Ep. #35 Special Guests and Special Stories (Audition August Episode 4)

Ep. #35 Special Guests and Special Stories (Audition August Episode 4)

 
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To round out #AuditionAugust I sat down and answered some listeners burning questions about auditions. I also asked some of my favorite movers and shakers to talk about their favorite audition experiences!  Are you ready to be auditioning? Are you ready to be WORKING? After listening to this episode… I hope so!

Show Notes

Quick Links:

Audition August Registration: https://www.thedanawilson.com/workshops 

Hannah Douglass: https://www.instagram.com/hannahdlaine

Kim: https://www.instagram.com/kimgingras/

Ava: https://www.instagram.com/avaflav1/

Dexter: https://www.instagram.com/dextercarr/

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me. The podcast were movers and shakers. Like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. 

Dana: Hello. Hello everybody. And welcome back to words that move me. I am Dana and Oh, how about also welcome if you’ve never been here. Welcome. Welcome. I am so jazzed to have you listening today. Um, I hope this podcast finds you well. I hope it finds you happy and healthy and if happy, fails, I hope it finds you human and healthy and you know what? I’m here for all life. Actually, if you’re not even feeling human today, if you are feeling more like plant matter or a geode, I will accept all of it. Welcome. Welcome as you are. I am as always thrilled about this episode, because it is a little bit different from your average. Um, in general, I like to think that they are all different than your average podcast, but this words that move me up episode is truly, truly different. Um, simply in format. Today is our fourth and final installation of Audition August half of this episode is going to be dedicated to questions and answers. Those questions were submitted by my personal clients. And from you listeners via Instagram questions about auditions specifically, the other half of the episode is going to be super special, firsthand audition stories from a handful of super special and very talented guests, that also happened to be friends. Ava Bernstein Mitchell, AKA Ava Flav, Kim Gingras, Hannah Douglas and Dexter Carr. I mean, wow, this is quite an episode and I want to get into it, but you know how we do here.  We begin with wins. 

Oh guys, I’m celebrating a special win. I am celebrating that words that move me. Podcasts has found itself in Apple’s top 100 performing arts podcasts yet again this week, actually last week. But this week, by the time you’re hearing this, I guess at spot number 83, now I am not privy to the witchcraft and wizardry that determines the ranking of podcasts on Apple. But I am certain that I could not, would not have achieved that very coveted 83rd slot without all of you. So thank you so much. I’m so glad that you’re here. I’m glad to have you, and to those of you that have been giving feedback via social media and on the website. I’m so grateful for that always and now, regardless of what Apple thinks of my podcasts, I’m getting some awesome feedback and some critical feedback too. I appreciate all of it. Thank you so much. All right. If you are digging the podcast, I should say some good next steps for you might be to share it with a friend, leave a review or a rating, and of course, download it and make sure that you’re able to have it with you whenever you find yourself in podcast, ready time, be it with or without your wifi. Okay. Now the important part, what is your win this week? What’s going well in your world.  

Congratulations. Happy, win to you. Please keep winning. 

All right. Let’s dig in to these Q’s and A’s, I got some really, really good questions from you guys about auditions, so thoughtful, um, so thought provoking and I’m actually really, really excited to begin. Let us begin. Oh, by the way, I should say that these questions were submitted via Google forms. So I’m not actually sure who asked them there were submitted anonymously and I will answer them anonymously right from my mouth. Here’s where I’d like to begin, listener asks 

“What would you say to someone who was training in dance took a few years off to focus on an alternative career, but has started retraining during quarantine and would love nothing more than to dive back into the audition slash dance world.”

Alright to you dancer in her early thirties, I would say go for it. I would also say listen to last week’s episode where I talk to Meisha Goetz and Tim O’Brien from Clear Talent Group. They talk a lot about the lay of the land that we’re looking at now heading into, um, the post COVID work era and our industry is slowly starting to turn on kind of like a dimmer switch, less like a regular on off switch work is extremely slow right now, which means it is extremely competitive. It might be a tough time to catch your footing, but it will be a fruitful time eventually. Um, and from my personal point of view, most of the audition breakdowns that I’ve been getting, especially lately are looking for real people. The majority of the work that’s happening right now is not, you know, in person award shows, it’s not tours. Some of it is music videos, but most of this type of dancing is, um, TV, episodic, film, and commercial. Those are looking for usually real people, not backup dancer types. So for you, I would really encourage, um, to get in there, get your materials in order, headshots, photos and really good video links. Um, if you have a relationship with an agent already awesome, if not keep your eye out on the casting networks to be self submitting. This is the time for video submissions. It is a great day to be self submitting today and every day. 

All right, next up, “I have heard a lot of stories about people sneaking into auditions, just out of curiosity, not like I would ever try it or anything.” 

This person’s cheeky. “How are some people just able to sneak into private auditions and what would happen if they got all the way to the end, asking for a friend angel emoji.” I love this question. I love it so much. And I am going to leave it to my dear friend, Ava Bernstein Mitchell, to answer this question with her special story coming at ya in just a few moving right along. Ooh, we have a poll “technique versus style.  Which one is more important to you at an audition? Of course it depends on the project, but for you personally, meaning me Dana director, choreographer, or person behind the table, which one do I side with? Or which one do you side with?” This is a great question. In fact, I Dana the person on the other side of the microphone am going to be bringing you an episode entirely dedicated to this conversation technique versus style in a knockdown drag out battle who would win? Well, dear writer, dear listener. I think you’re already onto the answer to this question, which is it’s different for every project. I know certain choreographers prioritize and champion style. I know certain others that prioritize and champion cleanliness, um, this, this ability to replicate, duplicate and do exactly as I say and exactly as I do. I personally, Dana am a fan of personal you and your style. I really love to see individuality. It’s something I champion with my work and it’s something I really look for in my team. So that is my answer. Bring on your style. All right. 

Ooh, here’s another good one. “How important are looks AKA hair, makeup, clothes, et cetera. When you are at an audition?” I will answer again for myself, not nearly as important as your, your talent is numero UNO, but oftentimes especially because there are many, many humans and usually not a lot of time, your hair, your makeup or your clothing can become a quick and easy identifier a way for us to remember you. So although your talent is the most important thing you can bring to an audition, your hair, your makeup and your wardrobe are really, really easy way to become memorable. Hair, makeup wardrobe. Yes, important, but only fractionally compared to how important your talent is.  

Okay.  Ah, this is great. “If an audition asks for all black attire, what would you wear to stand out?” Oh dear writer slash listener. Please do go listen to episode 32, where I talk at length about exactly this. Okay. Next step. Next step. “How much research should you do on a project before an audition?” Oh my gosh. This is the fun part for me. I love research. I love digging. I love learning. I love trial and error. This is just a process that I so get into my recommendation is as much as possible before you audition for a project, you should. Absolutely. If, if nothing else have researched the choreographer, if there is one attached or the project itself, um, this is something that I could spend hours doing. But if you are limited, I’d say you get the tip of the iceberg in 15 to 20 minutes, but this is like bare, bare minimum. The more you can dig in, the more prepared you will be. Even if nothing else, you might simply enter the room differently, feeling prepared, thinking that you had done your homework. There is really nothing like the feeling of walking into the room, knowing that you didn’t do your homework. I am all for anything you can do to avoid that feeling. Okay moving on. “Are agencies, signing new talent via online submissions?” Yes, yes, absolutely. Yes. Off the top of my head. I know that at least Go2Talent agency is signing new talent. Okay. Next up. Ooh, this one’s a doozy. It’s a, it’s a bundle.  

Okay. Listener asks “In response to the Instagram posts going around saying that Instagram is your new real slash resume. Has Instagram really become the dancers new reel?” Okay. I’m going to give you guys a little bit of context. I pulled up the, um, posts that has been circulating around Instagram. I’m going to read it to you now. It says this
“To all of my dancers. Please, please show your versatility on your IgE page because when you’re sleeping, having your coffee… I am quietly trying to submit you for a gig. Yes. I’m sharing your profile privately. And when I have to literally search your page and scroll all the way down to show the client, some sort of versatility, it makes it hard to push for you. Please spread the selfies in between and add some content that will get you booked.” All right. So that’s the post that this writer is referring to. Now let’s listen to that question. One more time. Has Instagram become the new dancers reel? So that I would say yes and no. I don’t think anything will ever replace a good, reel, reels show many, many different projects, preferably your best work with one click with one view, no time scrolling in between, but in some ways Instagram can do one better because where a reel  stops, right, Where it ends. Instagram does keep going. You can have an endless feed. I mean, maybe not actually endless, but close to it. You decide the same listener asks. Do you need to have separate IG accounts for personal versus professional to that? I would say no, probably not. I would actually say you don’t even need an Instagram account. I can say that because I know plenty of dancers that are plenty working that don’t have an IG account. Is it helpful to have one? Yes. Is it more common to have one probably. But do you need? No. I would definitely recommend anybody with questions about the use of social media. Go back and listen to episode 10. It’s called your social media storefront and a really, really dig in to my relationship and several different types of relationships you can have with social media.  

Okay. Here’s another good one. “If you’re new and don’t have high quality content, is that still good enough to post or should you wait until you have the good content?” If social media is the new audition, then it doesn’t serve you much good to wait until you have good content so that you can get booked so that you can have good content. It’s this which came first, the chicken or the egg conversation. To this listener I would say it is not out of your reach to create good looking content. If you have a phone in your pocket and something to prop it up against, you have the sunlight, you have your body, you have your talent, get your talent out there. Just hit record and share. B minus work is still above average. It’s a great place to start.  

Alright. One more question on this subject in this post “They say to show versatility on your page. What does that mean?” I really love this question and I’m going to answer it like this. If you’re a person that wants to be doing work, like what you see on TV, then post yourself dancing styles, similar to what you see on TV, put out into the world, the work that you want to be doing to that I would also like to add. It’s not always about being versatile. Sometimes it kills to be a specialist. If that’s you, if you specialize at one thing, show me that one thing. Show me you are the greatest at that one thing, if you’re a person that desires doing a lot of different types of work, then yeah. Show that you’re able to do different types of work. And that doesn’t just mean dance. Go take a look at the special skills section on your resume. If you don’t have a special skills section on your resume start considering what sets you aside, bring that, bring those special skills, bring those talents, bring those interests to your social media as well, because it isn’t just about how well you dance. It is about who you are. People want to work with people who do good work and people really, really want to work with good people. All right. I hope those Qs and As Aid, some of your Qs, and I hope that you are ready with a pen and paper because you have a lot to learn from these special stories coming up. On your mark, get set, grow. Oh yeah. I said,  grow.

Kim Gingras: Bonjur! My name is Kim Gingras And I like to share this one audition. I will never forget. So we’re in 2011 and it had only been a few months since my move to Los Angeles. When a friend told me about this upcoming audition for Nicole Scherzinger from the pussycat dolls, which was very exciting because I knew their music well, I loved her style. I love the whole empowerment female in heels, a type of dancing. But I was a little worried because I never received a memo from my agency. So since communication is key, I reached out to my agent to clarify what the audition was about, why I hadn’t gotten the memo, if I could possibly go. And they nicely explained that it didn’t fit the specs that they were looking for. So an audition always comes with an audition breakdown and I didn’t fit the characteristics. Fair. That’s totally fair, but I wasn’t ready to walk away from that opportunity. I just knew it. I felt that in my gut, this was something I needed to show up to. So I found out who the choreographer was for the job, which was the amazing Jaquel Knight. And I had a connection with him through years back in 2008, when we were both in the cast of the Monsters of Hip Hop showcase. And I decided to reach out to him and he is so sweet and so kind and openly welcomed me to the audition. He’s like, yeah, just show up at this time. No problem. I got you. And he sure did. So I showed up over there and I mean, it was such an amazing experience. This audition lasted hours. It was dancing after dancing and so much sweating and people were getting cut. We had to stay longer. And Nicole showed up at some point. Then we all had to dance by ourselves, the entire song for her to watch. I mean, it just went on and on. I feel like we ended around like midnight or something. It was just so exciting. And I booked the job and not only did I book this right there, music video, but it turned into my first appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show, American Idol. So you think you can dance, my first European tour and then nine more years of friendship and opportunities when Nick and the team, like what, I mean, she’s just the gift that keeps on giving. We’ve gone to Vietnam, Malaysia, Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia, together. And I’ve gotten, you know, amazing lifetime friendships through her and the team. So the moral of the story here is you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Of course I had to quote Wayne Gretzky cause I’m Canadian. But in all seriousness, I know we’ve all felt this fear take over us in specific situations where in reality, we had that little voice inside telling us this is for you. Go for it. So let’s be a little more daring. Let’s listen to that little voice inside. Let’s take chances. We owe it to ourselves.  

Dexter Carr: Hey, what’s going on? Y’all my name is Dexter Carr. I am a choreographer dancer in Los Angeles, California, and this is my crazy audition story. So when I had just moved to Los Angeles, I was getting a lot of open calls from my agency. I was getting calls that had like literally 300 people in a room, all trying to audition for like three spots. So I was going because you know, that’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You pound the pavement, you hustle, you move, you move, you move. So I went, one audition in particular was for an artist that was very, uh, eclectic and liked a lot of drama and like, you know, things and extra and lace and all the things, all the, all the, all the things. And uh, if you know anything about me that I have that side, but it’s not, it’s not something that I’m really, you know, like that’s not my go to, and especially not at that age, you know, moving here like six, seven years ago.  

So I’m walking into this thing, thinking that, like I got to really come up with something. I got to pull something. I got to really like try to, you know, and that’s the energy in the room. Cause I already knew what the energy and the room was about to give. Right? So I come in there with like a little rip tank tops of ripped jeans and some boots and a bandana tied around my head. I’m like, yeah, this is it. This is edgy. This is the edgiest you’re going to get. I walked up to the parking lot, which is where all of the dancers were waiting to go inside. And the first thing I saw, we, God, I’m laughing. Cause I’m, haven’t told the story in so long. The first thing I saw was somebody with, um, wings, wings on like the size of Victoria’s secret angel wings.  Like, you know what I mean? Huge wings. And then somebody else had their face painted one color half and then there are other, and like people got like weaves for this that were like down to the floor. And I was like, Oh wait, wait, wait, I missed the memo. I thought I was really doing it. I thought I was really going to be able to, you know, you know, rub elbows with these people. But no, no, no. They have surpassed me and we haven’t even gotten in the room yet. We haven’t even learned one step yet cut to, we all get in the room and you know, the choreographers is letting us know what the job is, how many spots there are and what he’s looking for. And basically what he said is that he wants a star. He wants somebody that comes in here and grabs the attention. Now, mind you, like I said, I’m in all black and some boots. So I don’t, I don’t have a leg up. I don’t have a leg up on the competition with this. When it was time for my group to audition, I was of course, in a group with the person, with the wings. And when I tell y’all they finished the choreography, which you know, choreography happened, boom, I’m set. I’m good. I’m clean. I’m probably not doing a lot. I’m probably not making a lot of choices. It’s probably not doing anything. You know, that’s like, wow, bam. But I’m getting through the choreography right. Time to freestyle. The person with the wings takes the wings, walks to the center of the room as if it is a runway flaps the wings in front pushes them back and struts all the way down to the table and literally stares at the people at the table. Now these wings are so large that it does hit you or move you or give you a gust of wind that if you’re not expected, may topple you over. Which is what happened to me. I literally like was not expecting these wings to come at me. And I looked up and I saw them and I fell over needless to say, no one got kept other than him. So moral of the story is if they say edgy, go, go for the gold go. Like no, no fear go for it. Y’all yeah. Thanks for listening to my crazy audition story.  

Hannah Douglass: My name is Hannah Douglas and this is my audition story. So I have plenty of audition stories, but the most memorable for me is the very first audition. I was fresh off of Edge scholarship. I was 18 years old and it was for the Celine Dion world tour, which is so major. It was Nick and RJ. It was everybody who was, anybody was there at the time. And I was nice and green. And I remember loving the choreo thinking. I was killing the choreo in my little scholie corner with my friends and, you know, going over it over and over and over, and then going in a group with a bunch of OGs and then just like fully losing it and completely blanking. I basically stood there. It was a full tragedy and I just freaked out and it was, it was terrible. So I got chopped ASAP, obviously. Left and just couldn’t believe it.  And then I remember the next day going into Edge and seeing Bill and bill was so excited, Bill Prudich, he’s the director of edge, the edge scholarship program. And he was like, you know, guru dance guru and cared so much about our journey. So I was, you know, kind of embarrassed to see him. Cause I knew I was terrible, but he was like, how was your first audition? And I just broke down crying. I lost it. I just lost it. And he was like, okay, so you should probably move home because these are your options. You either cry and break down right now because you got told no once or you get it together and you move forward. And I will never forget that moment in my life because the idea of moving home was just not an option for me. I mean, I love my home, but I just, I was so determined to just do better.  And Bill saying that reacting that way was, you know, the option was to move home. Just really rocked me to my core. And I had an audition four days later, I think for Seal, for Dancing with the Stars. And I went in hearing Bill’s voice in my head saying, you know, move home or just figure it out basically. And I booked it and it was simply because of that mindset shift, which I’ve carried with me literally the last 14 years of my career. You know, you either choose to be rocked by who you’re surrounded by and you know, the, the caliber of the job in your mind, or you just do what you love to do to the best of your ability. You’re not going to be right for everything, but you can shift your mindset to the point that you offer the best that you have in that moment.  And because of Bill’s wording to me that day, I will never forget that feeling of being hold. Like basically you just figure it out, you know, or you, or you leave because that’s the alternative to just break down every time you turn you’ll you’re told no, or just do your best. So, you know, that week of auditions really shaped the rest of my life because I had one of the worst auditions I’ve ever had in my life. And then just four days later, the best auditions I’ve ever had in my life. And it was just because of a mindset shift. So that is what I try to carry with me forever. Still, you know, 14 years later is how mental this game is and that’s what gets you through. And so, yeah, I’m forever grateful to Bill and forever apologetic to Nick and RJ for that tragic audition. Um, but also grateful for the lessons I learned. So that’s my story.  

Ava Bernstein Mitchell: What’s up? This is Ava Bernstein Mitchell, and this is my most memorable audition story. I want to take you back to 2006 when I auditioned for Justin Timberlake. So let me preface the story with, at this time in my life, dancing for Justin Timberlake was my dream job. It was on the top of my wishlist. It was, it was it for me. And also I had met Marty at a hip hop intensive workshop. I would say, I don’t exactly know how much before, but it could have been a year. It could have been a few months, but I had met Marty and he said this to me and I’ll never forget after class. He was like, ‘yo, you’re dope. We’re going to work together someday.’ And I’ll never forget it. So I carry that into 2006, when it was all the buzz around town that Justin Timberlake was coming back. He had been gone for four years. So everybody knew this audition was coming up. But the thing about this audition was it was a picture submit only, which means Marty or whoever his team was, were picking pictures of the people who could attend the audition. First round goes around, I’m waiting. People are like, Oh yeah, I got called. Did you get called? You know, you know, everybody talks, I wasn’t called in. So I call my agent. I was like, Hey, was my picture chosen? You know, I really want to be at this audition. She’s like, sorry. No. And I was like, Oh, okay. So I let a few days go by and you know, still everybody’s talking about it, call again. I’m like, Hey, just checking to see if you know, my picture was picked and I really want to be at this audition. She’s like, no, I’m sorry.  You know, just, it just wasn’t on the lineup. So again, I waited a little bit longer and then I’m like, I need to be at this audition. So I called my agent and she says again, no, I’m sorry. It’s just, the people have chosen. They’re actually doing a sign in. It’s a whole thing. And I’m really usually a rule follower as what I do. And I respect the construct, uh, that is audition process and whatnot, I just try to be respectful of it. So, but I said to her, I I’m going to go. And she said, well, if you do go, don’t tell them we sent you. And I said, okay. So that was that. So day of  the audition comes a crash, the forbidden crash of the audition. And I was glad I did. It was all the hype was all the rage. I just remember there being a line outside then getting in and seeing all the familiar faces, your peers, your friends. We had a great time. I specifically remember though from this audition, cause I do have a bad memory sometimes, but this image is imprinted in my mind is that I remember auditioning and Justin sitting next to Marty and I’m right in front of him and his piercing blue eyes are just looking dead at me. Like I can’t get out and he’s just watching me and I’m thinking like, Oh my gosh, I really just have to, like, I just have to do me. I just have to go off. You know? And sometimes that can be very nerve wracking, but I honestly think, I just felt so deeply that this was my job that I was supposed to be there. That I really just enjoyed this moment. And I kind of remember what I was wearing. I was so basic. I had on some like loose jeans that were like a tie at the ankle, uh, with elastic at the ankle.  And I had a gray tee shirt on it. Might’ve been a ACDC gray T-shirt like, I don’t even know. I don’t know. It seemed like a good choice at the time. You know, I wasn’t like sparkly and glitzy and glamorous. It was Justin Timberlake. Let’s be honest. So I think it worked anyways fast forward to, I don’t even know, maybe it was a few weeks later. Maybe it was a few days later. I get the email that I’ve booked this job, which entailed at the, originally it was for a music video. Then it was for, you know, the VMAs then it was for tour. But I think at that time we did know that we were being booked for the tour if I remember correctly. But when I say it was the greatest feeling, but I shared this story because for two reasons specifically why this is a very significant story. is that Un-officially I was the only one from this audition that booked this tour.  And I say that meaning anyone else who was involved was either assisting him or part of a previous tour or chosen ahead of time. You know, that is what I mean by that. And I was the only person who one was not invited to, who didn’t have a relationship with Marty at that audition who booked it. And I’m very proud of that. And secondly, sometimes you just got to break the rules. Sometimes the rules are meant to be broken, but you have to use discernment. And you also have to know when that time is because you don’t want to just be out there running them up. But in this particular situation, I knew that was job. My spirit told me I just had to go for it and I’d have no other way. So cheers to being a rule breaker and cheers to going after your dreams.  

Dana: All right, everybody, I hope you enjoyed those stories. I hope you learned a lot from this episode and I hope that you head into this new and slightly different audition season, audition life feeling informed and inspired. Thank you so much for listening as always keep it funky. I’ll talk to you later. 

Thought you were done. No. Now I’m here to remind you that all of the important people, places and things mentioned in this episode can be found on my website, theDanawilson.com/podcast Finally, and most importantly, we have a way to become a words that move me. So kickball, changeover to patreon.com/wtmmpodcast to learn more and all right, everybody now I’m really done. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll talk to you soon. 

Ep. 15 The Seaweed Sisters: WHO ARE WE, AND… WHAT IS THIS???

Ep. 15 The Seaweed Sisters: WHO ARE WE, AND… WHAT IS THIS???

 
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Without giving away ALL of our secrets, Jillian Meyers, Megan Lawson and I demystify our unicorn performance project– The Seaweed Sisters.  This episode lets you into our world and our process. At the core of every seaweed spore, you’ll find serious silliness, Discovery, Exploration, and COLLABORATION!

Show Notes

Quick Links:

The Seaweed Sisters: https://www.theseaweedsisters.com/home

Megan Lawson: Megan Lawson

Jillian Meyers: Jillian Myers,

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. 

Dana: Hello everybody and welcome to episode 15. I hope you’re doing good out there and I hope you are ready for this. This episode is a good one. If I do say so myself, although I guess I am pretty biased, but let’s get into it. Starting off with wins. I’m very proud of my win this week because it was a big challenge but a very worthy one. My husband and I shipped over 200 reusable face shields directly to the doctors and the hospitals that need them the most. I’m super proud and if you are interested in how you might be able to, uh, help in a similar way or if you’re interested in helping my husband and I should we decide to do a repeat effort, then go ahead and send me a direct message @danadaners on Instagram. Very much looking forward to hearing from you. Okay. So that’s my win. Now you go, what’s going well in your world? Oh wait.  

Okay. Killer. I’m so glad you’re winning. Congratulations. 

Now speaking of winning, I finally got to sit down with my two seaweed sisters. It’s okay if you don’t know what that means yet cause you’re about to, um, these two women are probably my biggest influences and I’m just thrilled to share some of what, uh, we, we dug up and dug into. So I hope you enjoy this conversation with Jillian Myers and Megan Lawson, my seaweed sisters.  

Dana:  I can’t think of a better day than this rainy day to invite my two favorite people, Megan Lawson and Jillian Myers, my seaweed sisters to be podcasts sisters today. Welcome to the podcast, ladies. Thank you for being here. And I’m going to ask you really quickly to introduce yourselves.  

it does feel like there should be an applause, right? Like a cheer.  

Jillian: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Or I can imagine your theme *sings themesong*

Dana: It’s funky, right? It’s very good. I love it. Much shout up max the music man. Thank you for that funky jingle. Okay, cool. I I take it away. Someone who’s it gonna be, who’s it gonna be? 

Megan: And this is probably our most dreaded part. Um, I am Megan Lawson. I am from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. And like my fellow sisters, I am a dancer, choreographer, director, movement coach, teacher, you name it. We got it. 

Dana: Beautiful list of things to own. Yeah. 

Jillian: And most importantly Seaweed sister 

We’re all wearing our matching seaweed sister blouses today. It’s still a blouse. If it’s denim. 

Yeah. Why not? It buttons. It’s good. I think, you know, it’s definitely our best swag. Maybe our only swag, but it is the best swag. 

So currently our only swag, let’s get on that after the call. We’ll get on the merch. Merch front. Okay. Jilly, who are you? 

Oh my gosh. Well you said half of my name, Jillian Meyers. That’s me. Uh, and I, I, I liked the location base. I grew up just outside of Portland, Oregon and have lived in LA for a very long time, I think. Okay. 14, 15 years, something like that. And, uh, dancer, choreographer, teacher, director, mover maker, doer, lover, seaweed, sister.  

All right. Um, beautiful, brilliant intros. Thank you. Yes. Okay. So I think I haven’t really kept, uh, a tally. Yeah. But of all the people and ideas that I mentioned on the podcast, I think, I think the seaweed sisters are front runner on most mentioned. Um, and every time I mention it, I feel the need to, uh, introduce or explain us to people who might not know who the seaweed sisters are. And every time I start to do that, I stopped doing that because it’s kind of a challenge to explain exactly what it is that we are. So what I would love to do today is without spoiling any of the magic, just demystify a little bit. Mmm. Who we are and what we do and what is at the core of our universe. You know, what are our guiding principles? What is the seaweed sisters North star?  Um, so, so that’s kind of a big bite actually for if for type of podcasts. So I’m going to start with one of my favorite questions to receive about any of our work. And that is  Mmm. “What is this? “Usually people are watching or listening and they’re looking and they’re like, okay. Oh yeah. So it’s a video and it’s sorted. Is it dance? Is it, what exactly is this? So on the theme of what is this, I’m going to ask just kind of a, uh, blazing round of questions. Um, and I’m going to ask what is blank? So, uh, let’s start with, Mmm. Ooh. I’ve got a shortlist and they’re all, you’re all kind of challenging. Um, let’s start with… Okay. What is the process, in other words, when Dana, Jillian and Megan get in a room, what is happening in there?

A lot of that, a lot of giggle’s, that’s for sure. We laugh our butts off cause I think, um, we like to do things that tickle us genuinely, genuinely. There we go. Um, so, and if it doesn’t have a tickle or a funny fancy, then a lot of times those things don’t stay. That’s one. I dunno. Magoo what do you got? 

Megan: Uh, acceptance, which comes in, uh, in the form of “yes, and” uh, seeing an admiring each other and  being a fan is it makes it so easy to make, uh, in the studio because we see one move, we say, yep, That and add a little flippiety floppity. And on it goes. 

Yes and, okay, yes. This is a great place to start. Actually. A really good tip of a very big iceberg is this concept of taking silliness very seriously and our general rule for that is to say yes to whatever happens in the room and a modification. Um, this is a widely known improvisation concept. Uh, nothing that we invented or that’s new to the world of creating things actually I think is also even outside of the creative world. Helpful in relationships, helpful in business, helpful in all realms of life. Just saying yes, and 

Dance lessons are life lessons!

Dance lessons are life lessons and improv techniques should be life techniques. Um, so it definitely helps that we adore and admire the things that come out of each other.  Um, so saying yes is never, I’ve never felt like, Oh, uh, I want to say no. Um, but the answer is always yes, and how else or yes, and what else? Yes, and what more yes, and what does it mean yes, and in what direction? Yes, and can we do it backwards, sideways, upside down in a circle? 

Yes, and how many times should we do it? Four times, for sure. 

So really, I don’t remember when that began for us, but it has been there almost the entire time, if not the entire time, because with um, I think all three of us are, uh, pretty juicy on the thoughtful front. We’re not ever lacking ideas, I guess I would say, dare I say. Um, so the actual, the editing can be hard and that usually happens in the and part. So all the ideas come up with yes. And then in this and process, we revise and refine and we sort of edit down and we get to a place where all three of us are. Like, I love that. Mmm. And then occasionally in the event that we don’t all three agree, which has happened maybe once or twice, we do kind of go for like a vote. Okay. I really love it. I really love it. Okay, great. I think it’s good. Let’s go for it. Yup. 

The real two thirds. Yeah. I think we’ve tried to really stick to that. Like two out of three are in, then we go and we keep moving. 

Yup. Nice. I love that. Beautiful. Okay. Tie that up with a bow. Um, what are the seaweed sisters? What are we doing?  

Hmm. Long extended pause. For me. This question, the answer is sort of varies depending on who I’m talking to and that might be awful and it might surprise you to hear. Like that. I, I don’t have like an elevator pitch, one size fits all answer to that question. But if I’m talking to an actor or comedian, I say that we are dancers that call on comedy. Whimsy, Mmm. Site specific. Even acting. Mmm. And then if I’m talking to dancers, I say we’re a Yeah. Clown, clown types, actors that use movement to, um, to, to tickle. Um, if I’m talking to parents, I say that we are the Disney and Pixar of dance, which, which is definitely self flattery, 

but I don’t think it’s untrue though. not untrue. 

It’s not untrue, accessible and relatable to very little young, young ones, young minds, but also, uh, big picture ideas that really hit home for people that have lived a lot of life.  

So that I, yeah, I guess my answer to what are we kind of shifts, um, depending on who I’m talking to. Do you guys want to add anything to, 

Yeah. I mean, we started as a couple of friends that wanted to dance together. Right? Right. Yeah. As you’ve shared, we are our tribes ladies. We’re, we’re of the same, uh, thoughtfulness and curiosity and desire for, uh, for something different. And one of our bedrocks being discovery, uh, I think that comes into our dance moves themselves. Like, Hey, how else can we move? Uh, but also the, the why and the where and uh, the imagination of, like you said, if you’re talking to parents, we go Disney because it feels relatable and appropriate for everybody. And that inclusivity is important to us. 

Yeah. Inclusivity, discovery. These are like  are hugely guiding principles and also otherness being being a, um, less identifiable as dancer or woman or lady.  And we are this thing, 

Oh man, I think, yeah, I’m with you Willis. As far as like kind of the description, you know, kind of being malleable. I think a lot of times I, or what I’ve found myself recently saying, it’s like we’re seaweed sisters is a performance project because it’s like, I like that it can then take on many different shapes because yes, we make videos. Yes, we do. Mmm. You know, live shows. Yes, we do kind of site-specific interactive shows. We’ve done this. And um, I think even though we’ve been at this for six years now, I think, you know, which is wild and awesome. I think we are still kind of like just the way seaweed is a little eh anamorphic or kind of like ever moving an amoeba that kind of is continuously changing shape. I think we want to have that flexibility to try all those different things.  Also as you said  without a shortage of ideas, we, there’s a lot of things we want to try. So um, yeah I find that I try not to describe it too much so that it can kind of be anything that might appeal to you or you or you, I don’t know. It’s hard but also that’s what I love about it. 

That’s a great point is that the seaweed sisters might actually suffer from too much definition, too much description and too much pinning down because although we are six years old, we are only six years old and there is so much to be done.  

So that’s, that’s what we are, what we do, what we’re about a little bit video, a little bit, live a little bit site and we also teach because we all teach individually. Sometimes we teach together and because the work is so much about discovery and individuality, personality inclusivity, okay. When we teach seaweed material all and like those little spores go out into the world. Some of the weeds that come back out of that like, Oh man, our extended seaweed family, all of our students. Um, I’m so grateful to them and seeing that because it, okay, after six years of working together, it’s sort of like we’ve established a language in these characters sort of accidentally. Like we never sat at a drawing board and said like, Oh, okay, you’re the dumb one. You’re the dumber one, you’re the dumbest one.  We never had that, in that sense, like very different than Disney, way less strategy in terms of like, you know, building the thing that the consumer will love is just like we say yes to ourselves and we say and to each other and, and then, and then the seaweed falls out, go, go, go. 

Oh no. Well, I mean I agree so much with what you’re saying. I think a lot of it just kind of is our alchemy Like when we come together, the things that happen and that we don’t question that we just kind of go with it. And what I actually, I’m having memories of like, I think what we most discover or define those things are at like a Q and A situation. Yeah. When students ask us questions or propose things and we’re like, Oh yeah, that, that, that is true. You know, or like I’ll never forget the time and she phrased this question or slash statement so beautifully about women in the industry of physical comedy and, you know, and we were like, Oh, not even something that is consciously on our radar, but yet that is really subconsciously important to all three of us and also just comes out.  It’s, you know, a part of who we are. But, um, I remember after that point I really like kind of doing a little research and yeah, just kind of considering that now at the forefront of my mind as a part of what we do, where it’s, it was always present. I just hadn’t thought of it that way. 

Yeah. Right. You know, I’ve always in my life valued humor, um, but moving to LA in like 2005 and really gearing my efforts towards becoming a entertainment industry dancer. Okay. Whether that’s backup for an artist or in commercials and film is almost always about being cool or being sexy. And a maybe a combination of the two, a different ratio of those two things, but pretty exclusively cool and sexy. And the seaweed sisters helped me remember how important humor and otherness is to me. And so I think for me, the expected benefit is like rediscovering one of my huge values in life and, uh, delivering to a world that I know and love, right.  The entertainment industry, a healthy dose of that, of those values. So that’s been really cool. Um, but what else has sprung from this? Other than some pretty awesome relationships. 

Yeah. That actually, that comes to mind so quickly for me is just this sisterhood, uh, yeah. Both creatively, but also you two just activate, uh, the human in me, uh, 

Oh, tears. 

Yeah. Yeah. That, uh, I don’t have any sisters biologically. Uh, so you two. Uh, yeah, just, it really opened me to a world of, um, honesty and Whoa, sorry. Wills that just went vulnerable really quick. 

That’s the part of it!

Yeah. Yeah. I can, I can offer up anything without fear with you guys. And then that can maybe go into the world and that’s, yeah, it was special and very unexpected. Just like ms emotion.

Oh yes, and. Yes. Yes. Tears and I applaud them. I applaud you. That is another, this is brilliant. Emotionality. Is one of art talents. I think one of our strengths. Oh, and we do have a slogan by the way. 

We do, I know, I’m like, which one? 

Speaking of strengths. 

Oh, strength is not our strength. 

Strength is not our strength. If you, if you watch our work, very capable dancers I would say, but never calling on great feats of strength, endurance, stamina even, but emotionality. Yes. You will find. And the, and the full human spectrum. Um, and I, I think that that’s special. Mmm, and unique to us is that even in one work you, you’ll probably see the whole, the whole spectrum. And I think that’s super fun. 

And on that same note as well. Uh, and we talk about it and giggle about silliness and how one might watch our work and think like, Oh, that’s funny, but we take our silliness very seriously.  And that is how it also is able to connect because we’ve got, it’s still athletic. It still has the dance to reinforce what we’re trying to pass on and it’s, it’s not just a flip flop, but it’s got a lot of work and thought behind it. 

Curation, thought. Yeah. Thought and really like specificity. Which yes, at a glance it might seem very more so happenstance, but yeah. Each of those flops and little eye twitches are considered. We talk about them, you know, why is that happening? How do you feel when you do that? Okay, cool. Maybe I’ll try that. And yeah, I think  that is also what kind of sets apart our work is that it doesn’t feel hazardous. It isn’t just a kind of cacophony of like things and faces and you know, cause that also happens and can be great. But Mmm. even in it’s kind of, it creates a very specific harmony.  I think of that, that it, you know, it touches on all those things quickly. It is like dance that is very at times like very specific and then very loose or free. And uh, we value all of it and try to make it all happen and clear and um, it’s an important part of what we do. And we love that. It’d be a good thing. You know, 

Cosign! 

Yes. Yeah. Brings us so much joy. 

Yeah. It’s the, the process itself, like fuels more process. Um, and the process is deep, right? Like there’s the brainstorming, you mentioned the yes part and then there’s the editing and there’s the stepping back and taking a look. Um, we also are getting pretty, uh, refined in the process to the point where if for example, we’re making a video work, we usually start by settling on a song and then we see, uh, location where this might take place and environment.  Yep. And we get in the studio and brainstorm the bits and we say yes. And then we usually make a prototype video. 

Which shout out to Dana Wilson who is our technical weed. Yes, yes. It’s come into play to help us so much in our weedness. It’s true. 

It’s, it’s definitely helpful when you’re trying to do something that’s difficult to explain as we already demonstrator. So sometimes the best, the best way for us to get a team on board or to explain our vision, um, is to just show. So we’ll do a little prototype. Um, and that helps us get to the next step, which is ultimately producing these things. Um, and let’s talk a little bit about that. Oh guys, I’m reworking my thoughts around passion project that phrase. It’s, it’s a project project. They’re all passion projects because I love what I do. Passion project usually comes with the notation of like low budget project.  It is an out of pocket project for us. Nobody’s paying for us to do these other than ourselves. Uh, because of that we, we want to, we want every moment and every dime of it to be a memorable and lovable moment and dime.

Ooh. And wills. Can I throw in also in the thought of like, you know, that collaboration like being such a big part of all of our projects that we’ve made and also is like kind of the origin seed of the seaweed sisters. Why we made anything in the beginning is because none of us had ever gotten to work together. We’ve never all made something together, three dear friends that like, as you said in the commercial kind of sense as far as work goes, had never ended up in the same place. So it was the ultimately the impetus to want that we wanted to make something together to collaborate and that’s how our first making ever happens.  

Yes, And! after we made that first thing, which was actually a piece for a live performance, somebody, Lando Wilkin’s approached us about making it into a video. We didn’t even, that was, that happened to us, the, you know, the invite into the video realm, which, 

And I wouldn’t even say approach. He just like, yo, you have to, you have to film it at a pool. 

I was like, I got up and he was like, I got a friend, we got a camera, let’s go. 

Oh, that’s so, yeah. And I love that for anybody. If you see something, you, you never know what those moments are going to turn into. If you hire someone and you, and you’d just give him a little poke. It could, yeah. Ignite so much. Um, okay. This what the heck? Six years later, I’m not sure, inevitably we would have worked together again. Um, but I don’t know if it would have totally, really bonded this puppy. Yes. Thank you. Lando. 

Shout out. Do we call him Papa weed? I something like this or elder weed. I don’t know. He’s something.  

Um, I think that we just gave new meaning to see something, say something. And I think that’s also part of our process. Right. And we’re always kind of like all eyes on each other in the room and it a little, a little something comes out and we’re like, Oh yes. uh. Um, so see something, say something. I think that’s a great attitude to have out there in the world. Mmm. And in a studio in a creative place. Yeah. Um, and I also want to take a moment to thank you guys for the say something part, always coming with kindness and with consideration. Mmm. Because anybody that’s working in a creative field knows that collaboration is not always encouraging. There’s, a lot of places, points in the process that you can get ripped apart. And, um, I’ve, I’ve never felt that with you guys and I don’t know if that’s the secret to success or if maybe we’re missing something by being less critical. I don’t know. But I love, I subscribed to the sistership and this is one of my favorite creative processes to be that I’ve ever been involved in. It’s just so nurturing and I think it’s great. Yeah. Amen. 

And to like expand that back out to kind of where we just were. I think that would go towards all of our collaborators as well. Like have people that are very like Uber creative people, but that care. And um, yeah, I would say any of our collaborators really, especially as far as like friends when we coming to filming things. Um, people that see us, people that are excited about, you know, what, what we want to do and they want to get in there and get dirty. Especially as far as like it being a, a project of love and lower means sometimes, but we really make it mean something. 

Yes. Um, financial means and meaningfulness. Yes. Yeah. Or not, uh, not directly linked. Okay. Let’s take a second and talk about our teams then. So we talked a little bit about Lando and the first video, which is called Get Free, right? It was shot by Andrew Rose 

And the song is called Get Free, but we called it Get Sea. 

Oh, great point. Because we love a play on words if you haven’t noticed. Mmm. And then piece number two, we called the “Sea”quel. Whoa. See what we did there. Um, and that was shot and directed. Bye Isaac Ravishankara   um, with Danny Madden as well at the helm. And I don’t know how we even divvied up the titleship to those. It really is it’s big stew. And we just stew in it together. 

You hold the camera, you throw the water balloon no more in the face. Now hold it. 

Right, right. Um, so and so’s working on storyboard. Will so-and-so is cutting a wig. Well, so-and-so is making the costume. Well, so and so is making sure that hard-drives are all freed up. 

That was such a wild weekend. Yeah. We had rented an Airbnb in Joshua tree and it was a weekend of executing the sequel and I have this memory of Danny Madden who is also an animator drawing out the entire storyboard beautifully. I think we still haven’t sent her and uh, and then more friends arrived the next day because we also were performing at Coachella with Hozier that weekend. 

Yes. Yes. And Issac who is a dear friend and director is his job. One of his jobs, he danced with us. Yes. He was my partner. I needed a partner. 

We were rehearsing Friends were filling up water balloons. Matty Peacock’s in the back filling up balloons, all hands on deck, just all the friends and rehearsing in the Airbnb that night, 

Amidst air mattresses. 

And you came out. Mmm. Our jackets our weed jackets, which were so dirty, so dirty with lit, with actual dirt. 

Shout out Pono, cutting our wigs, getting our jackets. Yes. Yes. There were so many good memories that weekend 

Also, I think building and like reinforcing the yes. And uh, there were supposed to be two friends that in the middle of that video there was supposed to be a duel who ended up not making it. And so on the fly in like in the middle of our day when we’re like supposed to shoot it in an hour, we like took like a stop.  Everything stopped down. Yeah. Okay. What else can this be now? Because that was accounting for a big part of the song. And so that’s actually when the kind of water balloon fight, idea of Mirage born, and then there are good. The bad, the ugly moment. Yes. Yeah. It was never, that’s not what that, what we thought we were making, but that’s what we made. 

That’s incredible. I think that’s another kind of brilliant, Mmm. Metaphor is one of the best properties of seaweed is it’s looseness. Right? Totally. Yeah. And we’re, we’re were three ladies that individually have a lot of plans. We’re very good at making plans, but we’re also very good at rolling with it. When the plans change, would they, which they ultimately will 

Always, and again, like two collaborators that are also very strong suited in that remark. Like, Oh, not this. Both of them.  Yeah. Like, Oh, not that. Okay. Then what about this, this or this? Like they’re both so good. Another great chance to learn from others in that skill, you know, which was, it’s such a gift.

Oh yeah. I remember being holed up in that bunker. Wait, hold up. H. O. L. E. D. I struggled with that in a previous podcast and I talked to my mom last night, who is my editor. And she was like, honey, it’s hold up like you’re in a hole. And I was like, okay, great. So we were holed up in a literal bunker, like, what are we going to do? But are we going to do? And in my mind, I was like, Oh, we’re going to have to pay for another Airbnb day. We’re gonna have to wait. We’re going to have to blah, blah, blah. And then the answer to that was like, no, thats one of the nos that we did accept and it was substituted by it.  Uh, a very colorful and bright and fun idea. I think that’s, yeah, some of the, some of the ways that we solve problems. Mmm. Because of our limitations in time and in finance, uh, are the most creative things. Right? If we had all the money in the world, we’d have just extended a day or hired two new dancers or whatever. But I, I love the creativity that’s resulted from those limitations. 

Million percent agreed. Seaweed solutions

Seaweed solutions. While if we get, we should sell a toner, like a facial toner or like a full face line in seaweed solutions. 

That’s what you are also our merch captain. I think you’re already tech weed and our merch weed. You’d have a million ideas for seaweed merch. 

Mind you, we don’t have any yet, but that’s okay.  

Pins, Puzzles magnents. 

Oh my gosh. Okay. Listeners vote toe vote on this. Do you guys, are you guys familiar with toevote? Okay. <inaudible> vote on this right now. 3D printed seaweed faces that are a mockup of Mount Rushmore. Yeah. Like just our three faces. Little 3D prints come on. 

Toes voting. Yes, So vote yes on that. Yup. 

Okay. Let’s keep walking through the catalog really quick. So part tree, um, Isaac and Danny both. And Jackie. Yes. Oh my gosh. Yes. Jackie. Yes. Super shout out Jackie. The best. Yes. If you’re gonna be holed up in a cabin with five people, I would definitely want you five people to be there. 

Oh and greer! 

There we go. We had a super, super helper. When we say helper, we mean like contributor, energetic healer, um, the many hat wearer. 

Many hat wearer, we need a glue gun and a water. And thinking ahead, 

There is also the only human, the seaweed universe has ever seen or interacted. It’s her in the soubs with Subaru at the end. So good

Okay. And then from part tree from the lush, lush for us, we go color wise, we jumped back in time, back in time to the birth of weeds. This superstar, crystal clear, pristine, clean, blank space. Um, and we really wanted us to all have been born from the same pod. I remember for a long time of trying to figure out how we could like build a sheth or a cocoon, something where we could be born from. And that was one of the, one of the ideas that I think we did edit out. A Peapod, a pea pod or maybe maybe it didn’t get edited out, just moved to the parking lot for another time. Mmm. But for that, we recruited our dear friends Angela Kohler and  Ithyle Griffiths to direct and shoot. 

And Ang suggested this place. Right. I feel like, yeah, we kind of had the idea, but she was on the kind of scouted this place and made it possible to have, like, we, I think we, yeah, we thought about a starker environment and she, she made that happen. 

You’re so right. And we says, okay, what was it called? Weeses Pieces  is that whats its called? Yeah. A little outside LA. A magical place. You’ll, you’ll recognize it from Um, several commercials. And music videos. Uh, Brittany Spears did the one with the Sharks there. Um, and uh, that also cool feature or cool behind the scenes note for the listeners was shot on the summer solstice. Uh, also the hottest day of the year that year. And we are wearing essentially trash bag suits that seal at the neck and rubber hats. So none of us blacked out that day is magical to me. 

Not to mention that the way those suits state taught and full is a little fan on the back that pushes air from the outside and pushes it in 114 degrees that day. And we chose that. That was our choice. We also wore unitards underneath those. Oh my gosh. Yes. Holy moly. Oh guys. Oh, the choices. Yeah, we do. We laugh all the time. We choose, we are responsible for all of it. 

Right. And we’re standing there looking at ourselves wearing sleeping bags with cut out for arms and we’re like, we chose this. This was our choice. A white unitard white this is great. 

Wouldn’t change a thing. 

Nope. That was such a fun and challenging day. I also speaking of challenges on that day. Okay. Um, unique challenge to the seaweed sisters. Uh, it’s not every set that you walk onto that you’ll hear somebody say how, how do we make the Flamingo fart? And the answer to that question Daniel Reetz. the Daniel Reetz also known as vice chief, also known as my husband, also known as MacGyver. Yes. Who engineered a remote detonated Flamingo fart enhanced by our editor and special effects super guru Arian Sohili 

Who was also camera that day and in the water. And then like sunglasses, the glare from the sun on the water couldn’t like see, I think Ann’s got a migraine that day also for him cause it was so bright. Like she was a pregnant as well. Oh my gosh. 

We also bought a trampoline transport and built a trampoline in the middle of nowhere and it just was easier for us to leave it there. So donated that to Reese’s Pieces. Good Job, good job. That took us airborne. We were such little balloon weeds. 

That was so much fun. Oh my gosh. As the light was going down, just like hurry, get in there.  Jump! Oh my gosh. We were fighting the sun that day even though it was one of the longest days of the year. But Whoa. 

We used every bit of that sunlight. Sure did.

Have we ever done a shoot that took more than one day? 

I mean, technically sequel, exactly. The second day we did, I think we did a lot of inserts of the water balloons, hence why friends were filling them up in the morning. Like we had to get some stuff, I think flying through the air, the pickup. But other than that, everything has been contained to one day or, or early morning. 

So that brings us to the rather important video that we, it’s our most recent video work, which we shot in the back bottom of an empty pool. Yeah. All through the night. So it was a night shoot. And that one was directed by dear seaweed, sister friend and ally Mimi cave.  

And it was produced by Heron Bourke and the DP was David Bourke, her husband. Mmm. We had an assistant camera that day. That was Walter Dandy and a gaffer, Austin Michaels. Um, we had an electric, we had a lot of hands this day. Yeah, yeah. Um, and a key grip. Even we had a key grip you guys, that’s important. Uh, Colin Lindsey was our grip and then we even have a magical mystical drone shot at the end of that. Um, and our drone was piloted by Jacob Patrick. Um, but the rest of everything was shot on steady cam by our barnacle brother Devin Jamieson coming through in the clutch.  Biggest love. 

Who also kind of helped coin or what is this? Because the first time Dev came to her rehearsal cause he’s like, I’d love to see it. Of course. We’re like, yes, come watch end of rehearsal. That was his first remark after we showed him the whole thing, he looked at us and he’s like so what is this like with excitement and curiosity and confusion? Um, and I think that’s the, one of the biggest compliments I have taken away from our seaweed showings is that remark. 

Oh my gosh, you’re so right. It’s a compliment. Like when somebody says, what is this? We go, thank you. Thank you. Totally 

Confusion, encouraged 

New tagline. Um, and that is, that’s where we left off with our video works, but that is certainly not the last thing that we have done together. Actually rather important birthed a really, really special and unique and cool and magical and cherished insert. Other positive adjectives, um, relationship with two women who go by Lucius, a musical group. Uh, Jilly, do you want to talk about that a little bit? 

Oh man. Uh, yeah, actually again, a pivot point is Mimi. So, um, like rewind back a little bit. I think the ladies from Lucius were looking for just kind of some movement coaching. They’re about to go on tour and Mimi suggested me and so we only got to have a couple of like dance sessions before they left and then I left, I forget. I think we were leaving for Rocky horror. I think this was like at the end of 2015, something like that. And, um, yeah. So it builds a little connection, friendship there and fast forward, kind of keeping in touch. These two ladies are not only incredible, incredible singers, but also lovers of dance. And, uh, they had a couple of shows for new years that they w-wanted to opening acts and they wanted one of their opening acts to be just dance or not just but dance. How about that? And they reached, they reached out to me and they were like, do you happen to know a group of maybe two or three people that would come to San Francisco, it’s not a lot of money and do these couple of shows. And I was like, well, I’m kind of a part of a group of two or three.  And they were like, okay, great. They were like, we wanted it to be the, this you guys, you ladies the seaweed sisters, but you know, it, you know, they were like, didn’t want to impose or ask, ask too much. But anyhow, uh, so that provided this really beautiful opportunity for us to, uh, perform live and to make a longer, long, longer work essentially because it was a set. So just like an opener would have a 20 minute set before the band. That’s what they wanted. So in a small space and for people that would have surely never have known who we are before that and maybe let alone ever gotten to just see a dance performance and uh, they brought us into that space with so much like, uh, I think just enthusiasm and support and we’re like, yeah, do your thing. And that was such a gift, not only just the moment itself, but I think for us to then consider what yeah, what, what is a live performance for us?  How do we want to interact with people that don’t, wouldn’t know dance or wouldn’t necessarily yeah know who we are. So, Mmm. I dunno. yeah. I really love this moment is a part of our path in the sense of, again, widening and expanding what seaweed, where seaweed can show up, you know. Um, so that was, yeah, send you gifts. So shout out to the Lucious ladies, 

Oh, I love big love and, and huge honor. Right. It was very cool. Usually dance and music when they’re together is dance in support of music and in the form of like backup dancers on a concert tour or something like that. Yeah. But we were on the marquee. We had, we were billed as like, you know, the opening act and I remember that being huge as well. I’d never seen that. 

And guys, we, we continued on with them. We did two tours with them. Like on the bus, sleeping in the bunks, going to beautiful venues. Uh, and Opening Newport Folk Fest. We did, yes. 

That’s where we got these. 

That’s right. That’s where we got our blouses Thank you. Wrangler for our customers. Seaweed capes, they are in, I do feel that I have super powers when I wear this thing. Great. 

And I wish I could remember. It’s a company that does all the embroidery shoot. Maybe we can look it up, insert later. I forget what it was they were, they are the ones that made it personalized. 

We’ll add it to the show notes, be on the lookout show notes. Um, okay. This is, that was a beautiful walk through kind of a And of course the seaweed sisters had big plans for it. 2020, the month of April was deemed seaweed month. Yep. And then the month of April was slapped in the face by COVID-19  we are all three keeping to the social distancing.  

Mmm. And I’m proud of us high five across the screen. This was an awesome day. I woke up and my husband was like “Babe, Babe it’s working. “And he showed me this graph that was like what models had projected, um, the reported cases and deaths to be and what they actually are right now. And it’s really looking like this huge social distancing effort, at least in the California area. Is working. So I think that’s super cool. 

So that was a lovely walk through the life of the seaweed sisters up to this point. Yeah. And there is certainly much more to it to come. Obviously we period. But now I want to ask, what is, what is seaweed sisters in 10 years, 

That’s even harder than, what is he, what sisters now. 

Seaweed is a, is a, a live show. Uh, a short film series a animated adventure, 

A travel series, a children’s show. series. Series regulars on the Sesame street. 

Yeah. I’m an elderweeds puppet experience. Shout out Katie. Katie green. Yup. 

Oh man. A feature film. Why not? Let’s throw that out. Okay, excellent. Yeah. Um, Oh and there is also another thing I didn’t mention as far as our identity goes. Uh, on the subject of otherness, we do not speak this language. Um, we speak and other language and I think it’s called seaweed, is that correct? Except to, uh, and it is an improvised language. It doesn’t have a vocabulary or a dictionary or grammar.  Just sounds. Um, and we also are coming upon our names, our characters names. And I do want to talk about this for a second cause it’s a fun story. Um, I, an unexpected treat that came as a result of us doing this work is that we have now a lot of young fans out there. We’ve established relationships with some young people. And by young I mean like five years old, three, three to seven have somehow struck a chord unintentionally. Like we didn’t design our work to be that. But somehow, you know, we started hearing from, um, parents in our world saying, I literally use the seaweed sisters as the carrot and stick of my parenting. Like when the kid is good, they get to watch seaweeds sisters. And if they’re bad, they don’t get to watch seaweeds sisters. And like they’re, it’s, it’s hard to rip them from the screen when they’re watching you guys.  And that’s such an honor and a treat to hear that. But also I think I find that there’s a like-mindedness to a five year old to a seaweed sister and, um, I, I got my name, my seaweed sister name, which is Zaggy. Yep. Uh, from Megan’s niece, 

Sadie. But she’s been, she knew the pink is Megan and Dana is the blue and Jilly is the green one day, uh, her mom Poppy was asking her again, just okay, and who’s that? That’s auntie Megan and who’s that? And she said, that’s Zaggy she just said “What” She said that’s Zaggy and we went, we went with it. I was no, Julian was still Jillian. Dana became Zaggy that day. 

I feel like it’s also kind of like, in a way, I think, uh, B-Boy culture, you can’t decide your own name, you kind of have to be gifted it or given it. Also learn same in sign language. Like you have a sign name, something that is only particular to, you know, uh, being able to sign it not audibly say it and it has to be given to you. Same thing. So yeah. Oh, so we’re getting there. Look at you lucky listeners. You get to find us at this cool fork in the road where we’ve been doing stuff for six years and still don’t know our names.  

I, I so look forward to seeing future weeds and I’m so grateful for present weeds. Thank you so much for  uh, for all of it. Um, but also for being here and sharing some of the super special thing.  

We love your Willsy. 

Thank you Dana for doing this podcast and making a space for all kinds of thoughts and people to share.  

You better believe it. My pleasure. I won’t stop for at least a year. That’s my promise to myself and I’m pretty good at those.  

You can do it. You are very good at.  

Thank you. It is. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love you and I’m going to keep my Cape on.  

Yeah guys, well done. Love you Dane. Love you so much. 

I love you. You’re the best weeds on the planet. Okay, bye. Bye.  

And how was that for your daily dose of love and laughter? I wanted to jump out and check in with you and also leave you with a task. But first I did a little digging and I was able to rediscover the custom embroidery company that, that did our denim blouses. They’re called Fort Lonesome. And they do exquisite work. So thank you Fort Lonesome. Shout out. And also we left off an important helping helper from our rather important shoot. And her name is Gina Menchino. Thank you so much Gina for your help. I’m sorry that we got sidetracked before we mentioned your name in the episode. You’re so great. Thank you so much. Um, okay, cool. Now let me leave you with this task. One of my favorite things that came up during this episode was this idea of see something, say something. And of course that’s S E A something, say something. It’s very on-brand. So clearly the seaweed sisters are a nurturing bunch and I think that that’s served us well. And I think that in times like these, a little nurturing could do everybody some good. So I would like to task you with the task of thinking of an artist or a group of artists whose work you adore and admire and then shout them out or call them up better yet blasts in any way, shape or form that you choose and let them know that they’re special. Let them know that their work is making your world a better place. That is what it’s all about after all making the best of this world that we’ve got. So get out there and do it. Get it out of there and keep it funky. Thanks for listening everybody. I’ll talk to you soon. 

Thought you we’re done. No. Now I’m here to remind you that all of the important people, places and things mentioned in this episode can be found on my website, the Dana wilson.com/podcast finally, and most importantly now you have a way to become a words that move me the member, so kickball, change over to patrion.com/WTMMpodcast to learn more and join. All right, everybody now I’m really done. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll talk to you soon. 

Ep. #4 Stop Thinking Like a Caveman

Ep. #4 Stop Thinking Like a Caveman

 
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Episode 4 of the podcast gets into your head, literally.  I’m talking BRAINS, and  specifically what makes the modern human’s brain so powerful — The Pre-frontal cortex! I introduce you to Brooke Castillo’s Thought Model and tell you why it is my new favorite tool for managing my mind, and my work. 

Show Notes!

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Brooke Castillo’s Thought Model

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover Dana Wilson, and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artists story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.

Dana: Hello. Hello and welcome to episode four. Thank you so much for being here. I am jazzed about this episode and I’m jazzed about this year. So far I’ve been doing daily all over the place. I just worked on another music video in New York city that I am very excited about because I made new friends and learned new things. Learning is good. I love learning. I also spent the weekend teaching some workshops in Portland. Well, I guess technically it was Vancouver, Seattle. Um, I was super motivated by Chloe’s interview in last week’s episode, episode three, and I also wound up taking some class over the last week, which is honestly is my first class of the year. I took hip hop with David Moore. So much fun and then over the weekend I took a ballet class, which is only a little bit less fun because I get really stressed out when I take ballet class.
I’m working on it anyways. My daily doing has been going well. How about yours? In episode one I posted a challenge, really encourage you guys to make something creative every single day and so far so many of you guys have given me feedback about your projects. A special shout out to @RebeccaWrangler for tagging me every single day this year so far it is really, really cool. Like such a treat to see what you come up with every day. You’re doing great. Keep it up. Keep the communications open. Please feel free to ask me questions. Tug on my ear or send me a little message if you feel like you’re running low on inspo, let me know know, I really did. I said that. Okay, so everybody’s crushing it at 2020 looking good. Feeling good must be good. Today I toss that up to being humans. We are humans. And that is such a great thing because according to humans, human beings are regarded as the most intelligent being on the planet. Now, of course, since humans are the one doing the regarding, it’s kind of biased. So I decided to dig around on the internet and um, learn a little bit about intelligence and intelligent beings. Uh, so basically I’m an expert now on brains and intelligence and I want to tell you a little bit about what I’ve learned recently. Okay. Number one, the primary difference between modern man and our planetary cohabitants like, um, plants and animals, and even historically cave people. The biggest difference between us is our brain. So our brains have evolved a lot over time. Well, they evolve a lot just in a human’s lifetime. But in the history of the human race, the human brain has evolved a lot. The average human brain weighs about three pounds.
That’s roughly the same weight as a dolphin’s brain and that is a lot less then a whale’s brain, which weighs on average like 13 pounds and a human brain weighs way more than the average orangutan’s brain, which weighs only 13 ounces. Okay, so now that you know how much, several different brains weigh I should tell you that it’s not actually the size or the weight that’s linked to intelligence, it’s actually the ratio of the brain mass to the body mass. For humans, that’s about 2%, 2% of our entire body mass is our brain. Okay. Go ahead and file that under possibly useless information. What I really want to talk about today though is the ratio of one particular part of the brain in relationship to the rest of the brain. That part of the brain is the prefrontal cortex, the prefrontal cortex of a human’s brain makes up 10% of the brain mass and that is a lot. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for personality, expression, decision-making, complex behavior and social interactions. Pretty important stuff, especially when it comes to dance. It’s, it’s also really the fun stuff. It’s the stuff that’s not exclusively vital for survival. All of that stuff is the primitive brain, sometimes known as the reptilian brain because as far as the evolution of our brain goes, the reptilian brain came first. The reptilian brain controls the body’s vital autonomic functions like heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance. Also, all very important for a dancer, I might add.

I like to think of the primitive brain as a five-year-old Danceling that wants to do her own makeup for a competition. Her intentions are good and her instincts are spot on, but that lipstick goes everywhere and the blush is a pink stripe across the cheek and the eye shadow extends all the way to the hairline and the glitter. Oh, the glitter goes everywhere, which is where it will remain forever. In this analogy, the prefrontal cortex is the parent of said, comp kid, and they watch with curiosity and compassion and they hide the eyelash glue because that stuff is toxic and they might even derive a little bit of entertainment out of the whole show. And then of course they clean up the mess.

Now I’m going to stop right here because I don’t want to offend any brain scientists or neuroscientists that might be listening. I’m going to stick to what I know. I am a dancer slash choreographer slash movement coach. Slash. Slash. Slash. I am interested in the majesty of movement. All of it, even non-human movement. Think really quickly about the really awesome, um, fan powered, uh, dancing men. Are you seeing it? Um, the, the, how do I explain them? The guys at the car wash, the dancing car, wash kites. What are they? They’re not inflatable because they’re open-ended. Wow. This is a really good question. Does anybody know what those things are called? (**edit note: They are called air dancers) I would love to know the car wash guys. Those things are incredible. I’m so inspired by those guys. Or, um, the Boston dynamics robot dog called spot. Have you seen him? Have you seen him dance to “uptown funk“? It’s incredible. I would have made some different choreographic decisions there, but regardless, still quite impressive. Speaking of impressive, have you seen the, I think it’s called “Our Planet”. The Netflix special. It’s narrated by David Attenborough. There’s a section specifically about birds and there’s a bird called a Blue Manakin, M, A, N, A, K, I N. and the blue manakins actually rehearse a bunch of guy mannequins will rehearse together and perform for a female bird. And the thing that’s most special about this other than the rehearsal and the exquisite like formation changes that they do is that they actually have a, a ranking, there’s like a lead bird and then three backup birds. It is fascinating. It is almost my favorite. Actually. My favorite one is the bird of paradise mating dance. I think it’s from the same special. I’m going to find all of these, by the way, and put the links to these videos in the show notes because you will be moved, I promise you. So other than the, uh, the robot dog and the dancing car wash man who don’t really need dance for evolution per se, these birds use dance to attract a mate. Now it is very possible that there was a time when humans used dance solely to attract a mate. In fact, that likely is happening right now somewhere on the planet. But I want to touch on the ways that all of our dance is different. For example, we have organized and categorized techniques. We have disciplines, we have genres, we have our imagination, we have storytelling and narrative style dancing and character style dancing.
And how about therapeutic dance and how about the social benefit or dance that’s made purely for entertainment value. We even have a full blown dance business. See, look at all the ways we are not cavemen. We are so evolved. Our dance is so evolved and the reason for that is because our brain is evolved. Now I’m all for dance, being attractive. Like go out there, get to the club impress all the honeys with your sweet, sweet moves. Yeah, I said, honeys, I’m also all for dance. The business. I’m here for dancers doing well. Go out there, make that money. But I’m most interested in when the body and brain work together to make meaningful movement.

Okay, so what does meaningful movement mean? Well to me that’s any movement that is deliberate and purpose built. For example, some movement might be designed to sell something like commercial style dancing. Whether that’s selling an album by performing with an artist on tour or selling a person by dancing behind them in a music video or selling a product. While, kickball changing in a commercial, all deliberate, all purpose-built might not be earth shattering or emotionally charged, but it is in fact deliberate and purpose-built and it speaks to me in some way. Meaningful movement to me could also be dance that’s designed to connect or express or explore. Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Contact improv, interpretive dance, um, performance art, dance that’s made to challenge the status quo. Or there’s also the dance that’s simply designed to entertain. I’m here for all of it. Of course, you can use a prefrontal cortex to make more interesting dance, but you can also use it in your daily life. Human beings are uniquely capable of choosing our thoughts. So please choose wisely.

Today I want to tell you about a technique that helped me make meaningful work and own it in my business and in my daily life. This is really, really huge. This is like episode four early on for reason cause I have a feeling I’m going to be talking about this a lot in upcoming episodes. I like to think of this as a technique for thinking. This technique for thinking is called the thought model and it was created by a woman named Brooke Castillo. Brooke is a life coach and she is also the creator of The Life Coach School. Now I want to take a moment to step aside and say I was very suspicious of this life coach concept at first. After all, I have been living literally my entire life and I’m still alive. So do I really need a coach? Like where does that fit in?

I suppose when I think about the number of hours I’ve spent training at dance wouldn’t be so unreasonable for me to spend some comparable amount of hours training my mind for life, which is what I’m doing all the time that I’m not dancing. So to put it bluntly, I was curious about the life coaching stuff and my sister had an incredible experience in working with her coach. Uh, she’s the one that actually introduced me to the thought model and you know me and my thoughts on learning, I will try anything. So I really dug into this thought model stuff. I fell in love with it. Although it’s not quite love, it’s definitely work. I fell in, work with it and it works. So I want to tell you about it and hope that it can help you along your creative journey as it has helped mine. Before I go on though, I want to say at this moment, I am not a certified life coach, although I may become one someday. Today I am not. I am simply a person who has practiced self coaching for years and spent several months working with a coach of my own and I’ve got a boatload of enthusiasm about it. So I’m here to share.

Alright, here’s how Brooke breaks it all down. And by all I really do mean everything, all of it. And it all starts with a circumstance. A circumstance is a neutral fact of your life. It’s provable. There is no argument. Circumstances trigger your thoughts. Thoughts are just sentences in your head which you can control. Thanks of course to the prefrontal cortex, thoughts cause your feelings. Feelings are sensations in your body and feelings lead to actions which are the things that your body does or does not do. Those actions cause results, results are the outcomes of your actions. Results are your life, so let me run that through one more time. Circumstances trigger your thoughts, which are just sentences in your head. Thoughts cause feelings which occur in your body. Your feelings lead to actions which are what your body does about those feelings or it doesn’t do in many cases and those actions cause results. That’s what you’re wound up with. Now, the real magic of Brooke Castillo’s thought model is that the result is always proof of the thought. Again, your result is proof of that first thought.

Now I’m going to give you a practical example here. I’ll try to keep it simple, although simple isn’t really my style. Okay? Let’s say you wake up in the morning, you open your window and there is water coming from the sky that is rain. That’s your circumstance cannot be debated. Water coming from the sky is rain. No matter what country you live or what language you speak, or if you’re an optimist or if you’re a not-ptomist or whatever religion you are, you know that is rain. We cannot argue that it is raining. Now the rain triggers a thought, which for me is probably dang it. People are going to be awful drivers today and I’m going to be late. Uh, it’s going to be a crappy day. So that thought then causes a feeling, which is I’m going to go with de-motivated. The circumstance which is rain triggered a thought which was today is going to be crappy, which made me feel demotivated and that lack of motivation probably keeps me dragging my feet a little bit, move a little slower to get out the house, get out. Yeah, this is probably a circumstance. LA drivers really truly are indisputably bad at driving, but I digress. That’s not the point of this model because I’m motivated. I’m moving slow, I’m late all day long, and that usually results in a crappy day. Now, let’s go back from the top and rethink this. What if for the same circumstance, which is I wake up and it’s raining, I open the window, I see the rain and instead I think, Oh my gosh, yes, this reminds me of Gene Kelly in “Singin’ In The Rain” That is my favorite movie. How did today even know to show me my favorite movie right now? This is great. It’s going to be a great day. I’m already inspired. There’s my feeling. The thought of it’s going to be a great day. Gave me the feeling of I’m inspired. The feeling of inspiration is going to send me into action that is quite the opposite of dragging my feet. I’m going to move through my morning activities with momentum, with gusto, maybe even with a hop shuffle step or a step scuff hop, Step scuff, hop, hop. I might even create a piece today. All of the actions that come from feeling inspired are going to land me at the result of having an awesome day. So see how on the result line for each of those things. In the first version, my result was I had a crappy day and was late all day. We’re proof of my initial thought, which is, ah, it’s going to be a crappy day. People can’t drive. I’m going to be late. It’s proof of that thought versus the second model. What an amazing thing. The day to day is showing me my favorite movie. This is the greatest leads me to having a great inspired, romantic, creative, all the things type of day.

Okay. Now I got a little sloppy. I’m going to give you one more example and this one was really big. This is, this is probably the one that tipped me onto the side of the scale of really loving this thought model stuff. So you may have noticed it’s a trend of late to film dance class. A lot of the dance videos you see on YouTube are taken in dance classes at dance studios. Usually towards the end of class, but there’s this like performative show moment at the end of class where a camera man or occasionally the teacher holding a camera. Will film select groups and then that footage will wind up online. This used to really give me some primitive thoughts like some real kid playing in the glitter type of mess. To illustrate, I’ll walk you through my old model with the unmanaged thoughts and then I’ll let my prefrontal cortex take the reins and show you how that changes my end result and ultimately my relationship with dance class and the use of cameras in the classroom.

The circumstance, the neutral indisputable fact is that there are now video cameras in dance classes. Now I can’t really get much more neutral than that cameras in the classroom. I’m not saying it sucks that there are cameras in the classroom. I’m not saying that everybody films class and that’s awful. I’m saying the neutral circumstance is cameras in the classroom. Now that neutral circumstance for me triggers some thoughts that look a little something like this. You have to be perfect on camera and class is supposed to be a place where you can be imperfect. Class is supposed to be a place where you can be vulnerable and mess up and look bad and then get better. Class is ruined. Now that thought, or I should say those thoughts make me feel robbed. I feel like I had a special thing with the class that used to be, and that class has been robbed by this stupid camera device and now I don’t have it anymore. I feel robbed, feeling robbed. I don’t know if you’ve actually been rubbed. Oh my gosh. It’s so awful. I don’t know. I remember I had my cell phone stolen once and I felt like never leaving my house again. I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone. Um, we felt insecure out in the world. Kind of a awful feeling in general, but feeling like class had been taken from me felt kind of similar. I didn’t want to go anymore. I just didn’t want to leave the house. Once I started seeing all these class videos pop up, it made me stop taking class. So feeling robbed led me to the action of actual inaction, not taking class anymore. So the result of me not taking class anymore is that class was dead to me.

Okay. Let’s rework this model, circumstances the same. There are cameras in the classroom. Now before we go any further at all, I want to ask, what is a camera? How would you explain a camera to an alien from another planet or to a five year old? I would explain it like this. A camera is a collection of glass parts and plastic parts and occasionally some metal parts that is put together in a way that allows it to capture light and remember a moment or a series of moments forever. Okay? Nothing about an actual camera means that you have to be perfect. See, that is the real breakthrough. The circumstance is a camera in a classroom and I can choose a thought that is not, I have to be perfect on camera. So what if I decided to choose this thought? What if the camera was actually the way I measure my progress and show the world this is what dance class is about. Progress, not perfection. Well, dang, if that’s my thought, then all of a sudden my feeling becomes not only empowered but in some crazy way responsible. Now, feeling responsible, feeling empowered. That gets me out my front door and into dance class where whether there’s a camera or not, I will improve because that’s what I believe in. That’s what is important to me. That really changed the game for me. It helped me show up for myself in a way that I had really kind of ruled out. And there’s such tremendous power in that. Now that’s an example of how the model can help in terms of the way you show up for yourself in a training sense. But there is another way to use this model that I really found helpful when it comes to making my work and having a happy and healthy creative process

In this mode, I’m going to start at the end. I’m going to start with the desired result and work backwards to try to find out what thought I need to plant in order to get the results that I’m striving for. So let’s say for example, I’ve been hired to choreograph the new year’s Eve ball drop for Fox. This, by the way, is a true story. Um, back in 2019. Holy smokes, by the way, does anybody remember new year’s Eve of 2019 the times square ball drop? It was for reasoning cold. It rained all day long. Holy smokes. It was nuts. So before I went into that day, I ran myself through a thought model. I knew that my result wind, the result that I wanted is work that I’m proud of. So for me to land at work that I’m proud of, the actions I wanted to take are being prepared every single day, treating my team with kindness and giving them the tools that they needed every single day and not doubting myself in the past. Doubt has really sucked a lot of time out of my creative process. So the three actions that I was committed to are being prepared myself, the individual supporting my team, giving them all the tools they needed and promising to not doubt myself. Those were my three action points. So then I have to ask myself what is the feeling that will lead me to take those actions? That feeling is capable. If I feel like I can do it, I will be prepared. I will support my team and I will not spend any time doubting myself. All right, now let’s keep working backwards. Then what is the thought that will make me feel capable? The thought that I chose that made me feel capable, and this is the thought that I love, is I was built for this. Yeah. Waking up in the morning thinking I was built to do this is maybe most empowering thought that you can give yourself. Walking to the train, I’m built for this. Listening to the music, I’m built for this. Warming up my dancers, I am built for this. Talking to the hosts, staging the scenes, working tiny ins and outs, talking Snoop dog through his staging, I am built for this. That thought constantly gave me the feeling of I am capable and the feeling I am capable sent me into actions that landed me firmly at work that I am proud of and the thing that I’m most proud of in terms of that work is that it was created and a happy and healthy environment. Well, aside from the rain, that is, that was super unhealthy. I am surprised nobody came down with pneumonia. That was crazy. I wonder how, how cold it actually was. I’ll find out. I’ll put that in the show notes too. (** Edit note, can’t find exactly what the temperature was but it looks like it was around 50* with rain. The coldest ever new years eve in New York was -1 degrees in 1918)

Okay. That’s the thought model in a super, super fast nutshell. In a fast nutshell. Imagine a nutshell going really fast right now. All right. It’s a big bite. It’s a lot to think about. So try to remember C T F A R circumstance, thought, feeling, action result. Should we give that in? My very excellent mother just made us nine pancakes thing. What are those called? Numeric device. Pneumonic device! Okay. Circumstance. This is happening in real time. C T F A R come through for absolutely. Oh, come through for … didn’t results…come through for candy, tiger fiction action rendezvous. You know, I don’t… dancer’s choice! Okay? Try to remember. Circumstances lead to thoughts. Your thoughts cause your feelings, your feelings cause your actions and your actions create your results. Your results are your life, so dang it. Celebrate that your prefrontal cortex makes up 10% of your brain and choose your thoughts wisely. All right, now go. Go out there. Use that prefrontal cortex. Make interesting work. Work on yourself. Work together and keep it funky. Makes me smile. Keep it funky.

Ep. #2 Doing Daily Pt.2 | The Production of Things

Ep. #2 Doing Daily Pt.2 | The Production of Things

 
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Episode 2 is action packed! We dig into the perks of a tight feedback loop when sharing your work, my approach to daily making, my every day carry, and what it means to be “a producer”.

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Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover Dana Wilson and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.


Dana: Well hello there and welcome back to episode two. I am super stoked about the podcast today and so glad that you are here. I have a couple of updates before we dig into the meat. Number one, the podcast is now available on iTunes and Spotify and Apple podcasts and I got some very exciting news today that uh, words that move me has ranked in the top 100 of performing arts podcasts on Apple. I am flattered. Thank you so much for listening and for sharing and I’m getting a lot of great feedback from many of you, so thank you for that as well. Please do keep it up. I really love hearing from you. Nn a more somber note this week I learned of the passing of one of my favorite artists, Mr John Baldessari. If you don’t know who John Baldessari is, now would be a great time to find out. He is one of my favorite artists of all time and one of the most important conceptual artists of our time. and from what I understand was making art all the way up to the very end. If you don’t know who John Baldessari is, please go find out, celebrate the life and work. John Baldessari, we salute you

In lighter news. I had a couple important firsts this week that I would like to share with you. I worked as a dancer on a music video yesterday and as part of our look, I was on the receiving end for the first time in my life of acrylic nails that are maybe less than an inch long, but it feels like yardsticks hanging off the end of my fingers. Um, they’re gorgeous. Whoa, they’re like shiny and cool. Uh, but I’ve had to relearn how to do everything, especially type. Um, but also get into my car. Unbuckle my seatbelt, buckle my seatbelt, uh, wash my hair, eat food, get food out of my teeth. These are all like super steep learning curve for me right now. So kudos to all the ladies out there who make this work on a daily basis. I am rocked by this. I kinda like it. I think I could get used to it. Um, another first extensions and lots of them, which means lots of glue that I had to get out of my hair today with the fake nails and dish soap. I think it’s all out of there, but right now I do have a deep conditioning treatment in and my head is wrapped with um, some wrap. So if you hear that sound it’s me touching my head. Okay. I think that’s all for updates. Let’s get into the good stuff. Oh no, there’s one more. In case you couldn’t tell I’m sick. I knew this would happen at some point. I didn’t expect for it to be so soon in the series. I apologize that right now you’re having to listen to my stuffiness and the occasional cough. But I’m going to learn so much about editing out sniffles and sneezes and throat clears, so thank you for your patience today as back to 100%

Okay. In episode one, I make the argument for doing daily and I give my definition for creativity. I also talk about the story of how I started my 400 and some consecutive days of videos on Instagram. I talk about going from being afraid of cameras and technology to being about as comfortable in my editing software as I am in a dance studio and becoming a living mother ginger of cameras. I keep them everywhere and I will talk about those in a bit. Also, in the last episode, I touched on the importance of putting the perfectionist in the passenger seat. On a technicality, It’s impossible for all of your work to be your best work, and I believe it’s highly unlikely that your early work will be your best work, so why not get closer to your best work by working every single day? Yes. In episode one, I posed a challenge to all of you to make a creative work every single day even if it sucks and I’ve heard back and seen work from several of you who are on your way already. Congratulations. I’m excited for you.

Okay. I’m going to start by expanding on few of the thoughts from episode one, so if you haven’t listened to that you might want to jump back and catch up, but please if you’re driving, stay right where you are. Don’t touch your phone. I promise I’ll do my best to make this not feel like jumping straight to Return to the King when you haven’t seen the Fellowship or the Two Towers. If this podcast goes well. By the way, I think I will be starting a Lord of the rings appreciation podcast. Big, big fan. Okay. I’m going to start where we left off with the value that I found in making my project public. I loved the fast feedback loop of Instagram and I noticed that relative to other platforms like Facebook or YouTube, the feedback on Instagram tends towards positive. Notice there’s not even a thumbs down option there and I think that’s deliberate. I’m sure it is designed to keep you feeling good so that you stay there longer. Well, I don’t like the thought of somebody else trying to engineer how I spend my time, but I do, as a recovering perfectionist who’s been hard on myself and my body and my work since I was very young, find great value in the occasional pat on the back. That said, this project was a great, really low stakes way for me to practice receiving criticism.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed or if you’ve been on the receiving end, but people can be super harsh from the other side of a screen, and I like most of you, creative types, whether you choose to admit it or not, am a delicate flower. I’m going to talk more about criticism in a future podcast, but for now I’d like to leave you with this Teddy Roosevelt quote, which you may have already heard and encourage you to go watch Brene Brown’s Netflix special, A Call to Courage. All right, here we go Roosevelt.

“It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man that’s actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly. Who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error or shortcoming. But who does actually strive to do the deeds? Who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause? Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Whew. Oh my gosh. Brings a tear to my eye. Listen, once you’ve done a daily doodle or daily thing, past 400 days, you can come rip me apart. But until then, as far as I’m concerned, I am untouchable. I am Sparta. Oh man, I would love to use that sound bite here, but I don’t think that is allowed. So moving on now, I’d like to talk about approach.

I’ve been choreographing for close to 20 years and I don’t think my process was the same for any two pieces. I really can’t tell you exactly what to think or do that will get you through a lifetime of fulfilling making. But I can tell you a bit about the mindset and the techniques that helped me get through a year of daily making. First, take your ideas seriously, especially the silly ones. Get ready to start hearing the inner child, AKA artist. Constantly speak up. mine usually said something like, Oh, wouldn’t it be funny if or, Oh, it’d be crazy if, or, Ooh, you should really. And then I got in the habit of listening and when I’d hear sentences start like that, I’d respond to them right away. I wasn’t always in a place where I could act right away, so I’d keep lists. I kept one called “carry on” and the other was called checked baggage. Obviously the carry on is for fast and easily accessible ideas. Something that I thought I could knock out in a couple of hours without much planning. None of them take as long as you think. By the way, go ahead and double it. Then you’re on the right track. All right. The checked baggage list, on the other hand is where I kept bigger ideas that needed a little bit more flushing out. For example, a project that needed a specific location or costume or other people getting involved. Now, if both bags lists, we’re empty. This is what I do and I recommend you do this everyone, regardless of whether or not you’re working on a daily project, when you run out of things on your idea lists, take a field trip or what Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way calls an artist date. This is a time when you can indulge in curiosity, when you can go deep inside yourself and observe what’s going on there or you can zoom out and sale above all the people in things going on in this world and observe them. I had a lot of my favorite ideas solo on artists dates, speaking of ideas and coming up with new ones. I think it’s important to remember that many great artists have built careers off of going deep on just a few ideas. Take John Baldessari for example, he put dots on faces for years years, so even if you’ve chosen a daily challenge, don’t feel like you need to choose a new idea every single day.

All right. My final offering on the subject of approach is more than a trick or a tool or a rule. It is a way of life. It is. Yes, and. you may be familiar with “yes, and” as being the golden rule of improv comedy. Well, it is not just the golden rule. It is the guiding principle of my life. My favorite illustration of this, and I’m going to, I’m going to ask you to get involved here. I’m going to ask you a question and you’re going to say no. Okay.

Hey, uh, can I tell you a story real quick?

Oh dang. That’s a shame. Dead in the water. Now let’s try again. I’m going to ask a question this time you’re going to answer yes, no matter what I say.

Can I tell you a story real quick?

Cool. Is it okay if it’s about outer space? Right on. Is it okay if it’s about Brittany Spears in outer space? Great. Is it okay if it’s about Brittany Spears in outer space being chased by a space bear? You didn’t even know space bears existed all. Let me tell you about space bears. Can I tell you about space bears? Okay.

You see where this is going? Lot of room for creativity. Just say yes, and then keep going.

All right. As promised, I’m going to talk a little bit about gear. Now there’s a lot of hype and words around cameras and quality and you can talk about pixels and sensor size and frame rates and things until you’re blue in the face, but if you asked me what’s the best camera, I’d say it’s the one you have on you and it’s the one you know how to use no sense in having a big fancy camera if you don’t know how to use it. My arsenal started with an iPhone and is now an iPhone, a galaxy for ease of use when I’m overseas, a VIXA mini, a Sony A 6,000 a DJI Osmo, the pocket gimbal, super cute, uh, Ricoh Theta and the Theta S an Insta 360 1 and an Insta 360 X and a DJI Mavic, which is a drone, which is awesome. All of these are useless if they aren’t charged up, so keep backup chargers and batteries and of course they’re useless if they’re not on me, which is why they’re all small and is why my backpack is heavy.

Pro-tip, by the way, speaking of backpacks, the Lululemon Cruiser, the one that was made in 2014 it’s not the one with hard case for your glasses on the outside. It’s a soft pouch on the outside. All of the pockets on the outsider, soft, three pockets on the outside, two long ones, one, two long vertical ones, and then a horizontal one at the top. Oh my gosh. I might just do a full podcast backpack review someday because I have a lot to say about backpacks. I’m going to keep this very brief. Here’s something that a lot of people don’t think about when they’re buying a backpack. The color of the inside of the backpack. This is where the cruiser gets it, right? Exterior the backpack. Well they may come in many different colors, but exterior black, I love solid black. Interior cream so that I can see all my black items that I keep in there like charging cables, um, tights, leotards, you know, it really helps to be able to see the inside is bright. So Lululemon Cruiser, good luck because I have an eBay search out for them. Usually when they spring up, I buy them right away. Moving right along. What is inside of the backpack is absolutely as important as the backpack itself. Maybe more so. Let me run down a quick list of things that you might not think that you need on an adventure of daily doing, but the, you really, really do number one, a camera or capture system of some sort, SD cards and many of them. Tape. I mean in general, whether you’re in a creative moment or not, you need tape. You might also need cash and you certainly need an all weather notebook just in case it starts to rain. We already covered spare chargers and batteries, so okay.

Moving on to the software front. I love the Adobe suite. Couldn’t recommend it more. lynda.com , lynda.com was the online tutorial that I use to learn the Adobe suite and I am stoked about it. Number one fan, first in line on the mailing list. Absolutely obsessed. Okay, so we’ve talked about the feedback and the approach and the tools. We even covered hardware and software. Now I want to talk about the big picture production, the making of things.

You’ve probably heard the saying it takes a village and that is true, especially for creative projects like films, TV shows, music, but I like to think of it a little bit less as a village and more like a gigantic automobile assembly plant. You know the ones with a big robot, super arm that puts all the parts together? Yes, that one and the parts are all of the different teams. The parts usually come from different places, different factories if you will, and they’re all designed and specialized for their specific function. So in my little metaphor, the carps and the electronics, they’re the chassis production. Design team is the body, the stylists and wardrobe designers. They’re the interior. The choreo team are the wheels. Lighting is, well the lights and music is obviously the music. If we were to really go deeper, I would tell you that the stunt coordinator and the onset medic, they are the airbags. Now here’s the part where it gets good. The producers are the big robot arm. The director is the engine and the talent are the ones that get in the car and drive. Now this is a big abstraction and I’m leaving out some key players like camera, but this is how I like to think of it. So let’s focus for a moment on the producer. The robot arm, if you’re still in the metaphor, this is kind of tough because the job producer can mean very different things from project to project. Film producer has different responsibilities than a music producer for example. And then if we really lift up the rug and take a look, there’s executive producers, co-producers, line producers. Although I could spend an entire podcast talking about the job descriptions and a breakdown of the hierarchy of all of these roles, but for now, let’s do a general demystification. Producers are responsible for the project financially and logistically. They understand the full scope and they know who will be the best to get the job done, so they pull the team together.
That’s everyone from director to grips to publicists, electricians, gaffers, choreographers, writers, stylists, dressers, hair and makeup, yes, dancers, et cetera, et cetera. All of us, and they delegate and communicate with all of these departments throughout the production and make sure that it gets done and gets done on time and within budget. Fingers crossed. I had a really unique experience with this on my daily project because by the time I started making my own micro movies, I’d already been in a handful of feature films, so I became fascinated with how things are made from a very, very small scale to a huge scale. One of the best things that I gained from that perspective is an understanding of exactly how much work goes into a production. Even a tiny one. I learned the value of location scouts and camera operators and editing and lighting, Holy heck lighting. So important. And that gave me a whole new level of compassion and respect for those that I share set with. And I would like to gift that to all of you because no matter what your discipline is in the fullness of time, your path will cross or maybe even merge with a different one. And because of projects like daily doing when they do, you’ll be ready for it.

All right, my friend, I hope you are feeling prepared and inspired and ready to make because I am ready to wash this conditioner out of my hair. I so look forward to talking to you next week and until then, keep it funky. I do. I like keep it funky. I think that keep it funky is my sign off. I believe in it fully.