I can’t even believe this is my first blog post of 2016.
I guess I fell out of love with documenting my journey and more in love with just trying to present for it. However, it still amazes me how many people reach out to me based upon one blog post about “Los Angeles vs Atlanta.”
It’s a growing topic and the industry in Atlanta just doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I’m not even sorry about it. I honestly did not mean to be here for as long as I have been here but I have recently renewed my lease and I’m well into my third year here in Atlanta. Maybe I’ll buy a house. I’m still holding on to my Beverly Hills area code and my driver’s license is still from Cali because I had sincere intentions of returning during the summer of 2015.
I go back to LA as often as I need to and I’m about a month out of my most recent trip and here are the things that stand out the most to me that are still different between the two cities:
3. The hustle in LA is real. I have more writer friends than I realized and seriously, every single one of them write everyday. They are self-disciplined. They claim some real estate at coffee houses and they work on their projects. Doesn’t matter if they have sold a show or not. They write. In the same regard, actors act. I ran into one of my Instagram followers 5 times in 8 days and each day he was performing. I saw him in my old acting class, singing back up for Tisha Campbell at her nightclub, and the other nights, he was still performing or doing something artistic. I was blown away by his passion and dedication. I’ve never seen anything of the sort in Atlanta.
Because this topic is only going to get more and more popular, I’m releasing an updated edition of my book: The LA Actor Conquers Atlanta. It’s already been two years. I have booked roles, met lots of new people, and taken even more casting director workshops. I am still excited about my journey and I hope I’m helping you with yours!
I can't believe I haven't blogged since August. So much has happened. I'm going to do a separate post about how AMAZING October 2015 has been. This has been the best month of my entire life. I can't remember exactly when I learned to walk but I'm sure that was pretty epic.
I chose to be a college student at Hillman for Halloween this year. A Different World is one of my favorite shows and may possibly be the reason I went to college. I love every character and totally based my college experience off of it. We had a good time. This show hit Netflix this year and I watched all of it straight through two times. I refer to it often when there's nothing else to watch or when I'm too lazy to look for something else. I love these characters and I love Debbie Allen for what she did with them. I totally worked with her this year! Ahhh! This has been the best year of my life.
Down to the details of my costume. The pants are oversized hand-me-downs. I pulled them up and used a belt to give a 90s flare. I actually ordered this Hillman sweatshirt because my friend had one and I wanted to be down with the in-crowd. It had nothing to do with Halloween but it came in the mail today so I accepted it as a sign. The glasses were left at my house by another friend. So I threw them on for good measure. I was supposed to be Diana Ross but my sequins dress was too short for the cold Atlanta weather and Halloween is not worth getting sick over. I wore some riding boots under the pants. Gave my face a slight beat and the rest is in the filter.
Click Links below for items
Dwayne Wayne Glasses
90s high waist pants
My cutie super hereos are my faux nephews that I took trick-or treating. The had a blast.
I'll always be a Hillman student at heart. When I moved to LA to pursue acting the lyrics to the theme song always stuck in my head: Here's our chance to make it, if we focus on our goals. If you dish it we can take it. Just remember you've been told, it's a different world than where you come from. Everything about LA was different and everything about pursuing my career has been different. I learn something new every day. I'm re-inspired and driven more than over. I make a commitment to learning and growing in my different world. What did your costume mean to you?
I began to question myself, and worse, I began to question my agent. It’s difficult to know whether or not we’re being submitted. I self-submit also. I just like to make sure my bases are covered and I also like my agent to know, I’m hands-on when it comes to my career. They get 10% of the money because they do 10% of the work. With that in mind, I consulted the help of a good friend. She gave me some really sound advice: Make sure you are doing everything in your power for your own career first. She asked if my pictures were updated. She asked if I was in class and taking worskhops. My pictures are always pretty recent (I love a good photoshoot), but because they cost to upload, I don’t have as many as I could on my profiles.
And then I approached my agent about what else I could do to get on one of these shows. She gave me their address in Tennessee so I could submit my headshots tangibly but also let me know that they cast according to looks. They produce many reenactment shows so they want the actors to look like the people in the stories. That part is just out of my hands. I sent the headshots anyway, uploaded the last picture that got a bunch of likes on Instagram and within less than a week, I got booked on Fatal Attraction. Imagine my excitement.
Sam ran for his life. As stated by an eloquent mind on Twitter, “Being black in America is a radical act.” Why did he shoot him? It's my conclusion that based upon the countless other black lives that didn’t matter, he probably figured he receive a slap on the wrist if that, as so many of his brothers in blue have for taking the same action. That officer was indicted for murder, but will he get out in two years like the officer who shot Oscar Grant, who was unarmed and sitting down?
My faith in the justice system has been shot straight to hell. I have grown to expect more heartless cops to kill more and more blacks, because they can get away with it. The thought takes me back to Dr. King. When I look around for our leaders, for our voice, for our force, I think of Dr. King. He would have wanted us to fight with marches and protests. We’ve done all that. He would have wanted us to be peaceful. We have done that as well. I think about the NAACP and recall that even the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was being led (in some parts) by a white woman and we didn’t even know. Because “being black” is in right now, unless you are actually black, when it comes to our attractive features, musical ways of expression, swag, and body types, we can't lose. I’m very interested in seeing how people would react to terrorism against white girls with small waists, full lips, big asses, and black boyfriends.
I live in Atlanta and I think of him often. I think of why every black city in America probably has a street and/or school named after him. I wonder what he would be organizing right now and why there is no one in popularity or power to carry his torch. Why are celebrities so calm? Are they afraid of what they might lose? Are they unaffected because they are recognizable and a police won’t mistake them for a regular black person? Where are our leaders who have nothing to do but evoke change? Where are the people who are fed up?
Where is Dr. King? We need him. We can vote. We get paid to work. We can sit down and eat in restaurants. We ride in the front of city buses. We can pee inside the house. We can hire white maids. We can marry white people. Hell, we can marry same-sex people, but we are still BLACK. Jews can hide the fact that they’re Jewish. Gays can hide the fact that they are gay. We can never escape being black. And I personally, do not wish to. I just want to be able to live in spite of it.
Written by Tiffany Black
I love henna tattoos, but my skin is dark. When I fell in love with henna, I also had trouble finding a henna artist in my area. That’s when Love Stamp was born. I wanted to create a product that looked like henna but didn’t require an appointment and would show up on my skin tone. So I made temporary tattoos that look like henna. What I love most about Love Stamp is that it looks great on everybody and it’s a product that’s lightweight, which means CHEAP SHIPPING. I took it a step even further and let Amazon do my fulfillments so I don’t even have to go to the post office to send them out when they sell. My mission was to not only create a product that filled a void, offer something meaningful to the people, but also create passive income that will allow me to support my artist lifestyle. I think every actor should start their own business early in their career. It automatically gives you something else in which to be successful. Also, it will be there to carry you through the inevitable stints of unemployment that come with being a professional actor.
I’ve gotten REALLY good at trusting God.
The life of an artist can be a scary one at times but when you are truly walking in alignment with your dreams, it’s almost as if you’re on the highway at midnight: there is no traffic when your own lane.
I was putting all of my energies toward returning to Los Angeles after STARZ Survivors Remorse wrapped in Atlanta but I have been trusting God to guide me and He has been working overtime. I decided because I was returning to LA not to leave one stone unturned in Atlanta. Let me give myself over to all of my resources here. It’s easier said than done, but how many times do Florida residents go to Disney World? How many times do Georgia residents visit The Coca Cola museum? How many New Yorkers have been to the Statue of Liberty? When you live somewhere and you think you have an infinite amount of time, it can be easy to overlook things that many visit JUST to experience.
I’ve been praying for people to come into my life that will help me. I also pray to always be a blessing to others. Within the last month, people have been showing up in my life that will help with my career. One of my friends invited me to a small awards ceremony last week. I said yes. When we got there, the executives being awarded invited us out to afterhours spot. Even though my feet were throbbing, I was tired, and had to work in the morning, I said yes. That night I met prominent casting directors, film executives, producers, etc. It’s quite remarkable and I know it’s a result of nothing but prayer and saying YES when the blessings arrive.
Within my last post, I wrote about standing with the cast of Survivors Remorse as first team. When I wrote that post, I had not been cast but I wrote it like I was expecting to. And I was expecting it. And it happened. My focus is now on building more credits while I’m in the Atlanta market. I love the shows that Jupiter Entertainment is producing and I really would love to work with Tyler Perry Studios. I enjoy his work, admire his work ethic, and would love to be associated with OWN. I have been auditioning on the TPS lot more and more and I know that God is prepping me for the perfect role. To add works to my faith, I’m attending a workshop with one of his casting directors over the weekend. The early bird registration was discounted but happened to be due the same time as the rent. Paying that money and writing a rent check at the same time was not only an uncomfortable struggle, but it was nearly impossible, but I knew this was the perfect opportunity to get feedback on how to book at TPS. I know I will receive feedback for when I land the role because this is the person who works with every actor locally cast for TPS. That feedback is worth missing some meals, forfeiting some outfits, sacrificing some gas, putting off some things. So I said yes. Immediately following, she has lent her space to me to hold a table read for my latest brainchild, which really will end up paying for the workshop itself.
I guess the point I’m getting at here is to say yes to your own dreams and goals. Add works to your faith and watch God build your yellow brick road while you’re walking on it. The road to success is always under construction, we’re always going to hit some bumps, maybe some dead ends but we have to keep moving. And when you are truly walking in alignment, it’s like being on the highway at midnight. Say yes.
It took me a while but I finally got back around to believing in myself. For the past year and a half, I have been focused on becoming successful and being a part of a winning team. While I still believe those things are important and I was finding success, I realized that I would never be fully satisfied if I was not successful in the area in which I desired: entertainment. Just days before my birthday, I was laid off and never once did I question what I should do next.
I decided to do me.
I have been here before. I have experienced unemployment. I have figured out how to pay my bills without a traditional job. And more than ever, I am confident about my future. I went to LA to celebrate my life and upon my return, I was back on set as a stand-in for Survivor’s Remorse season 2. It was even more fulfilling than supporting the cast on Season 1. We were all grateful and energized to come back and pour ourselves into a new season. I look up to this cast and crew so much. I literally took notes while Tichina Arnold worked and begged to be on set even if I wasn’t being paid to stand-in. I have had the opportunity to work with directors Ali Leroi, Ken Whittingham, Pete Segal, Victor Levin, and the legendary Debbie Allen. Watching Mike O’Malley’s passion towards his work and how relentless he is about creating quality content is not only inspiring, but it in infectious. I can’t wait to create. I can’t wait to contribute my gifts, energy, and ideas to the universe.
Standing on my own hasn’t been nearly as scary as it has been in the past. I went back to substitute teaching when I wasn’t on set until school ended. Now, with one week left in the show, I have just one more thing to accomplish before closing this chapter and soaring on to new heights: making first team. I have written this dream over and over. I have prayed. I have meditated on it. I auditioned for it. And this week I can’t wait to again stand with the cast I have grown to love and respect. Season 2 of Survivors Remorse airs August 22nd on STARZ. Every episode is amazing. Stay tuned!
I like quotes. They give me a quick “aha moment” without having to read a lot. Some quotes are funny while others can provide a quick check-in with reality and get me rooted in something I need. I have a working list on my phone that I often refer to when I need something catchy to go under a fierce Instagram post. I know it’s ridiculous, but it helps get likes. Likes lead to followers. And followers lead to a broader audience, which is why you are reading this right now. Possibly.
This list changes daily. They generally derive from books I’m reading, rap songs, or stuff I hear that I want to remember. I’m currently reading Seat of the Soul, which comes highly recommended by Oprah. The author appeared on her show like 30 times. Oprah and Maya Angelou both prefaced the 25th anniversary edition. Yeah, I’m going to be a new person when I finish this book.
Here is my working list. Let me know what you think:
Mindset is more important than circumstance
How you do anything is how you do everything.
Keep your two cents if it ain't going towards the bill
I lose faith in me all the time. I never lose faith in God. That's the difference. That's why I don't quit.
The link between success and accountability is irrefutable.
Discipline creates lifestyle.
A few years ago I switched from New Year’s Resolutions to long “To Do Lists” that were mapped out in quarters. I like them. I revise them as I go along but it’s nice to have a layout. I listen to podcasts and I’m semi-addicted to self-help products. In a recent episode of The Smart Passive Income, I learned about a book called the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. He suggests that one hour will change your day and ultimately change the course of your life. I’m one day in and I already agree.
Some people call this time to self, The Golden Hour. What ever you choose to call this special time, I honestly believe it will lend itself to crafting your acting career. Here is a generic version of what should be in your miracle morning but I highly suggest you click here to order a tangible copy so you can mark it up and refer to it often.
The Miracle Morning
Do 10 minutes of each activity.
Silence: prayer, meditation, focus on your breath, self-reflection
Reading: self-help material, the bible, something that uplifts you
Affirmations: write out what you want to happen in your life as if it has already happened. Some are also available at millionairemindbook.com
Visualization: look at your vision board and carefully envision having every detail
Journaling: don’t hold anything back
Exercise: your choice!
It starts with ten minutes each but you can expand the areas as you see fit. Studies show that millionaires wake up three hours prior to their first engagement daily. Maybe their miracle mornings have been heavily expanded.
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