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How I Failed in 2014


Hayley DerryberryI knew last year was slow, but as I was preparing my taxes I realized I had all of one SAG job in 2014. That makes it the slowest year I’ve had since I joined SAG in 2009. On paper it would appear that I had a year of failure, but I don’t see it that way. I think 2014 has been the most successful year in my acting career thus far and here is why.

I nurtured my craft. My 2014 New Year’s resolution was to do more to grow as an actor. I started the year off with a great workshop taught by Courtney Cunningham in the art of “Clown.” I had no idea what I was in for and as someone who does not do “silly” well, taking that workshop was a great leap for me outside of my comfort zone. I absolutely loved the workshop and learned a lot about being present and responsive on stage or in a scene. With renewed vigor, I set out to grow more as an actor. I joined Studio 4 in North Hollywood and became a student of the “Meisner approach to acting.” Before Studio 4, I had not found a place of study that I felt I could settle into long term. Now I have amazing teachers and fellow students who challenge me constantly. Everything I’ve learned at my new school has made me a better actor on set and in the audition room.

I started a new career. As anyone reading this blog is aware, I began writing for Ms. In The Biz in early 2014. Being married to a writer and as an admirer of great writing, I set out to find my own voice amongst all of the bloggers all over the internet. Blogging turned out to be a great way for me to stay organized and productive. It also led to a new career for me. I focused more on my screenwriting having one of my short scripts produced and screened, and I got hired to blog full time for a company who needed content for their website. Thanks to “Thriving In Hollywood!” I even had one of my blogs published. Now I have a big slash under my name after actor that says WRITER.

I got a J-O-B. I wrote about this in a previous blog that my writing job at Alpine Village got expanded to a full time position. Now I am a member of their marketing team and in addition to blogging, I also manage their social media and assist in event production. Getting this job is a perfect example of luck being where preparation meets opportunity. Had I not been blogging voluntarily and regularly for Ms In the Biz, I would not have been offered the job. I’m also very fortunate to have a boss who recognizes and encourages my acting career allowing me to make my own schedule structured around my acting classes, auditions, and the occasional acting job. For my first couple of years in LA, I wanted to focus solely on my acting career. This left me with very little money and a lot of free time. I spent so many days at home, depressed, and stressed out about how I wasn’t successful enough as an actor. I was not a very happy person and it made me desperate to book every audition I went on. In this past year, because of my day job, I’ve been able to let that go, be happy, and be more productive. Over all I am a much better actor because of it.

And I had a lot of fun! Because I’m working many hours a week, I don’t have as much free time as I used to, but I enjoy my free time a lot more. I work very had throughout my week, and my husband and I both try to keep our weekends relatively clear so we can spend that time with each other, relaxing and/or collaborating together. I also took the time to fly home for Thanksgiving. Since living in LA, like many actors, I was hesitant to travel because of the off chance that I might get an audition. I decided to let go of that and spend some holiday time with my family. That was a great joy and I plan to get back home and just travel more in general from here on out.

So, no, I didn’t get any great acting jobs last year and I guess in some ways that’s a failure, but I don’t feel that way. I don’t think I’m the only one either, there must be other actors who just have “off” years. Overall I feel like 2014 was a huge success for me in my personal life and in my professional life. So far in 2015 I’ve been auditioning a lot and because of how much I’ve grown, I feel very confident in the audition room and very happy with the performances I have delivered. I have a feeling that something great is on its way. So don’t just measure your success and failure by numbers on paper. This business is full of the latter. We are successful every year that we stick it out and keep pursuing what we love.

Hayley Derryberry

About Hayley Derryberry

Hayley grew up in Tennessee and began acting on stage at six years old. She moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2008 where she began a professional career in Film and Television. There, Hayley learned about acting on camera working with talented local teachers and filmmakers. She worked on local web series and independent films. She eventually earned her SAG card with a speaking role on the Starz series “Crash”. Hayley and her husband Paul moved to Los Angeles in 2011. With their production company Rogue Taurus, they produced their first full-length feature film “Rabid Love”. The film has been sold and will be released on March 4th 2014. Hayley’s acting career is currently flourishing. She went to Sundance 2014 with the critically acclaimed film “Frank”, and has been booking small roles on television. Hayley still stays close to her Indy roots though, playing diverse characters in everything from Comedy to Horror. In fact, in the February 14th issue of “Living Dead Magazine” Hayley was named one of the top 5 new Scream Queens and Rising Talent of 2014. With wholesome midwestern looks, fierce talent, and a funny name, Hayley Derryberry is making her mark in Hollywood.