I rarely do these things, but I saw this at my friend Ted’s place and thought I’d fill it out. On my own terms.
1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Put together a New York reading of my script, at The Vineyard, which led to the next item.
Signed with a major agent, and came up with career plan with said agent.
Went to Graceland.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t do resolutions.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. Unless I’m forgetting someone. Sorry.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Oh, don’t even start with me with that bullshit.
7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 25. The reading at the Vineyard in New York City. A triumph. Yes, hopefully only the beginning, but totally a Night for the Books. A high watermark. Thank you Kerry O’Malley, Aaron Mathias, Greg Santos, Jack Cumming and Doug Aibel at The Vineyard. And all of the other people who helped make that happen (including the amazing audience.)
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I feel like I covered this.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Probably trusting when I shouldn’t have.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, thank goodness. I am very grateful for my health.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Honestly, a pair of jeans. My weight has been bugging me, and I’m working on it, but I have stopped wearing jeans because I hate feeling like a stuffed-Cornish-hen in them. But I found a pair of jeans that I love so much, that I think look great on me, that are comfortable, awesome, etc., that I am now back in Jeans-Wearing-Mode, now that I know what works. I bought a couple more pairs. And my sister Jean gave me skinny jeans for my birthday and I love them.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
President Obama standing up for gay marriage.
My friend Alex going back to grad school.
My sister Jean rocking the planet in Boot Camp, while juggling new responsibilities at her job and being a good wife and mother.
My sister Siobhan for having one of her songs play in a commercial.
My brother Brendan for his hilarious appearances on Burn Notice and for continuing to be an amazing dad to Cashel, who is doing so great.
My mother, for blowing me away daily with her kindness, her strength, her courage.
My friend Brooke for striking out on her own and forming her own casting company.
My friend Mitchell, for his continued success in improv and Santaland Diaries, and for rocking the planet in whatever he chooses to do.
My friend David, for his work with the Food Bank, his creation of the Back Pack Pals program, and all the incredible charity work he’s been doing.
Pretty much everyone I know is up to something awesome. If I know you, I am proud of you for what you are doing in your life, and I celebrate you.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Anyone who had the gall to make a stupid comment about rape (although, conversely, I am glad these people spoke out so freely: it is their truth and it is better that they are in plain sight so we know what we are dealing with). The people who seem to feel Sandy Hook was a conspiracy. Glenn Greenwald’s condemnation of Zero Dark Thirty before he had even seen it.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Books. Memphis trips. Road trips. Staying in random ratty motels when I need to get away. I keep an allowance separate so I can stay in a motel at least once a month.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My reading on June 25. I could barely sleep. It was glorious. I also got very excited about both trips to Memphis I took this year.
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
“Cherry Cherry”, unfortunately.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
I prefer not to compare. That way danger lies.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Be kind to myself.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying. I probably cried for a total of two months, all told.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
22. How many one-night stands?
23. What was your favourite TV program?
I am finally on the Downton Abbey train and I can’t get off.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
25. What was the best book you read?
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don’t know that I discovered anyone new this year.
27. What did you want and get?
An agent. Some serious motherf***ing representation for my work.
28. What did you want and not get?
It’s really “the substance of things hoped for” I mourn. But that’s always the case. I’ve been mourning that shit for 20 years.
29. What were your favourite performances this year?
Kerry O’Malley and Aaron Mathias in the roles of Neve and Jack in the reading of my script, July and Half of August. They were both magnificent.
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Jack Black in Bernie
Scoot McNairy in the one-two punch of Argo and Killing Them Softly. This guy is the real deal.
Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs (loved him in Lincoln, too, but he KILLED me in Hope Springs)
Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
Don Cheadle in Flight (Denzel was awesome, too, but I’m always about the support-staff, how crucial they are to a film’s success. To my mind, Cheadle MADE that movie happen. He was a worthy enough foe to Denzel so that you can really feel the stakes. Great performance).
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty (the whole cast was incredible).
Jafar Panahi as himself in This Is Not a Film (my review here)
Bobby Moynihan in Certainty (review here)
Kristen Harris in Passionflower (I interviewed her here)
Anupam Kher in Silver Linings Playbook. I laughed every time that doctor opened his mouth. My favorite bit was his offscreen observation, “This is very very manic indeed.”
Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained. He was quite frightening.
Shawn Christensen in Curfew (definitely in my Top 10 of the year, despite the fact that it is 19 minutes long). Review here, interview with Christensen here
There’s still quite a bit this year that I have not seen. I have not seen Amour (I am avoiding it like the plague, although I will get to it.) I haven’t seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower or Holy Motors.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I didn’t do anything on my birthday, and none of your business.
31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Clearly it had to do with finding the right pair of jeans.
33. What kept you sane?
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Healthcare and the anti-woman rhetoric filling the airwaves.
35. Whom did you miss?
Dad. Every day.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Aaron Mathias and Greg Santos. True friends.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
I can do anything I set my mind to. I can move mountains. I can make shit happen. It’s easy in New York to feel like you are spinning your wheels. I had felt that way for about five years, even though I wrote a whole damn book in that time (un-published, but whatever, I wrote the damn thing). But the hustle for this script was distinct and different. The point is to hustle so hard for yourself that other people end up hustling for you. Shit starts to happen when other people are doing the heavy-lifting for you. That’s what it means to have a team, to have representation. But that can only happen if you’ve put in the hours and hours (and years) of work. People don’t back flukes. They back what they think is a winning prospect. I worked my ass off from 2009 to 2011 on that damn script. With help from cousin Mike, and Mitchell in Chicago, I had two readings of that thing in Los Angeles and Chicago in 2011. I could have stopped there. I could have waited for Steppenwolf to call. There were a couple of interesting Chicago bites after the reading (including Steppenwolf), but the lesson is: keep moving, always keep moving. Next, next, next. So I upped my game, and asked for help. I knew I had to move it out of my circle for the next New York reading. I couldn’t limit it to people I knew. I needed to pack that audience with not just friends and family who loved me (although I needed them there too), I needed to pack it with industry people and theatre people hungry for a new voice, for a new project, for new material. My cousin Kerry was instrumental in making that happen, as was Greg Santos’ brilliance with press releases and invitations. It took a LOT to get that reading organized. It basically took from November of 2011 until almost the week before the reading, June 2012. We had an actor signed up for it, a big star, but his schedule wouldn’t allow him to do the reading. But we hung on there with his schedule for no less than three months, and the reading was canceled three times. Finally, with no hard feelings, we moved on to find someone else. I looped my casting friend Brooke in. Kerry reached out to people. And I started racking my brains of actors I could approach – people with a little bit of New York cache. I found him in Aaron Mathias. I had seen him in an independent film, Things You Don’t Understand, and fell in love with his performance. I had interviewed David Spaltro, the director, so I decided, what the hell, let’s take a risk and see if I can talk to Aaron. Spaltro arranged an introduction, Aaron responded to the script like crazy (“Thank you for ruining my afternoon” was the first thing he said to me after reading it), and was absolutely a dream in the role. It all seems inevitable, now that it went down that way, but it was pretty touch-and-go there for about four months. And Kerry was moving to Los Angeles in July. We HAD to do it the week we did it. It is amazing how complicated it is to get two actors in one room for a rehearsal and a reading. But anyway, it worked. And the audience was made up of loved ones, friends and colleagues, as well as industry people, who immediately began circling me like sharks afterwards. It was beyond my wildest dreams. I am still proud of myself that I stuck with it, that I not only wrote the damn thing, and got it to a place where I felt ready to start shopping it around … but that I kept pushing on with the “reading” process, an essential part of making sure the thing had legs, was play-able, was something an audience would respond to. The amount of work that went into it is something I almost think of with dread now, as I launch my next two projects, like: “Ugh. Here go the next two years of my life.” But it was amazing what I was capable of once I put my mind to it. NOTHING would stop me. I still feel unstoppable. Nobody can take it away from me. That train has left the station.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Look at her face
See her disgrace
I hope you figure it out
Look at her face
By her mistakes
I hope you figure it out
I wanted you bad
Regretful and true
You looked back in front of me
Completely in view
This kid’s got your back
The sunlight is true
Look back in front of me
I want you to notice
Feeling your styles the causes your blankets that saved me
Over and over and over and over you played me
Afraid of rejection the places we went that defaced me
Over and over and over and over you saved me
Look at her face
See her mistakes
I hope you figure it out