I start shooting my next film this week. On Thursday to be exact…so soon!
Like most things in the crazy up and down industry I am a part of, this project came together a little bit last minute. And by last minute, I mean I had about 9 days notice…with some bumps along the way before knowing ALL the details.
This isn’t ALWAYS how it works, but it happens a lot. Sometimes I will book a movie and have to pack my bags, prep and leave within a few days notice- talk about needing to be able to go with the flow!
The crazy thing is I am NOT a spontaneous person- I don’t like being surprised by a last minute trip, I don’t like not knowing where I am going, when I am going, when I am going to get to eat lunch etc etc. Ben once threw me a surprised party and I was so shocked and uncomfortable that I started crying and had to walk out- such a loser HAHA! The meme about being a “ride or die” chick was basically MADE for me!
SOO the fact that my career and life in general is so uncertain and last minute is pretty ironic.
I have gotten so used to it though, and I definitely have a plan of attack for when moments like the one I am dealing with right now happen.
I am working in a different state, almost completely across the country in a city I have never been to before. I won’t have any of my creature comforts, my normal food, normal workouts etc etc. AND to put a cherry on top- I am shooting mostly nights while I am there. For those who don’t really know what this means: I’m on the graveyard shift.
When you watch a movie/tv show and its night time in the scenes- most of the time those scenes were shot at night, usually between the hours of 7pm-5am. It sort of depends on the time of year and sunset/sunrise has everything to do with hours, but you are working at crazy hours of the night when you would always normally be sleeping. It is a MAJOR ADJUSTMENT. And it sort of sucks. You feel weird, your food schedule is out of whack and worst of all- you have to sleep when it is light outside. It’ s rough. But it is only a week of it, so I can deal…I’ve certainly done it before!
I wanted to share a little bit about how I prep for something last minute like this (and any new project honestly) and how I manage to stay healthy, fit and happy while all my normal creature comforts are gone and my schedule is flipped on its head.
Stay healthy and fueled.
I bring a portable blender, my protein powder, collagen powder and favorite energy/protein bars with me so I can always make sure I have a healthy meal replacement if I need it. When I am shooting, I typically start my day with a protein shake. I use my protein powder, collagen and some fresh fruit and nut butter that I buy once I am at my new hotel home. I will eat a bar as a snack if I need one instead of resorting to eating junk food that is always on set (seriously, it’s everywhere and always SO tempting).
I also love a good coconut water or green juice as a snack to keep my hydrated and feeling good. In NYC and LA, you can basically find a green juice for sale on every street corner, but that’s not really the case in a lot of other US cities. So, the one place I know ALWAYS has a green juice and coconut water for sale is: Starbucks. And Starbucks is everywhere!! I get the “Sweet Green” by Evolution green juice and it is so yummy. I grab a few of each at a time and store them in my hotel fridge.
Aside from stopping at a Starbs, as soon as I get into the new city, I try to get myself to a super market and get some essentials: avocados, cans of low sodium salmon, almond milk, raw almonds, high fiber cereal, baby carrots and raw sweet potatoes. I ask the hotel for an extra mini fridge and a microwave. I microwave the sweet potatoes and eat them in chunks as a snack- not as good as my oven roasted ones, but they work in a pinch!
Finding a good gym that is close by can be a struggle in some smaller cities and most hotel gyms leave A LOT to be desired- total snooze fest! To be honest, I usually just stick to running while I am away for work. I use the Map My Run App and run 4-7 miles on average BEFORE I go to set. So for this shoot, I will most likely get up in the afternoon (so weird!) have some breakfast and go on the run right away. This leaves me time to come back make a collagen protein shake and have a little extra time to myself before leaving to shoot. I ask hotel staff for popular running routes and I ask if there are any areas that should be avoided- you NEVER want to get stuck in a sketchy area in a city you don’t know. I also look on the Map My Run app for routes other people have run in the area.
I know a lot of people really don’t like running, but it is such a great way to see a new city and take in sights on foot. I learn SO much about new towns I work in by running through them and finding little gems that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. I bring a visor to keep the sun out of my eyes and my Flipbelt with me so I can bring along my phone, a credit card and my ID. I always run with my ID just in case.
Other than running, I will find a local Crossfit box and drop in to a workout in the afternoon before shooting- it’s a really fun thing to do and it’s a great way to get a little group-fitness/weight training fix in while away. I also bring my Ab Slider Disks with me so I can do core work in my trailer or hotel room.
Adjust to the overnight schedule/ Creature comforts
SO, since I am in LA on west coast time, I am already a little prepped for the night time schedule, because where I am going to shoot it will be east coast time (3 hours ahead). BUT it will still take some adjusting. I am trying to go to bed a little later every night here before I leave…and the night before my first “day” of work, I will stay up LATE…I will workout late, read, eat late, watch TV…just try to be up as late as I can handle! I will also bring some melatonin with me so going to sleep in the mornings will be easier, along with a good sleep mask. This sleep mask feels like heaven- it is my absolute favorite!
I like to bring aromatherapy travel candles with me, and all my normal skincare/haircare products to make it feel a little more like home. I also bring some bubble bath and bath salts for when I really need some time to relax. And I can’t forget my favorite pillow from home- I am super picky about pillows, so having my favorite with me helps me get a better sleep every night.
So, aside from learning lines and preparing my character, I have a few personal things I always do prior to leaving for a film shoot. I get my hair color touched up, which I luckily did a few weeks ago so I am good to go. I use teeth whitener for 5-7 days, these are the ones I use. A bright smile is ALWAYS a good idea, and freshening them up really makes my teeth look great. I make sure I have all my supplements, medicines etc in order so I don’t have to scramble last minute. I get a lot of good workouts in because when I am working, I don’t get as much time to fit it in. And coupled with that, I eat super healthy so my immune system is strong and I am feeling my absolute best!
Then, I usually pack everything the day before I leave, after making a thorough list. I also spend basically all of my travel time reading/studying for the role.
That’s about it! I’m super excited and make sure to check my Instagram for all the latest pics and stories from set!