Beware the cult of busy.


Are you running around, crossing items off your ever-growing to-do list, feeling like a chicken with her head cut off, and wondering what the heck it’s all for? It’s a very common experience, most especially for freelancers (which all artists are).

The problem is we often confuse being busy with being effective. We think if we can just keep up the frantic pace, then everything will pay off in a big way. But it turns out that most of what we focus on is not the game changing work we hope it to be.

Being busy is about being reactive, tending to every day minutia rather than honing in on big vision stuff. Being busy is about chasing every opportunity – or perceived opportunity – without evaluating how it fits into your master plan.

For actors, this can look like:

- Mass mailing every single agent in town with your generic headshot and resume; rather than focusing on the top 5 agents who are right for your career right now, and building a relationship with consistent marketing directed to them personally

- Submitting to every Actors Access notice; rather than making 1 bold phone call to a big casting office for a job you’re perfect for

For writers, this can be:

- Handing out your business card to everyone at every networking event, hoping someone will call you; rather than getting the business cards of people you want to work with and starting an email campaign to stay in touch every few months

- Repeatedly deleting and rewriting the first act of your script; rather than finishing it and holding a table read to get some perspective on where it works and where it doesn’t

One of the reasons being busy is so attractive is because there is an immediate sense of gratification. Checking off your to-do list every day feels productive. Also, busy tasks don’t make us vulnerable. Getting a “no” from a casting director is harder than the non-answer of Actors Access. Having your script read aloud and hearing where it falls flat can be painful. But without taking these risks, how will you truly grow?

I invite you to step off the hamster wheel for a weekend getaway with me in the Hudson Valley this June. I’ve organized a vision-clarifying, gremlin-crushing, goal-setting retreat in nature, where we will stop the busy-making and reevaluate what you are doing and why. Check out the full details here:

Bonus for Red Wall Productions family: Get $100 off the registration fee if you can tell me what TV show Roz guest-starred on with Edie Falco.

Sam Garland is a Creative Career Coach who helps actors, writers, and filmmakers take charge of their journeys and uplevel their careers in powerful ways.  You can get more tools, tips, and inspiration at

Jessica Sue Burstein makes her way to Hollywood

I'm excited for CHICKEN to screen at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. If you are in the area, come see the film & celebrate with me!

Chicken FINALIST at HollyShorts 2013

Film Still by Pepe Avila Del Pino




SAT AUGUST 31st TIME TBD Ran Tea House, 269 Kent St, Brooklyn, NY
TUES SEPT 24th at 7pm NYWIFT Screening Series, Anthology Film Archives, NYC

SAT OCT 19th at 7pm Best of the 2013 New Jersey Film Festival, Voorhees Hall #105, Rutgers University, NJ



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To All The Dreamers.... An Artist is Born

Meet my Niece Olivia Douglas.   

This is her speech from 8th grade graduation.  She's such an inspiration to me.

What's your story?  WHy do you do what you do?  When did you discover your passion?  Share your spark story.  


Here is Olivias... 

Twinkle-Short Film

Bee & Cee Productions


Finding courage can sometimes take a little imagination.  As Allison struggles to
 find the strength to continue her battle with breast cancer, she finds 
herself torn between two worlds. With a nudge from her best friend 
Bridgette, Allison rediscovers the one person able to guide her to the 
next adventure.  The Offical Site:

Finding courage can sometimes take a little imagination.

As Allison struggles to find the strength to continue her battle with breast cancer, she finds herself torn between two worlds. With a nudge from her best friend Bridgette, Allison rediscovers the one person able to guide her to the next adventure.

The Offical Site:

Films Announced! The View From Here: A Festival of Short Films 201

Sketchy Future - Emily Fortunato

An aspiring artist comes to a crossroads.

Emily Fortunato (Producer/Actress):  Often described as spunky, passionate and fiery. This Manhattanville College grad is constantly developing her craft: weekly classes at Kimball Studio in New York, and  working privately with various acting coaches. Emily has performed in severa; New York staged productions and readings, as well as independent films. She considers herself very lucky to work with Joel Dunn founder of Theory Films.

Artist: Emily Fortunato              

Waitress: Hilary Greer                


Homesick - Rachel Marie Douglas

Family circles shrink, grow, deepen, and strain with the flow of time.

Rachel Marie Douglas (Director): is an emerging documentary filmmaker. She is a recent graduate of Harvard University with a B.A. in Film Studies.

Gentle Cycle Only: Mrinalini Kamath

An elderly gentleman goes on a quest to learn how to use his washing machine in time for a special day.                                                                         


Mrinalini Kamath (Co-producer/Writer): Gentle Cycle Only is Mrinalini's second short film as a writer and producer.  Other written works include the plays CELESTIAL MOTIONS (inaugural winner of East/West Players "Got Laughs" Asian-American Comedy Festival), and BOOM (Eugene O'Neill and Seven Devils Playwrights Conferences semi-finalist). Mrinalini has also had several short plays published in various Smith and Kraus anthologies.


Director: Ela Thier Man:  Herb Rubens

Co-Producer: Holly Lynn Ellis Woman:  Lauren Kline

Shear Pratique - Elena Shpak

Desperate to look fabulous for an important event, Carol convinces Maddie to give her a last-minute haircut. However, Maddie has a secret that might persuade Carol to look elsewhere...


Elena Shpak (Director/Producer): Elena was born in Archangelsk, Russia.  After moving to New York City in 2005 she formed her own production company Fedotova Productions. Since its inception, she has directed and produced four films that were accepted into multiple film festivals. In 2010 she directed five "spec" commercials that won first prize at prestigious festivals around the world. 



Floanne Ankah Directed: Elena Shpak

Donna Ross Produced: Elena Shpak, Floanne Ankah


This Is It - Rosalyn Coleman Williams

Sometimes when you find it you just know...

Rosalyn Coleman Williams (Director)

Artist: Emily Fortunato                                          Waitress: Hilary Greer


The Truth About Beauty And Blogs - Kelechi Ezie

A social media diva is thrown off her game when her boyfriend’s web activities start to interfere with her picture perfect image.

Kelechi Ezie (Writer/Actress): Kelechi Ezie is an actress and singer from Buffalo, NY. The Truth About Beauty and Blogs is her first screenplay. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she studied History, Theatre & Dance. Thanks to Red Wall for this wonderful opportunity to ‘riff’ on film.


Co-Producers: Kelechi Ezie, Toni Robison-May, Craig William

Vanessa: Kelechi Ezie

Premo Cash Music Video - Joel Dunn

Joel Dunn (Director): Joel Dunn is a bi-coastal director whose work has screened around the world. An accomplished short form auteur and a growing force in the commercial industry, Dunn also has three feature films in development.


Rise, Sunshine - Inez Scott  (music by Gregory Vilfrank)

Intimate confessions of a sex worker.

Inez Scott (Actress/Co-writer): Inez is a former Air Force computer technician and physical trainer who went on to earn an acting scholarship at the New York Film Academy.

Sunshine: Inez Scott                                                Producer: Craig Williams                                               

Daddy For Lunch - Craig Williams

A daughter finally speaks her mind.

Craig Williams (Writer)

Artist: Emily Fortunato                                          Waitress: Hilary Greer           


Hurts Like Love - Toni  Robison-May

It’s not always a good thing to catch the Bouquet...

Toni Robison-May (Writer/Actress): Originally from Oklahoma and now loving life as an actress in NYC, Toni is proud to present her first film project. She received her Theatre Arts BFA from Stephens College in Columbia, MO and recently graduated from the renowned William Esper Studio’s two year intensive acting program. Toni sincerely thanks the Red Wall for everything; especially for the sweet potatoes.


Dear Me -  Ka’aramuu Kush

Gifted writer, Axl Ellington, suffers through a debilitating bout of writers block for reasons that elude her in this stylistic melange of live and still photography that culminate in a colorfully climactic finish.


Ka'ramuu Kush (Director): Native Detroit actor/writer/director’s work has played at most major international festivals.  BFA in Literature, Writing and the Arts from the New School, MFA in theatre from Sarah Lawrence College and MFA AFI Conservatory.  Current work includes SOLOMON a cable series, WANTED THE SIS a feature length action drama, SUITE a feature length jazz film and MUSEBK an online cinema lounge. See more at


Axl Ellington: Kymberli Carter She: Nisa Ward

He: Russell Hornsby Narrator: Jessica Care Moore.

A**hole: Lanre Idewu