Sunday, August 30, 2009

Filmin' fools

Mary & Johnny & I filmed Johnny's second piece today! That's john above, with another of his macgyver-like camera setups. The dude is awesome. And not to give anything away, but this short is gonna be innnterestiiing...

And Saturday, we got all the other footage shot & photos taken. Thanks SO SO much to Travis for all his help, equipment & expertise, as well as his heat tolerance. It was damn hot in the valley!

This show is really coming together, people...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Side Workin' It

Hey all. I'm side workin' it right now. Just thought I'd take a little break and fulfill my blogging duties.

This show also reminds me of college. But I've done theatre since college - I've done some plays, and some sketch... but it's all been kind of same old, same old. This is the first time since my good old Millikin days that I've felt inspired by everyone around me, moved by what we're readying to present to our audience.

You really are all INSANELY talented. And in such different ways - I love it. And we're going to BLOW PEOPLE'S MINDS. LITERALLY. It's going to get messy.

Okay, back to my side work...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Focus People!

Gosh it feels good to be rehearsing for something.  Haven't done that since college.  And no, that was not a few years ago (I do look younger than I am).  That was 8 years ago!

Mary here.

I am very delighted to be apart of this project.  I got to see the theater space today and it just gave me a rush of excitement!  

I plan to see you all there.  (Mostly because the people reading this are all in the show.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The First Small Steps

Jamey here!

Only five weeks until the show! Sweet Jesus that's just crazy. Still, though, sometimes the best things are created when there's no time to overthink it. Or in this case, think about it at all.

I want to explain the beginnings of Side Work, but first I thought I'd share a little funny thing that happened tonight. My girlfriend and I have a tradition that whenever we are about to open a fortune cookie, we first think of something we'd like the fortune to address or relate to. For instance, we might say, "This fortune will be about my new job," and then we'll open it and see what comes up. More often than not, it's pretty astonishing the accuracy with which the fortune speaks to our subject.

Tonight as I was about to open a fortune cookie, I thought about the prospects of success for Side Work. I opened the cookie, and was totally stunned when it said -

Well, you'll just have to read on to find out.

So. Side Work came about through my participation in Landmark Education's Self-Expression and Leadership Program (SELP). Not to get too deep into it, but the crux of the program is to create a project that takes a self-cultivated identity into the community. While success is certainly a goal, ultimately the intent of the program is not what becomes of the project, but what you become in creating it.

I've spent a lot of my time in Los Angeles bemoaning how much my fate is out of my hands: How I can't believe how sucky my job is, yet how I can't afford to not work it, how I'm late because of traffic, how I'm not being creative because I'm tired or don't have time, how I can't make it as an actor because of politics or arbitrary factors (or having to actually work for it), etc. etc. etc. I got to the point where I was so resigned that I spent the better part of two years doing nothing but drinking, getting high, playing videogames, and slogging through boring days at work.

And oh, the
anger. The slashing, white-hot, uncontrollable fits of intense rage at nothing or everything. I got so good at suppressing my constant despair and disatisfaction that my body craved any kind of emotion at all, even terrifying leaks of pure insanity. Ask Todd. We laugh now at my tennis court tantrums, but behind the irrational clown hitting balls into the stratosphere was a very sad human being.

There's only one word for my identity throughout this period: VICTIM. And the real bitch about being a victim is that it's a self-propogating cycle. I became a victim of being a victim.

Another time I'll elucidate exactly the kind of hyperdrive you have to engage to pull away from this identity black hole, but for now suffice to say that it all begins with the word

From the beginning, Side Work was about possibility. So much of my experience of Los Angeles had been about what I couldn't do, what seemed unlikely or even impossible. Forget arguing for my limitations, I was going to bat for them. Getting myself to the point of thinking I could launch a collective of artists to spark their creativity and collaboration felt something like reinventing fire. It wasn't pretty, and dentists have yanked out impacted wisdoms with greater ease, but somehow I got there.

My SELP coach, who loved my project from the get-go, had to bodily pull me over the hump. I recall our conversation where I was hemming and hawing about how to set up the first meeting of Side Work.

He told me, "Just set the date."

"But I haven't gotten everyone's availability," I protested.

"Set the date."

"How? I don't know what day is best."

With a knowing laugh he again said, "
Just set the date."

And so, I set the date. I reached directly into my ass and pulled out March 5th.

"Good," he said. "Congratulations, you have a first meeting scheduled."

"But what if no one comes?" I wailed.

"They'll come."

I was skeptical. I even moved the date back three days to March 8th. I got confirmations, then cancellations. I worried about the location, the timing, what I'd say, if anyone would be interested, if anyone would come along with me at all.

And you know, he was right. They did come. Not everyone has stuck around, and some here now weren't there at first. It's morphed and shifted and grown and changed and become something beautiful.

Somewhere along the way, so did my life.

And that's all there is to it. Just set the date. Just make it up. Just create your identity any way you like it. Let fate do the editing.

That's how I began Side Work. Next time I'll talk about the artistic vision, and how it has shifted and developed.

Oh yeah, the fortune cookie. It had this to say about Side Work:

Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.

Well well well...

- Jamey

Thursday, August 6, 2009

little love note

Hi everyone!

this is nikki. i want to give a HUGE thanks to jamey for setting up this blog; he and todd both are just productive as hell (it really puts me to shame some meetings :) ) and i really appreciate all of the hard work you guys do to keep this group moving forward. thank you.

i'm also really proud of all of us for really devoting our time & energies to this show - remember when a meeting consisted of 2 hours of us each talking about what we were working on outside of side work? now our meetings are firework displays of brain power & creativity, and we've gotten so much done, not only on the artistic side of it but, especially yesterday, on the business side of it as well. to quote jamey from monday's meeting, "i love ideas." :)

and on a more personal note, this group has really done a lot for me. before we started, i was burned out & was seriously considering turning my back on creative endeavors, getting a "real job" and possibly moving away from LA. i felt like my career & success was out of my control and i hadn't felt the joy of creating for a long time - auditioning for casino commercials and poorly written student films and no-chance-of-getting-picked-up pilots just wasn't cutting it. i felt like an "actor for hire" not an artist. then i got jamey's email about putting this group together, and
that very first meeting at aroma cafe was the first time in a long long time that i felt inspired.

during my time in this group, i've hit quite a few mental brick walls and felt like i was really putting my creativity to the test; it hasn't been easy for me. but the ideas that have come out of me through this process have been well worth the struggle. not since college have i felt the freedom to explore my ideas, the comfort to to make suggestions, and the cohesive nature of a true team like i do in side work. thank you all for treating me with acceptance and respect; you've made me feel like an artist, and that's something i don't ever want to lose sight of again.

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." ~ Picasso

xo, Nikki

Burger, She Wrote

I feel strongly that we should strive to alternate between motivational, inspiring blog posts and trivial, meaningless ones.

Guess which one this is.

Stone Soup

Jamey here.

Just finished a terrific meeting with Side Work. I'm always inspired and invigorated by our sessions, but tonight in particular was a really generative convocation of artistic visionaries. We named a restaurant, watched the work of three members of our group on film, and went away with definitive missions to accomplish. Amazing.

I kind of feel like the proverbial hungry traveler stirring up some stone soup, tricking my fellow artists into throwing their bounty into an ever more marvelous brew.

The little kernel of imagination I nurtured through the Self Expression and Leadership Program is ripening into a true masterpiece, thanks to the assembled bright lights. Each time I return to examine Side Work, something new and wonderful has grown. Tonight, Johnny's short film with Todd's performance and Nikki's set decoration was another miraculous example of the latent genius that is unleashed when artists are immersed in collaboration and accountability.

I just can't wait to see what comes next.

Find Side Work online at and at

Email us at

Until next time!


"Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come."