Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bex was on Blog Talk Radio

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Well, July 4th was truly Bex’s day of Independence. That was the day she left Atlanta for Outward Bound, her first summer adventure before returning to Hollywood. More to follow on the summer events that took her back to LA, but we thought you might want to check out her appearance on ADHD Blog Talk Radio with Jeff Copper. She was a great interview — and actually offered parents some great tips!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/attentiontalkradio/2012/07/05/got-parents-how-adolescent-teens-raise-adhd-parents

 

Three’s the Charm (The Adventures of Bex in Hollywood, Take 3)

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Who would have thought, a year ago, that we’d be having this conversation right now. David and I sit in Atlanta, Bex is in LA, and her sense of where she feels most  “at home” has shifted from one coast to another. Bex is now at home in Hollywood.

Since the Entertainment Weekly article, there hasn’t been a great deal of action on the acting front. There were some auditions, even a few call backs in Atlanta, but summer schedules being as they are, we chose to focus on getting Bex ready for the move to LA. After months of anticipation, and untold numbers of hours of purging through the ‘stuff’ in her childhood room, Bex left Atlanta on a trial run on July 4 — her Independence Day — heading for an Outward Bound course in Utah.

Now, some might not see this little jaunt as necessary, but we beg to differ. We’re about to send our not-quite-18-year-old daughter to live on her own (albeit with a loving family, thank God!), 3000 miles away from home, to finish High School, begin her career, and immerse herself in a world as foreign to us as Ava Gabor was to Green Acres. To our way of thinking, for Bex to spend 2 weeks Kayaking, rafting and climbing, getting a sense of just HOW capable she is, was absolutely essential. And while she wasn’t so sure before she went, she came home utterly fulfilled, and maybe even a little suspicious that her parents might not be such idiots after all!  Outward Bound is an ideal kind of experience for a kid like Bex: it is empowering, and grounding, and altogether inspiring. What better way to get herself ready for action.

Of course, the timing could have been better. Bex returned home from OB with only 35 hours of turn around time. We stayed up WAYYYY too late Friday night talking and laughing — the OB stories are hysterical. And then we got up relatively early Saturday morning so that Bex could go to the dentist.

The dentist? On Sat morning? Are we making this up? Of course not! This is Bex we’re talking about. Here’s the back-story: Thursday afternoon, at the end of a float, on a quiet stretch of river, on the last day of her Outward Bound excursion — a member of the group picked up a paddle just as Bex was leaning forward. Had she been 1/8 in to the left or right, there would have been no problem. But no. Bex has a chipped tooth (an old Junior High softball injury), and the tip was knocked off.

Imagine the phone call. It’s 6 p.m. on a Thursday. David and I are at an Intensive training in Charlotte. The phone rings, and it’s Outward Bound (note: NOT a good sign! Also note: this was not the first call we got during this short 2 week course). Bex has chipped her tooth and wants to know if there is any way to get it fixed before she goes to LA on Sunday. Right. After a few deep breaths, we call the only person we know who could make something crazy like that happen: Grammie!

We go to dinner, and I can only laugh when I get a call from LA telling me that Bex has an audition the next day. We respectfully decline, as Bex will be boarding the first of 2 planes to take her back to Atlanta.  Meanwhile, Grammie is working her magic. By the time Bex calls at 1:00 on Friday, I get to tell her that Grammie has arranged for her to get her tooth fixed on Saturday, and still have time to get her hair cut in the afternoon. Bex hung up immediately to call her Grammie. NOT SURE who was happier!

Our 35 hours together in Atlanta was precious, albeit brief. By Saturday evening all was basically done. Bex was able to enjoy some hang-out time with Jess and Lil, and David and I joined them with a bottle of champagne to celebrate. These three girls (and El — you were missed!) have spent a life-time together. It was only fitting that they  sat, and laughed, and told stories, and brought the chapter of their childhood to a close, together. It was an absolute joy.

Sunday morning was relatively uneventful as we ushered Bex into the airport and off onto her adventure. As we drove out of the airport, I turned to David, the tears welling up, and captured it simply: “how the hell was that 18 years?”

Bex has been in Hollywood, now, for about 10 days. True to form, she called the first night asking to change programs. Buoyed by our OB success, we held firm — and, of course, she is LOVING this program, filming “her actors” on real Hollywood sets, calling only when she needs something, and posting silliness on FB and twitter. I am amazed by the childishness of this young woman, and the maturity of this child. The two sides reside in tandem — I suspect it’s what makes her as talented as she is.

She has a bit more time in this structured program before she is released to the wilds of Hollywood. But the curtain has been lifted, and the first script came in tonight — for an audition at 12:45 p.m. tomorrow. It doesn’t seem to phase Bex in the least –I’m sorta glad I’m not there to stress the pace.

Bex will be at the NY Film Academy through August 11. On August 12, she turns 18 and moves into an apartment at Oakwood. I will be there to celebrate her independence, and attend an orientation at her new school. And then I’ll get on a plane and come home, and Bex will continue her journey.

I know they’re all glad to have her back in Hollywood. Let’s just say it’s pretty freaky from this end 🙂

May 15th – Long Overdue Update on Bex

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Sorry for the delay — we’ve been really busy figuring things out! Ready for an update on the new developments in Bex’s adventures in Hollywood?

We last saw our heroine managing life, auditions, friends, family and school in LA — and managing it all pretty well.

When the family arrived for Spring Break, it was clear that Bex was happier — and healthier — than she’s ever been in her life. She had found a place where she can be herself — something she’s always done really well — and actually be acknowledged and accepted for it! Even embraced and encouraged! What’s more, her allergies were under control and she was not constantly sick like she is in Atlanta. She was incredibly happy — except at the prospect of returning to Atlanta.

Now, I guess we could have been offended by that, but the truth is that we were ALL so happy to see Bex happy, it was easy to accept the next, inevitable decision. It was time to find a way for Bex to stay in LA.

AND, we did. What else could two life-coach-parents do?

So, here’s the news. Bex is going to be moving to LA this summer. She will complete her Senior year there, and live with Sierra, and Sierra’s mom and brother. She has been accepted to a really cool school called Bridges Academy (their logo even looks like a π!), where she will be a “credit” student. That way, she can complete the credits she needs for graduation, and still have enough time to go on auditions.

This summer, Bex will hopefully participate in the NY Film Academy summer Film Making camp, and maybe even take an adventure before that. But by August 12, her 18th birthday, she’ll be moving into an apartment in LA and living her dream!

It’s not exactly what we expected, but then again, nothing ever is. Bex is definitely leaving Atlanta sooner than expected, but it also really makes sense, and feels like the right decision at the right time. So, it’s not a traditional path. Look who we’re talking about!

<posted by Elaine>

Thursday, Short Window, Lots to do

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I don’t have a lot of time out here this visit, so there’re no wasted minutes, and people to meet.

We started off going to see Miss Alicia, the new tutor. Bex likes her, and yet there was clearly something that was holding her back from wanting to go. I needed to assess the situation and see whether I felt like it could really work. David had been over there and wasn’t clear whether the piles and piles of stuff all over the place was an episode of “Hoarders” waiting to happen, or the honest result of a publicist moving in to a new house in the middle of Pilot Season.

At the kitchen table Alicia’s assistant was trying to convert Alicia — who prefers people to technology — to a new computer. Another mother and daughter came in — I think they actually live there. We seized a lull in the activity to sit down to talk.

First, my quick assessment was that the necessary living areas — Kitchen Table, Living Room Couches, and Bathroom — were all put together and clear. No hoarders episode, just an understandably slow un-packing. Cool — we can handle that. Thanks to the dry climate, no worries of mold.  😉

It was clear that it could be a good place for Bex. Alicia gets learning style differences, and life-work balance,  the need to take breaks and run around, that some people actually need noise to concentrate, etc. Bex just needed to communicate what she needs without worrying that she was hurting Alicia’s feelings.

So I pulled out my coaching tool-box and designed an alliance between Bex and Alicia, which worked well! We left with a clear understanding of what each of them needs from the other, and what they were willing to commit to. Bex has regular hours, communication with Paideia got Alicia the information she needs, and Bex left with clear homework assignments. Confidence is high.

Lunch at Hugo’s — I’m like a homing pigeon, I can’t visit LA without at least one trip to Hugo’s. We get home at 4:45 and Bex is off to make arrangements to pay for the broken window with the people from earlier in the week (remember the pine cone?). I get a rather frantic text — yes, frantic reads in texts — to come over now, there is someone you want to meet. I have no clue what she’s talking about — this is Hollywood, so I’m thinking it might be some celebrity or something — and I find myself in a rather dark 2 bedroom apartment that is clearly a “permanent” residence. Apparently, G-d threw the pine cone through the window so that we could meet.

Candy kicks a teenager off the couch so we can sit down, and offers me a piece of cheesecake. WHY am I here, exactly? The joys of a non-communicative teenager. I listen and start piecing it together. She wants Bex to stay here and rent the second bedroom so that she can continue to stay here with her two adopted, teenage daughters. She’s not trying to convince me, or anything, but

Okay, Candy is a big woman, a former US Post Office Police Officer who has lived here with her 2 teen-age daughters for 3 1/2 years. Her husband is still a postal worker back in (I think) Wisconsin. She’s been constantly relying on “G-d to provide room-mates” so she can make it work. She doesn’t have a job any more — she was in a car accident that left her in a coma for six months and so she can’t carry a gun anymore. When they don’t have a room-mate, the husband works lots of over-time, which is hard because he has seizures. They only see each other twice a year. She would be like a second mom to Bex. I get a glimpse of her parenting style as she praises the older teen who is focused with her work, and then criticizes the younger one for not being committed. She even demonstrates for me as she yells at the kid to get off the computer, and then looks back at me with satisfaction, as if to say, “see what an attentive mom I am?” OMG!

Back to find David and figure out what we’re doing for the evening. Bex realizes its Karaoke night. We negotiate the math that needs to get done before tomorrow, and she’s outta here. There is, clearly, a lot to talk about.

And remember… I’m not a fiction writer. Who needs fiction when the characters are so creative?

<posted by Elaine>

Thursday, Educating an Actor

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Change of the guard # 2: Greg gets Bex off to school and leaves for Philadelphia. Our new friend, Sarah, enters the scene. Unfortunately, Sarah is really busy these next couple of days, but Bex has her routine, and her friends, and she’s pretty cool with it.

After school Bex and I talked and Bex told me that she thinks the tutor has no clue how to handle ADHD. A math tutor came in today who was fine, thankfully, but Bex was pretty upset about the way she felt the primary tutor is treating her. So I started figuring out what our options might be, while Bex took the afternoon to prepare for the next audition — this time as a really edgy punk teenager for a show called “Save Me.” Thomas had told me that he and Susan both had worked really hard to get this audition since Bex has no credits, yet — clearly, Thomas is putting his reputation on the line. Sarah came home in time to go with Bex to the audition, and while she was there she ran into Phil Lewis, who was the actor she auditioned in front of in Atlanta a year and a half ago. He is a partner with Adrian R’Mante in the camp, and the one who selected Bex as one of 40 out of about 1400 in downtown Atlanta in October, 2010. After the audition Bex headed off to camp.

First, I had a conversation with Adrian R’Mante — who has been consistently available and helpful since the beginning of this process, and not just for Bex. He really wants these kids to be successful and he consistently goes the extra mile — so impressive for a *celebrity, truly. Anyway, I wanted his input about how to manage things when the agent and manager give conflicting advice. I can’t say he gave me any new ideas, but it was validating to know that this is not unusual. It’s an industry of strong-minded people, for sure.

Bex with Chester  C & Adrian R’Mante

Then I got a call from “The Tutor.” It was one of the most stunning conversations I’ve ever had with an educator in the 15+ years I’ve been a parent trying to educate a child. I’ve NEVER heard an educator say anything to me like this. She said, more than once, and I’m paraphrasing:

After 38 years as an educator, she’s NEVER had a child with ADHD who wasn’t on medication, and so she’s never had a problem, and she’s never had to deal with it. When I asked if she has any experience with ADHD, she responded that you can’t be a teacher for all those years and not know about it, but “it’s never been a problem for me.”

For her? It’s never been a problem for her? OMG. I am NOT MAKING THIS UP!

I spent about 10 minutes on the phone with this woman and realized that we were speaking different languages – it felt like we were on different planets. I know I come from a land where tutors are educated in special needs because that’s usually when they’re hired. In LA, tutors are hired routinely for general education, so they do not necessarily have a special education focus. THAT’s new information, and good to know! But really, this was beyond the pale. This is going to be interesting.

* P.S. Don’t know if I ever shared this, but it’s pretty fun info, what I’ll call the Strata of Fame:

  • A Working Actor is someone who makes a living in the Industry as an actor, but is not widely known and does not have a following.
  • A Celebrity is someone who is known and famous in smaller circles, like Adrian. Not a kid who’s ever seen Suite-Life doesn’t know him, but most of us adults would not know him because he’s primarily been a Disney actor.
  • A Star is more broadly known, like Ted Danson or someone like that. Someone who is widely recognized in public and has a ‘following.’
  • A Super-Star is known by nearly everyone, like Angelina & Brad, or Ellen DeGeneres.