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Thriving In The Entertainment Field For 30+ Years-Keys To Artistic Success

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Thriving In The Entertainment Field For 30+ Years-Keys To Artistic Success
For over thirty years, Siobhan Fallon Hogan has been one of the most iconic and recognizable working character actresses, appearing in blockbuster comedies (Men in Black) as frequently as independents (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville). Now, for the first time, Fallon Hogan is appearing in a lead role, starring as the tortured yet deeply relatable (and often funny) matriarch in the thriller, Rushed, which she wrote and produced.Fallon Hogan’s first role was in Golden Girls, and she has appeared in (or had featured roles in) Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld, Forrest Gump, and many more TV shows and films.

Rushed features Fallon Hogan’s friends and family in her hometown of Rumson, New Jersey—and serves as a capstone to one of the most unsung careers in Hollywood. For decades, the talents of character actresses like Fallon Hogan have gone overlooked, which is in part why she decided to write and produce this female-directed (and casted and edited) film.

It is the story of Barbara O’Brien (Fallon Hogan), an Irish Catholic mother living in upstate New York who says her rosary daily, then swears profusely as she drives her kids to school. After her life is ruined when her son Jimmy, a college freshman, is involved in a fraternity hazing incident, Barbara resorts to extreme measures. In addition to Fallon Hogan, Rushed stars Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgement DayWalk the Line), Jake Weary (Animal Kingdom, It Follows), and Peri Gilpin (Frasier). It is a powerful story about tragedy and a mother’s love, anchored by Fallon Hogan. Personally, as a mother of a grown son and daughter, I found the film riveting, relatable and deeply moving.

Film Threat from Andrew Stover shared, “Siobhan Fallon Hogan is the driving force behind Rushed, both as the lead actor and the screenwriter. She perfectly embodies the tense, grieving mother with untapped anger.”

I caught up with Fallon Hogan this month to learn more about her new film, her inspiring career story, keys to great artistic success in the entertainment field, and advice she gives for newcomers.

Here’s what she shares:

Kathy Caprino: Siobhan, you’ve had a highly successful, 30+ year career in film and TV, which many share is not easy for women today in the entertainment field. Can you share what prompted you to become an actress and the hopes and dreams you had back then for a career in acting?

Siobhan Fallon Hogan: I grew up in a big Irish family. Storytelling and humor were our main focus. I lived in costumes and wigs. My father made me deliver Christmas presents dressed as an elf from the time I was 4 years old until I couldn’t fit in the costume any longer around 12. I love pretending I am someone else—as do insane people!

I was the class clown all my years in school and my ultimate goal was to be on Saturday Night Live (SNL).  After I finished my M.F.A.  at Catholic University, I went to New York City and was going nowhere fast. Trust me, I had zero skills. So, out of desperation, I wrote a one-woman show playing several characters that I would love to play if by any chance anyone would consider casting me in them. Casting directors and agents constantly told me that I would work a lot in my late 30s and 40s. They said that I would grow into myself because I had a really deep voice and a big red head. I was weird, apparently.

My parents were great and my mother always said, “They’re just jealous. Cream rises to the top!” I really believed my mother and that coupled with a trait my father coined, “unearned effervescence,” I honestly thought “Screw them. I can’t wait until my late thirties!”

So, I auditioned for an improv comedy group, Who’s On First? in New York City. Improv was all the rage there in the 80s. I got in the troupe and there were lines around the block.  After a few weeks, the director suggested I write a one-woman show.

I wasn’t doing much else other than answering phones at a law firm so I wrote it and put on the show in a lobby in an Off-Broadway theater, West Side Arts, on Sunday and Monday nights. I would hand out flyers in Times Square and tell people it was a fantastic Off-Broadway show for only $9.99. People thought they were getting a bargain to an Off-Broadway show but the truth was I only could afford to perform it the lobby. I set up plastic chairs and filled the place.

A reviewer from the NY Post came and gave me a rave review so I thought I was on my way to stardom and brought the show to Los Angeles with the $5,000 I had earned as a receptionist. In LA, I was teaching English as a Second Language to Japanese students so my whole audience in the 50-seat theater I rented was Japanese. I was a really bad teacher so they didn’t understand it but they understood the physical comedy.

I got reviewers to come by pretending to be my own publicist and delivering chocolate and my flyer to them and the word got out. Pam Thomas from SNL came, Seinfeld came and get this: my good friend David Goodman—who is now the President of the Writer’s Guild of America, was a writer on The Golden Girls at the time—came and cast me as Betty White’s assistant. That was my first job on TV! I loved Betty, a true gem and class act.

Caprino: With your new movie Rushed, you wrote this film and starred in the leading role. What led you to write this, after serving as an actor for many years?

Fallon Hogan: Every time I had a lull in my career, I would write a one-woman show. I am a member of the Atlantic Theater Company in New York founded by David Mamet, William H. Macy, Neil Pepe Mary McCann and several other fabulous people. After I birthed three kids, I put my second one-woman show on there. About three years ago my youngest daughter Sinead was heading off to college and I thought, “I am sick of myself; I can’t bear to do another one woman show. I have been in so many movies maybe I can write one.” So I gave it a whirl.

I raised three children with my husband Peter. Bernadette is 26 and the New York Post‘s Albany Bureau Chief. She broke the nursing home story and is fearless. Peter is 23, and an actor and Sinead, an actress, is 20 and in college. They are fantastic in Rushed.  All three of them were wild Irish Rovers and gave my husband Peter and I a run for our money and many sleepless nights.

Rushed came from laying in bed at 3 a.m. in the fetal position and imagining the worst when they were way past curfew. We all know the horror stories and my mind would go there. I imagined what I would do if anyone hurt my kids. The movie is a revenge thriller; if you see it you will know that I am definitely not right in the head or my Irish temper tends to get the best of me.

Caprino: How did Danish film director and screenwriter Lars von Trier and his company Zentropa become involved and what impact did they have?

Fallon Hogan: I have been in three Lars von Trier films over the past 23 years, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville and The House That Jack Built. I love Lars and I am a Danophile as I have spent so much time there and they are the best.After I wrote the script, I sent it to my good friend Robert Patrick who I have worked with many times over the years and offered him the role of my husband. He loved it and said, “Do you have any money?” I said, “Oh no, but I will raise it!” I then sent it to Lars and his producers at Zentropa. I had just gone to Cannes with Lars, Matt Dillon and the Zentropa team for the House That Jack Built. Lars’ producers made the mistake of saying to me, “If you ever write anything, let us know.”

I sent the script over to them and they got back to me and said they would like to co-produce the film with me and my husband. I was out of my mind as my dream was becoming a reality. Lars’ producer, Vibeke Windelov then recommended my fabulous Danish director, Vibeke Muasya, and the rest is history.

Caprino: You have had a powerful and acclaimed career with great roles that are both comedic and dramatic. How did your dramatic acting emerge after your time on Saturday Night Live, as it seemed you were doing mainly comedy?

Fallon Hogan: After SNL, I was playing Phoebe in New York Shakespeare Festival’s As You Like It in Central Park. The fabulous casting director, Avy Kaufman, saw it and called me in to play a serious role in Lars’ Dancer In The Dark. She did not know I was pegged as a comedienne in the US and cast me in a very serious role as Bjork’s death row prison guard. I was so exhausted from my daughter being up with an ear infection that I was able to cry on command. They thought I was genius. I was really just shot!  Avy Kaufman single-handedly helped me break out of the comedy mold and 23 years later she cast Rushed.

Caprino: Would you write and produce again?

Fallon Hogan: I have and I did. I wrote another film last year, Shelter In Solitude starring Robert Patrick, Peter Macon, Dan Castellanetta and me.My brilliant team is back. Vibeke Muasya directed, Sabine Emiliani is editing again and Matthias Schubert is our cinematographer. We have a great team—three strong women plus Matthias.  Avy and Leeba cast the film again and this time we shot in my hometown, Cazenovia in upstate, and cast and crew lived with friends there. I am joining Sabine in Paris for the edit after I complete a role in Eileen directed by William Oldroyd and starring Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie.

Caprino: Any last words of advice for women who wish to build acclaimed and rewarding careers in entertainment, and do it on their own terms?

Fallon Hogan: Have faith in your dreams when no one else does. Pray, hope and don’t worry. What goes around comes around and there is no room for jealousy. Live everyday like it’s your last and I hope you meet fabulous women like I have to help you accomplish your dream—and great men too. There is room for all of us.

For more information, visit Rushed, which had a limited engagement in theaters andis available currently via streaming/VOD.

Kathy Caprino is a career and leadership coach, author, and speaker helping professional women build rewarding careers of significance. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

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Food Is Medicine And What We Eat Is Important

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Your mental state is a critical component of your physical health. And when you’re under a lot of stress, you might not be eating the healthy food that provides nutrients for fighting anxiety and depression. So when we examine what we’ve been eating, most of us discover that the decisions we’ve been making in the name of simplicity, convenience, or saving time have been damaging to our total health – body, mind, and spirit.

A person’s diet is a direct reflection of their health. When a person does not eat the right foods, their body breaks down. This can lead to an overall decrease in quality of life and many other diseases linked to improper nutrition. In North America, our current diet mainly consists of an excess of grain, sugar, fried and fatty foods. As a result, disorders including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and certain malignancies are becoming increasingly widespread.

The science of food has always been discussed; however, with recent technological innovations in food processing and agriculture, people have enjoyed more convenient foods that are less expensive than ever before. Unfortunately, with every convenience comes a trade-off. Smart foods are often packed with sugar, salt, and calories, leading to poor health in some individuals. 

To understand what a person is putting into their body, it’s essential to realize that the small molecules in food are responsible for allowing our bodies to function. These small molecules are called nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes. A nutrient is not a value unless absorbed by the body through a specific pathway. For example, if you absorb calcium without vitamin D, your body will not use that calcium. 

Eating a balanced diet keeps you healthy, but it helps reduce your stress. For example, eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants because they help augment your immune response and prevent toxins from damaging your cells. Vitamins A, C, and E serve as antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxic products of metabolism that cause damage to your cells. Experts claim that they are responsible for the aging process. Good sources of these vitamins are deeply-colored vegetables- green leafy, yellow, and orange vegetables, such as squash, broccoli, kale, spinach, and carrots.

Iron is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, and it mainly functions to deliver oxygen to your cells. Hence, an iron deficiency, medically termed Iron-deficiency anemia, is associated with weakness, easy fatigability, and pale skin. Tea, coffee, red wine, grapes, and berries are rich in antioxidants that function the same as your vitamins A, C, and E. 
You need a diet that’s healthy and balanced – and one that can fit comfortably into your busy lifestyle.

Here are some of the recommended dietary guidelines.

Eat a diet high in fresh vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. 

Exercise every other day to release endorphins, feel good, get the blood flowing, and reduce stress levels. 

Eat salt only when you need it, but not too much as your body does not need it. Many people with anxiety are hypothyroid or have low magnesium. When your body needs more sodium, it can indicate that you are not producing enough cortisol or are dehydrated. If you experience chronic anxiety, I recommend working with a physician to run tests on cortisol levels and then take salt supplements as needed. Use spices like turmeric, ginger, curry, and aromatic herbs like parsley, rosemary, sage, and basil.
Eat low-fat meals because they will cause a minor spike in blood sugar levels: think lean meats, eggs, vegetables, and nuts; avoid dairy if it makes you feel anxious. 

Drink lots of water — keep hydrated all day — ideally at least half a gallon if possible — your brain needs water to function optimally! 

Avoid foods that you know will make you feel bad, such as dairy, even with low-fat content. You can cut out dairy and not worry about it! 

Avoid sugar, caffeine, processed foods, alcohol, and any other substance that makes you feel bad or increases anxiety levels. Also, avoid coffee — drinking more than one cup a day can cause anxiety in some people. Coffee is also dehydrating and inhibits the absorption of minerals from food/water/supplements — try caffeinated water as a substitute for coffee if you like the caffeine kick. 

Find a natural health professional that you can talk to or work with to quickly get the results you want. 

Healthy foods and nutrition can help you stay fit, but they can also assist you in treating disease. When you nurture your body physically with these nutrient-dense foods, your mental capacities improve, as does your spiritual welfare. Moreover, because your spiritual health is at its best, it will radiate to the exterior world, causing others to notice you’re happier and more relaxed, and your stress levels have decreased dramatically.

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The Points of Light Civic Circle Offers Real Ways You Can Change the World 

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Sixty-six percent of Americans don’t believe they can make a big impact in the world. 

That figure is according to Points of Light’s research on civic engagement. But what if I told you there are actually many ways to drive change? 

Today’s political climate can feel divided or even stagnant, but the truth is, you really can make things better, starting with your own community, one act of kindness at a time. And those aren’t just words. I’m here to share real, practical ways for you to make a difference. 

The Points of Light Civic Circle helps people connect to opportunities and understand that doing good comes in many forms. It is a framework that represents your power to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about and live your best civic life. 

The Civic Circle provides actionable examples of all the ways you can change your community to reflect the world you want to see around you. In fact, you’re probably doing some of these things already. Are you helping a neighbor by picking up groceries or chaperoning on your child’s class field trip? You’re volunteering. Did you vote in the last election or help others get to the polls so they could vote? Those acts of civic duty illustrate the “vote” element. When you buy a product, do you choose to support companies that reflect your values or advance a social cause? That’s called “purchase power.” There are nine elements of the Civic Circle, and countless ways to bring each one to life. 

This blog is the first in a five-part series that will help you find real and manageable ways to activate the Civic Circle through apps, documentaries, podcasts and books. 

We also offer other resources to help you connect with all the ways you can become empowered to be the change you want to see in the world. Check out our videos that provide an in-depth look at each element of the Civic Circle. And don’t miss Civic Life Today, our digital magazine series. Each issue takes a deep dive and provides materials, ideas and inspiration so that you can become civically engaged.  Get started today, and launch your own civic engagement journey with these tools. 

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Are you an Amateur or a Pro? 30 Differences to Help You Decide…

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My client, Sebastian, thinks he’s behind on “life”.

He thinks he missed the memo the rest of us received on how to live a happy life.

I know better.

Sebastian hasn’t fallen behind and there is no such memo.

We’re all just trying to figure it out.

Unless we’re not. And there are a lot of people who simply are not trying to figure it out.

My friend and Professional Coach, Elaine Taylor-Klaus, calls them Status quo-ers — as opposed to Growers.

Anyone who makes a serious commitment to working with a Professional Coach is by definition a “Grower” and Sebastian is no exception.

Growers want to know, feel and live more. They push every boundary and sometimes fall off cliffs. They say “yes” to way too many things and often feel overwhelmed and over committed. They have a congenital distaste of the status quo and will sabotage any situation if it feels like “settling” to them. They’re insatiable and often don’t know what exactly will assuage their hunger.

Growers often appear to the world as troubled, frustrated and critical.

Inside they feel unfulfilled and misunderstood.

The truth is that they can’t help but be driven by Oscar Wilde’s belief that,

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.”

Growers will break every piece in the china shop when they find themselves just existing and not living as they see fit. And they suffer for it.

That is… until they turn pro and transform their life!

Steven Pressfield famously states in his book, Turning Pro

“Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.”

Sebastian thinks he’s falling behind because he’s still living life as an amateur at 34.

To put the above into context, I didn’t turn pro till well into my 40’s!

Best move I ever made! 

So what’s the difference between living life as an amateur vs. a pro?

Although there is no one size fits all manifesto on “how to turn pro”, here are thirty distinctions I’ve learned which apply to ANY Grower who is truly committed to living a life of purpose, fulfillment and ease.

  1. Amateurs look for hacks and shortcuts — Pros do the work.
  2. Amateurs speed up — Pros slow down.
  3. Amateurs are busy — Pros are focused.
  4. Amateurs sell first — Pros serve first.
  5. Amateurs think it’s about them — Pros know it’s never personal.
  6. Amateurs think life is short — Pros know life is actually really freakin’ long.
  7. Amateurs are reactive — Pros are responsive.
  8. Amateurs live with constant misunderstandings — Pros take the time to get clear.
  9. Amateurs don’t know what success looks like (to them) — Pros  know their definition of success and aren’t afraid to change it.
  10. Amateurs don’t know their core life values — Pros do.
  11. Amateurs want to feel happy — Pros want to feel alive!
  12. Amateurs play to “not lose” — Pros play to win.
  13. Amateurs are harsh — Pros are fierce.
  14. Amateurs secretly enjoy being in the “Victim Mindset” — Pros are a “Hell No” to that!
  15. Amateurs wonder what people say about them when they leave the room — Pros know.
  16. Amateurs have false and limiting beliefs around money — Pros don’t.
  17. Amateurs are constantly searching for life balance — Pros are living an integrated life.
  18. Amateurs think everything matters — Pros know what few things actually do matter (for them).
  19. Amateurs set boundaries defensively — Pros simply honor their “operating system”.
  20. Amateurs think help is a four letter word — Pros actively seek opportunities to help and be helped.
  21. Amateurs don’t have a relationship with their “Future Self” — Pros are best friends with their “Future Self”.
  22. Amateurs confuse knowing with doing — Pros receive knowledge and apply it (EVERY moment of EVERY day).
  23. Amateurs love information — Pros love insights.
  24. Amateurs have intentions — Pros have commitments.
  25. Amateurs have expectations — Pros have agreements.
  26. Amateurs compare — Pros create.
  27. Amateurs live from probability — Pros live from possibility.
  28. Amateurs are focused only on the “Goal Line” — Pros are focused on both the “Goal Line” and the “Soul Line”.
  29. Amateurs set goals with contingencies — Pros know contingencies are just excuses and NOW is the time!
  30. Amateurs create from the past — Pros create from the future.

Now that you are aware of the 30 differences between an amateur and a pro, where do you see yourself?

And I’d love to know why. Get in touch with your answer.

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