Simmering in Seattle

It’s been an interesting summer. For the last few months I feel like I’ve been preparing for something big, without knowing when or how it would happen. I’d get my hopes up, only to be disappointed… again. That is the nature of the business though, right? (I’ve said this before). When you’re in the middle of it though, it can easily feel like not a lot is happening or it’s all going wrong; it’s only in retrospect that we can see all those tiny steps added up to a meaningful journey(at least that’s the way I choose to look at it). Here’s a bit of that journey over the last few months.

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I participated in the very first Green Lake Play Series! Such fun to be a part of stories inspired by this Seattle landmark. Keep an eye out for further development of this production!

I filmed on the set of Force Play, a new feature film by Honey Toad Studio, the same company that brought you Wrecked.

I worked behind the scenes with Mighty Tripod Productions’ film on the Seattle 48 Hour Film Project 2014.

I got to do the whole back-lit, windblown look on a short film I did with a few friends of mine in August.

Continued my trek through reading all of Shakespeare’s works. (Sooooo close to the end!)

AND … I joined SAG-AFTRA!!!

NOW I am in rehearsals for a devised work about Peter Pan and his creator, J.M. Barrie. Performances will be November 14, 15 and 16 at the Penthouse Theatre at the University of Washington.

More exciting announcements will be coming soon! In the mean time, you can follow me on Instagram(my current favorite social media tool).

Working Hard

Maybe you’ve noticed. Maybe you haven’t. I haven’t written that many blogs this year. Last spring I was writing one every week. Then I went through a period last Fall where I felt like I didn’t have much to say. In the last few months I have had much to say, but too much going on to actually sit down and say it. I am so thankful for this busy period of work. What’s been going on?

  • Performing in Diana of Dobson’s at Taproot Theatre. Closing this Saturday, June 14th!
  • Auditioning and getting cast in The Reel Deal: A new reality TV show about Filmmaking!
  • Executive Producing, acting and directing for Light a Match Productions.
  • And a few more things that I will announce in due time…

It is quite a change from how I felt last summer. Even though I had things going on (Julius Caesar), I was very unhappy with where I was in my career and didn’t know what to do about it. Things have shifted in my life and career for sure. It would be easy to say that I am happier because I am doing more, but I feel that it’s the other way around; I’m doing more because I’m happier. (Although, to be clear, I don’t think that the former is always a direct result of the latter.) It took a change in perspective!

What changed?

  1. Being Grateful. Not Jealous.
    One of the biggest contributors to my unhappiness was jealousy. I used to be jealous ALL THE TIME. I got frustrated when I saw people getting cast more often, looking like they were more successful. It’s a pretty depressing place to be, because no matter how successful you are, you can always find someone who is more successful that you. The problem was that I didn’t know how to stop being jealous. Then I realized that the root of my jealousy was an insecurity over whether or not I was good enough to be pursuing this career of acting. I would compare myself to others to see if I measure up. If anyone else got more recognition, then I felt they were more worthy; if I got more recognition, I was more worthy. Let me tell you, that is a useless, tiring, joy-stealing game. Don’t play it! I finally had to come to the conclusion that I didn’t care whether or not other people thought I should be acting. I want to act, so I am going to act, no matter what. Then I stopped worrying about other people and just became so thankful every time I got the opportunity to do what I love. Which leads to my second point…
  2. Adjusting My Expectations
    I had this certain picture in my head of what success looked like. At the time it looked like this: working at x, y, and z theatres and getting paid to do everything I do as an actor. If I wasn’t doing either or both of those, it wasn’t good enough, therefore I wasn’t good enough, therefore I wasn’t successful. I just had to let that go! Maybe I was expecting the pay too soon in my career. Maybe I just needed to remember why I started doing this in the first place. Now I am so busy doing what I love and I’m not working at any of those theatres and I’m only sometimes getting paid. And I’m so happy! Just because I hadn’t met those goals, didn’t mean it was time to give up. It meant it was time to adjust my expectations and focus on creating my own work. Which leads me to my third point…
  3. Working Hard
    Have you heard the phrase, “Work begets work”? I feel like I hear that all the time in LA. This last year has proved that phrase to be true. As an actor, there is only so much you can do to get cast. Audition. Build Relationships. Audition. It’s more complicated than that, but there isn’t a lot of control in your own hands. I decided I was tired of waiting around and wanted to create my own work. That sparked an idea for a short film spoof that I pursued that didn’t quite make it off the ground. (Maybe I’ll come back to it. Probably not.) Then I started reading through Shakespeare, to make my own project. (Still in the works, but on hold for the moment.) Then I had the idea of making movies with my friends, which turned into Light a Match Productions! (Now THAT’S some exciting stuff! LAMP-Logo2Check out our website and new short film.) I’ve learned that what’s important isn’t necessarily completing each project, but pursuing it as far as it will go. My first spoof idea may not be the right thing for right now, but it got ideas flowing and helped me reach out and start building a network of co-creators. The Shakespeare project helped keep my mind off of whether or not I was cast after every audition because I had another place to focus my creative energy. Now, working with LAMP has turned into something beyond what I could have imagined. Work begets work. This is what’s important: Keep creating. Keep doing. Keep working… Hard.

Whether or not this streak of work continues, I know I have the tools and the mindset to keep pursuing my dreams and be happy whatever the result. Thanks for going on this journey with me! What an adventure!

SIFF Crash Horror Film Challenge

Last Saturday, October 26th, 2013, I had the pleasure of participating in the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) Crash Horror Film Challenge. The Crash Film Challenge is a bi-monthly film-making challenge: to make a short film in 8 hours. If you are looking to get experience making films, but don’t know where to start, THIS is an excellent way! Just sign up on the SIFF website (for a small fee of $10) and show up! (The next one is December 14th.) I had never done it before and didn’t have a group so I was placed in a group with all the other newbies. It was tons of fun and a great way to meet people and get more experience.

At 9am we met at the SIFF Office and got our groups assigned and the instructions for the day: write, film and edit a 3 minute film by 5pm.  The confines for the film were also drawn out of a hat:

Character: Michael M
Action: waving goodbye
Prop: a spoon
Line of Dialogue: “To be really dead, that must be glorious.”

This is what we came up with. Enjoy!

L.A. here I come!

It’s been a long time coming…

I grew up in Seattle, making yearly trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, attending shows at the Seattle Children’s Theatre, Taproot Theatre and the Bathhouse. I fell in love with Shakespeare at an early age and was easily grasping the language and playing characters by age 9. By Jr High, it was a given that I would be an actor, in the theatre, of course! I grew up a THEATRE snob.

Following my college graduation with my THEATRE degree, I’m visiting a college friend who moved to LA to pursue her dreams. We’re sitting in a sushi restaurant across the table from her fiancé. First thing he asks, “When are you moving to LA?”  I laugh and dismiss the question. “LA isn’t for me. I am not for it,” I declare.

Fast forward a few years.  I was invited by a fellow theatre actor to be a part of the 48 Film Project, where groups compete to make the best short film, all in 48 hours. I have never done anything like this before! We met on Friday night at 7pm, just before this crazy event began. Within the hour the writers were soon typing away. We actors were on-call, with a promise to be contacted by midnight if we were cast. Midnight came and went. I went to bed, thinking I can have a calm and relaxing Saturday, only to be woken up at 4:30 am. “You are the lead! Can you be on set at 10am? Bring x, y, and z for costume pieces.” OK! Being my first time on camera, I was thrilled and simultaneously frightened. But there’s no time to panic. There’s only time to do! I went to set. We filmed my first scene. Changed location. Filmed second scene. Changed location. Filmed last few scenes. And by 7pm I was done! The director spent the next 24 hours editing and reediting the film. Finally, with minutes to spare, we got our masterpiece, ‘The Belgian Pretzel” in on-time!

About a week later, the 48 hour Film Project hosts a screening in a real movie theater and then the awards are given out. As soon as I saw my face I wanted to point and scream, “That’s me!” while at the same time crawl into a ball, just in case someone heard me. The awards…“And Best Acting goes to… ‘The Belgian Pretzel.’” WHAT?! “And finally, the one we have all been waiting for… Best Film goes to…’The Belgian Pretzel!’” Out of 52 groups, we won 5 of the 16 awards!(See complete list here.)

What an incredible experience! I didn’t realize until later just how lucky I was to be in a group of such talented and organized artists who were just at the beginning of successful careers. As for me, I would never be the same. Once you’ve experienced the magic of excellent film-making, you can never go back!

Shortly after that, I landed an audition, which gave me the lead in a short film and a co-staring role in a web series. Since then, my appetite for camera work has only grown and LA started calling my name. About the same time I fell in love and married a wonderfully talented musician who moved to Seattle to be with me. We kept saying, “We’re moving to LA in a couple months.” A few months went by. “We’re still thinking about it.” Another couple months went by. “The time just isn’t right.” Pretty soon, a couple months turned into a couple years. I will spare you all the details, but essentially, my husband turned to me a couple months ago and said, “I don’t want us to get 10 years down the road and you never got the chance you deserve. Now is the time!” And so, I quit my job. My loving and supportive husband sold a guitar, a 1960 Fender Jazzmaster mind you, to help pay for the trip and…. I’m going!

Dear LA,

I don’t know what you have for me, but I’m giving you a shot. I’ve heard you can be cruel and ruthless, but I’m hoping you’ll be kind. I will work hard and give my all, because I know you’d expect nothing less. Here I come!

Charissa J Adams