Saturday, March 31, 2012

know thy self

self discovery is kinda like a home improvement job. once you start breaking away the drywall you realize there's more repair that needs to be done. but at least you caught it and are making the necessary repairs. the alternative? avoiding yourself...see how long that lasts. something that started as a mere crack ends up being a foundation problem if unattended. next thing you know you whined up on meds and a straight jacket. you get where i'm going with this.

the journey to self discovery should be a never ending one. if the world is in fact a scary and hopeless place then we must change ourselves and our view. i'm always shocked how little people know about themselves or care to discover about themselves. and if they do know themselves, their stubbornness, their temper tantrums, they rest on the whole "this is who i am" a bridge and get over it! you are not your name, your body, or your experiences. we are all beings capable of positive change and creation.

i'm all about the books in the "self improvement" aisle...actually too much, which is why i took a break and got into the Hunger Games series. i'm obsessed!!! well i finished the first 2 books and was looking around my apartment for the 3rd book Mockingjay but instead found Nonviolent Communication (NVC), A Language of Life...side-by-side these books are so random, but essentially they're both on the journey of self discovery and awareness. I just started NVC and it couldn't be at a better time. i had bought the book last summer and attempted to read it but lost interest real quick. this time around i'm intrigued. The author Marshall Rosenberg asks two questions:
1) what happens to disconnect us for our compassionate nature, leading us to behave violently and exploitatively?
2) what allows some people to stay connected to their compassionate nature under even the most trying circumstances?

i've actually been asking the latter question as of late, which is another reason i'm drawn to this book. i've been making a sad attempt to stop complaining or say anything negative but i realize i need help. a life where you look at everything optimistically, positively, happily. may sound odd but it's something for me to strive towards. and i've always loved a good challenge :)
we are complicated beings and as such we must avoid the temptation to look to change others and instead change ourselves.

"we become the change we wish to see in the world"-Ghandi

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

my salvation

i'm in Toronto for a quick visit and had to of course take advantage of my fav store, Salvation Army. i love the finds here and not to mention the prices. i'm long over due for some fun finds and was not disappointed:

my purchases are tres fall which is fine by me with this winter weather...
all scored in one stop! this rarely happens for me
my iphone is lack luster in capturing the beauty of these finds, so i'll have to model these fancies for you once outfitted in NYC :)
i love the plaid and floral prints here. too bad my hubby would barf if i bought these. compromise, compromise...

I've never been disappointed by the Salvation Army located on the south west corner of Eglington&Warden.

Monday, March 26, 2012

dry hair help!

i've been on this never ending journey to quench my curl's thirst for moisture. i feel i've been getting closer but i must admit i'm still back at square one. i LOVE the BB treatment but since it isn't 'natural' and it's expensive as heck i must solider on. i will say that my hair was soft and flowy, but the effects are temporary which is what i was going for. moving forward i still need a permanent solution for moisture rich hair!!! argh! the endless products tried. i'm gonna give the Moroccan Oil a shot and perhaps even a protein treatment that's all natural. here's a video i did with fellow curly Miss Andrea Lewis for

a couple products i do love that add moisture are:
especially this organic treatment! my only wish is that my hair felt this moisturized year-round but the effects again are only around 2 days

i love the smell of this Shea Moisture product. the good thing with this is i no longer require gel and it's a soft natural hold as opposed to crispy.
i still need to invest in a shower head filter, cause i'm thinking it's the water in my building....ok. that's enough hair rambling. wish us luck on our hair journey and if you have a MUST TRY hair solution please share.

Friday, March 23, 2012

frugal things to do in NYC

that's the real trick. to have fun on a budget. thanks to the beautiful weather here NYC you can. as a New Yorker here's a sample of what a local living in Harlem does...well here are 5 things to do:

1) CON ARTIST  an artist workspace and gallery, located in the lower east side aka LES @157 Suffolk St., has year round free exhibits. uber talented homie Dean Millien who constructs master pieces from tin foil has an exhibit from now until April 11. but not to worry, exhibits are constantly on the rise here.  but please check it out for if you're feeling the need for inspiration

2) Central Park is not only home to an amazing biking trail, pond watching, picnic partying, stroll walking, tan bathing centre but it also houses row boats. near 72nd st & 5th ave the Boathouse rents row boats for $12/hr. you can fit up to 4 people which works out to $3 per person. not bad. row your way around, take in the sun, take pictures, it can be fun and/or romantic.

3) Bike along the bike path next to the West Side Hwy. its a near loop around Manhattan but i've started by the Brooklyn Bridge and make my way up all along the West Side before going home on 125th. this path is especially gorgeous at sunset with Jersey as the view. forget the gym, biking is my workout slash fun. p.s. its FREE if you own a bike

4) for a truly unique experience head up to Dykman St. and Washington Heights you will feel like you're in the Dominican Republic. at least i did my first time up there and at the time i hadn't even been to DR. head directly to Dykman on the A train. All along the strip are amazing authentic DR food and clubs. you can also check out Fort Tryon Park, which brings you high above the city revealing an amazing view. you can also dine at Malecon Restaurant located at 4141 Broadway. i suggest going with a pack of peeps since they do serve large portions. and at night you MUST make your way west to see the view of the George Washington Bridge and Downtown NYC and Jersey. it is absolutely beautiful!

5) The Highline located in the Meatpacking District starting from Gansevoort St to 30th is a FREE stroll from a converted train line to a modern park 30ft above ground. not too exciting but its FREE and the view is beautiful at sunset!

this is a quick short list which as the months progress will get longer but there you have it :)
*these photos are not my own. i found them on google

Sunday, March 18, 2012

meet Brianna!

i've been itching to shoot something fun for myself but with my doc, voice work, and business stuff it's not exactly high on my priority list, which is why this impromptu 5 min shoot with my niece was such a joy.
it started with Brianna handing me her school photos and asking if i could take a picture of the picture so she could print it on her own without having to pay the photographer for the prints. i did her one better and we headed off to the park just around the corner. she's a natural!
looking forward to the fams moving back from Florida! watch out for this nickelodeon hopefully 
so long school photos

Friday, March 16, 2012

how to get into the voiceover world

i keep getting asked time and time again "how do i get into voice overs". it's about time i did a blog entry on the topic. so i'll share what i did...tis a very lengthy post. there are a myriad of way to get into this fun world. i have actor friends that do on-camera work and their agents simply referred them to the voice department, some hopefuls take voice classes and go from here or better yet, i met a voice over actor who had an intriguing voice and "randomly " met someone, who knew someone, then auditioned, booked the part and hasn't stopped working since and he still doesn't have a voice demo.  how convenient.
well rest assured, this isn't how i got my foot in the door. i did the work and will now share it with ya'll.

#1 what kind of voice work do you want to do?
depending on the kind of voice work you wanna do will dictate what you should study. i'm a highly animated individual so i knew i wanted to do children shows not to mention i still watch cartoons :) i'm interested in high energy, funny, over-the-top voices and story lines and as such studied those voices.

#2 listen to cartoon shows, commercials, and radio
now to study your craft, which includes listening to projects you eventually want to end up doing. make sure you're actually listening to the show instead of getting carried away with your eyes. the best thing to do is listen with your eyes closed. if you're into cartoons i found sponge bob square pants, the fairly odd parents, the mighty b, and the boondocks to list a few as good references. also, i found commercials for "back-to-school" ideal for my voice type so i went on youtube and listened to lots of staples, lady speedstick, breath freshener, and other stuff of that nature. but say your a dude with a lower, sultry voice i'd watch movie trailers with the epic announcer movie voice, adult cartoons, axe spray, old spice type, razor get where i'm going with this, study your type.

#3 practice recording and listening to your voice
so now the real fun begins. studio time! in today's digital age there really is no excuse for why you can't hone your skills as a voice actor at home. iphones have a really good voice recorder (actually i use my iphone to record auditions that i email to my agent) and if you have a computer you can hook a mic up and record. there are a ton of mics out there, so for that you'll have to research. at this point you simply need to record your voice so you can hear what you sound like. hearing my voice recorded for the first time, with a now critical ear, was so odd to me. recording and constant self critique will hopefully get you over this. if you're not a good self director i suggest you take voice recording classes. did i? kinda. i hired a one-on-one voice coach that offered a really great deal $50/session. for my sessions, i brought my own written scripts as well as scripts i straight copied from shows with a short and intense story arc. but yeah i wanted to take full advantage of her pro gear and i knew i wanted to have my practice recordings end up on my demo so i wouldn't have to pay extra for that.  i hope i haven't grazed. there's a lot involved in terms of practice/study.

#4 record a voice demo
once you think you have a good handle on what your range is and you're now actually good, record a voice demo. my voice demo was about 2mins in length. as mentioned above, i straight copied a show with a great scene as well as wrote my own scripts. i started out with about 8-10 different scenes that i recorded with my coach but i narrowed that down to 4 short scenes for my demo. its always good to have more to choose from. it helps if you know someone who has the setup and gear to record your voice but if you don't, at this point i'd advise that you pay someone reputable for recording time. since i was working with a voice coach i not only paid $50/session for some direction here and there but that also covered my recordings which i got to keep. i'd look for a sound recording student if you don't know anyone off the top of your head or a school/studio that offers classes with take home recordings at non-rip-off prices. whomever you go with will more than likely only give you your vocals and not add any music or sound. that was my case, but because i'm a stickler for perfection i forced myself to learn garage band from nada. i added sound effects, music, all that fun stuff that would captivate my listeners, but again YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THIS, this is just what i did. i happen to have an illustrator cousin that transformed me into a cartoon character. i then added color, graphics, and printed them to make me look pro-fesh :) TOTALLY NOT NECESSARY and next to veteran voice-over actors, i don't know anyone else that has a voice demo like mine, but then again, i'm all about visuals and captivating peeps with ADD :) please do not overwhelm yourself with packaging. what is most important is your actual voice.

#5 mail your voice demo to agents
since i already had an on-camera agent i gave them my newly pressed voice demo and they set me up with the voice department. from there i started going out on auditions. this was 4 year ago back when i was living in Vancouver. when i moved to NYC i had no hook up and no agent, so i went on and started researching agencies that specialize in voice work. the great thing with is you can see which actors are represented by which agency and what work they've booked. i created a list of agencies that had working actors and mailed my hopeful demo to 12 different agencies. of those 12 packages i mailed, i got 1 response and that response was from my current agent :)

- check out you need to register but it's free. here you can listen to a bunch of voice demos done by other actors. it's good to hear demos that are floating around out there
- use what your mama gave you...your own voice, instead of jumping into a new character/voice. if you aren't a natural pro in using various voices i strongly suggest using what you have and going from there.
- being represented by a reputable agent, in my opinion, is always the way to go. i'm not familiar with being self-represented (no agent). a lot of people do but not i.
- if you've never acted a day in your life and think you have a great voice and want to do something with it you MUST invest in your craft and take acting classes. you can everything i just said, record a demo and go out for auditions, but if you have no clue what you're doing as an artist/actor you will effectively burn through your opportunities and end up discouraged and quit. commit to the work and craft and you will find a way. this is what i did and i hope it helps :)

below is my demo from 4 years ago. i'm pretty busy these days but once the dust settles i'll need to update it with all the new and fun work i've been doing here in NYC.  but here's the tool that booked me work with a major publishing house, recording children's audio books, no audition, based solely off my demo :)

if you don't have flash player you won't be able to listen...sorry iphone, ipad users

wrapping up my last days on nickelodeon show dino dan. a sad day but season 3 is just around the corner :)
i recorded a bunch of children audio books over the christmas holidays and this one is by far my new favorite

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

lost in the leg warmers

progress update #2
here's my official entry looking to work with amazingly talented camera, sound, editing and title sequence peeps for an '80s aerobics documentary i'm directing, Lost in the Leg Warmers. currently, i need to cut together a 2-5min teaser trailer to get my documentary rolling. the purpose of the trailer is to visually tell potential investors what this documentary is all about. so although this trailer will be unpaid, once we get the funding I'd like to create an amazing creative team who will be on board from beginning to end and get PAID! for more information on this exciting project visit and email me at: maya[at]

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

strength in numbers

you cannot do it alone and if you are it must be a very lonely and painful journey. as of late this lesson has been highlighted and punctuated by the almighty universe. some of you may know i'm also working on a documentary on the amazing '80s aerobics movement and thanks to friends and family my journey is not so lonely. i'm currently working with the talented artist Franzisca to visually brand my docs image and the talented writer Meghan Yuri to tighten up my thought and words. i am so grateful to be surrounded by talented minds and am excited about extending my creative family. and a major thanks to my "better or for worse half" boo bear for being my motivation and inspiration.
invest in your family, invest in your friends, invest in your network. life is so much more happier and fulfilling. there is strength in numbers.
home team

con artist team

on that note, i'm forever looking to expand my creative network specifically with talented camera and sound peeps based in New York or Los Angeles. so if you or anyone you know happen to be in the film field and want to get involved in this amazing project holla at me: maya[at]
"united we stand, divided we fall"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Get a Space

progress report #2

i got's me a space! my days of working from home are long gone. it may work for some but with the constant distractions ie handsome hubby, hyper active dog, tv, fridge, you get the picture, it was about time i got a work space. new york is covered in shared work spaces however i opted to go with ConArtist. the great thing about this space is it's shared with other artists. most of the shared spaces i found had a very corporate feel which is totally cool but with ConArtist it just felt like home. so if you are another "work at home head" wanting to up yo game but not quite ready for your own space look into shared work spaces and this site Loose Cubes.
these photos were taken for the current exhibit "yaay". the actual "sit down get it down" and backdrop aren't in this shot. i'll have to add those.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

progress report #1

despite my ranting i still get things done. i could do without these crazy voices in my head but anyways...where have you been missy? fill me in! i needs to know!
i finally finished updating my photography website back in february. you can view my images at:
my confession...90% of the images on my site were shot while i was living back in vancouver...that was over 3 years ago! sad but true! i have a ton new nyc stuff i need to post but at least the site is up and running

the most notable addition to my work are home interiors and weddings and soon to be added, kids! i've taken a more commercial lifestyle approach with a fashionesque flair. i'm really looking forward to shooting more weddings especially destination ones. there's something whimsical about celebrating love, far away in paradise.
the site is being hosted by:
if you are a photographer looking to sell anything online and want a template, flash free site this is the answer right here. i was keen on making sure my new site could load on an iphone or ipad and had a simple straightforward layout. they give you a 30 day free trial which i extended for 3 months before finally purchasing the "pro-unlimited" package which goes for $30/month. take advantage of the trial period to learn how to navigate through their platform. 
so yeah that pretty much sums that up.

get out of your own way

the only person standing between you and your goal is you.
today i had a LONG chat with my celebrity friend Andrea Lewis and she opened my eyes on how we get in our own way. i admire people who rarely think and just do. you can criticize all you want but at the end of the day that person is doing it while you and i are sitting here getting caught up in our own unproductive thoughts, running around in circles like a dang Schizophrenic. for the past 5 or so years i have torn myself between my talents. i can't choose nor would want to but here i am still trying to. i would never feel comfortable living the life of 1 title...just a photographer, just an actor, just a director, nor would i feel comfortable trying to chop off one of my hands but here i am trying to do just that. i guess when we get older we're told to settle down...get married, have kids, secure a steady job, stop living for you, live vicariously through our children and/or entertainment, settle for the common denominator, UGH! responsibility, growing up, love, family, society, or better yet, YOU, should never stop YOU from living, expressing, experiencing, dreaming, creating.
this mental torment is of course self inflicted and has gone on for long enough. you can live happily and freely through discipline, focus, optimism, confidence and all that other fun stuff.
i pray i do just that and finally kick my life into 3rd gear :)