- I believe in the magic of the muse.
- I believe the teacher learns from from the students.
- I believe joy in it's purest form is priceless (Julia Robert's Laugh...how much is it worth?)
- I believe that craft plus freedom of expression equals art, which puts us in such a state that when witnessed by an audience, together we breathe heaven's air.
This post is about my work, people I work with and for, my life and how thankful I am for all of it.
It's all mixed up together. my family, my work, and my life reflect each other. Together they equal my art my reason for living, my calling.
A few months ago my husband told me I had to stop working on a project. Essentially he fired me.
It felt like a punch in the stomach. I didn't know what to do which way to go. Why to wake up in the morning. You see to me a story untold, unfinished, unborn is like a stillbirth. It's like that raisin in the sun that Lorraine Hansberry lamented. Does it explode? No it rots inside and that's far worse.
When I don't get to finish a project that I start (which has only happened to me once before) it feels like I've been dumped. Fired. Broken up with in the most humiliating of ways. Publicly disregarded. Rejected. A dangerous tailspin of deep depression is something that a responsible mother, wife, cannot afford to risk.
After much talk I saw that perhaps the husband was right and we should leave the project unfinished. But where did that leave me?
I was lost. LOST.
So I went on a quest to find out what we should do next.
And this is why I am thankful for my work and my clients because that is what got me through a very long period of not knowing.
I wanted to take some time off a sabbatical. A trip to nowhere. To stop and think. To meditate. Stretch, fast and renew. But that was a fantasy. And unrealistic one at that. I'm not Alice Walker, I'm Roz Coleman. I don't have a MacArthur Genius Grant.
I didn't stop. I slowed down.
What I did was take a class. And then another. I had already committed to doing a play and teaching a new acting class at NYU and continuing at SUNY Purchase. Other than that my husband supported my time to learn, listen, and not know. New clients and acting opportunities kept creeping into my life and I saw them as my teachers as my guides through this time.
The quote that culminated this time came last week while I was on set coaching a creative genius. Let's call him Prince (As in the artist who made Purple Rain) because I don't want to disclose his name but he is a director, actor, artist, musician on that level. As I observed him step into his greatness, using his own body as a canvas for his work. He was playing with his food between takes on set. The actress who is acting opposite him, who although is more experienced in acting is admittedly not as free as he is, jokingly said to him "don't play with your food." He replied in a serious tone "why everything in life is meant to be played with."
The work of the students.
More to come...
Meet my Niece Olivia Douglas.
This is her speech from 8th grade graduation. She's such an inspiration to me.
What's your story? WHy do you do what you do? When did you discover your passion? Share your spark story.
Here is Olivias...
Today Red Wall announced that Roz will be teaching an On-Going, On-Camera Class starting June 10th. We are very excited about this next step for us and to work with all of you. Attached is the breakdown. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support. You are all so wonderful and we can't wait to keep growing and moving forward. We better see you in class :) NEW ACTING CLASS DETAILS
Had a very lovely shoot this past weekend. Our client was very focused and professional, he had a very clear vision of his product and it's value, he'd been working on it for 40 years and I was grateful that he asked me to help him facilitate his vision.
I hired a very small efficient and respectful crew, we came up with a plan of action and we set it in motion. The only thing I was not in charge of was the on air talent, a friend of the client, whom he had known had taken many workshops with, was familiar with her temperament and her work ethic: they were good friends.
We got through the shoot pretty smoothly, I was able to help him communicate his teachings to the camera and with his friend as his assistant and demonstrator, I thought he was really able to bring to life the passion for his work and this technique that has taken him a life time to develop.
It was the first of a two-day shoot, we finished the day, no problem. We wrapped. He was gracious and thankful, as were we, and we set a call time for the following week.
The next day I'm on another shoot, I get an email from the client. It seems his friend, his on-camera assistant and demonstrator, that is in 75 percent of the shots, called and said she didn't feel comfortable and that she didn't want the footage to be used. EVER!
BAM!! DAMN!! KABLAM!!
Our client had no contract with his friend, no waiver, no agreement, nothing in writing, it was his friend, it never occurred to him that he would need it, until he did.
Now he's stuck and he's decided since this is his friend, he'll honor her wish. Does he have to?
Got emailed a question recently and I thought I'd share my response:
My name is Adam Carey and I'm a graduating Senior at NYU. My friend and creative partner Jo-Dean Seymour assisted Squeaky & Ashley on "Father's Day?," and because of her involvement there, we've been aware of Red Wall Productions and have become fans and followers of your show "Justice The Series" since November.
Jo-Dean and I have been working on a web series. We love "Justice" and we've created a comedic web series of our own called "Dorm Therapy." The show is all about college ResLife and what it's like to live with strangers. I was hoping that I could reach out to you and ask for a bit of advice: We're hitting a brick wall with the audience we're able to reach with the show. The first episode has over 2,000 views, but the next three have fewer and fewer.
I'm also curious to know if you have any tips for someone breaking into the industry of Film and TV? That's a broad one but I'd love to hear what you might have to share on the subject as we're both trying to start our careers!
Thank you so much! You can find the first episode of "Dorm Therapy here: http://youtu.be/7w6l7SQ0rzI and you can check out the facebook page here: facebook.com/DormTherapy
I hope all is well and I would love to hear whatever you might have to say!
Show-Runner, "Dorm Therapy" Web Series
NYU Class of 2013
I just watched all 4 episodes and I'm a FAN. Really really funny, very sophisticated, I really like the characters. Everyone feels very distinct and specific. The relationships feel authentic and they're really funny. The big picture issue for me is I'm not getting a sense of goal or importance. You definitely have the "office" kind of feel, but if you remember the office, each episode there was some sort of goal, like today we're doing inventory or today we're going on a sales call. Something that pulled us through the episode. I love the actress that plays Alice, funny, quirky pretty girl, very well played and drawn, burning her tongue on the cookies, freezing her underwear, very funny stuff. So if you assign her some tasks for future episodes, to get the gang together that would help with cohesiveness of the episodes. She did that a little with the milk and cookies and the dorm meeting,but I wasn't clear why she needed to do it. You have such great set ups with the girls who hate to leave their room and some of the others, I think you need to find a way to push the comedy even further, it all feels a little safe right now and some of it is very subtle. Which unfortunately will go over the heads of some people. But don't worry about that just keep working this voice, you'll find your audience.
As for increasing your audience, you should juice up your youtube channel, there are "annotations" where you can insert buttons in your videos which lead people to the next episode and the previous one and to your facebook page and your twitter page, right now it's just a title card, you need to provide links so people can press them before you lose them. I had to search for the next episode and most people don't have the brains or patience to do that.
Also I see you have a good sized cast, EVERYONE of your actors should be tweeting and face booking friends family relatives, strangers. Everyone at NYU should be watching this series and they should be tweeting and sharing. But you have to bombard them which is really obnoxious, but so what. Come up with contests or campaigns to increase viewership. You should be posting to "Collegehumor.com and funnyordie.com and mydamnchannel.com. You're gonna have to kick up the social media presence to get people watching and talking. People posted comments on your page and you didn't respond, you HAVE to respond, you have to engage.
As for tips on how to break in the industry, you're already in it. You're creating content. Creating content is the future. Not sure what your focus is (actor, director, producer, writer??) but any and all of those have to start creating content. You've already begun developing your voice and better to start now and take advantage of the resources that school affords you. Keep writing, keep shooting and keep cranking out these episodes. I think you guys have a really great voice, don't be deterred by the low numbers, people will find you, but you gotta start helping them.
I hope that was helpful.
When Vanessa called me to tell me she got the job, my face hurt from smiling so hard, I was so happy for her. As an acting coach I am always getting these phone calls, texts, and emails from my clients who have booked the job and are sharing their joy with me. I always feel high with happiness when someone's hard work pays off in the way that they want it to. But then the emails get deleted, the Texas are covered over with new mundane texts the phone calls and the feeling that I get evaporates and I go back to my everyday life. This time I wanted it to be different.
How ROZ COLEMAN helped me book Intimate Apparel- Pasadena Playhouse fall 2012
I went to Roz because she's my dear friend, an amazing director coach and awesome actress!
I was particularly interested in her insight on Esther because I had seen her do a kick butt job in the role at a theater in Philadelphia.
I came to her with all my actor angst and a litany of questions.What does this scene mean,
what's the secret to Esther, what emotional place I should be in for the particular audition scene I had been given? I figured Roz would know all the answers she'd played the role (magnificently I might add) she knows exactly what's going on. She got to discover on her feet what was going on in the play!
Roz took a breath calmly said "Vanessa have an authentic experience of material."
"Oh!" I said to myself "Oh ok...I know how to do that. This is beautifully written material I understand it, I know what's going on, I'm having an emotional response to the material already."
Roz continued "...have an authentic experience and don't focus on the result!" In other words trust yourself, trust your instrument Vanessa ...you can't get it wrong.
I was relieved and went on to have a fantastic audition armed with this sage advice and another gem of wisdom Roz had already given me in a prior coaching session which was "This is your job until otherwise notified!"
These words I carry all the time to every audition I have. These words completely and totally take me off the hook and allow me to relax into the present moment and the present joy of doing the work that I so love to do. And isn't that the truth of the matter anyway? Don't we as actors spend so much of our lives more than anything else we do trying to "get"the job?
So why not go ahead and enjoy this process, fully embody it and enjoy HAVING the job for as long as we can or ....until otherwise notified!
I spent more time going over the scenes, rehearsing, discovering, but now without all the worry. I was doing the part I was "in rehearsal."At the call back I was calm rehearsing with the director with the other actors who were also "in rehearsal."
I saw the other actresses who were also up for Esther, beautiful, fine looking actresses whose work I'm sure was fabulous, all the while I had a calm sense of whatever happens it's all good I'm already doing it, already doing the work.
I left feeling exhilarated inspired accomplished and detached from the outcome... I couldn't lose.
My agent called me three days later...I booked it! Thank you Roz!
Sent from Vanessa's iPad
I am taking some time off from teaching to work. It's good for me to act professionally. It certainly keeps me humble. Learning. Growing.
I miss my clients so much.
This aknowlegement by Backstage readers makes me feel so appreciated.
I can't wait to get back to focusing on helping others breakdown scenes and connect to the materail in a way that is unique to them AND works for the story.
In the meantime. Thank you.
Here we are at Disney (where dreams come true)
Not too long ago I had decided Florida was dead to me.
The zombie attack.
The voting issues: hanging chads,but all it took was a decent gig and all is forgiven. Thank you Florida. I can't forgive your past...but there is hope for your future with me. Vote O and I can see me spending a lot of time (and money) here.
This seems like a great time to focus on heath and my own instrument. Of course I cant let my goals go so I am still working on Twinkle and Justice and Everything Acting Podcast and I will be avail for Skype coaching sessions. And it's a good time to get back to my own story writing. Of course the play. It should be relaxing. Lord help me.
THIS POST CAME FROM ADDICTED 2 SUCCESS
Published Dec. 15 2011
Our bookshelves are lined with habits that successful people do on a daily basis. We read about them and implement them into our routines and practices. Quite often these practices improve our productivity and make our lives better as a result. But that’s not what this article is about. It’s not about what successful people do, but what they did.
Here’s a brief study of 10 things that these hungry and unstoppable people did to see the success they all eventually achieved.
The 10 Things Successful People Live By Before They Make It
1. They didn’t use excuses.
We all have two voices. There’s the voice that tells us to work hard, to focus on the task at hand and to finish it before we move on to the next. And to finish it well.
We also have the voice that tells us to take a break, to think about what’s on TV, or to visit a site that we like to visit that entertains us – whether it’s ESPN.com or facebook.
In life we’re the victim of injustice from time to time. It could be a promotion that we deserve but don’t get. No matter who we are, we’re going to be treated unfairly at some point. We can either feel sorry for ourselves, or push forward and put it behind us – even use it as motivation.
Nelson Mandela could have used his unjust imprisonment as an excuse to give into his anger. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and eventually free others.
Listen to your excuses. Understand why you have them. Then figure out how you can use them for good.
2. It wasn’t just about them.
‘Things’ can be a motivator, they can even be a reward, but they can’t be the motivator. The truly successful in life always get there because they created change in the lives of others, not just their own.
If something drives you that is greater than just the ‘ends’, we’re going to work harder, longer, and we’re going to give more of ourselves to our project.
Yes we can make money when we have the primary goal of making money. Some might even use that money for good – which is awesome. But there’s no fulfillment in simply making money. And isn’t that the point?
3. Early mornings and late nights.
People who have achieved true success in their lives have worked for it.
This might come at the detriment of other areas of their lives, such as family or social life. But their mission is first and foremost. Until it’s complete, everything else comes second.
There’s literally no substitute for hard work. Abraham Lincoln said, “Things may come to those who wait… but only the things left by those who hustle.” If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to out hustle everyone else.
4. The greatest commodity.
Energy is a huge commodity that is often not talked about. Yes, energy in the sense of fuel and electricity is talked about everywhere, but I’m talking about our own energy levels.
The fact is that the more energy we have, the easier it is to focus, and the higher the quality of our work is.
One of Richard Branson‘s ‘key’s to success’ is staying in great physical shape. So would raised energy levels be the greatest benefit to working out? It may be.
Keeping physically fit gives us greater blood-flow to our brain, enhanced alertness and improved focus. Make training a routine part of your life and increase your chances at success – in every meaning of the word.
History will be kind to me. For I intend to write it.
Winston Churchill had principles. The difference between him and the rest of us, is that he stuck to his principles at all costs. He didn’t waver when they weren’t popular – an extreme rarity in politics.
What are your principles? All of us should have them, know what they are, and live our lives by them.
One of Apple’s principles is to bring change to the world through technology, and they do it with every product they release.
Identify what principles you have that guide your life through tough times, and when things couldn’t be any better. They shouldn’t change, and at your core, neither should you.
6. Wavering, yet unbreakable faith.
We all have moments of doubt. Even the best of us question if our dream is going to come true. The one thing that separates the truly successful from those who never reach their true potential is an unbreakable faith in the fact that what they’re doing is right.
Even if they have moments of doubt, they’re soon quelled, where other’s listen to that doubt and let it eat them up and finally they quit.
Have your moments of doubt. You’re human. Just don’t let that doubt eat you up. Instead let it motivate you to prove your optimism right.
7. A reason.
Many of the greatest accomplishments in the world were accomplished by insecure men and women, people who had something to prove to others. A desire to elevate their status and create change that was so strong, that failure is simply never and option.
Abraham Lincoln‘s reason(s) had to do a lot with his view of himself in relation to how other’s viewed him. Where others saw a poor, illiterate boy, Lincoln saw someone capable of achieving more, even if he had to do it completely on his own. He also saw the need for change. A nation that preached freedom wasn’t free. He saw something fundamentally wrong with this and set out to change it. Hiswhy wasn’t about him. Which in turn made him one of history’s great men.
Understand why. You have that reason to work when others sleep, to sacrifice a safe life for a risky one with no ceiling. Find it by asking why, and not stopping until you hit your core, emotional reason for wanting to change your status, or the status of others.
8. They persevered when others didn’t.
How does the guy who quit on his dream know how long it would’ve taken him to become a success? He doesn’t. None of us do. It could be tomorrow, or ten years from now.
What separates a lot of the great people we read about in our history books from those we’ve never heard of is the fact that they never quit. Quitting was never an option. They only stopped when they reached their dream. And even then, they created a new mission.
Take James J. Braddock, or even Nelson Mandela, for example. They didn’t achieve their greatness or success early on in their careers or in life like some. They achieved it after surviving. They survived while others literally died, or quit. In their cases it wasn’t just that they were the best, but they were the best because of what they endured. They were the last one’s standing.
We don’t know when our breakthrough will come. So don’t guarantee your failure by quitting. You can adapt, change, and evolve, but never, never, never quit.
9. Great people relentlessly studied their craft.
Tony Gwynn and Mike Tyson studied their craft as much as anyone. Gwynn spent hours upon hours studying opposing pitchers. He studied their patterns. He wasn’t the most athletic guy around, but he put his work in to be the best at what he did: hit baseballs.
When people think of Tyson, they think of an animal, but what we fail to see is the student. No one studied boxing like Tyson did. Watched more film than anyone in the history of the sport. He was a student first, a fighter second.
These great athletes studied film, but how can we perfect our craft?
Using myself as an example; much of my job has to do with writing, and obviously fitness. So, I study those two things. I read books about how to become a better writer, ways to connect with the reader, and I simply read great books written by authors who are much better at writing than I am. If you’re in sales, read and study sales. If you’re a marketer, then do the same with marketing.
Being a drone that simply goes through the motions is no way to achieve greatness. Assuming success is something you want, you have to study your craft, whatever it may be. Learn it inside and out. Build a wealth of knowledge. It’ll help you create great, inspiring, and unique work.
No risk, no reward. Yes it’s an over-used, cliché of a phrase. But it’s true. Those who have achieved real success have often risked the most to get there.
There have been billions of people throughout history who have had the ability to achieve greatness, whether it was the talent or smarts, they had it. What they didn’t have was the guts to risk the life that they were living. They also didn’t have the work ethic to see their talent realized.
The greatest tragedy in life is wasted talent ~ A Bronx Tale
Your big, audacious dream might be to marry the girl of your dreams and have a family with her. You risk might be to leave the career that you love in order to support her and your family. Your dream might be to help millions live longer, healthier lives. Whatever your dream is, give it enough of a chance to be realized.
Risk if you truly want to see the reward.
My little sister is in the process of becoming a huge star. I worked out w her this morning & then went to visit her new office. It's so fancy. I was truly impressed. Trying to nail the way to scale our business.
Got to talk black women in Hollywood thank to MVAAFF on stage a Macy's with some inspirational filmmakers including Epatha and Karyn and Bree.
W Randall Dottin et al.