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)
The AMC Networks Summit held at 74Wythe in Brooklyn, NY on September 28, 2022 brought together talent and network executives for moderated discussions centered around the company’s content and legacy from the past, present, and future — and to dissect the new and epic worlds coming to AMCN’s platforms, and introduce the next seminal characters that will capture the hearts and minds of viewers.READ MORE
We are thrilled to welcome new NYWIFT member Isi Laborde! Isi is a Brooklyn-based actor (AEA, SAG/AFTRA). Her film roles include Return to Montauk, directed by Academy Award-winner Volker Schlöndorff, and Jay-Z’s music video “Smile,” directed by Grammy-winner Miles Jay. She has had TV appearances in Facebook TV's Strangers and Paramount's Younger. Theater credits include The Bacchae at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club and Skip to My Lou at Theater for the New City. Isi spoke to us about her craft, how she kept up her creativity during COVID, and her dream role!READ MORE
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