an interview with filmmaker, wesley elder!

Last year, I attended The Matchbreaker movie premiere to film interviews and met several amazingly talented people in the process, including Wesley Elder! Wesley not only starred in the film (alongside Christina Grimme) but also wrote and produced the film as well.

The rom-com follows the story of an idealistic romantic who finds himself with a one-time gig of breaking up couples for disapproving parents that spirals into a “match-breaking” profession.

Back in October, I was filming interviews at the Christina Grimme Foundation Inaugural Event in Hollywood and happened to see Wesley there so we set up this inspiring interview.

  1. What inspired you to make your start in the entertainment industry?

 I studied abroad in Argentina right after high school and was there for a year and a half. During my time there, I took part of this touring drama ministry called “Renacidos”. It was super dark, about drugs and all that good stuff. Anyway, when I came back home, I told my mom one day that I thought I was supposed to act, like, maybe in movies or something. I had never been in theater or anything ever, so this was out of left field, but then I started researching a lot about it on my own and watching a ton of movies. And then next thing you know, it’s my career path, ha.

  1. How do you balancing wearing multiple hats, so to speak, during production?

 Dude, that’s hard. Especially on the indie level. Because not only am I worrying about my scene and my lines and stuff, but I’m making sure this actress’ flight arrives on time and I’m making sure lunch got picked up and that we’re on schedule and it’s just a lot. I used to say “this is fine” like the little cartoon dog who is in the burning house, ha. But if you just keep calm and treat people with respect and take care of them, typically it works out fine.

  1. How does a feature movie project like The Matchbreaker go from an idea to a script and then onto the big screen?

 A lot of time, ha. I mean, it took us three years from the original concept to the premiere. I think the biggest hurdle is diligence in the story part of it and staying on task in post-production. It’s really easy to slow down on those two parts of the process and let time get away from you, but if you can stay diligent and knock it out, then you’ll get it out into the world. And always put names in your movie if you can, haha. That’ll help it get made for sure.

  1. What has been one of your most favorite experiences so far on a set?

 Honestly, my more favorite moments are either when I’m doing something big that I haven’t done before (for example, I did a civil war VR shoot this past weekend), or when it’s super small with me and my friends and we’re shooting something. I have a group of friends that I call the Dream Team and it consists of about 6 people and if it all of us on set making stuff, I’d be happy for the rest of my days, haha.

  1. What struggles have you faced in achieving your dreams?

 Being young, haha. People don’t listen to you when you’re young. Which is why you just have to make stuff like The Matchbreaker.

  1. What is your primary focus with entertainment and how have you been involved with it?

 My primary focus is acting. Second to that is writing. Producing is a means to both. More often than not, you’re going to have to set in motion your ideas and that’s ultimately how producing fits into it all. However, I’d love to get to where I’m doing less producing and focusing on the creative more.

  1. As a writer, how do you deal with writer’s block?

 Talk with people. If nothing is happening on the page, then I go to talk to someone to get a little jolt. That or play ping pong, ha.

  1. In your opinion, what do you think is the key to being a storyteller?

 Study other movies and TV. And not just the old stuff, but the new stuff too. What are people doing right now? I think that’s crucial. Film school puts you through all of this old stuff which is sometimes great, but more often than not, it’s dated and is totally different to what audiences enjoy today. And experiencing life helps you tell a story. It’s easier to recreate life if you’ve experienced it.

  1. Could you share anything you are currently working on and how the process is going for that?

 TELEVISION! We want to get into TV. We’re working on two different concepts that are totally different. One is comedic, kind of like Master of None, and one is dramatic, kind of like Mad Men. It’s fun and challenging because within your larger plot, you’re creating much smaller ones. But I’m also trying to plan for 5 seasons because if it got picked up, I want to have a map as to where I’m going. I want these stories to be so strong that if we pitched it, nobody could say no.

  1. What is your advice to aspiring filmmakers/actors/writers/creators?

 Go. Make. Stuff. I’ve learned more from making stuff than I have anything else. Some of us are born with raw talent, but the majority are not, so we have to fail and fail and fail until we eventually succeed.

As a young storyteller myself, I find Wesley’s accomplishments and advice incredibly inspiring! Check him out online @thewesleyelder to keep updated on all of his projects!

at the Christina Grimme Foundation event with Wesley Elder, Eva Amantea, & Yising Kao (October 2017)

Stay Inspired!

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small town girl, big city dreams

a screening,

a premiere,

a moment,

an email,

an audition,

an opportunity.

In the least overwhelmingly long story sort of way, these words capture an incredible story of my current life, a year and five months in the making.

I have always been a dreamer with passions surrounding storytelling through creative writing, filmmaking, acting, performing, dancing, and so forth. Anyone who is any ounce of familiar with who I am probably knows by now that I do a lot of things, which has brought me from my childhood in upstate New York to my current life in Los Angeles. Small town girl, big city dreams. We have all seen that cliché before, yet, it’s a pretty accurate summary of the past two years of my life.

The Hollywood Premiere That Started it All

So to get this story started here, in March 2016, I got invited to the advance screening of a movie out in Beverly Hills and then the official LA premiere the week after at the TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood. That movie was a lovely independent dance film called, High Strung. The opening theme sent chills down my spine in that small screening as the impending ability to meet those in the movie the next week seemed so unreal.

I had no idea.

The following premiere was everything I could ever ask for with a premiere. I wrote about the whole experience here.

When most premieres are done and the press online starts to fade into other events, that’s generally the end. I still freaked out when I saw High Strung at stores or even at my local RedBox at home. It’s on Netflix now too, so I highly recommend watching it. That being said, this movie was different…it kept on taking new forms in my life.

The Event That Changed Everything

So, let’s jump ahead to the Dizzy Feet Gala event at LA Live (DTLA) in September of 2016. I was just starting off my second year as a film and television production major at LMU|LA, and already I was feeling pretty amazing about where my college life and forming career was taking me. I was there to film interviews with my friend, Eva for her channel (youtube.com/onthespotinterviews). Among the many we interviewed that day, we were excited to see Michael and Janeen Damian again, whom we had already met during the High Strung premiere. You can watch that interview here:

There was a moment that day that left me completely in shock. This was an invite into being in an amazing movie and in my realm of what seems like a “normal life experience”, this was far outside the realm of “normal”. Everything was about to change.

The Process & Audition

As the whole movie process goes, everything takes time. Months went by and life moved on. However, I kept updated with the process and by audition time, got the opportunity to send in an audition tape. I’m a far stronger actress than dancer, but this was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss so I did want any actor should do…act! I spent countless hours in the dance studios on campus after hours working on a routine. To prep even before then, I spent time at the gym every day for weeks. Even making it to extra Bollywood dance cardio classes helped. My friend, Emily, who happens to be a dance minor helped one day too. This was a level of dedication that left my heart soaring.

 

these things i do… 💃

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dance, passion, hopes & dreams 💃…and selfies

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another dance studio photo 😎

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I couldn’t say anything and even more importantly, I could not get my hopes up. A part of me felt like something great was going to come out of this, but of course, my former experiences with getting involved with acting through auditions have always been not as successful. I have not been getting leads throughout middle and high school. In fact, before getting smaller roles (that I gave full-out back stories for), I had always felt like when it came down to acting, I wasn’t experienced or talented enough. Later into the high school years, that started to change, but only now do I fully realize how important that tricky past has been.

I never gave up. I kept trying to prove myself and improve my abilities. I had a passion for actually creating characters from nothing and transforming myself into them. There are no “small” roles, especially when you embrace any role to the fullest.

So as exciting as everything was, I became overwhelmed with the conflicting moments of trying to not get too excited while being really excited. With an email, my audition was sent. I didn’t hear back, nor get a role. To be fair, that was expected. However, the story was not over yet. The entire spring of my sophomore year was incredibly stressful due to my lack of knowledge of summer plans. While this wasn’t the only situation on my mind at that time, it was definitely one of them. More than anything, I truly wanted to be a part of this. More time passed, I spent an additional month in LA before heading back to NY for the remainder of summer. All the meanwhile, filming had begun in Romania.

While watching the live streams from set and keeping up with the process, I found out when the NYC part of filming was going to take place and that I was still indeed invited to be an extra (or as officially called now, “background actor”). A major perk to living in New York state is being a several hour drive away from the big city. Timing wise, the filming was right before the trip back to LA for the upcoming school year, but my absolutely incredible family worked it all out. The next thing I knew, I was packing once again to a weekend like no other.

The Filming On-Location

I have always loved the idea of being a part of filming movies on location because that is a beautiful combination of work and vacation all at once. Late August 2017, my family and I arrived on a Friday afternoon at the Empire hotel in NYC. Call times were set for Saturday and Sunday and by the time the Monday scenes were set to be filmed, we had to be heading back for last second packing for LA. Exploring the city again was incredible and slightly odd with timing since the last time I was in NYC was a band trip my junior of high school. Now, I’m entering my junior year of college.

The first scene I got to be a part of was at Duffy’s Square… right on Times Square! There is nothing quite like being with a movie crew, standing in the middle of a place I have been watching every new years eve, being surrounded by so many tourists and people with cameras filming the filming process. I was a part of something that I would typically be watching as an outsider thinking, “oh that’s so cool”. One of the coolest things about all of this was the fact that I got to experience this as a young filmmaker AND share this world with my family. It was a blend of what I do in familiar and new ways.

The next day, I took the subway for the first time to SoHo for a couple different locations and scenes. Between scenes and takes, I got an interview with one of the stars of the film, Harry Jarvis, who was an absolute delight to meet.

I’m not used to the interviewing life since I usually film and edit them, but it was a lot of fun. When it came down to being in the scenes, I got a general placement in frame and some directions on what to do. When High Strung Free Dance comes out Summer 2018, keep an eye out for the exterior shots that include my family and myself walking through NYC. The filming took the whole day and night. It was incredibly amazing to see how the process took place on a professional level, while taking role in the midst of it all, intensely observing and living for every second.

…Which brings me to being a film student on a professional set and the observations I made. I’ve worked on various sets before, ranging in professional levels. However, it is amazing how many sets have miscommunication issues that lead to complications with filming. It was outrageously pleasing to be on this set where everyone knew each other, communicated well, and effectively kept on schedule and even got ahead of it often.  I am incredibly impressed by how well-managed the cast and crew regulated. It was inspiring and I took many notes on things that worked well that I can carry with me through future sets. Never have I witnessed such a well-organized group that has inspired me so very much.

The Epilogue

The entire weekend of filming was overwhelming on levels I did not know could exist. It was as if a sea of emotions and memories past, present, and future collided, leaving my head spinning in a whirlwind of feelings. Everything came full circle and even though I was only filming for two days, it felt extra emotional wrapping Sunday night. Like the end of past middle and high school productions, emotional sad vibes of the end sunk in, leaving me back in the post-High Strung sadness I felt after the premiere of the first movie. The whole experience felt incredibly unreal and in more ways than I could describe, so many full-circle moments came into perspective. Of course, this isn’t the end of this whole experience, since upcoming screenings, the premiere, and all of the future releases are still to come. As I sit in my childhood bedroom the morning after getting back and procrastinating from packing to be back in LA, I am realizing that I am still the same self I have always been, but now I am a step further into my “new normal” (which is simply what I call this realm of the “biz” that feels far from normal at all).

I cannot thank everyone who made this possible more than enough. I am incredibly thankful for this life and this experience. I am excited for everything that is ahead. I am living yet another life dream.

Truthful Inspiration

This is truly a story that seems too good to be true, even to myself. Former me (even a year ago!) would have never in a million years expected for any of this to have happened and been real. That is why I have complete belief that whatever it is you want to do in life may not happen in the ways or time frames that you could expect, but they will work their way into happening. Believe, keep hope on your side, stay positive, and persevere. Anything can and WILL happen. When they do, magic happens.

Keep updated with my ever-abundantly-amazing adventures via YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…basically, every social media @sarahfhamilton. Feel free to leave comments and/or tweet/comment at me as I love to respond!

Keep Dreaming, Keep Sm:)ing!

me

 

 

ADDITIONAL VIDEOS:

Advance Screening & Press Day

Premiere

BTS of Auditioning (when I still couldn’t say anything at all)

Trip/NYC Filming

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leibster award nomination!

My blog (a.k.a. this website!) has been nominated for the Leibster Award by Kerry Ireland of The Petite Wanderer!

I got sent some questions to answer for this post, so here are my answers:

What is your earliest memory?

This is a tricky question for me since I have a very vivid memory, but I literally do remember being read to before bed back in the very early days that included a crib beside several stuffed animals (in which, one particular “Mr.Monkey” was always my favorite!).

What is your favorite drink?

I drink water the most, but that’s a boring answer so I have to say that my favorite drink would have to be a bold espresso-filled almond latte. This literally changes all of the time though! Hot spiced apple cider in autumn is also a great go-to as well.

What is your dream career? 

I like to consider myself a storyteller of many forms, so my dream career has always been the idea of telling stories and just making a comfortable living off of doing the things I love to do.

What are your passions?

I am very passionate about storytelling through filmmaking, creative writing, acting, photography, and art. I do a lot but being so involved with so many passions really keeps me going.

What is the best trip you’ve ever been on?

How does one simply answer this question?!? Hmm. Every trip is super memorable and amazing in their own ways but for the sake of pretending that there is some decisive bone inside of me (where!?!?!?), I would say that the first trip that comes to mind was a trip to British Columbia and then California with my family. During my junior year of high school, I went to Vancouver and areas of British Columbia to visit Stevestons Village (the filming location of the abc show, Once Upon a Time) and tour the office spaces of Club Penguin, which my brother, Adam, designed an entire “Pup1one” persona with online. Afterwards, we flew to LA to tour some college I applied to and I visited the school I currently attend for the first time. I wrote a post about part of this trip that you can read here.

This has been such a great collaboration post and I have to take a moment here to thank Kerry again for nominating me! Check her out online at www.thepetitewanderer.com! You can read my nomination post here.

But for the moment you all have been waiting for… here are my nominees!

  • Travels of 2 Sisters (http://travelsof2sisters.com/)

Eva and Lara Michelsen are two sisters who use their blog as an outlet to share their stories of traveling while providing advice for those who wish to travel luxuriously even on a budget.

  • Alannah Williams (https://www.alannahwilliams.com/blog)

Alannah set up her site as a personal site of self-expression and a creative outlet for health, fitness, and lifestyle. With elegant design and fitspiration style, this site encourages a well-balanced life.

  • Tegan Winters (https://teganwinters.com/)

Eighteen year young Teagan Winters shares her life through her blog and YouTube channel. Her blog style is familiar to mine at LockerStyler and she has a great line up of variety lifestyle posts.

  • Elysian Moment (http://elysianmoment.com/)

Kate loves to travel and uses her site as a beautiful place to share her experiences and tips. The layout is simple and pink, leaving the site elegant with traces of wanderlust.

  • HelloAlima (https://hellohalima.com/)

Halima is a writer who uses her site as a collage of photos and creative writing pieces of all sorts. As a writer myself, I have massive amounts of appreciation for her site dedicated to creative writing!

  • Balance and Vine (http://www.balanceandvine.com/)

Jamie Kennedy, a California girl living in Australia loves yoga, wine, and photography. Her site beautifully illustrates and highlights all three and more complete with playlists and blog posts.

Congrats to all of those I nominated! Here are your instructions for the next step:

  1. Give the person who nominated you a shout-out (a.k.a. me, Sarah Hamilton of LockerStyler, www.lockerstyler.com).
  2. Answer the following questions.
  3. Nominate five other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
  4. Write your own set of questions for those nominees!

Questions:

  1. What inspired you to start your blog/website?
  2. What is your favorite thing to do and why?
  3. What dreams do you wish to accomplish?
  4. Where are you from and what’s it like there?
  5.  What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers/writers/dreamers?

I’m looking forward to seeing your responses! Tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton.

Best,

me

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so you’re thinking about filmmaking…

I am a film and television production junior. That doesn’t make me a guru in the entertainment industry or even a full-out “professional” quite yet, but I have advice and stories to tell. That being said, if you are considering joining the entertainment industry, especially through the great complex realm that is filmmaking, this is the article for you! (So keep on reading!)

For a bit of good ol’ back story, I should mention that I made some video and film projects throughout middle and high school and had a great passion for all things storytelling (writing, art, theater, music, dance…you name it!) growing up since the start. It wasn’t until half way through junior year of high school that it dawned on me that filmmaking was a career path and storytelling in various ways could be pursued. Long story short, I made the best decision of my life and started my post high school life in sunny Los Angeles (but I prefer calling it LA).

But enough backstory…if you too are considering this path or a similar one and you’re realizing that there is both too much and too little information about it online (trust me, I’ve been there!), then here are some of my tips, tricks, and anecdotes to help you out.

Passion Drives

If you have made some videos before or just really love filmmaking as an art medium, then passion is the key element of what you do! If you are in the biz for the fame and/or big money, you are probably better off doing something else. While fame and money is nice, you should be making art for the right reasons (like connecting with others and self-fulfillment).

Finding the Path

Filmmaking doesn’t have a right or wrong path. It is simply your journey to figure out what you like and go for it! Film school is a great opportunity to learn, experience, grow, and network. It also provides a place where you can “fail” without the reprecautions of the “real world”, which will keep such issues from happening in the future. Having experience, leverage, and first hand knowledge is incredibly important.

Communication Over Competition

Filmmaking is a realm of communicating and networking among others. Collaboration is incredibly key. Avoid competition and isolation as much as possible. Keep organized and stay in touch with those you know. Sure, you may PA (production assistant) on one set but that set is filled with people who work various positions on other sets. Believe it or not, the entertainment industry is a small world. The more people you know, the more opportunities are presented. After all, art is by people, for people.

Infinite Opportunities, Open Mind

Keeping an open mind to various avenues within the entertainment industry adds value to your talents. Yes, if you have one specific job you love, that’s great, but those who get the most amount of work are those with the most varied abilities. Cinematographer one day, director the next, sound mixer another…even working in some acting here and there defines more skills you possess, but also, more opportunities to work and meet people along the way.

Glitz & Glam

For the record, the big ol’ Hollywood stereotypes of glam and glitz may be real on some level, but there is work, thinking, deadlines, and a lot more than what meets the eye. Not everything you see in the magazines, online, or on tv is anything close to reality. There is so much more to the story. But yeah, even if you are like me and hit the incredibly cinema trope of “small town girl moves to big city LA with great dreams”, there is a lot of new understanding but a ton of fun. For the record, even in times of chaos and stress, I absolutely love and adore this lifestyle and I know it is perfect for me. Dreams really do come true!

Art is Power

Filmmaking is a form of art and art can be used to not only express one’s self, but to connect with others. The importance of art stems on the impact that it makes and filmmaking is an incredibly powerful medium that can be used to not only entertain the world, but to help better shape it as well.

As you go about, here are some programs/accessories I recommend to the serious film student…

  • DSLR
  • External mic (DSLR’s internal mics aren’t all that great since they focus on image)
  • Script program (whether you are a screenwriter or not, you will write scripts!) *Adobe Story & Final Draft are great.
  • Editing program (same thing here) *I personally love the Adobe CC set up! Premiere, After Effects, & Photoshop are amazing.
  • Tripod/Camera Bag/Camera Shoe/Headphones
  • Notebook for ideas
  • Laptop that works well for editing
  • External hard drive(s) for space (video files take up a ton!)
  • Have a Vimeo & YouTube. When you get more professional experience, IMDB pro helps too.

Additional tips and advice…

  • Keep creating. You will get better skilled through experience.
  • Stay organized on your computer and in your mind.
  • Learn the details of video specs. For example, frame rates go as following:
    • 24fps – classic film look
    • 30fps – television and web
    • 60fps – typical vlog
  • Keep an open mind and explore different areas of filmmaking and creativity.
  • Pre-production is incredibly important to focus on. Production depends on it and the communication of the crew. Post-production is what makes it all worth while. EVERY PART IS IMPORTANT!

That being said, I wish you the best of luck in the world of filmmaking. As always, if you have any additional questions/comments/thoughts, please leave a comment below and/or tweet me @sarahfhamilton. You can see some of my film work at the following links:

www.youtube.com/sarahfhamilton

www.vimeo.com/sarahfhamilton

Happy Filmmaking!

*This post is not sponsored!

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a better YOU

Lately, I have been focusing a lot on what it means to be me. Being physically far away from my parents and the hometown/world in which I grew up in has brought me to grow so much. Yes, living in L.A. finds ways to change you and so does attending college. That being said, these changes are for the better. Through this journey of self-awareness and growth, I have found new focuses that shape how I go about living life.

Since I haven’t blogged in a while and should seriously get this site up and going better than ever this summer, I figured that I would write a post to help guide any of you reading on how to be a better YOU.

  1. Healthy IS Happy: Making healthy decisions is key but there are so many subcategories to health… (for the sake of this post, I will just focus on the three main ones)
    1. Physical – Exercise, drinking water, getting enough sleep, resting, being active…all of these things are seriously SO important! Setting routines to help better contruct your healthy lifestyle definitely helps you feel good. Plus, eating healthy is really key! I have made recent changes from heavier dairy (like milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.) and minimized it while replacing regular milk with almond milk and things like that. I find that when I am eating better, I feel a lot better too. Instead of three meals a day, I eat several smaller ones throughout and have a heavier breakfast to avoid a later dinner.
    2. Emotional – Stress is bad and we all know it but every emotion in itself can change how we live day to day. By taking emotional checks through creating art or writing down/journaling your emotions, you may find yourself in better balance as well.
    3. Spiritual – Your beliefs are also incredibly important to take note of. I find that the more mindful I am of spirituality on a personal sense, the more aware of myself and the world around me I am. Get some sunlight, relax, and take in the world around you every once in a while.
  2. Newness: Finding newness in your life is incredibly rewarding. Every day is a new day and while that may seem super cliche, it is so very true! I love keeping a regularly scheduled lifestyle fresh by bringing in newness whether that means exploring a new area for the first time, finding a new hobby to pick up (or at least, try), or setting a goal for a week that goes slightly outside my comfort zone. There are so many ways to keep your life new and exciting and by bringing newness into your life, you just may find a way to better yourself in the process.
  3. Accept Yourself: There is so much talk lately about coming to terms with loving yourself but before that, I think it is important to simply accept yourself. Know that you are enough and the only person in the world you have to be happy with is yourself. Once you accept and love yourself, confidence and happiness will follow.
  4. Past, Present & Future: I personally find myself trapped in the confinements of always looking into the past or getting new overwhelmed by the present or freaking out about the future. While these elements of our lives are almost unavoidable, I find that if you take some serious reflecting time for all three, it may better help you in general. Reflect on where you came from and even the smaller elements of your past and search for connections to the present. Sort out today’s chaos and then use those connections and patterns to help guide your thoughts about the future.

The key to all of this though, is giving yourself control. Sometimes, being in control makes everything feel even more chaotic (and, well, less in control) but as it turns out, if you keep yourself balanced and find some level of control with your life, it will benefit you greatly. The key to being a better you is to find a way to balance your life in a way that keeps you healthy and happy.

That being said, this has been a very different blog post than things in which I have posted in the past and I hope you have enjoyed it! I still post weekly on YouTube (youtube.com/sarahfhamilton) so feel free to subscribe if you have not done so already. This summer, I am hoping to post more on YouTube and this blog so keep updated! As always, if you want to share your experiences or simply say hi, I am also on Twitter and Instagram @sarahfhamilton.

me

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VIBBIDI APP FEATURE!!!!

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT!

I teamed up with Vibbidi, a social media video sharing app and website for filmmakers! It’s like YouTube but curated with more cinematic based content. Whether you are a viewer or creator, this app is definitely for you!

But what’s the big deal, you ask?

As you may know, I run a smaller YouTube channel and i’m currently studying film and television production at Loyola Marymount University. While a LOT of the content I create, I put online, there still is a small percentage of projects that don’t really end up anywhere and Vibbidi has granted me the opportunity to post exclusive content! While everybody on the app can post content, I have created a microseries (one minute per episode legnth) exclusive to the app! This microseries has been absolutely incredible to work on and it’s a bit different from what you may be used to seeing me create.

The ONLY way to see the exclusive videos is to download Vibbidi on the app store! It’s FREE and definitely worth your while. When you do, you’ll be asked to sign up for an account. Remember to use my code: SARAH to get direct access! My user name is @sarahfhamilton and my studio is Syrena Productions. (Links for the website version below)

http://vibbidi.com/studio/syrenaproductions

My first posted web series is called, “CREATIVITY” and many fun future series and episodes are in the works so you definitely don’t want to miss this fun oportunity!

me

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Be Your Own Boss!

IMG_9925

Hey there!

I have recently come to realize that YES, I do a LOT of things at once. Working on three books, a YouTube channel, this site, two web series, a micro series, and still managing classes, relaxing, a social life and everything else is pretty overwhelming. Nonetheless, it is SUPER rewarding and when others question how I do it, I have answers.

I hope that this post inspires you to go and do whatever it is that you want to do. People tend to get stuck in this mind set of being so busy working on just one or two things. However, the key to being your own boss and achieving everything and anything is avoiding procrastination and following some simple life choices.

  • Procrastination is the worst, and while it cannot necessarily be completely eliminated, it can be avoided. Once procrastination is avoided on a regular basis, it becomes easy to do a lot more.
  • Movement is also key…sunshine, being out and about, being with others and going out are all key to feeling more capable of doing things. Have that latte, take a walk, see the world…not only does movement inspire, but it also gets you in the right mind set.
  • Being healthy is also key! Working out, eating right, and staying hydrated keeps you from feeling sluggish…which ultimately leads for you to be more in the mood to get stuff done!
  • Keep organized and on track! If you write down in a cute notebook the things you need and want to do, not only is it more fun to look at, but it helps organized the increasing chaos in your life so you don’t have to forget things.
  • Treat-Yo-Self! Every once in a while, relax and do what you want to do! Taking a moment away from the beautiful chaos in your life is the way to keep yourself fresh and less likely to burn out!
  • Do as much as you can handle. It can be hard to figure out at first how much you should handle on a regular basis, but start small and work up slowly and soon enough you can do it all! (Or, at the very least, attempt it!)

Keep track of the things you need to do (school, work, family, friends, etcetera) and what you want to do and soon enough you will be able to manage everything! Sometimes, I don’t even realize how much I am trying to do at once until I write it all down or talk to somebody else about it, but as long as you have a nice, healthy balance of everything, you will be able to achieve it all and become your own boss!

Comment below or tweet @LockerStyler what keeps you motivated!

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Interview With Author, Jessica Brody!

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I just got the amazing opportunity to interview author, Jessica Brody! Back during the 2015 Teen Book Festival this past May, I got to meet her and since she is so nice and inspiring, it has been such a privilege to interview her for this site!

  1. What inspired you to start writing?

In second grade I turned in a four page book report (the assignment was to write one paragraph) and the teacher made such a huge deal about it. I really couldn’t understand why. Writing just came naturally to me. At that moment I remember wanting to be a writer. But somewhere along the way I convinced myself that I needed to get a “serious” job…you know, one that comes with dental insurance. So I majored in Economics in college (very serious!) and went on to be a financial analyst for MGM Studios. It wasn’t until years later that I realized “serious” wasn’t for me. So I quit to pick up where I left off at age seven.

  1. How did you go about getting your first book published?

It was really really difficult! It took me five years to sell my first book. Actually my “first” book was never published. It’s still sitting on my shelf! I tried for three years to get an agent for that book and eventually started a new book that would become my first published novel. After five years, I finally landed my first agent and she sold my book in only 10 days! That’s the power of a good agent.

  1. What is your favorite book/ who is your favorite author?

Oh, my, I have so many! Here are some of my top 5 (in no particular order!)

ROOM by Emma Donoghue

THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

Also, pretty much anything by Sophie Kinsella!

  1. If you could spend a day in one of your stories, which one would you choose?

Oh, what a great question! Not sure I’ve ever been asked for that! I would love to spend a day in UNCHANGED, the third book in the Unremembered trilogy. It’s a pretty scary world, but the technology is just SO cool (I’m a huge tech nerd, so it was super fun to invent all sorts of new gadgets). It’d be nice to spend a day there knowing I can escape!

  1. What is your favorite memory as an author?

I think every time the first copy of my latest book comes in the mail. I just received my first advance copies of A WEEK OF MONDAYS (which releases in August 2016) last week and it was truly an amazing moment. You would think by the ninth book, you’d be jaded and go, “Oh, cool” and then just toss the thing aside. But you don’t. Each book is more exciting than the last! I spend about twenty minutes just touching the cover, making sure it’s really real.

  1. Are any of your characters based on yourself or people you know?

Actually yes! I do this a lot, actually. I think picking characteristics from real people and inserting them into your characters help make them feel more real. I based one of the boys in MY LIFE UNDECIDED on a boyfriend I had in high school. He even has the same name and drives the same car as my ex did! And the funniest part was, I hadn’t spoken to this guy since high school and right when I finished writing the book, he Facebooked me out of the blue to say hi. It was really surreal. He must have knew on some level that I was writing about him.

  1. What do you do to overcome writer’s block?

I actually don’t believe in writer’s block! That’s how I deal with it. I think it’s a mental thing. When you believe yourself to be blocked, presto! You are! When you refuse to acknowledge that it even exists, it doesn’t. I actually wrote an entire blog post about this very phenomenon! You can read it here: http://www.jessicabrody.com/2014/03/the-condition-which-shall-not-be-named-5-tips-for-outsmarting-whisper-writers-block/

  1. Where do you see yourself in upcoming years?

Hopefully still writing! Seriously, if I can do this job for the rest of my life, I’ll be one happy camper.

  1. Can you tease any information about upcoming projects? If so, what?

Of course! I have four books coming out in the next two years! I’m so excited! Here’s what’s coming up:

BOYS OF SUMMER (April 2016): After spending nearly every summer together on the beautiful Winlock Harbor, three best friends—Grayson, Mike, and Ian—return to the island to discover they are each dealing with a personal tragedy that will test the strength of their friendship.

A WEEK OF MONDAYS (August 2016): After her boyfriend breaks up with her on the worst day of her life, sixteen-year-old Ellie finds herself stuck in the same horrible Monday over and over and decides to use her unique situation to attempt to save her relationship.

ADDIE BELL’S SHORTCUT TO GROWING UP (Early 2017): My first middle grade novel about a twelve-year-old girl, tired of her “immature” peers and eager to grow up, who makes a wish on a magic jewelry box to be sixteen and wakes up to find her entire life has been fast-forwarded four years. But she soon discovers a lot more has changed than she expected.

UNTITLED (Summer 2017): This one is still under wraps! I hope to be able to share information about it soon!

  1. What would you say to inspiring young writers?

Don’t be afraid to write badly. All writers have awful first drafts. That’s why they’re called first drafts. Sometimes you have to just get through the story before you can make it pretty. I think a lot of new authors quit halfway through the book because they’re afraid that it’s not good. The first draft won’t be good. Just finish it and fix it later. The hardest part about writing a book is getting to that last page. Don’t be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer.

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COMING IN 2016!

 

Boys of Summer – April 5, 2016 – Simon & Schuster

A Week of Mondays – August 2, 2016 – FSG/Macmillan

 

Follow Jessica at the following links!

www.JessicaBrody.com

Follow me on Twitter @JessicaBrody

Find me on Facebook

Thank you so much to Jessica for this great interview and I know that I will be reading her upcoming books!

 

Stay Inspired!

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Interview With Alexis Shafira Cunningham!

www.carlarheakids.com, Carla Rhea; ENGAGEMENT photographer; COUPLES head shots, head shots for kids, actor head shots, ADULT head shots, oc HEAD SHOTS & FAMILY photographer; L.A. MODELS & HOST photographer; Carla Rhea, Orange County HEAD SHOT Photographer, NEWPORT BEACH, ORANGE, NYC, NEW YORK CITY, Irvine Photographer, Los Angeles, KIDS
Hello!

I recently had an opportunity to meet an incredible young singer here in sunny LA. Of course, I had to interview her. Alexis’ journey, talents, and dreams are incredible and her abilities are incredibly inspiring. Here’s what she had to say…

What inspired you to start singing?

I was inspired to sing by going to an Alicia Keys concert at four years old.  Seeing Alicia Keys on stage made me fall in love with performing.  The fans were amazing, the music sounded great, she looked beautiful, and I felt her energy.  I want other people to feel that same energy when I sing. Also, I am inspired by my feelings to write and sing songs.  Whatever I feel, I just write and sing about it.

Who inspires you the most?

My vision board really inspires me to be the best.  I have singers on there such as: Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, The Beatles etc. I have pictures of awards that I would like to win on my board, professional teams I would like to sing for, Interviewers that I would love to sit down and interview with, places I want to travel, and other goals I see myself accomplishing. 

What are your goals for the future?

My goal for the immediate future is to record an album in the studio.  My long term goals are to continue my training, become the best singer/songwriter in the world, inspire others to live their best life, make songs that will be the soundtrack of my fans lives, have a charity to help children in need, and to become a movie star.

What is one of your favorite memories?

My favorite memories involve my three little sisters.  We sing together every day all day.  We really love getting together and  singing for Christmas and all of our family come over to  watch us.

If you could perform anywhere, where would you choose?

If I could perform anywhere, it would be live on America’s Got Talent.  I would love to perform on that show.  It’s been a dream of mine for years to perform on National Television in front of the world.

How do you juggle your career, school, and life?

It’s really hard juggling my career, school , and life.  I do not have a lot of free time to myself. I have to stick to a schedule in order to get task completed. Also, I make singing and everything that I do fun.   

How old were you when you discovered your passion and talent for singing?

I discovered my love for dancing at two years old.  I discovered my passion for singing at four years old.  I began making songs at four and putting on shows for my family shortly after.

What would you say to inspire others follow their dreams as well?

I would tell anyone who is pursing their dreams  to push past their fears and step into greatness.

Her website can be found at www.alexisshafira.com and her latest link can be found at https://youtu.be/scYTLppFays

I want to say thank you so much again to Alexis for letting me interview you and for you readers, I hope that this post inspired you since it definitely inspired me.

Stay Inspired & Follow Your Dreams!

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PHOTO CREDS: www.carlarheakids.com, Carla Rhea; ENGAGEMENT photographer; COUPLES head shots, head shots for kids, actor head shots, ADULT head shots, oc HEAD SHOTS & FAMILY photographer; L.A. MODELS & HOST photographer; Carla Rhea, Orange County HEAD SHOT Photographer, NEWPORT BEACH, ORANGE, NYC, NEW YORK CITY, Irvine Photographer, Los Angeles, KIDS

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Interview With Author, Nina Revoyr!

 Hello!

Recently I had the amazing opportunity to interview Nina Revoyr, author of several books including “Southland” and her most recent novel, “Lost Canyon”. I read “Southland” as a suggested read through the college I am attending and in November, I will be attending one of her events being held on campus. It was really great getting to interview her and here’s what she had to say…

     What did you want to be when you were young?

I always wanted to be a writer—I always wanted to tell stories.  Beyond that, really, I wanted to play sports. I played basketball through high school and part of college.  But if I were in my teens or twenties now, I’d want to climb mountains—a passion I came to late, which is probably a good thing.

    What inspired you to start writing?

I started writing for the same reason I loved reading—to keep myself company, and to enter a world that’s different than the everyday one I live in.  That’s still fundamentally the same reason I write now—to create a world that’s different, and more ordered, than the real one.

   What’s your favorite book?

I’m not sure I have one favorite book.  But if I could only take a few books with me to a desert island, they would include Beloved by Toni Morrison, Emily Dickinson’s poems, a collection of James Baldwin’s essays, A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean, and a few others that change depending on when you ask me.

    If you could be in any of your stories, which one would you choose?

My new one, Lost Canyon.  It’s an adventure gone wrong in the Sierra Nevada.  I love mountains, and I love adventure, and while the characters run into some tough situations, that’s also kind of exciting.

   What is your favorite place to visit in LA?

I have several favorites. The Watts Towers for sure.  Little Tokyo. Sacred Cove in Palos Verdes.  I love my own neighborhood of Glassell Park—the views in every direction are amazing.  And the San Gabriel mountains—technically L.A. County, not city, but it’s amazing that we have real mountains, with bears and mountain lions and longhorn sheep, right here bordering the city.

   What/who inspires you?

Great writing inspires me.  And people who work to help other people, to help communities.  I am constantly humbled by the efforts of the people who work at my nonprofit—as well community residents and activists in Watts, and the Rampart/Westlake area.

   What’s your new book about?

Lost Canyon is about a multiracial group of people from Los Angeles who go on a backpacking trip to the Sierras and have everything go wrong. They run into some bad guys who are indicative of things we’re facing in our country right now, and they end up having to run for their lives. 

    What was your favorite book to write?

I’ve loved writing all of them.  But the first one—The Necessary Hunger—and the new one were probably the most fun.  Southland was really hard at first, but then I finally figured out what I was doing.

   If you were anything else, what would you be?

My personal fantasy would be mountain climber or adventure athlete.  But professionally, my fantasy job would be detective.

    Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I hope to have written two more books by then.  And to have hiked a lot more trails in the Sierra, and have climbed another mountain or two. I also hope to still be doing work that’s important to me.

   What would you say to inspiring writers and/or people moving to LA?

For writers: read everything you can, write about what you care about, and stick with it.  For people moving to L.A.: get outside!  There’s a lot of beautiful stuff out there.  And go visit other parts of the city. We have such an amazing variety of people, cultures, food.  Go out and take advantage of it.

Thank you so much again, Nina, for making this interview possible! If you would like to keep up with Nina’s works, check her out at the following links:

WEBSITE: http://ninarevoyr.com/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/NinaRevoyr

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