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I Took A Break From Hollywood to Control the “Crazy”

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Deborah Smith_(1)You have heard it time and time again. To be an actor, you must be crazy. Crazy to pursue a dream that is so unscheduled, unorganized, and uncharted. There is no path, and the sheer creative nature of the business makes the journey entirely unique to you.

That right there is the secret to staying sane: this journey is organized, scheduled, and charted by YOU. Of course, there is a huge community of people that you should connect with and collaborate with, but here is the one thing you haven’t heard: YOU can control the crazy.

Let’s rewind, I, like most of you out there, fell in love with performing at a very young age. I was a drama geek in junior high and high school. Somewhere along the way, my logical brain kicked in and I decided to do a “safe” major for college. I chose English with a minor in Theater. Laughing at me now? English is basically Theater’s second cousin and didn’t exactly lead to a high paying job. For many years I was dancing around what I actually wanted to do, act, but fear kept me away. Not fear of failure, but fear of insecurity. Insecurity was my crazy.

I have enormous amounts of respect for many of my friends, and colleagues, who moved to Los Angeles without a dime in their pocket. We have all heard the stories about the actors who slept in their car so they could pay for acting classes. I knew that I could never be that person. I have experienced financial struggles and knew that I could not be in that space and be creative at the same time. I accepted that, and decided to take a break to control the crazy. I decided to put my dreams in my shirt pocket, and earn some savings, that way when I took that dream out, there would be nothing stopping me.

What is your crazy? It is extremely important to know your limits in this business. Whether that is nudity, eating ramen noodles every night for dinner or being unable to travel home for the holidays. There is no wrong answer. You must know what will break you, because only when you accept that breaking point can you overcome it. To overcome my crazy, I became my own business. I am currently working on web design, marketing, and copywriting for 5 clients in the US and Australia. I make my own hours, set my own schedule, and chart my own journey. Best of all, I have harnessed the insecurity and now use it to my advantage.

Of course, being an entrepreneur has its challenges, but it also has immense benefits. Yes I am older than most actresses “starting out,” but I also have life experience that benefits my art, knowledge of the world outside Hollywood, and a passion that has been burning for the last 15 years. For the first time in my life, I have taken my dreams out of my pocket and put them in my hand.

I am extremely excited to be sharing my entrepreneurial experience with the amazing Ms. In The Biz community. After all, Hollywood is a business, and I am using my skills as a businesswoman to make my mark. I will be sharing my suggestions, organizational skills, successes, and failures with you all. If you have something specific you would like to know about being an entrepreneur, please ask! We can all learn together through an engaging conversation.

For now, think about what is holding you back from success. What is your crazy? Maybe you need to accept your crazy and learn how to harness it to benefit you. You can be your greatest asset and biggest competition. There are a lot of other people out there fighting for the same role. You don’t want to be in your own way. Learn to control the crazy, and take a break if you need to. Believe me, you will come back more tenacious, dedicated, and passionate than you would have ever thought possible.

Deborah Lee Smith

About Deborah Lee Smith

Deborah Lee Smith is an actress and producer whose love of performing, storytelling, and new experiences has led to filming projects around the world. Originally from LA, she studied Theater and English Lit at UC Berkeley before moving to Australia to pursue her master’s degree in Film Production. She started acting in the Australian film industry before returning to LA and diving head first into acting and discovered a love of producing. Currently, she has two films in post-production that she has starred in, and has received several awards for her acting and producing work. Additionally, she has partnered with another incredible female producer to create Deep Sea Pictures, a full-service production company that has several projects in various stages of development. She believes in working hard, playing hard, exploring the world, and supporting others to tell stories that expand our understanding of the world and the people, places, and things that reside within it!