was going to double major in English Writing and Theatre Arts they felt like the luckiest parents in the world! Especially when I followed it up by telling them I was going to get a History minor – you know, something practical.

As shown in my two college majors, I have always battled between my love for writing and my love for performing. But lately, I feel like the two have finally met.

And they really like each other!!

This merger began as I was driving down the 101 and had an idea for a web series. Instead of putting it on the back burner and never thinking about it again – I told my friend Noah.

And guess what?

He liked it!

After months and months of Noah and I developing the characters and writing the first season – it’s finally done!

I am proud to introduce to you:

Book Club: A Web Series for Bibliophiles

After being rejected from their town’s elite book club, a pill popping young woman and a deeply closeted gay man start their own book club made up of local misfits and both fall in love with the local librarian. Equal parts love triangle, celebration of the underdog, and homage to great literature, the series follows the story of Marlo and Thad, two people who desperately want a place in the small literary world of Walhalla, Iowa. Book Club explores both literary lessons applicable to daily life as well as the humor found in simple, monthly interactions of people dying to relate.

I know it’s no Dolls In The Night but, hey – that kind of idea only comes around once in a girl’s life!

And this time I have more than just my basement, my boom box, and a few reluctant friends.

We have shooting space, a FANTASTIC cast, and an INCREDIBLE director (Katey Wheelhouse.) Not to mention a Sound Mixer, a Director of Photography, a Make-up Artist, a Composer, an Editor, multiple Production Assistants, a Script Supervisor, an Assistant Director, and tons of support from our friends!

There are times when Noah and I sit back and look at this project coming together before our eyes and think –

We can’t believe this is actually happening.

But it is.

Somehow – it is.

What started out as a conversation over a few glasses of wine has turned into a full-fledged production.

We have high hopes for this series. Dreams of getting picked up by a network, getting funding to film the entire series, and creating the new “must see” show on TV.

Sound ridiculously optimistic?

Maybe.


But isn’t that what it’s all about? Giving yourself seemingly unattainable goals and then working your ass off to attain them?

I mean, if a silent film can be created around a Wynonna Judd album – anything is possible.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Minnesota Not-So-Nice

A few nights ago my friend Katie and I were running late to a film screening.

Really late.

The kind of late that turned my little red Yaris into a full out, balls-to-the-wall, racing machine.

LA has never looked so blurry. Except maybe that New Years Eve when I had one too many Tequila shots.

When we finally made it to the theater we were informed that the screening had been postponed by forty minutes.

Of course it had.

So, naturally, Katie and I spent this time drinking dirty martinis.

As we are sidled up to the bar, sipping our drinks and talking, a man over-heard our conversation and asked if we were going to the screening.

We were.

Now, some important facts you need to know about this man:

- He was very nice.
- He had lived in Minnesota for 15 years prior to moving to Los Angeles.
- He was drinking a large Margarita.

After awhile, Katie and I paid for our drinks and were getting up to leave. The man had not yet paid and was not making any effort to flag down the bartender (who was standing a few feet away.)

As Katie and I got up (the screening was starting soon) he looked at us, shrugged, and started to leave too.

Without paying.

HE DIDN’T PAY FOR HIS DRINK….IN FRONT OF STRANGERS.

Before I knew what I was saying I blurted out:

But don’t you have to –

At which point Katie squeezed my arm like a Velociraptor.

I stopped mid-sentence and started walking briskly out of the restaurant, whispering to Katie about all the freaks we encounter in LA.

Where was his shame?

Where was his dignity?

WHERE WAS HIS MINNESOTA NICE???

Maybe he had lost it in the move back to Hollywood.

Now, perhaps I’m over-reacting, but I have to ask: What kind of guy goes to a bar, chats with women he doesn’t know, and then openly shirks on paying his tab??

Apparently he does.

I was actually feeling pretty down about this. I mean, I know this could happen anywhere – but it didn’t. It happened in Los Angeles. The place where people write mean notes on your car and wear sunglasses indoors.

Sometimes all the crazy is just too much.

And just when I thought I needed a vacation to Minnesota, something incredible happened.

Now, I know this is a big leap – but stay with me.

I can finally talk about the big project Noah and I were/are working on. It’s a web series we are really proud of called Book Club. The only problem was we didn’t have any of the skills to get it made (other than acting and writing.)

We first pitched it to a production company, who loved it, but wanted to buy the rights to it. We were so honored by this offer but didn’t feel comfortable selling it.

So we were back to square one.

And then something amazing happened.

I just picked up my phone.

I called the most talented people I knew (who were also my friends.) All of them worked in TV and film. All of them have ACTUAL JOBS on actual TV shows. And asked them to shoot our pilot episode. FOR FREE.

And guess what?

Without hesitating. Without blinking an eye. Every one of them said yes. Every phone call I made was met with a resounding, YES! I started to feel like maybe that was the new phone greeting and no one ever told me!

Within 24 hours Noah and I now have…

-A director
-A director of photography (and a camera)
-Director of lighting (and lights)
-Script Supervisor
-A First Assistant Director
-A Sound mixer
-An editor
-A composer

These people are giving up their precious time and helping to make this dream happen for Noah and I.

And that’s when I realized that even though this city if full of people who don’t pay for their drinks, it’s also full of people who do.

It’s filled to the brim with people who will drop everything and share their time and talent to help out a friend.

So thank you to all of my generous friends. I’m taking you all out for drinks.

And I’m even going to pay for them.




More on Book Club later! For those actors that read this, we are holding auditions Thursday and Friday (May 13 and 14!) Email me for a character breakdown!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Gift To The Earth

Over the weekend I traveled home, was maid-of-honor in my friend’s wedding, got a horrible stomach flu, met my college roommate’s new baby, and was asked approximately forty-three times when I was going to “find that someone special” and “start having children.”

It was a long weekend.

And not just because of the flu.

I love my friends back home very much. I am so proud of them and celebrate the choices they make whole-heartedly.

But when I go home, I am often pressured to feel those are the choices I should be making.

In fairness, the pressure does not come from my friends. Usually, the people who clap me on the back and ask me if I’ve found that “special someone” are over sixty and think Sex and the City is pornography.

When these people look at me, they see a single woman who needs some encouragement.

But I think these well-meaning people would choke on their lefse if they knew I don't feel like my life is missing something just because I’m not a wife or mother.

Why don’t they clap me on the back and tell me congratulations for being a smart, confident, single woman who is chasing her dream?

I mean, there are so many milestones in a single person’s life that should be celebrated.

- Not marrying the wrong person.
- Getting a promotion.
- Figuring out how to light your circa 1938 gas stove (seriously, I deserve something for that!)
- Being brave enough to leave your friends and family behind and chase something you’ve dreamed of for years.

And how about the biggest accomplishment of all?

- NOT getting pregnant all those years I could have. (Mom, could you please check to see if Dad is still breathing.)

I should throw myself a party! I can just imagine the invitation:

Please join Jessica, as she celebrates never conceiving a child. A commitment ceremony to herself will be held at sunset on Malibu Beach, followed by a party in her studio apartment (which she found and pays for by herself) where there will be lots of alcohol.

She is registered at Pottery Barn.


I could finally get those sheets I’ve always wanted!

And to really make me confident I’m on to something, I found THIS.

I couldn’t believe it. My single person choices are even eco-friendly.

So, happy Earth Day everyone!

I’m not having a baby.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tales From A Los Angeles Grocery Store

Despite what you might think, there are a few things I won’t write about on the Internet.

Relationships – Because that could get messy.

My Day Job – Because I’m not stupid.

Sex – Because my brother reads this.

Crystal Meth – Because I don’t know anything about it.

But one subject I am about to break the Hollywood Hotdish silence about is body image.

To be honest, I’ve been avoiding it.

A woman living in Los Angeles complaining about body image is just so cliché. It’s just so over-emphasized. It’s just so Hollywood.

But as I was trying on dress after dress yesterday at Urban Outfitters, staring at myself in the mirror, and mentally swearing off sugar, carbs, and all food that can be described as “delicious,” I decided it was worth a mention.

Because I do think about it. A lot.

Too much, actually.

Now, I’m not the kind of girl who originally wanted to be a model and then – with a bat of my eyelashes and a toss of my hair – fell into acting.

In fact, I have a hard time liking those actors.

In spite of the fact that I’m probably (and hopefully) more talented than those actors, I wrestle with one dominant emotion every time I'm sitting in an audition surrounded by them.

Inadequacy.

A terrible, crippling feeling of poor self-worth.

Even though I know I’m better than that.

Even though I try and repeat what my dad always tells me:

You have a better personality than her!

It’s hard not to feel self conscious about yourself when you’re sitting next to a model.

I mean, who the hell cares about my personality?! She was on the cover of Vogue for God’s sake!

In a town that places so much emphasis on how you look (and what you drive, and what you wear) it’s hard to drown those thoughts out.

Yesterday, a friend of mine even refused to go to the store because he (HE) was in sweatpants.

REALLY?

This is a man who loves sports, who wears a baseball hat the majority of the time, who drinks beer - and not the fancy kind!

I was so shocked at this that I decided to do a little experiment. Could I go to the store in sweatpants?

When I stopped to think about it, I don’t think I ever had.

Now, I’m sure most of you are thinking: IT’S JUST THE STORE.

But in Los Angeles, going to the grocery store is an event. (Remember the red carpet?) I have seen women pushing carts in 6-inch heels, men picking out hamburger in Prada suits, and children begging for candy in dresses that cost more than my rent.

But I was determined to try this out.

I wore my sweatpants that sagged in the ass.

I wore that mustard-yellow t-shirt that has an obvious stain across the chest.

I didn’t brush my hair, I wore my glasses, and I didn’t even put on one bit of make-up.

I held my head high and waltzed into that store!

And even though the whole time I prayed I wouldn’t run into Steven Spielberg in the frozen food aisle, I did feel incredibly free.

I didn’t care about body image because I didn’t care AT ALL!

I picked out pears and smiled at strangers. I pushed up my glasses and read my coupons.

I got to the checkout and I was feeling good. I was feeling sexy and strong and beautiful!

And I looked at the cashier, held up my bottle of salad dressing, and said proudly:

Is this fat free?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Big Dreams

A few nights ago I dreamt I fed a hot dog to a shark.

In a laundry room.

While sitting on the dryer.

As you can imagine, it did not end well. Turns out, a great white shark's jaws are a lot bigger than an Oscar Mayer Weiner.

I narrowly escaped with my hand and apparently the shark was not satisfied becuase it flopped around (it was beached in the laundry room after all) and came after me.

It bit me in the inner thigh and then I woke up.

I know that this has nothing to do with Hollywood, or acting, or even is anything you want to read about.

But it's just SO WEIRD. And I've not been able to get it out of my mind since.

I mean, what does it mean??

So I thought I would turn to you, my readers (all seven of you) to give me your thoughts.

So, I ask of you:

What does it mean when you try and feed a hot dog to a shark in a laundry room?

Friday, April 2, 2010

B+

Last night for supper I had two dried out Easter Bunny Peeps.

I can’t remember what else I ate that day.

I am in the midst of working on a project with Noah. A big, time-consuming, career-driven project.

I feel like I’m back in college (without the quick metabolism and disillusions of grandeur.)

My freshman year, all I could think about was keeping up my grade average. Luckily, I had a roommate - Chelsea - who was the same kind of freak and became my best friend. There was even a weekend where we did nothing but homework.

36 HOURS OF HOMEWORK.

We would stare at each other across piles of papers, give a half-hearted thumbs-up, and say, “College is so awesome…”

That was also the year I almost accosted my history professor because he gave me a B+. When he told me a B+ was considered “excellent” by college standards I told him I had my own standards and could he please tell me how to get an A!

It’s amazing I didn’t become addicted to pills.

Chelsea and I later learned the word time management and were soon putting off homework to watch VH1’s “I Love The 80s” and taking late night trips to Coldstone.

Looking back on my freshman year I wonder what I was so afraid of.

Nowadays, I’m working like I worked in college. The same crazy hours, the same neglect to my diet, the same freakishly high standards.

But one major thing has changed.

If I had failed a class in college it wouldn’t have really mattered. Yes, I probably would have needed oxygen but it would not have affected the rest of my life.

Someone has yet to ask me about my college grades on a job interview or on a date.

Are you from around here? Are you a smoker? What grade did you get on your ‘Religions of Asia’ paper?

Not once.

The difference now is, if I don't work hard, there are real life consequences. Consequences like having to keep up my Ramen diet and having to wait until my fingers are numb to turn on the heat.

Real life success doesn’t just mean a mark on my transcript.

It means I was right to believe in myself.

It means I can stop eating Peeps for supper.

It means I can stop working three jobs (I’m lucky to have) but not passionate about and start working one job I am.

Success in the real world is not just about validation.

It’s about being able to provide for myself.

It’s about being able to get a one-bedroom apartment, travel to see my friend’s new baby, and being able to look back and think it was totally worth those years of struggle.

So here’s to real-world success!

And Doctor Sandgren, if you’re reading, thanks for giving me a B+ and some much needed perspective.

I hid under the bed for a week after that grade because I thought the world would cave in.

Surprisingly, it didn’t.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Something Old

Lately, I’ve been thinking about marriage.

I think somewhere in the distance I just heard my father load his shotgun….

Relax, Dad.

I’m thinking about marriage because I spent the weekend with my grandparents in Phoenix and they seemed determined to secure their only granddaughter’s future.

I wanted to tell them a couple million would make me feel nice and secure.

When I walked in the door the first thing they asked (after Grandma said my blond hair didn’t match my skin color and Grandpa asked if I still liked “that dictator in the White House who is friends with Castro”) was whether or not I was getting married any time soon.

For those of you on the edge of your seats – the answer is no.

My grandfather, in particular, was interested in the subject. Maybe it’s because he noticed my ever deepening smile lines or maybe my ovaries were giving some kind of “ANY DAY NOW” signal only grandfathers can hear.

Whatever the case, he wouldn’t let it go.

The conversation got so deep into marriage that when he started talking about me exchanging vows on his farm, I half expected him to open the closet door and shout excitedly “TO THIS MAN I FOUND ON THE STREET!”

On the long car ride back to Los Angeles I started to think about why I’m not even close to walking down the aisle.

Yes, it’s true. I think about it sometimes – when I’m not thinking about how I’m going to make rent or how I’m going to juggle two jobs or how I’m going to pay my taxes or how I am going to become a successful actor.

Somewhere…in the recesses of my mind…the thought of bringing someone else into my world occasionally crosses my mind.

But as I’m always reminded when I go home, I have made different choices than most my friends. I chose to pursue a career that demands a lot of selfishness and a lot of sacrifice.

I don’t have time to be a part of someone’s world because I hardly have time for my own.

I don’t have room for someone else because I live in a studio so I can afford headshots and – if I’m lucky – food.

And just when I think I’m happy with my choice. When I’m feeling very modern, and powerful, and forward thinking, I remember the last night I spent at my grandparent’s house.

My grandfather is getting older. He needs my grandma more and more for simple things like taking off his socks or getting up from his chair. These two have never been big on showing each other affection – or even expressing it verbally – and my grandma cares for him patiently and silently.

And as I was falling asleep on the couch, after a particularly tough day for my grandpa, I heard him whisper to my grandmother as he lay next to her in bed.

You know, I love you.

And she whispered back.

I love you too.

And then I think maybe my studio apartment is big enough for that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pants On Fire

I was the George Washington of children.

I could not tell a lie. Seriously. Not one.

Some called it honest. My parents called it obsessive compulsive.

If you had met my 8-year-old self and had wanted to know the time you would have gotten the “correct” answer.

No, it’s not 12:00, it’s 11:59! No one likes a liar, DAD.

I was a treat to raise.

My obsession with the truth was not limited to telling the time. When I was nine, my babysitter drove really fast down the freeway so I could feel what it was like “to fly” and made me promise not to tell my parents. But that was against my 9-year-old moral compass.

Mom! At exactly 1:27 we drove 98 mph on the freeway!

I was also a treat to baby-sit.

These days I have the opposite problem.

I was recently on a trip to San Francisco for my “day job” and was shopping in Free People. The sales assistant was being friendly and asked me if I lived in the Bay Area.

No…I live in LA.

Oh great, what do you do?

I’m an actor.

Wow! That’s so cool. Are you up here for vacation?

No, I’m here for work.

Wow. That is SO COOL.

Now, did this Sales Assistant assume I was in San Francisco for acting work?

Of course.

And did I correct her?

Of course not.

I kept the lie going the entire time.

I tried on clothes and talked about how difficult it was to film all day.

I browsed the sale rack and told her how hard it was to memorize all those lines.

I waltzed out of that store with all traces of Mr. Washington gone. And just because I was feeling crazy, I looked at my watch, saw that it was 2:27, and shouted over my shoulder:

And by the way, it’s 2:30!

I was high on lies and it felt AMAZING! I was crazy! CRAZY WITH MY LIES!

That all changed when I got back to Los Angeles.

I was sitting in my tax prepares office and she looked at me in surprise.

So, you didn’t make ANY money as an actor this year?

I feigned cheeriness.

Nope!

Not even $100?

No…not even $1.

Oh, okay…

I smiled through her quiet judgment and tried to push it aside.

I later ate my weight in ice cream.

And in my Cookies N’ Cream haze, I realized that I had lied to that Sales Assistant because I needed a lie for myself.

I needed to live – even for 5 minutes – in the world I was working so hard to create.

And sometimes that world can seem really far away.

It’s easy to lose hope in Los Angeles. It’s easy for people to point at you and say that you are not successful.

But when I think about my last year here, I would disagree with those people. I may not have made money – but I’ve gained ground.

I’ve managed to clear a little more of a path for myself.

And I’ve managed to not give up one ounce of hope.

And that’s no lie.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Better Have More Fun...

I am my father’s (and mother’s) daughter.

I am literally almost an exact blend of both their personalities and features. If you knew my family well, you could find distinct qualities of both my parents and my grandparents in me.

I’m not one of those kids who people think, “Where did that kid come from.” I clearly came from the Bollingberg/Runck lineage. (How is that for some last names!?)

I have been approached in public on two occasions by people I have never met and asked if I was Kim or Del Mari’s daughter. (I am.)

I have my father’s eyes (and his sense of humor.) I have my mother’s smile (and her determination to succeed.) I can thank Grandma Hopwood for my hair and Grandma Lottie Mae for the shape of my body (sometimes ‘thanking’ her is bit difficult.)

I’m sure you're saying, “We don’t care about your genes! Where is this going?”

I’m getting there!

As most of you know, I recently dyed my hair. I understand that people dye their hair all the time. But in my family, it was a crisis.

When I sent my mother photos she said the following.

You're not my little girl anymore.

In her defense, she said it in a sad, reflective way – not a bitter “cutting-me-out-of-the-will” kind of way.

There are no blonds in the family. We breed redheads or the ever-popular “dish-water brown” haired kids. Despite my predominantly Norwegian heritage (Uff-da) there is no place for golden locks in our tribe.

Which explains the outrage, the begging to change it back, the spontaneous – and sometimes hurtful – comments. (One person went so far as to say, “I just can’t get over looking at you and thinking ‘dumb’.”)

But, my agent likes it. As does my Manager (PS: Just signed with a manager…more on that later.)

So, I’m keeping it for a while. Sorry, Mom. And Dad. And Aunt Beth and Uncle Tim and Grandma and Grandpa Hopwood, and the little boy I nanny who said my hair was “too light.”

It’s staying. At least for a while….



(This one says, "I could beat you in Small Claims Court.")


Headshots taken by Amber Bella Photography.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Up In Flames

On my way to work a few days ago I saw a homeless man trying to light his hair on fire with a Zippo.

Had I known that this was a sign for where my day was headed I might have declared him a prophet, pulled my boat ashore and left my nets to follow him. (It’s a Biblical reference, people – I’m from the Midwest – what do you want from me?!)

A few hours later, I was in FedEx, sending off envelopes. There were about nine people ahead of me and the one employee working was clearly frazzled and kept apologizing to all of us.

Finally, I was the only one left in the store and just as I was about to talk to her about the pros and cons of shipping overnight, something happened. She took one look at me and burst into tears.

SOBS.

HEAVING, WRACKING, SOBS.

I didn’t know what to do. So I dropped my envelopes and awkwardly reached across the counter to pat her shoulder.

It’s okay…this job is tough. You’re doing really well.

She looked at me and kept wailing.

I’m just SO OVERWHELMED. There were so many people!! And I’m having a family emergency and my replacement is late!!

So, I did what any good Midwest girl would have done. I offered to buy her some Coke.

I know a guy who sells it on Sunset and Laurel Canyon.

KIDDING. Mom, that was just a joke….A JOKE!

I bought her a Coca Cola and tried to make her laugh. (I swear if I’m any more like my father I may start growing a mustache.)

Eventually she calmed down.

Soon, people started coming back into the store, she started working again, soda in hand, and I left wiping her tears off my sleeve and wondering if that really happened.

That night, I got to thinking about how sometimes my life feels like a series of never ending fire fighting – yeah I know, I’m coming down a little hard on the 'fire' metaphor.

But stay with me.

Los Angeles seems to be full of people walking around pretending they are okay. Pretending they are not soaked in gasoline and just one spark away from going up in flames.

From breaking down at your job in front of a stranger.

Or giving up all together and deciding to light your own hair on fire.

I am the queen of pretending that I’m okay. Pretending that I’m not over-stressed, or over-tired, or overwhelmed. Even if I’m standing around the ruins of my life and a friend asks me how I am, I always respond…

Oh, I’m fine! And you?

I admire the guts it takes to admit that you are not fine. To admit you need a Coca-Cola (or in my case a Gin Dirty Martini.)

Sometimes life comes at you too hot and too quickly. You might not survive if you don’t reach out to someone.

The longer I’m here, the more I learn I can’t fight the flames alone.

There is so much peroxide in my hair I wouldn’t stand a chance.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

For those of you who couldn't attend the In the Company Of Jane Doe (if you just joined us that was the show I just wrapped up) I thought I would bring the show to you! What follows are some production shots I love by the very talented Jeremy Roush.

Yes, this does look like I'm at the gynecologist...but I assure you that the rusty sickle CoCo Kleppinger is holding is used strictly for people interested in cloning themselves.

I called this my my Ariel moment as I signed away my life. Also, I love this actor, Isaac Wade. He is brilliant.

We obviously had no fun with costumes and props.

This is me considering what would happen if I ruined the whole show. And Hannah Beck is recording it all.

This scene never failed to break me (from laughter.) Why? Notice the uni-brow, the looks of contempt, and the HUGE hair.

This is Sara Kaye who played my clone. I know, the resembelence is striking... But it gave me good motivation when I had to be jealous of her (I wish I was that petite, I wish I had that cool tattoo on my wrist, I wish I could pull off a fur hood so well, etc.)

A moment of realization. Or as I liked to call it, the moment I realized I only had two sentences left to try and remember.


I saved this one for the end. This is how I feel in traffic.

See? Now it was like you were there! Plus, you got the added bonus of my commentary (which I'm sure was not annoying in the least.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

They Like Me, They Really Like Me

A few days ago I was recognized at a bar.

And I don't mean someone recognized that I was the girl eating fried food at midnight or I was the person who still had a Nebraska driver's license even though she's lived in California for a year and a half.

I was recognized for being an actor. Some circles might say 'celebrity.' (That circle is made up of my mother, my grandpa, and myself in my wildest dreams.)

I was sitting there among friends, drinking and thinking about leaving when all of a sudden two twenty-something girls approached our booth. They looked at each other excitedly, nodded their heads, and sidled up next to us.

Are you the girl from the 'Jane Doe' play?

I stared at them and nodded my head.

Oh. MY. God. We thought it was you when we saw you from across the bar! We just wanted to come over and say how much we LOVED YOU in that show! It was so funny! We loved everyone! It was so good and we are SO EXCITED to meet you!

As you can imagine I had to pick my jaw up from the floor and hand my friend Rachel (who was visiting from Minnesota) an oxygen tank.

I stammered a thank you and wondered whom they knew in the production. And guess what, gang!? They didn't know ANYONE. They came becuase they wanted to see theatre. I may have blacked out when they told me that.

My first fans then insisted that I come to a party they were throwing the next night, gave us their number, and told me their other friend would 'FREAK OUT' if I was to come.

SOMEONE WOULD FREAK OUT IF I CAME TO A PARTY.

Eventually, they left in a bustle of smiles and 'OMGs.'

Did that just happen? Had I had one too many Citron and sodas?

Finally, after we regained consciousness Rachel looked at me, shocked.

Here I was hoping to see a celebrity in Los Angeles and it turns out I was sitting right next to one.

I do have to say, that might be one of the craziest things to happen to me out here yet. For that brief moment I felt like a celebrity - at least a B-list one.

And now the show is over and it's time to find a new project.

I am no longer Jane Doe.

I am Jessica Runck.

Who occasionally gets recognized in a bar.



Monday, January 25, 2010

Eleventh Time's A Charm

I have had ten different addresses in five years.

TEN.

Now, I’m no good at math but I’m pretty sure that means the longest place I’ve ever stayed (on average) is six months.

And for a girl who claims to hate change – when I was four I cried behind the garage because my father sold the white Jeep – that’s a lot of moving around.

To clarify, some of those changes kept me in the same city but that still meant boxes, back spasms from the heavy lifting, and serious pimple outbreaks from all the stressing out.

And that brings me to my big “internet announcement.” I moved. Again.

So make it eleven.

But this time, folks, it’s feeling a little more permanent.

Maybe it’s because I can’t stand another zit (and neither can my agent.) Maybe it’s the fact that if I have to lift my mattress again in six months I might spontaneously combust.

Or maybe it’s because I really LOVE my apartment. Because I do. I really do.

True, traffic noise can be a little loud, the closest food to me is a name I can’t pronounce, and the most legitimate business I’ve been able to find boasts “Magic Insurance.” (Which raises the question – magic how?)

I love it because it’s mine. And there are wood floors. And a GIANT kitchen. And it’s across the street from Noah.

And when I come home from a crazy day of auditions, work, rehearsal, or getting my hair dyed an obnoxious blond color (pictures soon…) it feels peaceful. It feels like it’s saying…

Hey, you look stressed. Have a martini and a warm shower. Lie on your bed and stay awhile.

And I say…

I think I will.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hanging On And Trying Not To Vomit

We opened the show!!


But that’s not where this story begins….


The night before we opened the show – also known as ‘The Night I Didn’t Sleep A Wink and Dreamt About Being Naked On Stage And Forgetting My Lines’ - I was speeding home in my Yaris and almost hit a man who was biking.


On the Freeway.


HE WAS RIDING HIS BICYCLE ON THE FREEWAY!


Now, I’m going to make a judgment call and guess that he was homeless. He looked exactly like Red Skelton’s Freddy the Freeloader. He was in a patchy tweed jacket, a beanie that was cocked to one side, and he was missing a few teeth. (Yes, I was able to see all that as I flew by at 80…ahem…65 mph.)


But the thing that caught me by surprise was his face. It was not the face of someone who had accidently taken what he thought was a sidewalk but turned out to be the entrance ramp to the 101. It was the face of someone who might as well have been biking down a sidewalk lined with daisies and ice cream.


His joy was unbelievable.


His head was tipped back and he was grinning a charming (and toothless) smile while his legs were moving at the speed of light.


He didn’t seem phased in the least that cars were narrowly missing him and for a brief moment I wanted to pull over and join him.


But I didn’t. Because my mom taught me that I should never get on the back of a strangers bicycle when he’s speeding down the freeway.


Anyway, back to opening night…


It was all going well, the nervous hives were under control, the armpits were fully deodorized, and I had remembered almost all of my lines. (If you ask the playwright I’m sure she will disagree.)


But with about five minutes of the show left I suddenly felt like I was going to get sick.


Not sick in a nervous way but in an “I think I ate some bad chicken” sort of way.


I stood there, holding a gun (you’ll have to come to the show to find out why) and when the other character asked..


Are you going to shoot me?


I wanted to say…


No, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to throw-up on you.


I frantically searched for an exit or a strategy to get me off the stage.


You can’t leave!!


I thought to myself.


You have LINES…and a big finish!


As the characters swirled around me and I tried to breath through my nausea, I thought about that man on the bike.


Lately I feel like my life is just like that crazy bicyclist (minus the missing teeth and the cute patch jacket.) It feels like things are speeding by me and I’m on a bike, trying to hang on and smile.


I have been living with a big ball of fear and stress bunched in my stomach for a while now. And finally, at the end of the first show, it was dissolving and trying to come up through my esophagus.


I know some of you really want this story to end with me spewing all over the stage in front of a lot of people.


Sorry to disappoint...it doesn’t.


It actually ends with a big breath, a bow, and a BIG glass of wine.


Oh yeah…and this.


And this.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Bobby-Pins In My Tights Kind of Day

This morning I realized my tights, after wearing them around for two hours, had two bobby-pins stuck inside them.

It’s been that kind of a morning…and weekend. I’ve been a little busy. The kind of busy that you don’t realize there are hair pins stuck in your leggings.

Why am I so busy… Well, I moved apartments (which was a nightmare and a blessing all wrapped into one.) But more on that later….

The main reason for all the craziness is this little play I’m in…perhaps you’ve heard me mention it a thousand times. It’s called In the Company of Jane Doe and if you don’t go see it I will have to end our relationship (Dad, you’re off the hook since you are thousands of miles away.)
So…check this out….


See?? "Jessica Runck Invites YOU to" how can you say no to a personal invitation.

And now comes the part where I use my blog for a shameless plug. (I know, you thought I had already done that.)

I’M LOOKING FOR A MANAGER.

So please, if you know one, invite them!!

And invite your friends…or your Casting Director friends…or your big time producer friends.

Or Sam Mendes.

You know…If he’s available.

Click here for tickets!