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


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 Smith

About Deborah Smith

Actress/ Blogger/Storyteller - Deborah is the ultimate girl next door/ gal pal but don’t underestimate her wit or brains. Originally from Los Angeles, she fell in love with the Bay Area while attending UC Berkeley in English and Theater. Since she caught the travel bug, she moved to Australia to pursue her Master’s Degree in Film Production and Marketing. Five years, and one Aussie boyfriend later, she has worked in the Australian film industry while starting a construction surveying company and her own marketing/web design freelance business. She has returned to Los Angeles to continue building characters, chase her dream of becoming a superhero, and write about powerful historical women whose tales’ go unheard!

  • Great article, Deborah. What an inspiring path you’ve chosen. And Go Bears! :). I am also a Cal alum and studied something that might be the third cousin to Theater… German! I am currently taking a break from the “crazy train” and curious about what made you decide to go to graduate school? And how has it impacted your opportunities and capabilities in your businesses? Thanks!

    • Hello Natasha!
      Go Bears! 🙂 thank you so much for the kind words and I am so glad you took something from it! Idecided to get my master’s degree for a variety of reasons. The main one was that I have always had a love for all aspects of production. I have dabbled in writing,casting, and costumes and I was trying to decide for myself whether I wanted to act or be behind the scenes. Through my masters, I discovered that I 10000% want to act. It bring me so much joy and this was my biggest take away.
      Directly, I wouldn’t say it has made a difference in getting me more jobs but I think all experiences are important to become a well rounded person.
      Maybe I will discuss this in my next piece! Feel free to contact me directly if you wish to chat more 🙂

  • I, like you, feel like I am getting started in acting a little later than most. I guess my “crazy” would have to be the baby steps that I have taken to get to where I am today. Not until I finally moved to LA have I felt like I’ve actually taken a leap. Don’t get me wrong, it came with sacrifices, but I know they’ll all be worth it. That was my personal path and I have no regrets. It just happened to take me a little extra time than most to figure out who I am and what I want. The important thing is that I am moving forward. I’m glad you are now able to take your dreams “out of your pocket.” Great article!

    • I love that you are inspired by this Kasi! I love being on this journey with you and helping in any way I can 🙂