CultureSkills

This past summer, I had the great pleasure of working on my fourth music video for Dizzy Bats. The project was the second collaboration with LA-based director, Michael Chiu, who also directed and co-produced our music video for “Girls.”

For this particular project, the planning and production was done by Michael and the Director of Photography, Jeanna Kim. The two would have meetings on site at the restaurant we shot at to discuss direction, shot selection, and lighting. From there they picked out a crew to help bring this song and video to life.

On a hot Sunday afternoon in mid-July outside of LA, we all met up at Michael’s Burger around 3 PM, shortly after they had closed for the day. We utilized the entire restaurant and nearly everything at our disposal, which included burger patties and french fries to name a couple. The shoot lasted almost 14 hours and took an unfortunate turn when one of the crew members accidentally left with Michael’s car keys.  It was an absolutely exhausting but exciting day.

Over the last three years and four video shoots, I’ve learned that you really don’t need a lot of money to make a great video, and often times one simple concept can carry a project and make it great. The most important part of any collaboration is finding the right people to team up with; those who are equally driven and devoted to bringing your song to life. So to any bands out there looking to make a video for the first time, shop around for the right director and start brainstorming.

Bringing one of your songs to life through the art of film can be challenging, stressful, and intimidating. From production to shooting to editing to color correction, there is so much that needs to go right in order for a concept to be successfully carried out, and for a video to ultimately look great. In collaborating with so many film people, I continue to be blown away by the artistic drive of these talented individuals, as well as their amazing professionalism. It’s been fascinating to see the commonalities between the two art forms of film and music, while comparing our various stories. Art should never be limited to just one form, and through my work on these music videos, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the awesome marriage of music and film.

Check out Connor Frost’s Professional Spotlight here.

Image: Connor Frost

CultureHealth

“Beauty comes at a price.” There’s a sentence we have all heard, without doubt. Physical beauty, especially, comes at such a price. Waxing, bleaching, plucking, shaving, and threading…things all us ladies (and some men) have spent countless hours at the salon doing.  But as Americans, what’s our take on beauty? What’s physically attractive, and what’s not physically attractive? Who decides these rules? How do American standards of pulchritude compare to those of the Eastern world?

I am currently in India, and I had the chance to interview several people about what they believe is beautiful in a woman.  Here are a few perspectives from the East:

“When I marry the girl of my dreams, I want her to be as fair as the moon…lips as red as cherries, and very black hair. I think a girl like that would be very attractive.”

“Milky white skin. Like Kareena Kapoor and Tammanah Bhatia, the Bollywood actresses. Intellect would be a great addition to those looks, though.”

“As a girl, I’ve always been told to use fairness products. They’re supposed to elicit the true beauty out of me or something. I don’t know though, they don’t really work. But that’s what everyone wants: whiteness.”

I interviewed 12 people, but I had to stop because everyone said the same thing: fairness, whiteness, and lightness. Everybody seemed to be in love with the concept of being light-skinned. In fact, what I like to call the “Fairness Industry,” is booming not only in India, but in Asia as well. Take a look at these creams and their purpose:

beauty cream

Phrases like “healthy white” and “fair and lovely” capsize the mind at first glance. It almost seems as though being white and fair is associated with being “healthy” and “lovely.” Is this a social stigma? Do young Asian girls have to be fair-skinned to be beautiful? Skin bleaching products such as creams and gels certainly do exist in the USA, but they are nowhere near as popular there as they are in Asia as a whole. Where does the idea of equating attractiveness to fairness stem from?

Back in the day, those who toiled in the fields and struggled in blistering heat possessed a darker skin tone than those who remained indoors, living in luxury and royalty. Having darker pigmentation became easily associated with being poor or part of the working class. Skin color became associated with wealth, and those who were more affluent were also seen as more desirable.

Let’s zoom forward to present-day Bollywood. Recently, the Hindi film “Gori Tere Pyaar Mein” came out. The title literally translates to “In your love, fair-skinned girl.” Why not make a film called “Kali Tere Pyaar Mein,” or “In your love, dark-skinned girl?” Once again, movies in India emphasize the glowing fairness of girl as beautiful, leaving no room for the majority of the olive to tan to dark-complexioned people. With subliminal messages like this, those of us who are not fair are almost forced to believe that we are not as attractive to our white counterparts. I can provide a personal example of this, as one of my North Indian friends (who is quite fair in complexion) teased me for being a dark-toned South Indian (we inhabit areas closer to the equator, so what do you expect?) once. Since when is being more pigmented a sin? Why are fair people automatically deemed beautiful, while darker skinned girls struggle to earn that title?

What about America? What do American girls believe will make them look beautiful? The answer is essentially the opposite of Asia’s: America wants tan girls. The tanning industry prospers in America: fake tans, tanning beds, and other “tan-in-a-can” products are quite the profitable investment. When summer comes around, millions of girls rush to the beach to bronze themselves. I’ve seen girls from my high school spend their paychecks on tanning beds in the winter…yes, in the winter, when there’s barely any sun and being slightly pale is a commonplace occurrence. It’s ludicrous to see what our young girls do their skin…whether they want to bleach it or bronze it. I had several Caucasian friends tell me “Wow, I wish I was tan like you. Your tan lasts year-round.” It feels weird to be castigated by one community for being tan, and complimented by another for the same thing. Why can’t we all just be proud of our original skin color?

However, there is one characteristic of beauty that seemed to be popular in India and America: skinniness. Perhaps the struggle to be slim is a global epidemic, as well. Dieting pills, weight-loss programs, V-shapers…they’re everywhere. Magazines, movies, retweets made by several of my guy friends that I follow on Twitter all depict skinny actresses and models. As girls, we are constantly surrounded by sources that tell us that skinny is right and that people need to see our collarbones…or else we are just not beautiful.

And once we gain that skinny body through hours at gym and spent dieting, we need to show it off, don’t we? Let’s take a detour and play the skin game. The more skin you reveal, the sexier you are. That sentence should’ve made most of us feel somewhat uncomfortable. We live in a society where the female body is such a weird object: people want to see girls naked, but once they do, certain girls who exposed their bodies are slut-shamed. Girls are heavily imposed with a double standard in this sense. What do you want her to do? Take her clothes off? Will you still respect her after? These are the relevant questions that you should ask yourself if you’re interested in a particular girl. Find those answers and don’t dive into a cesspool of hypocrisy.

So girls, what makes you beautiful? Your complexion? Your weight? The amount of clothes you wear? Truly, there is no right answer. Society tries to oppress you with what it believes to be beautiful. Certain people assume that there is only one ideal look for beauty, whereas in reality, that’s just not that case. We need to celebrate our diversity. We can do so by not succumbing to a certain weight and pigmentation. If you want to wear a religious veil and cover your body, you should be allowed to do so. If you want to keep your original skin color, you should be allowed to do so. If you want to eat that juicy sandwich from McDonald’s, you should be allowed to do so. If you want to embrace your originality and the looks you were born with, you should be allowed to do so.

Your youth shouldn’t be spent on altering yourself physically to gain acceptance from society. It should be more about educating yourself and being happy. Society will always say one thing or the other, but it’s up to us to choose what we want to listen to.

Image: The Resurgence

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

Whether it is a role in the theater, on a television show, or in movies, Caroline Lindy will seriously impress you with her talent. A graduate of Kenyon college with a focus on Drama, Caroline not only has incredible acting skills, but she adds depth to her work with her study of dramatic literature. With diverse experiences on the sets of an operetta, Law & Order: SVU, Liberal Arts, and most recently a music video, Caroline is learning a lot and excelling in her career. Despite her success, Caroline also experiences self-doubt every now and then, but her positive outlook keeps her motivated. Continue reading to learn what advice Caroline has for youth interested in acting, what she has learned from being a working actress, and how she determined what to study in college.

Name: Caroline Lindy
Age: 24
Education: B.A. from Kenyon College
Follow: IMDb

How do you define ‘seizing your youth’?

I define “seizing your youth” as taking full advantage of these years where anything is possible and nothing is off limits. It’s about being open to everything and everybody. When you’re young, it’s your job to never stop learning, growing and figuring out what you want and need from life. It’s a time to take risks, fail, and as corny as it sounds, reach for the stars!

What did you major in at Kenyon College and how did you determine what to study?

Kenyon College has great Drama and English programs, and I was originally interested in studying English. Ultimately, I realized I was more interested in the process of analyzing and physicalizing works of dramatic literature rather than exploring works of fiction and non-fiction. I continued to take English courses but chose to focus on Drama more intensively, and it became my major.

What or who inspired you to become an actress?

I grew up in New York City, and I was lucky enough to have parents who took me to plays and musicals and made me watch Hollywood classic films. I danced next to the television set while watching Singing in the Rain and recited Shakespeare along with Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. I loved everything about the theater and the screen from a very young age. That exposure is what probably inspired me to pursue a career in the field.

Did you always know that you wanted to act professionally?

Yes, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself for a long time. I was too embarrassed to really audition for any plays until my senior year in high school. Entertaining people is scary territory, and it took me awhile to develop the confidence to be able to sometimes fail and embarrass myself in front of an audience.

What was your first professional acting role, and how did you go about securing it?

My first professional acting role was when I was in the sixth grade. I took an after-school musical class where we sang show tunes, and I performed with great gusto. The teacher knew the director of the Bronx Opera Company, and I landed my first role in their production of “Boccaccio”, an operetta. I played one of the village children and sang in the chorus, and I was totally delighted. It was the most exciting thing that could have happened to sixth grade Caroline Lindy.

You were in an episode of Law & Order: SVU. What was that experience like and what was your biggest take away?

The experience was very exciting! SVU films in NYC, but I got the email about an audition just as my plane landed back in Los Angeles after a visit to NYC. I quickly filmed my audition and sent it to the NY casting office. I got the part, and had to turn right around and fly back east. Filming only took a day, but was a total blast. Everyone was warm, welcoming and professional! I felt very lucky to have been given a role.

You are in the new Dizzy Bats music video, GIRLS. What was it like shooting a music video, and how is the process different than filming for a movie or television show?

Most music videos require actors to focus primarily on expressions and gestures as opposed to text and dialogue. I actually find shooting a music video to sometimes be harder than shooting a scene for screen, because you are provided with less information about your character and have to be comfortable just being yourself with a camera right on your face.

What was your favorite scene to shoot in the GIRLS music video? What was the hardest scene?

I really enjoyed the scene that we shot on the Ferris wheel.  The views of Los Angeles and the Malibu mountains off in the distance were truly breathtaking! The hardest scenes were the driving scenes. Connor [Frost] was driving and I kept on distracting him, almost causing us to get into minor accidents. Luckily we made it out alive. Don’t film and drive!

Caroline Lindy

What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned from being a working actress?

Stay a student. Never stop learning from people who have been in the industry for longer than you.  Don’t be afraid of rejection – it’s inherently part of the profession, so learn to accept it and move on. Once you stop being afraid of hearing the word “NO,” then you can start having more fun at auditions, and start showing casting directors and other industry folks your true artistry.

What advice do you have for youth who want to be professional actors/actresses?

Being a professional actress demands that you throw yourself into an incredibly competitive group of people with giant egos and enormous amounts of talent. However, it is also an industry that embraces the individual. The most important piece of advice I think I could give a young actress would be to just be you. When you’re just starting out, bring yourself into every audition, because there might be a million girls who look and sound similar to you, but there’s no one who is exactly you. So show that to the world! If this casting director doesn’t love you, the next one will! As long as you’re enjoying the process of building a career, don’t give up.

What does a day in your life look like?

When you’re an actress you have to be ready to embrace an unpredictable schedule. I get auditions notices throughout the week and therefore have to keep my schedule fairly open and flexible. I usually try to start off my day with physical and vocal warm ups, followed by auditions, classes or rehearsals (if I’m in a show). I’m also constantly taking on freelance work to supplement my income.

How do you overcome self-doubt or stage fright?

There are times when I feel terrified or feel like a failure, and I say things to myself like, “maybe I should go to Medical School.” However, I remind myself that my favorite feeling in the world is being on stage and feeling the energy of an audience. I love acting because I love entertaining people, I love telling stories and I love being around other people who like to create those stories with me. It’s my favorite thing to do, and it keeps me motivated and inspired.

What motivates you?

My parents, other family members and friends. Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to pursue this career.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Dare to be different! As long as you are a considerate, thoughtful and good person, who cares what people think of you? Be yourself and have fun. Life is too short to live any other way.

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

You’ve already met the manager and lead singer of Dizzy Bats, Connor Frost. Now it’s time to meet the drummer, Eric Segerstrom. While being Dizzy Bats’s drummer, Eric also attends Juilliard in New York City. Eric realized his passion for music at an early age and has pursued it relentlessly. Dizzy Bats has some exciting things happening in the next couple of months, including the music video release of their most recent single, Girls, which premieres today (check it out HERE)! Until then, let’s get to know some more about Eric… 

When did you join Dizzy Bats?
I joined Dizzy Bats in the fall of 2012, in September or October.

How do you contribute to the songwriting or music composition process?
Usually Connor will bring in songs that he’s written and I’ll come up with beats that I think would fit well. Then we go back and forth changing small things in both the song and the drum part until it’s somewhere where all of us like it.

What has been your favorite tour moment?
Although I’ve only been on one tour with DB, my favorite moment might’ve been when one of our shows got cancelled and we spent the whole day playing Star Wars monopoly, hah.

When did you realize you wanted to do music professionally?
Sometime in high school when I noticed that that’s really all I enjoyed doing/was good at doing.

Erik

What is your favorite Dizzy Bats song to play live?
Connor just wrote a song that’s super pop-punky and really loud and fast. I think we’re playing it on our next show, and its just a minute and a half of D-beat fun.

What is your pre-show ritual?
Hm, I don’t really think I have a “ritual.” I guess I try to stretch and tune all the drums before every show, so maybe that counts as a ritual?

How do you combat stage fright?
There’s this class I’ve had to take at college called Ear Training, and every week you have to get up infront of the class and do some form of recitation, which is anything from singing atonal melodies to performing insane rhythmic exercises. Having to do this every week for every year at school has kind of numbed me to performing in front of people. If I can mess up singing an interval in front of a class and get past it, I think I can mess up anything in front of a crowd and get past it.

 How many hours a day do you practice?
No where near enough.

Any tips for learning how to play an instrument?
Lessons can be great, but if you don’t click with your teacher, they can actually be detrimental. You do you and if you really want to, find someone who will help you do exactly what you want to do.

How has your experience at Juilliard influenced your work with Dizzy Bats?
Not very much. I’m at school for music composition, so all of my drumming stuff is just on the side.

Erik 2

Girls