Goodbye, winter caps—hello, summer hats! It’s that glorious time of year where many of us can switch from content creators to content consumers. NYWIFT members Mellini Kantayya and Kathryn O’Kane have put together #SummerHours, a series of fun summer books, movies, and TV shows by or about women.
By Mellini Kantayya
One wonderful aspect of being an actor is that learning is a continual, never-ending endeavor—and summer is a great time to sharpen, expand, and gain skills. Instead of the usual books on process and auditioning, here are two books that have nothing to with acting that I have found invaluable.
Mindfulness, by Ellen Langer: Ellen Langer is a social psychologist and the first female professor to receive tenure at Harvard University’s department of psychology. In Mindfulness, Langer makes her extensive research accessible to the lay reader. I first learned of Ellen Langer on the podcast On Being in 2015, which is shocking considering she’s been dubbed “the mother of mindfulness” and has authored 200 research articles and eleven books on the subject. Though being mindful, or in-the-moment, is the optimal state for an actor, the concept completely alluded me until I discovered Langer’s work. Previously, I saw mindfulness as a lofty (if not hippy-dippy) goal, achieved through hours of yoga, tai chi, meditation, and the like. Langer’s approach is elegant and easy: hone the simple act of noticing. That’s it.
Presence, by Amy Cuddy: Amy Cuddy is also a social psychologist and Harvard professor. Many will recognize her from her TED Talk on power-posing (watch and you’ll never hunch over your phone in an audition waiting room ever again). The talk outlines research on how our body language not only informs how other see us, but how we perceive ourselves and our overall outlook down to the cellular level. The book builds on those studies, and is aptly subtitled “bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges.” It illustrates research-back means to do just that. Among the takeaways are practical, science-based methods to boost confidence, be in an optimal state for performance, and quell those audition nerves.
(Cover photo by Bridgette Matthews)
Happy Black History Month! At NYWIFT we are celebrating the Black creators and artists in our membership, while honoring Black culture & cinema throughout history. Today’s spotlight is on our member Brianna Seagraves, an actress, writer, and award-winning producer. Brianna shares her acting inspirations and her directorial debut at the Billie Holiday Theater.READ MORE
In early August, NYWIFT made Kris Rey’s new feature I Used to Go Here available for streaming and presented a conversation with the writer/director and lead actress Gillian Jacobs. I Used to Go Here is the story of a young woman in her mid-thirties, Kate Conklin, whose first novel has been released and the consequences of a lack-luster response to the book.READ MORE
The feature length documentary, Olympia, celebrating the life and career of Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, will have a national LIVE streaming premiere in North America on July 9th at 8pm ET, followed by a Q&A, with a special premiere screening in Greece and Europe at 1pm ET on July 10th and an exclusive ‘virtual cinema’ release beginning Friday, July 10th.READ MORE
Casting director Brette Goldstein has cast over 40 independent films—many of which have won awards and been official selections at major film fests, including Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes—as...READ MORE