Gives us an inside look into the inner circle of stunts.

Belive it or not, the art of stunts is practically separate from the art of acting. Many are under the impression that film actors perform their own stunts. While that maybe true in some cases, it is more common that actor's are given stunt doubles to perform a range of actions that can be as simple as a fall, or as complicated as an entire fight scene. Stunts take planning, choreography, memorization, and hours of practice. Imagine a dance routine, but with flips, kicks, punches, and falling over all day long. One would think there are several bumps and bruises along the way, and there can be, but most of the time, a good stunt actor has perfected what they call, "the art of falling gracefully."

Stunt expert (and some may even say stunt celebrity) Christopher Troy (@christophertroyofficial), took us behind the scenes at the Joining All Movement (JAM)gym located in Reseda, CA. JAM is one of the central training spots for the inner circle of stunt performers in Hollywood. Tucked away in a plaza, JAM offers a realm of space and crash pads/pits for professionals preparing for the next big thing. Christopher, who generally goes by Troy, was already in session when LIA arrived at the scene. Troy has an array of stunt credits for major feature films and television shows including Shameless, S.W.A.T., Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Walking Dead,and even Christopher Nolan's up and coming TENET. Troy's next big project is choreographing a fight sequence with fellow colleagues Michaela Mcallister, Jenn Khoe and Emmy winning director Mickey Finnegan for Mom Fight@momfightmovie.

Troy began the interview by making introductions with the talented team members and then took us through his warm up. It is important to get the blood flowing and the muscles flexible when preparing for a sequence that involves a heavy level of kicking, jumping and even fencing. After twenty minutes., everyone was ready to review the choreography with Troy, who oversaw what movements work and what movements needed to be adjusted. The process took hours, but Michaela and Jenn kept at it even after the interview concluded. Another normal day in the stunt world. It is better to be over prepared than under prepared. Communication between the stunt coordinator and director is key in an effort to make the sequence look its best, while watching out for the safety of the performers.

Joining All Movement JAM Gym -Located: 18242 Sherman Way Reseda, CA 91335

Q: We hear getting into the stunt world is tricky. How did you get your big break and how can others learn how to break into the business? A: I started out in the entertainment industry as a professional breakdancer way before I even considered stunts as a career. I had the advantage of already working on film and tv as a dancer so when I made my decision to focus on becoming a stuntman I was lucky enough to know a couple of people in that field of film. I was teaching dance class at Joining All Movement (A training facility owned by top talent stuntmen Travis Wong/Aaron Toney/Jake Huang) When I got my first real stunt job because of Travis Wong (thank you). I was hired to be an actors breakdancing

double, then later in the same episode I was thrown through a table. After that I was hooked on stunts! With that said, stunts is very much about safety first. I was hired because Travis had known me for a few years and trusted me to perform the job without hurting myself or others. When thinking about becoming a stunt performer a few things that could help you get started are training with those already working in the field-Building your skill set up to be good at different types of stunts like rigging, fire and fire safety, water safety, weapons training, and driving. (Just because you can fight and are willing to hit the floor does not make you a stuntman)- Doing freebies. Basically, tell everyone who you admire that you’re free to help them with there projects. It’s the perfect way to show your abilities and to build a trustworthy relationship.

Q: Is it true that it is difficult to be both an actor and do stunts? Why are the two encouraged to be separate fields? A: Yes. From a stuntman’s point of view it’s like this. I need a stunt team that are full of the best performers. There are a ton of people trying to break into the industry by any means necessary and will lie about there skill level to book a job. We can’t have someone lie, mess up and then accidentally kill someone or themselves. So a coordinator can be hesitant about hiring someone who lets them know they are not 100 percent committed to stunts as there career. At the same time, we have really excellent stunt performers who are wonderful actors. They usually have proven themselves competent as a stunt performer outside of the acting world. Q: Do stunts audition for roles? Or is it mostly referral based? Is a stunt reel necessary? If so what do you recommend be included in the reel? A: Stuntmen do audition but it is pretty rare. If the script says Bad guy #2 yells “Don’t move or I’ll shoot!” The coordinator may have you send in a self tape to get you approved through production. Other auditions may be from a stunt team looking to add one more person that fits a certain look to the core team before starting up a show. For the most part it is by referral, again stunts is safety. A stunt reel is a very smart thing to have.

It’s just another tool to use when meeting a new coordinator. seeing you do something as opposed to taking your word usually works best. In your firstreel keep it short and to the point, show what you’re good at, hopefully it’s wrecking, fight choreography, and fire high fall or driving. If not, work at it until you are. End it with your contact info and a picture of yourself. Q: What are your thoughts on those like John Bernecker and Olivia Jackson, who have suffered serious injuries or even death doing stunts?A: It’s heartbreaking. Injury is definitely something that comes with this job and everyone who signs up knows what they’re getting into. Occasionally something will go terribly wrong and the whole community feels it. This is why safety comes first, nobody should lose life or limb for a make believe show. Both of these performers did there job exactly and something was mismanaged on set leading to such a result. Q: Have you ever had any close calls? Any stories you can share?A: Depends what you mean. There are plenty of times right before they yell action I laugh to myself and say “I could probably die right now.” Fortunately that never happens. I have been to the hospital a few times though. I have had cuts bruises, torn muscles and scratched corneas. I received grade three concussions resulting in vomiting from landing too hard from a fall and I put my front teeth through my face getting tripped in a fight. Q: Would you recommend having an agent or manager? Why?/Why Not? A: Within the stunt industry it really isn’t necessary, your coordinator can hire you directly and they usually let you know your rate.

From Left - Stunt Colleagues Jenn Khoe, Michaela Mcallister, Stunt Coordinator Christopher Troy, and Director Mickey Finnegan Mickey reviews how the stunt sequence looks on his phone. The team breaks down areas that work and areas of improvement.

Q: What project(s) are you working on currently? What can you share with us about them? Who is involved? A: I was fortunate enough to just finish up on a Christopher Nolan film with Robert Pattinson. I am currently Action Designing a feature film that will be going into production by the end of the year. Along with that I will continue to fill my time with shooting short films and working on TV shows. Q: What has been the most rewarding thing about stunts? What is the most challenging?A: The most rewarding thing about stunts to me is the amount of creative control you receive when working on a project. We get to build all the action which is usually the fun stuff. The most challenging is the vast amounts of time spent working and training. If you aren’t obsessed with action or filmmaking then I don’t think this job is for you. I spend almost everyday that I’m not getting paid to do stunts training stunts at the gym or filming my own projects. Q: If you could change or add anything to the industry, what would you change or do Why?A: I would change the notoriety of the stunt team. most of the time the most memorable part of the movie was an action scene. People can name the actor and director but not the stunt double and stunt coordinator who built and executed your favorite part of the movie. Q: Are there stunt awards like there are Oscars for actors? A: There are, its called the Taurus Awards and the winners get a giant winged statue much bigger than an Oscar.Q: Any closing thoughts for aspiring talent?A: If you have a passion for stunts, work hard, work hard, work hard. It’s a marathon not a sprint. See you at the movies!

#stunts #christophertroy #themarvelofstunts #behindthescenes

By: Vik Pisipati

Vik Pisipati is the founder of Ink & Opium, an interior design firm based in Los Angeles that specializes in creating ‘well-traveled’ interiors. Ink & Opium offers full service interior design, e-design packages, design consultations, and fine art consulting.

IG: @VikMilan

Photo Courtesy by Teri Bocko IG: @teribocko

When I decided to finally pull the trigger on moving to LA to build my interior design business, Ink & Opium,I faced a new design challenge in the form of a Koreatown rental apartment with no respect for my need for symmetry and proportion.

The design concept I landed on was “Dandy Hunting Lodge.” Just the simple “hunting lodge” theme would be a stretch, considering I’m the type to show up to a hike in Mongolian cashmere and Paul Smith loafers and wonder why I’m unable to make it more than a quarter mile before giving up and calling an Uber. But I couldn’t forget the style of the mountain stations in the Himalayas and stretches throughout India I’d fallen in love with during my travels there. So I took the aged metals, patinas, and nods to natural elements and gave them a shellac of my personal flamboyance to create what felt like an appropriate home base for the person behind my brand.

The one piece I insisted on bringing with me on the move to LA was also the most ridiculous to maneuver – a bar made from the front of an auto- rickshaw that originally met its demise in India’s desert kingdom of Rajasthan. I’ve moved so many times over the past ten years, from Philadelphia to Mexico City then on to Buenos Aires, Paris, Shanghai, Seattle, and finally Los Angeles, so I’ve only been able to keep my very favorite things. So besides the auto-rickshaw, I had with me only two suitcases and a few other pieces small enough to fit the average cardboard box when sand and sun called me here.

With antique, vintage, and refinished pieces, creating the right backdrop is essential to tie everything together. For example, the apartment’s ‘80s-era office canola oil beige walls were not doing it for me, so I began the long and unglamorous re-painting process, running a roller of pure white on every plane to maximize the light and make the artwork pop. I also added two accent walls, one in Baby Seal Black by Benjamin Moore, the other a custom nautical blue for a calming pacific vibe in the bedroom.

Living Room - The sofa is embellished with cushions from CB2 and flanked by a vintage art deco lamp and Jonathan Adler mirrored table. A vintage French poster and silkscreen panels from an old LA textile factory add a pop of color to the room. The room is anchored by a high-pile silk rug and a dresser from the Pebble Beach Ritz Carlton, refinished in grey.

Getting the rest right took an entire year. I’ve realized that in the same way writers have to have drafts before the final, so do designers. Only they get to use the delete key. We have to spackle, touch-up, or return. I’m very picky with furniture (as it is my literal job), and ended up refinishing four dressers that I bought second-hand, including an old castaway from the Pebble Beach Ritz-Carlton.

Due to tiny apartment syndrome, I’d had to keep some of my favorite pieces stored away until I moved to LA but they finally got to see the light of my living room window. I gave a signed Dr. Seuss lithograph front row in the bedroom. Original paintings from Mexican artist and close friend Liliana Ang demanded the length of the hallway as well as the bedroom gallery wall. After this project’s literal blood (splinters, splinters, splinters), sweat (I don’t recommend moving a sofa on your own), and tears (crying in the Taco Bell parking lot after three 20-hour work days in a row), I also gave myself as a housewarming present a Kaws “Companion” statue. He now lives happily on a plinth in my living room.

When renting apartments, we have no choice but to wholeheartedly embrace imperfection, work within limits, and learn to coexist with the questionable design decisions made by builders, lest we want to kiss our security deposit goodbye with each move. As the incomparable Judge Judy says, “Don’t try to teach a pig to sing. It doesn’t work, and it annoys the pig.”

I realized that when designing in a rental apartment, there are going to be things that I can’t change. It’s useless to waste time agonizing over them, so I just put on my big boy pants and work around them. In my apartment, the pendant light that was already installed in the dining area without any regard to centering kept me wondering if it was the installer who was drunk or me. I had to resist the urge to get out the sledgehammer. But, like always, I ultimately learned to live with it. When it’s your own home, eventually you forget it’s there, especially if you design a beautiful room around it. And as long as you keep your guests’ drinks topped up, they will eventually cease to notice it, too.

As I do with my Ink & Opium design brand, I aimed to create a meaningful space that feels like an extension of a life well-lived and well-traveled. My clients come to me looking for something truly unique that expresses where they came from and where they’re going. It isn’t enough to create pretty rooms with sensible furniture – you have to infuse a deeper message into both the overall design concept and minute details to design a home that is going to be the place that puts a smile on someone’s face at the end of a long day. I use my own home as my laboratory, to test all of my ideas, and I’m happy with how beautifully this particular experiment has turned out.

#VikPisipati #artistscorner #ImperfectInteriors #ReflectionsonanLAApartment #interiordesigner

Dining Area - The dining area features a steel and bronze dining table and a vintage marquee light. The white hutch is accented by custom made brass hardware from India. Antique blackamoor statues and an indian brass vase sit in front of a cowhide mirror from CB2.

By: Dr. Menije Boduryan-Turner

Dr. Menije Boduryan-Turner of Embracing You Therapy is a leading expert on overcoming perfectionism and building an authentic life. When she works with her clients individually or as couples, the goal is to turn the judgment to compassion and the pain into purpose. We all create narratives about our lives, giving meaning to what we have been through and what is currently happening. Therapy with Dr. Menije is to uncover these stories you have been telling yourself so that you are judgment-free. Dr. Menije knows that her clients are completely capable of busting out of their comfort zone, taking ownership of their dreams, and creating a new sense of self. Dr. Menije is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Los Angeles, CA. She was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, and moved to Los Angeles with her family in 1999. She lives with her husband and their 2-year-old daughter. While raising a toddler can take up all of her time, Dr. Menije values the time she gets to spend on her self-care, which include spending time with family and friends, yoga and meditations, and listening to podcasts.

Photo Courtesy by Carolyn Devine

Have you been in a long-term relationship with perfectionism?

Has it been your partner in crime for a while? Would you like to end it but don’t know how? Whether it’s in our personal or professional life, everyone has been a perfectionist in one area or another to some intensity.

Perfectionism is a personality trait that has been learned and reinforced through experience. There are a lot of ways it can shape you and run your life. If you are experiencing perfectionism, you also like to be in control. You have a hard time delegating responsibility and trusting that others can do it well too. You may double or even triple check your work. Sometimes, you may never complete a task because there is always something more to add. Did you know that people who procrastinate also struggle with perfectionism? The reason you may be procrastinating is that it may never be the “right” time to start. The long list of to-do items can feel so daunting that you may never start.

As a perfectionist, you may also have a big fear of making mistakes. You come to believe that any mistake or a flaw is detrimental and signs that you are not good enough. You now have low tolerance for imperfections and want all results to come out flawlessly. So you may seem indecisive, have a hard time making choices or starting something new because of these fears and need for perfectionism. You have a very clear way of doing things. If there is a change in schedule or something doesn’t go as planned you get upset, and either blame yourself or others. Other fears that lead to perfectionism can be fear of disappointing others and fear of failure. Perfectionism seems to be the right armor to protect you from these fears coming true.

Perfectionism shapes the way you think. There is a common thinking error called Black or white thinking, also known as all or nothing that alters your perceptions. You think in extremes and can’t tolerate anything in between. If any outcome is less than perfect, then it is automatically a failure.

Most importantly, Perfectionism can influence your self-esteem and self-worth. You come to measure your worth based on your accomplishments and validation from others. Dr. Brene Brown has pointed out that perfectionist people may have dangerous and debilitating belief system: “I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it” (Gifts of Imperfection).

Initially, perfectionism acts as an innocent force that motivates you to “do your best” and keeps you on track. But behind the curtains, there is anxiety, feeling not being good enough and stuck. It brings along other “friends” like depression, irritability, addiction, co-dependency, and poor sleep. We now know that perfectionism is different than striving for excellence. And it’s time to break up with perfectionism!

Give yourself permission to do things imperfectly! Take any small step forward without over analyzing the final destination. You will get more down if you take an imperfect action and adjust your direction as you learn along the way. Because the perfect circumstance and the time will never come, something is better than nothing.

Try to let go of control by asking for help and letting others take charge of some aspect of a task. Remember, it takes a village and you do not have to do it alone. One of my favorite activities is to ask my clients “if someone you love had the same perfectionist thought, what would you say to them.” Since we are always nicer to other than ourselves, you easily figure out how to reframe and come up with a more rational and realistic goal.

At last, make time for you and engage in self-care activities. One of the best ways to combat perfectionism is to take breaks and get rest. When we take time to rest and connect with things that makes us happy, we become more creative, more energetic, and attentive to pursue our goals. You will become a better version of yourself when you have a balance in your life.

#speakyourmind #perfectionism #breakingupwithperfectionism


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