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New Year’s Biz-Solutions


MadelineMerrittBioPicI must be getting older, or the world is spinning faster like some conspiracy theory, because 2014 came and went in a flash. All of a sudden it is time to take stock of the year that has gone by and make plans for the year ahead. Like many of the amazing women I know in the arts, I can look back at this year with a lot of pride, because I stretched myself artistically in ways that I hadn’t since I moved to Los Angeles. This year I wrote, produced, and starred in a short film heading to festivals in 2015, as well as co-wrote, co-produced, and acted in a spec pilot that has major traction heading into the New Year. I feel good. Better than ever. And that makes me want to step-it-up even further in 2015.

Does this story sound familiar? Throughout my education/childhood years I had a lot of creative freedom and self-possession that I felt robbed of when I first moved to Hollywood. Girls are often encouraged in educational settings, but when it comes to JOBS in creative industries, there’s too commonly a “step-aside women, it’s time for the men to take over” attitude that is integrated into how we see ourselves and therefore our achievements as young professionals. As women, it is up to each and every one of us to consciously shake off the stereotypes and take charge of our careers for ourselves. 2014 was a year when I finally decided to throw off the chains of oppression *that I was co-creating* and begin a journey to reach a more-whole potential as a media creative. This year I took risks and managed to move from someone who wanted to create my own projects, to someone who actually wrote, directed and produced my own content. Did that mean that some of my traditional business tactics suffered? Perhaps. But I have officially earned my writer/producer badge, I have learned a lot, and I have gained a ton of confidence. This journey has definitely been worth it.

For anyone, making your way in this industry as a creative is a combination of creating your own path, increasing your ability, and intuitively walking through new opportunities as they arise. It is upping your business fitness and acumen, upping your creative “channel” or “instrument” and gaining the confidence create your own opportunities. It is learning from the world as it is, taking advantage of available openings, and when the environment doesn’t look how you wish it did, learning how to change the landscape by making something undeniable that speaks to what’s missing in the creative sphere.

Success is knowing how to push your limits and redefine your abilities. Success is finding people you admire and learning from them. It is owning your mistakes as stepping stones on the journey to reaching your full potential. It is learning your identity and how you want to contribute to the world through your craft: are you here to bring laughter, to bring encouragement to the down-trodden, to be an activist, to reveal a hidden world, or a combination of it all? What is your purpose and how is this journey in the entertainment industry a part of that? What do you have to give that is quintessentially YOU? That is why you have chosen this path: it is not for the faint of heart.

So in the spirit of stepping stones, I am encouraging a new type of resolution this year: declarations that BUILD on our SUCCESSES rather than counting our miss-steps or “could-have-been-betters”. Here are some of mine, and I encourage all the ladies out there to make their own Biz-Solutions for 2015.

WIN in 2014: Body-Acceptance.

I have come a long way in loving my body, owning my presence, and loving what I bring to the table despite the expectations that exist.

GAIN in 2015: Work-Out from LOVE.

This year I want to dedicate myself to my workout/body/health goals from a place of loving my body as my instrument, rather than trying to fit someone else’s perception of what I should look like in order to be “marketable”.

Win in 2014: Projects in the can.

I produced and saw a festival-bound short through post-production and finished shooting a full-length spec pilot.


From the on-set experience I gained this year, I am really excited to move forward in a new arena: seeing my projects make waves. I have two different strategies for these projects: one utilizing festival networks, one more internal using business relationships to move my attached projects forward. I am learning by doing, the most important role of the producer: find your audience.

WIN in 2014: Booked it.

This year I booked a national commercial and some beautiful indie-film roles.

GAIN in 2015: Work it.

This coming year I want to re-engage my casting-director workshop and self-marketing habits so that I can make new relationships and open new doors now that I have confidence, skill, and dedication muscles that are toned.

In honor of the whirlwind of the year behind us, I celebrate a new year which I will meet with grace and dedication. I encourage all of you out there to honor your stepping stones and dedicate yourself to progress, in all the myriad forms. There is room for our voices to be heard if we seize the day and prove ourselves with effort, confidence, and a fundamental sense of self-worth and engagement. What are your Biz-Solutions for 2015? Please let me know in the comment section bellow.

Here’s to a successful year ahead!

Madeline Merritt

About Madeline Merritt

Actress, Freelance Writer - Madeline grew up on stage and has loved telling stories her whole life. From the Bay Area, California, Madeline received her degree in Theatre and Political Science from Northwestern University and moved to Los Angeles in 2008. She recently spent a year in Paris, France but missed the city of Angels and the entertainment industry here. She cares deeply about social issues, including women’s rights, indigenous rights, poverty and the environment. She feels the role of storyteller through entertainment is very important in opening dialogue and creating change in the world. You can see her in The Guest House (available on Netflix, Itunes, Amazon and Time Warner on Demand) and the soon to be released American Idiots, coming to a Redbox near you in June 2013. She is thrilled to continue her journey of collaborating with women in film and television through Ms. In the Biz.