Maybe You Weren't Born This Way

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Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 3.07.27 AM.pngSome lessons learned in acting and in life from the perspective of a world-renowned performance coach, whose ideology suggests that actors aren't necessarily born, but made.

The actors were already on the small studio stage by the time the 60 or so audience members scrambled for their seats. About half were observers of the acting workshop, notepads and pens at the ready. The other half was participants who would hit the stage later that day. All morning, the performers waited patiently for the acting coach to arrive from New York City. They had been working for months on their scenes, anticipating the day they would actually be trained by the one and only Tom Todoroff. Founder of his own acting studio and conservatory, Todoroff has been coaching and directing actors for theatre, film and television for over 36 years, having taught Liam Neeson, Bob Hoskins, Robert Wagner and Alicia Witt, to name a few.

The 11th hour finally hit. Todoroff entered the studio on that chilly Saturday morning in February, slipped past the audience and discretely made his way onto the stage. He sat on his director's chair, facing the audience and angled towards the first performers of the day. They took their positions.

Cue lighting. Enter Lady Capulet, stage right, her curly hair flying wildly behind her, her nightgown, free and flowing, falling just above her bare feet. She carried in her hands a breakfast tray and placed it at her daughter's bedside. Her daughter, Juliet, distraught from learning of the death of her beloved Romeo, sat up in bed slowly, surprised at her mother's presence in her chambers, but welcoming nonetheless.

Montreal to implement recycling laws for businesses

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Image: Credit J'ette Novakovich "Recycled Wall Art" Montreal

By 2015, the City of Montreal should have reached a recycling rate of 70 per cent -- a goal set by the provincial government in its action plan for household waste -- but in reality, Montreal's recycling rate has barely even attained its 2008 goal of 60 per cent. In the 2014 report on waste collection, which is released every second year, the recycling rate remains stagnant at 58.3 per cent -- a mere 0.3 per cent increase from 2012.

In a Montreal Gazette article published on Sep. 2 of this year, Réal Ménard, the executive committee member in charge of the city's environment portfolio, said that overall, the 2014 report is positive but there is still much work to be done. "Globally, we are sending less garbage to landfill sites," he explained. "We have to obviously continue our actions to encourage citizens to recycle more and participate in the new collection of food waste."

Go on, admit it -- you're a writer

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Writer.pngTo those of you who, like me, are chasing a dream that is seemingly out of reach; who have entered countless collaborations with the hopes of "making it";

who have dozens of unfinished creative projects hidden in an arbitrarily-named folder on your desktop;

who have endured internship after internship completing arduous tasks and hoping that maybe--someday--the company will find it in their budget to hire you; who, despite the monetary struggles, skeptical family members, disappointments, and failures, have still not given up--this blog is for you.

You're reading this because you can't help but feel a disconnect with people that surround you.

This is not to say you lack sympathy or sensitivity (you have plenty of that), but as an avid observer of the human condition, you are a spectator peering through a looking-glass--one with compelling characters whose stories are waiting to be told.

You're reading this because you are hell-bent on telling those stories.

If this is you on some level, then I may have some words that will inspire you to push and thrive, in spite of your inner doubts and latent fears.

For now, I leave you with this video-- a speech by Neil Gaiman that I wish I had heard years ago: