We had the good fortune of connecting with Ari Frenkel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ari, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
Undoubtedly, the book that has had the greatest impact on me is “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olsen. The basic principle of the book is that everything we do in life, good or bad, is the result of things being done in small increments over and over and over again. It stresses the significance and impact of steady consistency over long periods of time (with endless examples). This book instilled the practice of many daily habits (as well as the weekly, monthly, and yearly inventory of that progress). These habits have now become automatic, which include daily meditation, exercise, kind deeds, reading 10 pages of a self-development book, and so much more. Doing just 10 minutes of something you care about every single day has a much greater impact than overdoing something once or twice periodically. The same ideas have allowed me to slowly, but surely, diminish bad habits as well. As these things have become part of my identity, I am able to add new habits into my daily regimen, learning new skills, perspectives, and ideas.
As a professional artist, having these disciplines have a clear correlation to many successes in my life. They allow me to tackle large intimidating projects, piece by piece, so I am not overwhelmed by the scope of large goals. People often comment that I’m working non-stop, but the reality is that is I’m just prioritizing consistency and dedication to the long haul. Something that has really helped me with this is printing out a weekly goal sheet, with a daily schedule I write in. On the bottom of each day are all the habits I promised myself I’d do, so I can cross them off as I accomplish them, and if I do the majority of them, I’ve “Won the Day.” This is something my good friend Jason Lautenschleger introduced to me (he just wrote a Medium article all about it). This small thing allows me to assess my daily progress in a healthy way and keeps me on track when life (inevitably) disrupts my patterns – And it always feels great to win the day!
Also, as an artist, it can often feel like the needle isn’t moving, so it’s important for me to know that I have done all the things within my control. This keeps my attitude positive and allows me to have a clear perspective. I’ve found it especially useful in this current crisis in maintaining a structure and sticking with my goals – can’t recommend it enough!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been a professional actor for the last 15 years. I started working in regional theatres around the country and then moved to Los Angeles where I transitioned to On-Camera work, working consistently in television and commercials. I am always generating my own work, creating films, sketches, and most significantly, my 16-episode award-winning digital series “Sorry, Ari.” It was named “One of the Best Web Series” by IndieWire alongside Jerry Seinfeld (my comedy hero!). I’ve been working on this project for years, slowly building my portfolio, gaining new fans, working with incredible artists, and challenging myself to keep growing as a storyteller.
The show has even evolved into an annual Live show, which has been an absolute blast to put on. It’s been really lovely to see more and more strangers find my work over the last several years and see how it inspires or entertains them. That’s really the most meaningful aspect of this all: If I can make a difference in someone’s day, even for just a moment, then it was worth making. I also write quite a bit, which has garnered its own successes. I’ve won multiple writing contests and consistently meet with major production companies in an effort to find a project we can develop together. I even wrote my first play called “LIARS,” which was set to be produced in this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival, but if theatre remains on hold, I will produce it as a one-location feature film.
I find all of my art to be connected in some capacity. I paint and sing as well (and have been using the Quarantine to learn piano). As the years go by, I’m finding my most authentic work seems to come from combining all of my skillsets and approaching them as a whole. I think the greatest challenge has been accepting that things don’t turn out as you expect, but they do turn out as they should. This town produces a lot of bitterness and I never want to encompass that. I’m in this for the long haul and I’ve really learned to love the process. I sincerely believe that we are all in this together and there is room for everyone.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
When things return to normal: Morning hike to Griffith Observatory, Visit to the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, a drive to Malibu through the canyons, a Hike through Escondido Canyon, a visit to Barnsdale Park. I’d skip the tourist stuff – to me, the magic of LA is our access to beautiful nature. I’d take them to all of my favorite restaurants, which you should support by ordering Take Out from in the meantime! El Cochinito (Cuban), Wirtshaus (German), SideWalk Grill (Meditteranean), Bao (Dim Sum), What the Fish (Sushi), Bludso’s (BBQ). And out for drinks at my favorite bars: Birds (basically LA Cheers), Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, Tenants of the Trees, El Cid
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family has always been incredibly supportive of my dreams and I’m so grateful for them. I’d be lost without them. This time apart from them has been especially hard. Our family company Bakto Flavors, keeps me employed (even now!) with design work. I am who I am because of my family. If you bake – get your own vanilla, flavors & extracts (over 60 flavors to choose from) at BaktoFlavors.com
Angeliea Stark Kayla Líllí Ramírez Peter Konerko