Have you ever given up holidays with your family or postponed vacations because you thought you might miss an important audition or job? We LA transplants do this a lot. We live in a city of infinite possibilities, so it becomes very difficult to hold onto the ones that are in front of us. Its like the saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” But what about when there are hundreds or thousands of birds in that bush? Don’t you want your hands free so you can grab all of them? Sorry for the metaphor, but the point is don’t sacrifice the things that you have today because of something you might have tomorrow. Today matters!
I’ve been living in LA and working as a professional actress for three years now. I had been doing a lot of promo work, on set work, and odd jobs to supplement my income and keep my schedule flexible in case of an important audition or job. Like many of my fellow actors, I found myself turning down jobs with schedules and putting off anything that would take me out of LA, in case that life changing phone call came through, and I found myself getting depressed and very stressed out.
For one thing, when all of your time is wrapped up in the need to book a part, you become the crazy actress who wants it way too much. Because my auditions were sparse and I had nothing better to do for the days leading up to them other than practice and prepare, I would SOOO over do it. I would stress and prep for my audition for days driving my husband crazy and taking myself on the world’s loopiest emotional roller coaster ride. Then once I got to the audition my mind would be racing about all of the “what if’s” if I booked this part. I needed it WAY too much.
The second thing is that most days I was extremely depressed. It’s been said that the number one killer of old people is retirement. It’s not having a reason to get out of bed in the morning and get something done. If I added up the amount of hours last year that I actually spent working or auditioning, I doubt it would fill an entire week. That leaves a whole lot of time for stressing, worrying, and wondering why “it” hasn’t happened yet.
So about a month ago, I reached an intense down and decided that some things had to change. I went out and got a J.O.B., I gave up all my old promo jobs and got a more permanent freelance job with just one company, and I joined the YMCA. My J.O.B. is only a few shifts a week and doesn’t make a lot of money, but it gives me a place of employment and a group of amazing co-workers who can all relate with me because of our shared experience in the mundane. My freelance job gives me the same flexibility that I had before working promos, but because now I’m with only one company I don’t have to apply for 30 jobs a day and train with new products for every job. And even though I was exercising on my own before, now that I’m at the Y I get the option of going to great group classes and I’m taking classes for swimming which I never learned growing up. A month later, I feel like a completely different person. I’m so much busier and happier now.
My acting career is still on the same path. That hasn’t changed, I can still see the goals I want to accomplish as an actress in the upcoming years, but what has changed is the fact that now I have things to do in the mean time. I still fully intend to become an academy award winning movie star, but in the mean time, the person I am right now, today is still a pretty cool person who deserves a lot of love and attention. Not only that, but my being busy is actually making me a better actress. I had an audition a couple of weeks ago, and I was so busy training at work that I didn’t have my usual 24hours of prep and stress time. I went to my audition then had to rush to a meeting and forgot all about it. A couple days later I get the email saying I’ve got a call back. I honestly had to think for a minute to remember what the audition even was. It definitely helped me auditioning to not be so stressed out about booking the part.
I wanted to write this blog just to reach out to all of my fellow dreamers and offer a little advice if you’re feeling low like I was. So go home and visit your family or take a trip with your significant other, LA will still be here when you get back. And volunteer or take a day job, something to fill those endless hours of waiting for the next audition or booking. Remember: the person you are today is just as important as the successful movie star, director, producer, or writer you intend to become in the future. Today matters!