What's New in ACN
We have just completed our second weekend of filming an entire season of an episodic thriller. It is a true joy to see that all the hard work and training that has been put into the associate members of the Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles has been well worth it. The team works well together, the actors come prepared, and even the actors who are not a part of the company have stated that they are surprised how professional and successful our team is together.
But this is not all that is occurring. As a part of creating the project 'Who Among Us', the Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles has grown it's family size. Seven new men have joined our company, and are all eager to receive their training as we work together. This past Saturday evening, I met with these seven young men and gave them a shortened version of the training in which I live my own life. It's a training called 'Universal Truths of Living'.
I believe that all that are a part of this company, and all who work under me, especially those who I am teaching and or mentoring, have a right to know who I am, and why I lead ACN the way that I do. Universal Truths of Living does that. But greater than this, it challenges each of them to consider what their own Universal Truths might be.
From listening to each of them being interviewed by our Documentarian after the training, it is clear that each and every one of them was forced to do some real soul searching, and that is absolutely fantastic to me. Now it is time to get them trained in all of the crafts that their counterparts in the group are trained in, so that together, we can all continue to grow, develop, and create.
With that, a special welcome to Archer Herring, Bledar Gashi, Jeffrie Favianny, Carlos Menzies, Nolan Akamatsu, Xhuliano Smakaj, and Alex Sandoval. We are glad you are part of the family.
When our company was formed, it was dedicated to the notion that through hard work and strong mentorship we could indeed "Change the world one heart at a time". Over the last three years, we have dedicated our work more toward educating our associate members on the creation of film. Each associate in the company has received masters level training in writing, directing, camera operations, script development, and editing. Each has been given the opportunity to make a film of their own. And as a result, great growth has taken place, as well as a strong sense of family.
Now it is time for our company to grow yet again, and we know that it will not be easy. We have chosen to take on the task of preparing and filming an entire season of a psychological thriller episodic. This is a massive task, and it is going to require all hands on deck. But it is the right 'best next move' for Actors Coalition Network.
Any and all support that you, our friends and viewers, are able to offer is greatly appreciated.
245 Years ago today our great nation of America was officially born. Men with the fortitude to see a future that could, and in fact would be better for all risked everything that they had, including their families, homes, and their very lives, to ratify the Declaration of Independence from the English Crown. They all knew that signing their names to this document would mean war with England, and that there would be a great chance that they would loose. But, the chance to build a free truly America, was worth the price.
Our great nation had a very long way to go, there would be unbelievable pain and anguish for many who chose to believe in a future America that would genuinely be free for all men and women, regardless of their skin color, their financial status, or their individual abilities. We will see and experience more growing pains as many have forgotten or taken for granted the cost of building the country we have today. But America is still the greatest country in the world because of it's freedoms and opportunities.
Here at the Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles, we believe that it is up to each and every one of us, regardless of our race, religion, nation of birth, or cultural scenarios, to stand for what is good in America, and to work for what can still be great. We believe that each and every one of us has an obligation to this great country, to give of our talents, abilities, and convictions, to help spread the belief in hope and opportunity for all.
To that end, I have just returned from the mountain community of Idyllwild, CA, where we filmed two short films intended to speak to and with our viewers. They should be through the post production phase and released within a few weeks.
We are very thankful to be sharing our lives in friendship and the common bond of the entertainment industry, and we all wish you, our viewers and supporters a very safe and happy Independence Day Celebration.
The Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles cares about the associates that it serves. To this end, we proudly offer professional lie coaching and counseling services to all of those involved from our professional life coach and counselor, Dr. Randall Gray.
So what is life coaching, and what is counseling? Let us explain:
- Is action oriented
- Deals with the present and future
- Helps the associate move forward from a healthy state
- Helps the associate do more, faster than he would be able to do on their own
- Helps the associate take their goals and themselves more seriously
- Supports the associate with exhortation and encouragement and sometimes tough love
- Helps the associate strategize and offers suggestions as appropriate
The basic premise is that coaching associates helps ensure that they are in a healthy place mentally and emotionally. They are ready and desire to receive support on how to make the changes to help them achieve their goals. This can also include creating and/or maintaining motivation for the stated change, creation and implementation of plans for change and exploration of obstacles in order to overcome them. This is particularly crucial for associates seeking a career in the entertainment industry.
Life coaching is unlikely to be helpful if there are unresolved counseling issues.*
- Deals with the past
- Works to heal hurts and emotional issues
- Helps the associate become healthy and mentally stable
- Is not action oriented as much as discussion on internal issues
- Works with the associate to help them arrive at solutions that work best for them.
Here are more benefits:
Counseling helps the associate overcome and resolve issues from the past that have made them feel bad emotionally or are causing their inability to function in a healthy way.
These types of issues can include depression, trauma, anxiety, addictions, PTSD, abuse, etc.
It is a given that unless or until these issues are satisfactorily resolved, it may be difficult or impossible for the associate to make the desired changes in their lives.
Once healthy behaviors are learned and established in counseling, life coaching can help to support the associate in maintaining these healthy behaviors and choices. It is genuinely the only way to help our associates express those inner feelings by and through entertainment programming and creation.
Differences In Outcomes
Coaching and counseling outcomes are generally quite different also. Coaching involves beginning where someone is today and helping them move forward to the best of their ability, to reach their goals and God-given destiny. Someone needs to be functioning reasonably well in their current life for coaching to be effective. Counseling and therapy are focused on healing someone from past hurts or emotional pain.
How Do Life Coaching And Counseling Work Together?
There are a few different scenarios that we regularly see.
It's not unusual for a associate to come to a coach for help and then discover first need to address some issues with counseling before moving on to coaching. Remember, the associate must be healthy and functioning in order for coaching to be effective.
Sometimes during the coaching relationship, events take place in the associate's life that require counseling.
It is also typical for an associate to regain their emotional health and want to progress in their lives because of counseling. It could also be that they need coaching to sustain the healthy behaviors they learned during counseling.
The most important thing to remember is the benefit to our associates. We work to establish a trusting relationship and collaborative friendship, we want our associates to be the very best men that they can be. To that end, our company leader, educator, coach, and counselor, seeks to help each associate who joins the Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles work through whatever may be holding them back, whether something from the past that needs counseling, or something in the present that needs appropriate coaching.
May 27, 2020
Ideas on the How the Pandemic Could Influence our Industry
If there's one thing that's abundantly apparent right now, it's that the world is moving more and more toward digital connection. To be sure, this was the case even before the COVID-19 pandemic. We are, after all, in the middle of the streaming wars. But, this trend rapidly spiked as the world's viewers found themselves trapped inside their homes with even more time than usual to absorb content.
So, the question I want to ask is this: how will these changes affect the entertainment industry? There are a lot of ideas and theories out there about what changes will take place. At this time, I want to highlight just one.
I believe that this movement toward streaming will result in an unprecedented uptick of new talent, including an emerging generation of writers, actors, producers and directors. The playing field gets leveled more and more with time. The industry is also now severely limited in its ability to produce high-dollar, large-scale entertainment. So, I predict that younger creators who have to take a unique tact in getting their voices heard will progressively rise to the top. I think that this emergence of fresh voices will also bode well for diversity, a subject that has been a hot topic in Hollywood as of late, and rightfully so. It only makes sense that as power is decentralized in redistributed throughout the industry (in both a geographic and social sense), a beautifully wide array of creators will have a chance to make their marks. Finally, I think that viewers will be hungry for more and more content. This is a global trend and I don't see it slowing down. Content will be increasingly intertwined with our daily lives. It of course already lives in our homes, and in our pockets at all times. But soon, as the "Internet of Things" takes hold of our day-to-day existence, content will be an even more inextricable part of our daily routines, in both work and play.
The pandemic is catalyzing this movement. While this is without a doubt a frightening time for many people, it is also thrilling to witness how people will continue to seek out new forms of escape with the uncanny assistance of a new generation of entertainers.
May 19, 2020
I appologize for not having kept up with the blog site, life in a world of COVID-19 has proven a great more difficult than expected when running a non-profit organization. However, one of those within our group suggested that those in the group could help with keeping this blog site moving, so I challenged him to create the first entry for us. My thanks to Jake See, for sharing with us a very special opportunity that he was able to have, and telling us what he learned from the experience. The rest is from him, Jake See.
Recently, I did something many of us didn’t foresee to be possible in the state the world is in right now—I attended a drive-in movie theatre.
I know what you’re thinking—yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. However, at the same time, it was surreal. Pulling in, myself and those who were with me in the singular vehicle we took to attend the two screenings were informed that we had to park two spaces away from other vehicles. In other words, we had to maintain a social distance of 10 feet or more from others. Sitting in my seat, the radio tuned to the station for the sound of the films being shown on the drive-in screen, looking out the window as the sun set, with the clearer-than-normal sky radiating the sun’s glow across the vastness of the horizon, as other cars, each holding a handful of people from all around, almost all of which were a part of the Sundance Co//ab community, were there to see the screenings of two Sundance documentaries but who had to maintain a distance from others who were there, too, I couldn’t help but to intentionally take in the reality of what I was experiencing. The lines on the pavement painted a picture from the seemingly distant past of what used to be normal—a picture of the many slots lined up in this particular drive-in in front of this particular screen, where, at one point in time, as many cars as could fit would pull in and watch a movie at night. It was surreal, really—and it was a tough observation to come to grips with. Never did any of us think this would be the new normal. And at one point in time, we didn’t know if we’d ever be able to do something like this again. Yet, after months of staying indoors, there we were.
Nonetheless, we made the best of this. Other people, while maintaining their social distance from others, also made the best of this. You still had the college jock with his two friends who were girls, who were both fighting for his attention and causing him to flaunt his masculinity for surely needed attention. You still had the couple who was just trying to get out of the house “for once” and experience something out of the ordinary. You still had the vehicle I was in, myself and my two friends, munching on our favorite Pringles, with a refreshing beverage at our side and our radio tuned to the correct station and awaiting the experience we were about to experience. After all of the time we were forced to remain indoors, we knew this was a special evening. We certainly didn’t take it for granted; whereas, before the attack of COVID-19, we may have. We were thankful to be at the drive-in. We felt so incredibly fortunate to live in this country that allows us this freedom. The experience, being allowed to be in a public place again and do something as simple as watch a movie at the drive-in movie theater, left us with an optimistic feeling that things will be okay in time.
Back to what I was saying:
The first screening we saw was of a documentary called Spaceship Earth. This film documented the story of eight scientists who lived inside of a self-made replica of Earth’s ecosystem for two years. The experiment caught worldwide attention, and many looked at and categorized this particular group of people as being a cult. This film brings the viewer on a journey with these people, using real-life footage, from start to finish, of their journey from where they originated as a group, all the way up to and through their two-year endeavor, and it brings to light the reality that a group of individuals with a vision and a plan of action can make an impact in the world, regardless of what the outside world has to say about it. The media ripped this mission apart in the news, and this group of individuals didn’t let it stop them. They had their vision and they had their reasons for doing it. It’s a story that gives warning to how delicate Earth’s ecosystems are, yet it also inspires people to reach for the stars in terms of space exploration possibilities and life sustainability in general.
In Spaceship Earth, it was apparent the editors had an abundance of footage for their piece. It was interesting to see how this particular group of editors chose to piece the film together, as they did so in a way that cohesively summed up the experiment and everything the experiment entailed from start to finish, while also prefacing it with a background on this particular group of people, in order to help the viewer understand why they chose to do what they did. They simultaneously tied in the media and the role the media played in the tale, which, in this case, was clearly the role of the antagonist. As a whole, the piece was cinematic, with a rise and fall, and it consistently held the viewer’s attention throughout. The music choices helped carry the story and create smooth transitions. This piece shows that small groups of people can truly achieve things beyond their imaginations if they can come together, arrange a plan of action, and stick to it, and it shows that those on the outside looking in will always have something to say. It was a reminder that it’s important to not let outside background noise stop you from doing what you do. It was very clear as to why this piece received a Sundance Award—it was extremely well done, it’s moving for the viewer, and it sparks conversation.
The Biggest Little Farm, the second film screening, was a documentary sharing the story of John and Molly Chester, an adult couple who left their city life in order to create a farm, with a thriving ecosystem, from 200 acres of barren farmland. Despite the challenges nature throws at them, they unlock the keys to positively intervene and help the ecosystem thrive throughout the seasons of Southern California.
In The Biggest Little Farm, while the way the editors chose to hook the viewer at the beginning of the film was questionable, as the circumstances of the opening scene didn’t have much to do with what the film was about and, for lack of better words, was a cheap attempt at hooking the viewer, the film in its entirety was very moving. It is a beautiful story about legacy-building, mentorship, and sacrifice, and it beautifully contrasts both the sophistication and harshness of mother-nature. It shows just how delicate everything in an ecosystem is. It shows, on a very small scale, that what we humans do on this Earth does affect things— our planet as a whole and the ecosystems at work which make up our planet. It shows that we can reverse the negative impacts certain things have on ecosystems, whether those things are human-inflicted or not, if we can allow ourselves to pay attention to the science.
Seeing these pieces together demonstrated that you can create a film from just about anything, whether it’s from something as complex as a story of a group who self-engineered a replica of Earth’s ecosystem, or it’s from something as scaled down as a farm started from scratch by a metropolis couple. Understanding the fundamentals of writing for film and for the viewer can allow you to take the simplest idea and make something of value that is worth watching. And, furthermore, if you can reach the hearts of the viewers with your story, the entire film-making process is all the more worth it.
Being in this drive-in theatre, watching these films and hearing what these filmmakers wanted us to hear, in this world we are living in, truly moved me. These films were created before COVID-19 got a hold on our planet’s population. These films impacted me in a different way than they would have before COVID-19, because my entire view of this world we live in, this planet we call home, and of life itself, is dramatically altered due to living through this pandemic. And though these film makers had their message they wanted to convey when they created these films, in the horrible event that the people who created these films were to pass away tomorrow from this virus going around, their films would still be here, and they would still reach people even after they were gone. This simple realization during my experience at the drive-in gave my why for pursuing a career in entertainment even more weight. I think a dream of many filmmakers is to create work that will live beyond them—creating work from the heart.
I’m currently in the process of creating my Passion Project feature film for Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles. We’ll be filming it in September of this year, and this is a film that could live beyond me if I do it right. Like many others, I want to create work that can withstand the test of time and impact those who watch it—not just entertain them. Thank you, Sundance Co//ab, for creating a community that supports up and coming film-makers and provides us with resources to help us connect with one another, learn, and grow as artists.
You can become a member of Sundance Co//ab at collab.sundance.org. Join us!
Jake See - Film Maker
Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles
March 19, 2020
I don’t know if you are sick of the media scares coming at lightning fast speed every moment of every day like I am or not, but those of us who are able to take a break from all of this insanity can be part of the solution. The American spirit is one of triumph and perseverance. As a people, our character is overwhelmingly one of hard work, kindness, and generosity. We have weathered many storms by coming together and each doing our part to help serve and protect the country we love. It is time that
we do this yet again. That stated, I have put this Survival letter together in hopes that you will join me in being part of the healing of our great nation and its people, instead of hiding in fear.
Now is our time to lead.
We need to become equipped. We need to understand how to re-frame uncomfortable thoughts and manage our own feelings to better help others. The study of how the brain works is called neuroscience. It is closely related to field of psychology.
Especially in this time of chaos, it is our personal duty to the world around us, and all that are in it, to show goodness, grace, mercy, and if needed, and only if needed, power. We are living in a very interesting time. There is so much going on in the world right now, that when we try to take it in and think about it, it can feel overwhelming. Studying the mind and how to take our thoughts captive, is important to live a life of purpose.
Let’s equip ourselves with the real facts and statistics, which will help us put the current situation into perspective. Among the most significant things that are going on in the world right now is the concern about coronavirus, or COID-19. And with the help of the media fanning the flames, what were originally reported as isolated cases of the virus her in the United States, have escalated to full-blown fear and chaos.
Of course, we need to be cautious. Yes, we should practice good hygiene. And by all means, begin or continue those lifestyle practices that contribute to a stronger immune system. As of March 19, 2020, there have been a total of 6,283 cases of COVID-19 reported to the center of disease control of CDC. Nationwide, a total of 81 deaths have been reported. These have been primarily among those who are 80 years old or older and / or have severely compromised immune systems.
To put this into perspective, compare this to the 2019 influenza outbreak. According to the CDC report there were 35.5 million cases of the flu reported, 490,600 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths during the 2018-2019 flu season. Anyone with a compromised immune system is at risk. This has always been the case and it is the case now as well.The good news is that according to the CDC, for most people the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. And
for only approximately 16% of those who do contract it could become seriously ill.
For the rest of us, it’s not the virus itself that’s the greatest problem we face, rather the mass panic and chaos created y a steady stream of frightening information put out by media outlets. This is where you and I can help. By being armed with the facts and the needed skills to support those who are suffering from fear, you and I can make a real difference in the lives of others. We must first remember that all battles are first fought, and won or lost in our own minds. We are responsible to take every thought captive and make it obedient to what is good and pure and right.
What does it mean to take every thought captive and how can we really do this? We need to understand that an external circumstance whether it is good or bad, has no control over us until we think about it and give it a meaning. It is not the circumstance that causes our fear. It is the thought that we have about it, which triggers our emotions. It’s the meaning we give it, that makes the difference. It’s also true that we will always move in the direction of our focus. And our focus will go in the direction
So if we fill our minds with media reports that create fear and despair, our mind will continually seek more of it. Because of our built-in survival instinct, our brain will continue to seek out danger messages so that we can focus on it and avoid it. The more media we watch and listen to, the more we reinforce that subliminal instinct to seek out danger messages. Remember, the #1 job of our news media, as they see it, is to get your attention to turn on your TV or other media, or read their article(s). While your brain is trying to protect you by looking for danger, the media is waving at you to get your attention with Chaos and Fear.
This repeated activity causes your brain to build an ever stronger neural pathway to expedite this repetitive process. If you have ever heard the word, neuroplasticity, it is referring to your brain’s ability to change and rewire itself to become increasingly more effective for you. Before long, your brain automatically goes searching for frightening information. You believe you need to know everything that’s going on because your brain is becoming wired to efficiently seek it out. This is how your brain is designed to work so don’t be surprised or discouraged by this.
The good news is that you can rewire, or UN-wire your brain from automatically performing the task of seeking frightening news updates. The way you do it is: (1) Stop obeying the prompt to seek frightening news. (2) Prepare yourself with an alternative task as your default action. You can set this to anything you wish. Maybe you want to automatically take your brain over to a particular book or script. Or, you may get a link to a fun / positive website having nothing to do with news or frightening information. Go there and participate there instead. It will only take a few days of repetitions to break the
original mandate to seek out scary stories.
One of the first things we must do is cut back on media consumption. Then, we need to learn how to differentiate between circumstances (external things we can’t change, for example the COVID-19 outbreak) and the thoughts we have about it. We know that current circumstances will eventually pass. The blessing is that it has created a phenomenal opportunity for us to learn more about how our mind works and become stronger. Equally as much, it’s an opportunity for us to take a leadership role to help
What meaning will you give those events that occur in your life? It’s your choice. Our lives are full of experiences. But you and I get to decide what meaning we will give these experiences. That meaning will determine the thoughts we have about them and consequently our emotions. So if we are full of fear, our thoughts are the cause. Negative emotions including fear are causing needless suffering in our society today. Once we understand how the process works, we can take the steps needed to achieve a better, more balanced thought life. This will help us to end or dramatically reduce the suffering.
Yes there will always be unfortunate circumstances and they may cause discomfort or pain. But if we can understand how our marvelous, miraculous brain works, we can reduce the suffering.
Think about your life and the thoughts you are having right now. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line vertically down the center. On the top, left side, write your thoughts right now. At the top of the right side, write what your life actually looks like. For the next 10 minutes, continue to do a “brain dump” and fill in both sides with everything you can think of, with no judgment. When you were done with the
exercise, review what you have written. You will see that if you remove any fearful or negative thoughts, your life will be pretty much fine.
Balance the input.
If you spend a half hour watching or listening to media reports, then spend an equal or greater amount of time downloading your thoughts onto paper. When you do, it’s a way to minimize their effect. It will help you remember what is important and release the feelings. How can love cast out fear? You can do this by focusing on the external and prioritizing caring for others. If you focus on helping others eliminate the chaos and fear from their lives, you will be casting out fear from your own life.
First, take actions that demonstrate love by caring for you. These include taking precautions, practicing good hygiene and boosting our immune system. We take careof ourselves from a place of self-love. And we can’t be there properly for others if we aren’t in a good place spiritually, mentally and physically ourselves. We may not be able to control what’s going on in the outside world, but we can control our thought life. Giving up control of healthy thoughts is the worst thing we can do. Fear and anxiety are known to weaken our immune system. Chronic anxiety causes adrenal fatigue which can be deadly.
Here are some exercises and activities to help you:
Deep breathing – We know this works. Here is why it works. As simple as it sounds, deep breathing is a powerful aid in reducing anxiety. The reason for this is that it activates your body’s relaxation response. Slow, deep breaths will help your body go from the fight or flight response related to sympathetic nervous system to the relaxation response related to the parasympathetic nervous system.
Physical Activity – According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise helps release anxiety in 3 main ways:
1 – It releases feel-good hormones in the brain, aka endorphins to help ease depression
2 – It enhances your immune system, lessening the chance of depression
3 – It also increases your body temperature, which helps you become calmer If you are exercising for the purpose of reducing your stress or anxiety levels, don’t give yourself a choice to work out or not. Making it a daily “must do” will help you stick with it.
Daily Written Recap Exercise:
At the end of each day, get a piece of paper and draw a line vertically down the center. List the things that trouble or upset you on the left side and list those items that were favorable and pleasant on the right side. Make sure that you write at least one blessing for each upsetting one. This will help you realize that there are good things happening every single day. Sometimes it’s as simple as the old adage of looking at your cup as half full rather than half empty. I choose half full! Remind yourself that you’re OK now. Our brains are wired to look for trouble in order to protect us from ever completely letting our
guard down. In our modern world, this is far less necessary than centuries ago. If you feel your brain telling you something is wrong on autopilot, it may be because you have not trained it otherwise. This takes time and practice. So if you start feeling anxious and fearful, say to yourself, “I am OK right now.”
When you help others it helps you too. Even though it may feel difficult when you begin, I encourage you to get involved in helping others. Look for opportunities and you will see they are all around you. Now in fact, is a perfect time since so many people seem stressed or fearful. You may have heard that helping others lowers your own stress levels. In a research study following 77 adults over the period of a week, they were asked to write down any stress they personally experienced, how often and when they helped others and how they felt afterwards. The results of this study demonstrated that each person who helped others had less negative emotions about their own life stressors than those who didn’t.
The point here is to feel like your actions are making a real difference for another person. As mentioned previously taking action releases feel-good endorphins. Another reason you’ll feel better is that you changed your focus from inward to outward. If what you are doing with others is causing a positive feeling, that becomes your focus and our emotions will follow our focus (thoughts).
Make a list now of everything you could do for others to make a positive difference in their lives. Have this list handy when you need ideas. These could be sending a thoughtful email, opening a door, preparing a meal, or even sharing some of what you learn here with someone who needs it.
There are a few different ways to practice mindfulness. The traditional way is to focus on your present state instead of fears about the future or regrets from your past. Get into a comfortable position and begin by observing your breath as you inhale and exhale. Then move your focus to the sensations you feel in various parts of your body. Traditional mindfulness might end here … but those who can focus on a wonderful piece of music, a passage from your holy book, a special memory with someone who helped you along the way, can take this to the next level by focusing on this over and over.
You will notice if you check your pulse before you begin and immediately when you finish your mindfulness meditation, your heart rate should have noticeably decreased. If you have a smart watch like a Fitbit or Apple watch, those statistics are immediately available. Keep a record of your results afterwards. Most important is to maintain an active life of communication with others, and if you are spiritually inclined, with God. Though we are being advised to stay away from large crowds of people, we are beings that desperately need to be with others. Closing ourselves off is one of the best ways to cause us to feel isolated emotionally, and that can and will bring it’s own share of difficulties.
Yes, we should be wise about what we do and where we do it, but we will still need to shop for supplies, run regular tasks, etc. Make these experiences an opportunity to smile at others, ask them how they are doing, and actually mean it now. This is a chance to share with others a positive thought when they might be far worse off than you are emotionally, by talking about something wonderful in the world. At times like this, it is too easy to focus on the things that cause fear. Lifting your own spirits by saying kind words to those you encounter is also the best way to lift others spirits, and calm the chaos and panic.
REMEMBER YOUR FOCUS…
You had a mission in life before this all began. You had things you were working on, and looking forward to. To the best of your ability, keep working on those things. You may have to defer some things you planned, like travel arrangements and the like, but that does not mean that you will have to forgo them all together. Stopping everything that you were working on, and putting off plans that can still be achieved, is the best way to cause yourself genuine fear, which will make you panic just as much as those
who do not look at the world this way.
Life is precious and short, and it sadly takes something like this virus to help us see and understand that. But it can also cause the very worst in each of us to come out. Those who are focused on fear will wind up hurting others. They will break commitments, run in fear, and as a reaction to this, be far more likely to actually become ill, whether from COVID-19 or something else. Stick to your guns, be safe about it, but keep your commitments. Stay true to your friends, family, and co-workers. Now is the time to lead, not the time to run and hide.
We need to be the American’s I know that we are. We need to help one another to find and be our best selves, not cower from one another in selfish fear that we might be hurt by those we come in contact with. Together, even in our attempt to protect ourselves from too much exposure to those who are not taking this virus seriously, we can help keep our country, and all that live in it, from in internal implosion. We must stand up and be the Americans we were before this virus got to our shores in January of this year. Think about the person you were at Christmas time last year, are you not still that person? Together we can make a difference. I hope that you will join me in leading those around us to a state of peace
Thank You, Be Safe,
February 9, 2020
Last year was most certainly a very hectic and busy one for those involved with the Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles. We helped to teach our group members to be the very best men that they can each personally be by taking five months to dive into to the Universal Truths of Living. We took three months to take our group through Masters Training For The Actor. We educated and trained everyone involved in the program to learn the process of writing, directing, editing, and creating their own work by creating, producing, and releasing 70 short films in just 9 months. A very busy year to say the least...
In 2020, the Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles will proudly be hosting the New Voice Short Film Festival, with an Awards Gala and Category Winners Screening on Friday July 24, 2020.
We will also continue to create short films, as we continue to educate our members on how to create and maintain their own personal brand within the industry.
We will be filming 4 abridged versions of four amazing stage plays, as well as creating 8 - 12 full length motion pictures.
We are introducing new services to the communities in which we work. These include the creation of C.O.R.E. (Connection, Overcoming, Ritualized, Enslavement) which will be open to both ACN associate members as well as other men who are not involved with the company.
Our Giving Back group will be organizing food and clothing drives for those in need within our community.
And, we will be offering our services to small businesses to help them create commercial and print advertising to grow their businesses.
The Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles was created to make a lasting impact, not only in the lives of those we serve, but in our communities, and around the world. We truly believe that we can change the world one person at a time, and we intend to continue working hard to prove that.
If you are a man age 17 - 32 years of age and would like to consider joining our amazing team, go to the contact us page and send us an email. We will be happy to get back to you as soon as possible.
If you see that the difference we are making is a difference for the better, even if only one life at a time, please consider helping us by going to our Donate Now page, and making a tax deductible donation.
December 17, 2019
Well here we are just one week before Christmas and just 10 or 12 more short films to post before the end of the year and reaching our goal of making 70 short films in just 9 months. It has been a whirlwind, that is certain, and we are all quite exhausted, but it has been such an amazing educational experience for our guys. Soon we will be moving on to our Celebration of Theater series, where we will be taking successful theater shows and creating abridged films of them. We also have the New Voice Film Festival coming up in late March 2020, and the guys are now learning about how to create full length feature films in our Passion Projects Series.
Not uncommon to our group, we have some new faces, and are having to sadly say goodbye to one or two as well, but we continue to grow stronger, and our guys keep learning the power of genuine friendship.
This will be a short correspondence, but I wanted to take the time first to thank everyone who so kindly helped us by donating to our challenging cause on Giving Tuesday. You have no idea how much your kindness can and will affect those that we serve.
I also wanted to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year. ACN is working hard and growing stronger all the time, and the year 2020 will bring it's own share of growth, but we will press on toward the goals regardless of what obstacles we face.
Thank You All For Your Support!
October 1, 2019
Well, it has been six long months that seem to have flown by as we worked every single weekend filming, and every single weekday editing. But we did it. We created 35 short films in just six months time. It was our hope not only to help educate those involved with the Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles about what the film making industry is really all about (hard work), but to help them gain a respect for every single person involved in the film making process, not just care about their role as an actor, thinking they were all that mattered. During this process, I have also been teaching them the "Universal Truths", which is something that I created specifically for students and entertainers many years ago. It forces those who take it seriously to look deep inside themselves, to understand how they got to where they are right now, and how to deal with anything in the past that might be holding them back, so that they can truly press forward to a better future. The basic essence of this educational tool is to teach those I am working with that they are responsible for Every Deed, Every Action, and Every Motive Of The Heart.
It has been a real challenge to help guide these young men through stormy seas of learning how to create a short film, and there have been times when I truly wanted to rip my hair out, I will admit that. But the growth, maturity, understanding, and respect that I have seen come to many who have been a part of this process has certainly made it worth it. One of our guys even decided to submit one of his short films to the Los Angeles Film Festival "Grownupz". We shall be excited to see if he is accepted, and if so where it goes from there.
As I have learned that no group in the United States as small as ours has ever created more than 50 short films in a single year, and as our need for assistance in financing the growth and education of our guys grows, we have chosen to keep going. Perhaps I have lost what little bit of a mind I have left for doing this, but we are announcing today the Actors Coalition Network of Los Angeles - Holiday Shorts Series. A collection of at least 25 short films regarding and or celebrating the upcoming Holiday Season of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Our final piece will post on New Year's Eve, and our first piece posts tomorrow. Please join us and watch what we do as we continue to grow, and develop our guys into true and genuine professional entertainment industry individuals.
August 8, 2019
Well it has been a bit since I posted on this site about what is going on with ACN. Currently we are in the middle of our Summer of Shorts video production program. Here, I and every single person in ACN has written, directed, and edited at least one, and in some cases three or four short films. (You are welcome to watch every one of them on our "Videos We've Done" page. This has been extremely difficult process to say the least, as we are shooting every single weekend. But our challenge is to be recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts, by creating, producing, and releasing more than 35 short films in less than six months time. We are most certainly on our way, and it is looking good that we will make this goal. This is not only to obtain the recognition of the NEA, but also to teach and educate our actors in the full understanding of the film making process. The fact of the matter is that most actors today have no understanding or respect for anyone in the film making world except themselves. This kind of arrogance and entitlement is part of what is destroying the entertainment industry all together. Here are Actors Coalition Network, our goal is not only to help our people become the best actors that they can be, but also to become the best people that they can be.
Currently, on top of working on the Summer of Shorts, our guys are going through a unique training program that I developed called Universal Truths. Here they are forced to deal with the most significant and important parts of who they are personally, learning how to respect others for who they are, and in turn growing to not only understand themselves better, but to understand others. This not only makes them better people, it makes them better actors, and that is crucial to give them the advantage in the difficult industry.
Also, I believe that it is important for them to understand where the industry has come from, the history of what made this industry what it is today, and who helped to create it. So, they have had to tear down not only major motion pictures from the past, but also look at the great actors and actresses who have paved the way for newer actors today. And soon they will be tearing down stage plays that have helped to make the entertainment industry what it is today.
As always, ACN is forever changing, evolving, and growing stronger. Thank you for your interest and your help as we help change the industry for the better by changing actors for the better. Until next time....
May 17, 2019
I don't honestly know why I have not thought of blogging about our group before now, but I figured better to start now, rather than continue to let it go. We have a truly amazing group of guys, all who offer their own special addition to who we are, and all who give us more to grow with. It has been my honor to serve these young men for nearly just over seven years now. Don't get me wrong, it is the most difficult, time consuming, and expensive job I have ever had (no, I don't get paid anything, I wind up paying more often than not), but it has often been the most rewarding job I have ever had as well. We have had our share of individuals who have come into the group with the desire to simply use it or me for what they can get out of it, thinking only of themselves and not the rest of the team, but they typically don't last long, so I look at it as a learning curve when it happens - often for everyone in the group.
So far this year, we have been working on reorganizing the group and re-branding it. I have worked in the film and television industry long enough for my liking, and have recently become a novelist, this after writing over a hundred stage plays. My heart is wanting to get back to live theater, this is where I find my truest happiness, though I will still be working on film projects with the team as well. I will be filming a massive pilot for my psychological thriller later this year...more information to come on that later. Either way, I have taken the group through a massive master's class, covering writing, directing, film making, producing, finance, editing, marketing, acting styles, and more, to prepare them for what we are calling ACN Summer of Shorts. A few weeks back I went with seven of those in the group on a bit of a journey, as we did a two night, three day trip to film the first four short films. One of the guys had done one short film already in his life, and was producing a personal set of projects that he releases on a regular basis, so he was a good deal more prepared than the other three writer/directors. But I was very proud of all of them, as they came up with strong short film projects, the first of which was released yesterday, the next of which will be on May 26th.
We have been growing the group in size so that we can fulfill the many needs that we have yet this year in the way of projects, which has made the meeting times much more enjoyable for all. As we only meet the last three Saturdays of each month, the guys still have plenty of personal time to work on their various other industry projects as well as their personal jobs.
I will attempt to write out something as often as possible to keep our followers up to date on what all is happening with the group, as I know that many of you out there have been asking for me to do so.
Until next time, Value One Another - We Only Have One Life, Live It Well.