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While Parenting Series: Murisa Harba’s Encouragement “You Will Find A Way”

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This is a new interview series “While Parenting” that I cannot wait to share with you! In celebration of parenting in the film industry during a PANDEMIC and still coming out of the other side ready to work, I wanted to highlight a few creators that inspire me. I had the honor of catching up with Murisa Harba: Actress, Director, Author & Thought Leader. Her work ethic and her energy inspire me to lean into my ‘actor’ side and continue the tradition of deeply fostering my acting education no matter how many decades I’ve been working. If you’re not growing, you’re dying!

Hey there Murisa, I’ve been meaning to ask you this: What has been your favorite project you’ve been a part of?

The Shattering has been my favorite project to date because it challenged me to my emotional core. I had to bring my A-Game every minute of every day on set because my character was literally in every scene; so not a moment to lose focus as so much of the piece was riding on my performance. Luckily, I LOVE a good challenge so I was right in my element! This role showed me what I am capable of and for that I am so thankful to Director Daria Nazarova and Producer KT Kent for casting me in the lead role of Claire. (The Shattering is avail on Amazon Video).

Honestly, it’s not my business, but I’m gonna ask anyway: Did you take your career into consideration in your decision to have kids ?

OMG, yes! I stressed over it for years actually. I was terrified my reps would dismiss me or it would show that I am somehow not committed to my career path, but I could not have been more wrong. They were all super supportive of my journey into motherhood with both of my boys.

Since we’re already prying: What part of your life changed the most with your decision to start a family?

I thought I was balancing a lot before I had kids but now….HA! The amount of stuff you learn to get done during nap time is next level! Having a family encouraged me to lean into my dreams and goals even more because I wanted to design the life I wanted, not only for myself but for them with regards to timing and availability to be present for them. I know one day, when they are older, it will inspire them to go full force in the direction of their hopes and dreams as well, which is extremely important to me. 

How has your work or process changed in this season of your life?

First off, my standards are MUCH higher because for work to take me away from time with my family, it must be in line with my vision, values and goals for the future of who I want to become. Second, for whatever reason, with each kid, my career seems to have improved greatly which is something I was nervous about when we were about to start a family.  I remember there being a moment where I got to decide if I would accept the challenge of upleveling myself and my work and my husband encouraged me to walk bravely into the challenge. Separately, having to juggle motherhood on set has been quite an interesting feat! I remember another project that was incredible to work on was choreographing the opening number to Sony’s popular narrative video game The Last Of Us: Part II as I was just 3 months postpartum. Naughty Dog and Sony were so incredibly kind to me with scheduling breaks according to my feeding schedule and giving me ample time and privacy to go about my motherly business. They set a fine example of how it should be on all sets!

What are you working on next?

My debut book Acting With Energy: Creating Repeatable Brilliance Take After Take is [available on Amazon]. I am so incredibly excited to share the contents of this book with the world. As a thought leader in the performance space, I hope to raise the level of emotional intelligence resulting in a more peaceful symbiotic society led by artists. In my work with my actors studio, About The Work, and in my book, I strive to empower others to tap into their intuitive body uncovering the similarities we possess within the human body through an easy to understand step by step guide building awareness through the accessible lens of TV & Film. By using the mainstream media to produce the ground swell, I believe if we can focus on what makes us similar, we can close the gap between our differences resulting in global collaboration towards a better, more peaceful future; a world where it’s me AND you, not me versus you. I am also in pre-production on a Dark Comedy TV show called Bad Therapist which is the next project I am directing! It is such an important show that shines a light on mental illness and addiction, as well as other prominent topics such as homelessness. We hope to bring the struggles of mental health to the surface by creating a community where we can discuss them more freely, while also introducing therapeutical methods that promote self-love and health, as well, as being present for others. …
Overall, becoming a mother has made me really take a look at what I want to contribute to this world with the time I have here on this earth, including how I raise my boys. And for that, I am so grateful. To any artists out there who feel like they have to choose one or the other, I am here to tell you that you don’t. You can have both. There will be sacrifices on both sides, of course, but if you still have more to contribute to this world with your art, then you will find a way to that AND experience the joys of having a family. You just have to get really creative!

Jennica Schwartzman, Managing Partner at Purpose Pictures Productions, Co-Founder of Little Sister Entertainment, and a member of The Producers Guild of America, SAG/AFTRA, and Moms-In-Film LA, loves tackling a project from idea to distribution as a multi-hyphenate actress-writer-producer. Jennica has been published in the Producers Guild Magazine "Produced By," Legacy Arts Magazine, Paragon Road, Bustle, and she is a guest writer for the acclaimed entertainment industry websites MsInTheBiz.com, FilmmakingStuff.com, Artemis Motion Pictures' #WomenKickAss Forum, and WomenandHollywood.com. She has been invited to speak on film festival panels and is a workshop teacher for The International Family Film Festival's Road Scholars intergenerational filmmaking camp. Jennica has produced ten feature film releases. Jennica and her husband /producing partner /writing partner Ryan have two kiddos and reside in Hollywood.

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