Bri Castellini: Confidence is Nonsense – @brisownworld

by Bri Castellini

Last month I had a work trip to Toronto. It was very exciting, because I’ve never been on a work trip and I’ve also never been to Canada NOR have I ever traveled internationally alone. The trip itself was fun by pretty low key. but it also made me think a lot about my job and the fact that confidence is largely performative.

My job

I am in the incredibly weird position of having a job in my exact preferred industry that I’m perfect for despite it not being my dream job. This is not to say that I don’t love my job- I do. I recognize how mind-numbingly lucky I am to have a job where I write incredibly vulnerable articles about failure and host a podcast where I interview my creative heroes and get flown to Toronto to speak at a web series festival and host events where I get free drinks and get to talk about filmmaking and moderate a community of people who have helped me improve myself in more ways than one. I designed this job myself mostly by accident and now here I am, one of the few people who makes rent by being in the web series industry. It’s crazy. It’s practically unheard of! And it’s not my dream job.

It’s not a secret my dream job is being a full time writer/filmmaker. Even my company knows this, and has known this since I was hired last year. It’s why I still produce web series on the side and do stupid things like crowdfund in the month leading up to the biggest professional event of my career that I both made possible and am woefully unprepared for.

This position is particularly bizarre because while I’m perfect for this job that I am incredibly lucky to have, I hope to not being doing it in five years. I also don’t ever want to do this job at another company, so it’s not like all this experience I’m getting and resume keywords I’m hitting will be of use. So I’m in this holding pattern, where I am content and making rent on time and getting to do super cool things, but I’m also not technically advancing my own career goals with my professional gig. It’s adjacent to my career goals, but it is not in itself my career.

Confidence

Confidence, I’ve learned, is largely performative. There’s a part of it that’s you being realistic with yourself about things you are objectively good at, but no one sees that. When someone sees or senses confidence in another person it is because that other person is full of shit to a degree.

I appear very confident at my job. When I write articles for work, I am often writing instructional pieces that require me to make declarations of expertise that may or may not be entirely earned. When I host events, I put on my fake bubbly persona that’s part high school bake sale queen and part used car salesman, but with a dash of #relatable camaraderie. That’s not a person that I actually am, but it’s a version of myself I invented back in my barista days when casually flirting with customers and being just a little bit edgier than most service industry personalities got me better tips. It’s all very carefully curated, because confidence from me is an important image for the company at large, as I’m often the on the front lines, being the filmmaker of the staff.

It’s all bullshit. I am good at public speaking and I am sometimes funny in conversational settings because of years of comedy and writing practice, I am a solid writer because of my two advanced degrees in it, I know how Twitter works after a decade on the platform, and I have made or been involved in enough indie films to have a foundational basis for my advice. There are tons of people like me- I am far from special in these traits. But I happen to be in a position where I’m using all of these things at once and so it is easy-ish to appear as though I am confident in myself and my position at this company.

And… I am? And I’m not. I have a lot of responsibility that frankly I’d be fine offloading to someone else. I’m a control freak but the higher the stakes get, the more chill I am about maybe not being in charge. The things that I say on the internet or forgetting to send an email or having an off week may hurt my ability to continue to get a paycheck. That’s terrifying. I’ve never been in a position where I have so many things to do and yet at any moment I might fuck up something small that then derails the entire place and my life and I’ll have to go back to food service.

This isn’t be being big for my britches- I’m one of four employees. We’re like a Jenga game that’s been going on for half an hour- it’s pretty much one brick from tumbling down at all times, and I’m one of those bricks. It’s doubly terrifying because if I know one thing about myself, it’s that I’m often hard to motivate when I’m not head-over-heels passionate about whatever I’m doing. I love my job, but there’s a spark of something missing because again, it’s not my dream job. It’s impossible to feel as alive as I do directing an actor and watching something that previously existed in my head come to life before my eyes.

But confidence is important in order to keep this whole charade up so here I am. Being it. Or pretending to be it, but Very Convincingly.


Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Bri’s wonderfully refreshing blog.

My Name is Corilu, and I’m a Writeaholic

by Corinna Louise Mendis

Pan Metron Ariston

This terrific T-shirt was found at https://www.sunfrog.com/5077448-63362534.html

The Ancient Greek expression above has been ingrained into my brain by my Greek Father throughout my life. It means, “Moderation in all things,” and my father, like the ancient Greeks before him, believed that moderation was a principle of life, and anything done in excess led to harmful effects on one’s life.

I work as a Physician Assistant, smack in the middle of the opiate epidemic, which demonstrates lifestyled far from moderate. As I notice how addiction affects my patients, I contemplate my own addictions.

I’m a writer. At least I consider myself a writer. I also take pride in the fact that I’m a TV Junkie. I binge-watch my TV programs just as much as I binge-write. That being said, I wonder, is writing an addiction? Are all writers addicts?

According to ASAM, the American Society of Addiction Medicine:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors…Changes in the brain’s wiring are what cause people to have intense cravings for the drug and make it hard to stop using the drug.”

This infers that addiction is not just related to drugs and alcohol. Addiction can be related to anything that causes a “Brain reward” such as euphoria.

I suspect that our brain chemistry changes the same way with a healthy addiction as it does with an unhealthy addiction. This leads me to believe that the term “Addiction” does not have to be associated with something bad.

Socially acceptable, “Good Addictions” include healthy foods, working out, playing music, reading, traveling, learning, cooking, meditating, dancing, The internet, phones, video games, spirituality, positive thinking.

Socially Unacceptable, “Bad Addictions” include drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling, pornography, unhealthy food, negative thinking…

You get the drift.

From my perspective, we are a culture of addicts.

Most of us have something we are compelled to do; if we don’t do it, there is a huge lack at the very core of our being. The more I think about it, the more I realize that writing also is an addiction.

To quote THE DUDE, “Far fucking out.”

Most people start using drugs when they are teenagers. I became addicted to writing at that time (among other things).

Also according to ASAM, because the brain is not fully formed at this point, the addiction literally keeps it from developing to a mature emotional state. If someone starts their addiction at age 16, and continues it to adulthood, the 30, 40, or 50- year-old person is actually functioning emotionally at a 16-year-old level.

Does this mean that I in fact am an adolescent living in a 40-year-old body because I was hooked on putting words down on the page so early? That brings up another question: When does the “good” writing addiction cross over to the dark side and disrupt our lives?

When I am writing, I become addicted to the process. I welcome the inevitable rewriting because it keeps me stimulated,  so stimulated that sometimes there never is a finished product.

When I write, I am the only person in the universe, and my thoughts and ideas pour down into my fingertips and onto the keyboard. And, please, do not interrupt me while I’m writing. I simply will not respond. Not because I don’t want to respond, but because I won’t hear you. I am in a zone and any interruption will make me lose my train of thought. And that, my friends, is the quintessential buzz-kill.

In other words, writing gives me a sense of relief and release from my everyday life. It definitely makes me high.

If I receive criticism for my writing, “Ouch!” The rejection hurts, but it seems a small price to pay for the opportunity to bask in the praise that comes almost as often, and which also makes me high.

Writing takes time. It takes time away from one’s family and friends. When I start a project, I inescapably blow off the people around me. Most of the time I’m a social butterfly, but when I write, I’m a loner.

I write to escape reality. I write to get out of my own head. I write to forget about the meaningless of existence. I write to prove to myself that the meaning of existence is to write, and when I am writing and focused on my craft, I am neglecting those around me.

A few of my relationships actually ended because I was more focused on writing than the relationship. When I’ve completed a project, I do take time to hang out with my family and friends who’ve had the patience to stick around. I share my “baby” with them and am told that I’m an inspiration by the same people who threatened to never invite me to a social gathering ever again.

I think it is clear that writing is cathartic. It can be used as a therapeutic tool to purge and cleanse our emotions and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Writing can even be a replacement for another addiction, a recovery tool for the drug addict or alcoholic. In fact, many writers find that they get their best work done by writing as a way of overcoming a stressful event.

This brings us back to moderation. It’s been said that addicts can’t do anything in moderation. But what if the moderation is an addiction of its own? I am a writing addict and am also addicted to living the rest of my life in moderation.

Ah, I see the answer now. It’s all about balancing my addictions in the most positive way. As a writer, I’ll continue to throw myself into the writing process and enjoy the high…as long as I do it in moderation!


Corinna Louise Mendis is an award-winning writer, indie filmmaker, and Physician Assistant. She’s a creative to be watched…unless she succumbs to the dread lure of Too Much Moderation.

TVWriter™ Supports Animation Voice Actors!

Solidarity!

The Vocal Majority
by Mark Evanier

Like the banner above says, I stand with the Animation Performers who are currently authorizing a strike vote.  The issue is the compensation for voice work on animated programs made for subscription-based streaming platforms such as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu.  You can [ED.NOTE: and should] read all about this here.

The strike vote will pass, probably by a wide margin.  I see just about all the important voice actors endorsing this stance and that’s a solid indicator.  These are the people the producers most want to hire, after all.  As a general rule, the higher the vote to strike, the greater the chance there will not be a strike or it will be brief one.  The negotiators, who thus far have resisted making a satisfactory offer, will be more inclined to make one if the Strike Authorization Vote is 95% than if it’s 80%….

Read it all at Mark Evanier’s News from ME Blog, one of the most entertaining and informative sites on the interwebs

Bri Castellini: 10 Things You Can Do For 10 Minutes To Promote Your Web Series – @brisownworld

Ooh, Bri Castellini is at it again. Woman has more tips than —- (Go ahead, fill in the blank. We dares ya!). Oh, we almost forgot:


by Bri Castellini

If you’re like me, you’re a filmmaker struggling to balance your creative projects with a full-time day job. Or maybe you’re a filmmaker struggling to balance the fun part of your creative projects (actually making them) with the not so fun parts (everything else). In any case, you either hate marketing or just don’t have time to commit to it fully. Unfortunately, marketing is a necessary part of any digital filmmaker’s workflow, so to make the most of your limited time, below are 10 things you can do if you only have 10 minutes to dedicate to promotion.

1. Schedule a week’s worth of tweets

Using a tool like TweetdeckBufferHootsuite, or any number of other social media scheduling tools, it’s easy to bulk-write and schedule updates, and 10 minutes is plenty of time for a full week of not worrying about it! Averaging 2 tweets a day for 7 days, that’s 2 FULL minutes per tweet, otherwise known as “plenty of time”!

If you’re stuck for what kinds of things to post, check out this handy guide, or just copy and paste old updates that’re still relevant, like review pleas for your Stareable page or reminders for upcoming premieres or events.

2. Queue 15 posts on Tumblr

Not everyone uses Tumblr to promote their series (read this post to see if it’s right for you), but if you have an account, an easy way to keep your account full is to set up a queue, which is Tumblr’s version of scheduling posts (you can also schedule posts on Tumblr, but it doesn’t really work so you’re better off just queuing).

The default setting is for queued posts to publish to your account twice a day in between the hours of 12am and 12pm, but depending on how active you want your blog to be, you can increase the number of publishing times per day. My personal Tumblr, for instance, publishes queued posts five times a day, spaced out at regular intervals so no matter when a follower logs on to their dashboard, I’ll probably have a fairly recent post for them to see. Access these settings by clicking the person icon at the top of your dashboard and selecting your blog’s name, then adding “/queue” to the end of the URL from there….

Read it all at Stareable


Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Director at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch the remarkable Ms. Castellini’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE. See Sam And Pat Are Depressed HERE. This post first appeared on Stareable’s Blog.

Peggy Bechko’s 10 Best Fitness Tips for Writers & Other Desk Jockeys

by Peggy Bechko

Let’s face it, we writers are all a bit crazy. We focus so strongly on what we’re writing the world seems to draw away and disappear. Meanwhile, our bodies are locked in position at our desks and we’re just a very short distance away from all sorts of aches and pains.

I’m not saying you have to take time to jump on your bike or run for miles, take up calisthenics or go swimming every day though of course all of that would be good to. Instead I’m going to let you know about a few exercises I know about that you can actually do from your desk.

This is, of course, assuming you have no physical problems, I’m not a doctor, after all. I’m a writer. Do these things with care, all right? Or, don’t do them at all if you believe they could be detrimental.

First, a few comments on things that can happen to the deskbound.

For starters we tend to push our heads forward looking at the screen or papers or whatever. So what? Well, if you do it enough, the muscles in the front of the neck stretch and get overly long and because of that, weakened and the muscles at the back shorten up. Bad news.

Then there’s the spine and what we do to it. The spine needs to have curves and it we slouch a lot the back becomes bowed taking the curves out which will, before you ask so what, cause strained back muscles and maybe tightness in your chest. Then there’re your eyes. Strain can cause watering, headaches and other discomforts. Fun, right?

Writers and other desk-bounds might also experience rounded shoulder, tight hips, tight hamstrings, pinched circulation in the legs and a host of other problems.

So here are a few things we can do about it:

1. Shrug your shoulders. Not just shrugging them, but actually holding it. Sit up straight and bright your shoulders upward toward your ears – moving only those muscles. Hold it for a few seconds, then relax everything. Repeat that a few times. Easy, right at your desk.

2. Get up, walk around, stretch. Every hour is good, more often if you can. Seriously. Pay attention. You can do this.

3. Not ready to get up? Then bounce yourself in your chair by briskly tightening and releasing your butt muscles. It’s fun, do it often.

4. Hey, prop your feet up on your desk when you’re reading instead of typing.

5. Lift each foot and make circular motions clockwise and counter-clockwise. My grandfather used to be barefoot a lot and would use his toes to pick up his shoes. Point your toes and flex your ankles too.

6. Think about a standing desk. I have one and spend part of the day standing and part sitting. A full standing desk can be expensive. I have a Varidesk which sits on top of my old desk and love it. Very easy to lift up & down. Here’s a link https://amzn.to/2NourOk — and yes, if you actually bought one I’d get a small (tiny) commission. But heck, I love it and enjoy recommending it. It isn’t cheap either, but it’s less expensive than a full standing desk with all the bells and whistles. Look around. You might be able to find one where you live used.

7. Give your arms, which you usually hold close to your body as you type, a break. Lift one arm, bend at the elbow and put your hand behind your head. Put the other arm behind your back and try to grasp the other hand. Not too easy. Don’t push it, just gently try. And do both sides.

8. For your neck, just move it. Gently, turn it side to side in a slow motion and enjoy the crackle of muscles and tendons as they release tension. Then gently move it every direction it can move, drop chin toward your chest, look toward the ceiling, whatever motion you can think of.

9. Now for the real workhorses for writers – our wrists, hands and fingers. Move your wrists in circles, clockwise and counter-clockwise. Then extend one arm straight in front in a ‘stop’ motion and press with your other hand. The stretch you feel will extend all the way up into your aching shoulder. For fingers, make a tight fist, then spread and stretch them as wide as possible. Wiggle them. Relax, then make circular motions with each finger in both directions.

10. Eyes are last here, but they’re extremely important. We get so wrapped up in our writing, how often do we look away? We even forget to blink. Bad, very bad. Look away from your monitor. Blink rapidly. Focus on something in the middle distance, maybe across the room. Then something in the far distance, maybe out a window. Close your eyes. Rest them. Be kind to your eyes.

That’s it. Just keep moving. Keep your body happy and it will improve your writing as well. One writer to another, these small things will keep your body happy and sharpen your focus. Try it.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her sensational career HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.