BFF’s release: June 3

Tara Karsian and Andre Grano are the funniest women I know.  They are also smart, humane and are terrific film makers.  Their movie BFF’s is being released June 3 on iTunes,, Time Warner Cable and more.  Watch as they try and promote their film (caution there are some F bombs:)).  I’m also in BFF’s if you need any further incentive.

Argh imbed not working, please click on link below.  You won’t be sorry.



The audition process can be a soul-sucking journey through hell. At least it was for me. Worrying about what I did or didn’t do in the room to get a role took up a tremendous amount of space in my life. Trying to make sense and take control of the nonsensical and uncontrollable was a maddening exercise in futility. But then one glorious moment it all changed and I didn’t waste one more moment on “why.” I have told this story so many times someone suggested I write it down. If this could help one other person it will be worth it.

When I was in my late 30’s, I was being considered for a series regular role on a very funny show. It came down to me and another gal. My final callback for the network had the lead man in tears. Seriously, he was laughing so hard he cried. The other gal may have been terrific, but she was a foot taller than the lead. So I knew I had the role. I knocked it out of the park, I was the right size and they wept. I was clearly the choice.

Turns out I didn’t get it. I was stunned and deeply saddened. I wracked my brain trying to figure out “why. “ In the middle of me raging against God, the producers called and offered me a recurring role. This was going to be substantially less money. And I would have to watch someone else play my part. The part I so desperately wanted and thought I deserved. Did I mention I made them cry?

I needed the money, so I sucked it up and said yes.

This was a multi-camera show. The process involves rehearsing for four days and then performing for a live audience on the fifth. Normally, I love being on stage watching rehearsals even scenes I’m not in. The whole journey of creating a show thrills me.

But not this time. I drove to the studio that first day dreading it. I walked in, said hi to everyone, congratulated the actress who got my part, ate a bagel and was shown to my dressing room. After a few minutes a phone call let me know the first scene was being rehearsed and I wasn’t needed. Ugh. This is normally when I would head to the stage to soak up and enjoy all the other performers doing their thing. So I had a big talk with myself and said, “You are either going to be a part of this and enjoy it or waste an entire week being miserable. What do you want, joy or misery?”

I decided I wanted joy. I girded my loins, walked down to the stage and sat in the audience.   They read through the scene and then they started to block it. I watched like St Paul on the road to Damascus with scales falling from my eyes. I suddenly saw that I didn’t fit.   No way would anyone ever believe that I was a member of this family. It WASNT’T “my part.” I wouldn’t have cast me.   For whatever intangible reason, this woman, who was a foot taller than the lead, really seemed like his wife. She fit! I didn’t. I was an outsider. Which was exactly the role they cast me as, an awkward unlikeable outsider.

I felt like I was walking on air I was so relieved. I didn’t suck, I was not a bad actor, I simply wasn’t “right.”

I had loved working on that sitcom. Every time I was lucky enough to be on the show I enjoyed the hell out if it. It was funny, the people were terrific and it was extraordinarily well cast.

After that experience, I never second-guessed an audition again. There ARE things you have no control over. And even though on the page you may seem perfect for the role, it doesn’t mean you are. There are so many variables that make someone right or wrong for a role and 90% it has nothing to do with your ability.

My happiness as an actor grew exponentially that day. Now – this does not mean I don’t occasionally suck at auditions or that I’m never upset when I don’t get cast. But it does mean I no longer doubt my ability or agonize over “why.” I have been liberated from that misery for about 15 years.

I wish you the same.

Dinner With Friends – EXTENDED!!!

dwf-webOh, it has been a long time since I’ve been on stage. I think it has been at least 7 years since I did Inside Private Lives at the Fremont Centre Theatre. That show was a wild ride that involved controversial characters from the 20th century confronting and interacting with the audience. Each character appeared solely on stage and dealt with a dilemma directly with the audience. Some of the material was scripted but most of it was improvised. I played Aimee Semple McPherson alone on stage armed only with my research and a fantastic costume created by Kate Bergh. It was terrifying and liberating. At one point, we had been invited to participate in San Fransisco’s Fringe Festival. That audience wasn’t having any of my God talk or my weird hairdo. I eventually threw my bible, fell to my knees and screamed at God and them. They really liked that. Boy did I want to quit.

Well, I’m back on stage and this time in a scripted play, with other characters, safely performing behind the invisible fourth wall. However, I haven’t been in a play in over 20 years! 20 years! How is that possible?

Luckily, the play is the Pulitzer prize winning Dinner With Friends by Donald Margulies. It is a well written investigation of love, marriage and relationships. I get to play with 3 other incredible actors: Pete Gardner, Mary Manofsky and Michael B. Silver. The house is small which allows for greater intimacy. Rehearsals have been fun and intense. I think this will be a special night in the theatre. If this sounds like your cup of tea, try to catch us in this extremely limited run: February 27 & 28, March 6 & 7 at Stuart Rogers’ Theatre (AKA Theatre Tribe)5267 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood. The only way you can purchase tickets is through brown paper tickets.

MORE DATES ADDED, DUE TO DEMAND: MARCH, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 & 28!

48 hour film festivals

Probably the only people who know about these kinds of challenges are actors. I had heard of them over the years, and it sounded god awful to me. You have 48 hours to make a short movie from “inception of idea” all the way to “finished project.” Hellacious right? Then I started studying at Stuart Rogers Studio and met all these terrific actors who really care about their art and craft and are not afraid of doing really hard work. I soon realized I had become a pampered, passionless actor who had morphed into a giant pussy. I was scared, scared to get involved and to care anymore. Well I don’t like being scared. My life is only 1/2 over. What am I gonna do for the last 1/2? Hide huddled in a corner too scared to try something new; too scared to rediscover my enthusiasm, passion and drive because I’m afraid I’ll look like an idiot for caring? Since when did I ever care about what I looked like?

This February, Stuart Rogers Studio had their 48 Hour Film Festival. I was determined to be a part of it. Luckily my favorite people allowed me on their team. Mandy Levin and Brice Williams had assembled an incredible assortment of actors, director, writer, artist, and editor.

Most of us are really only trained to act so we knew there would many challenges, specifically technical, along the way.

We were given “Buddy Film” as our genre.
We had to incorporate, “The opera chef cooks and sings,” somewhere in the dialogue.
We had to incorporate the name “Maxwell Geanalkoplis.”
We had to use a “plunger” somewhere in the film.
The film had to be at least 5 minutes long but no longer than 10.

It is amazing what you can do for no money, no time and a gun to your head. It is gloriously silly and fun. *WARNING* there is some foul language. I hope you enjoy.

Heather Robinson won Best Director and I won Best Actress. This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

The Team
Brice Williams – “Jack” and Co-Captain, Chief problem solver
Mandy Levin – “Maggie” and Co-Captain, Chief pre-problem solver
Heather Robinson – Director and “Housekeeper”
Catherine Butterfield – Writer
Marcus Williams – Editor
Tommy Burr – “Maxwell Geanalkoplis” – script supervisor
Jack Krizmanich – “Gorgeous Cop” and all around helper
Brett Doar – “Maggie’s Husband” and all around helper
and Me


1604562_559051974189188_1216426380_nBFF’s will be premiering at the Santa Barbara Film Festival! Congratulations to Tara Karsian and Andrea Grano who wrote it, produced it and star in it! And congrats to me because I’m in it;)

So even though this weekend may be all about the Super Bowl for you (Hey, I’m gonna go to a Super Bowl party! Who’s playing?), you can help us by clicking here and liking the BFF’s Facebook page. Distributors look at all kinds of info (not just the quality of the film) to decide whether they will buy it and distribute it so the general public can see it. Wouldn’t it be cool to know you helped a movie get seen?

BFFs – Trailer from Ninja Goldfish on Vimeo.

Looking for a few days of vacation and amusement, two best friends pretend to be lovers while attending a couple’s weekend workshop.

Kat and Samantha have been best friends for years. When Samantha convinces a reluctant Kat to take advantage of a couple's weekend retreat by pretending to be lovers, they're hoping for some time by the pool and maybe a few good stories. How hard could it be? Instead, they find themselves immersed in an intensive workshop with real couples who are fighting to save their relationships. As the "Closer to Closeness" weekend progresses, Kat and Samantha are made to face their own shortcomings and, by default, begin to believe their own cover story. When the lines of friendship begin to blur, they are faced with asking themselves: could it actually be there is something there or has this weekend just worked a Jedi mind trick on them?

But you can also come to Santa Barbara and watch the film because the show times don’t interfere at all with the Super Bowl! Here is the link to the Santa Barbara Festival.

Showtimes are:
Friday: Jan. 31 – 8 am (yikes) Metro 4, theatre 1
Saturday: Feb.1 – 5 pm (I’m going to this one) Metro 4, theatre 4
Monday: Feb.3 – 7:20 Metro 4, theatre 2

Written by:
Tara Karsian and Andrea Grano

Directed by:
Andy Putshoegl

Tara Karsian
Andrea Grano
Larisa Oleynik
Sean Maher
Pat Carroll
Eric Lively
Richard Moll
Sigrid Thorton
Patrick O’Connor
Dan Gauthier
Jeffrey Vincent Parise
and of course Me

Have a happy and safe Santa Barbara Film Festival/super bowl weekend.


Talented Friends!

I am surrounded by talented people. Not just actor friends but writers, musicians, artists, photographers, storytellers, creators of things intriguing and/or beautiful, and problem solvers. This enriches my life and inspires me and I consider myself extraordinarily lucky.

I feel compelled to share with you some of this bounty and in turn you can share with others.

1503399_654394427949933_1681198025_nFirst of all, my sister Lucy Hagan wrote a gloriously haunting and beautiful Christmas song. CHRISTMAS HEAR THE BELLS. It is only available as an MP3. So download and enjoy immediately! Lots of places to get this: iTunes, CD Baby, Google Play, and Amazon.

51vv4OLzUALLynn Cohen has just recently published her book A TERRIBLE CASE OF BEAUTY. This novel drew me in and never let me go. I was deeply affected by this book. Naomi Shihab Nye who is a poet and novelist wrote about the book, “Lynn Cohen manages what politicians seem to find it so impossibly difficult to do – she imagines the experience of “the other.” Skillfully, tenderly she renders the infinitely perplexing and sorrowful occupation, the complicated struggle for justice in Palestine/Israel into particular human size and scale… Through chapters rich with intricate, careful details, haunting encounters, and a wide range of compelling conversations, Cohen shapes new possibilities for consideration and understanding.” Lynn’s book is available in print and as an eBook through Amazon. A Terrible Case of Beauty

My friend Andy Blackford wrote a collection of short stories called BUDDHA AND THE BOMB. These funny and charming stories follow Jayashinti an improbable British Buddhist Monk. This is a thoroughly entertaining read. And the appendixes are filled with REAL down to earth info on Mindulness Meditation. You can get this eBook through Amazon. With a Kindle® App you can start enjoying immediately. Buddha and the Bomb71Tw-Oau95L._SL1500_

Charlie Chessler has a romantic relationship with his beloved New York City. He shares his passion through his photographs. Whether he is photographing some of the city’s smallest denizens like the Tufted Titmouse to the largest landscapes of Central Park you will enjoy. Please visit his site to see these extraordinary photos CharlesChesslerPhotography

I am always bragging about my friend Lana Von Haught! There is nothing she can’t do. She IS all of the above, Musician, photographer, artist, blah blah blah;) Currently her passion is photography and videography. Visit her site to enjoy her wide range of subjects and services LanaVonHaught

48-Belle-Coco-long-270x270My dear friend Sasha Stone makes the most delicious and nourishing oil for body and hair BELLE COCO. I say delicious because it smells so good you want to eat it. It is 100% natural and made in small batches. You can buy it on her web site or at Liberation Yoga. BeOpenYoga

Thank you for letting me share just a small sampling of my friends’ work and Happy Holidays to you and yours.



Interview with “Kickin’ it Old School – 80s Pop Culture & More”

I know it’s shocking, I am blogging twice in one month. But this isn’t really my writing. I am re-posting another blog. I gave an interview to “Kickin’ it Old School – 80s Pop Culture and More. One dude’s point of view on popular culture with special attention paid to the great decade of the 80s.” The dude is Tim and although I know his last name I cannot find it anywhere on his blog so perhaps he prefers anonymity. His site is super fun to visit especially if you are like me and the 80s is your thing.

Tim put a lot of work into finding pics and clips. So if you want a peak into my distant past, please check this out.