There was a time when I hated living here. There was a time when the winters made me a recluse and the buildings cast shadows that swallowed me up. Phone calls home every day were the only source of comfort I could find in a city of steel and strangers.
According to the internet, Whoopi Goldberg once said “An actress can only play a woman. I’m an actor. I can play anything.” When I had the good fortune to run into her one day, I told her how that quote inspired me. She looked at me and nodded and said “there you go.” To be honest I don’t think she had any idea what I was talking about so maybe she never said that, but the words had already worked their magic on my impressionable heart.
Fear, however, tends to be more universal. And since fear isn’t something we tend to prepare for, we don’t need to be emotionally receptive when things beyond our control or imagination strike our vulnerability.
On October 28th I will be 28 years old. My golden birthday - ohhh the plans I had for myself when this age was still a decade or two in my future. A steady flow of acting work, a boyfriend I shared a New York City apartment with, multiple pet dogs and cats, laser eye surgery...BIG dreams here, guys!
Each trip everyone in the family would enjoy a hot, buttery bag of popcorn except for the girl. No one ever offered to share, and she never asked for a piece despite how much her mouth watered. She took violin lessons and her passion for the music only grew and grew. Sometimes to get to something you love you have to let go of something you like.
It's okay to give yourself what you need. It's just that sometimes in order to do that you have to admit to certain feelings that might scare you. The peace of mind that comes with treating yourself with respect, however, is worth it. You don't always get what you think you want, but you get what you're one day going to need.
One time I went on an audition for a shampoo commercial. I rushed there on my lunch break, giving up the only time I had to eat for the chance at a nice paycheck and some exposure. When I got there, all they did was line up all of the girls and measure our waists. It was disgusting.
It takes skill to be able to draw on skin in a way that flatters and/or alters all the quirks and charms of that person's features. Skills that I don't have... I'll dress the part, I'll put my hair a certain way, but no I don't want to paint my face for you. It's just not me, and that's part of what you have to show when you're looking for people you want to work with your next endeavor.
Last week's blog topic began with shedding my guilt and accepting my ego as something other than ego, specifically on the topics of unpaid work as an actor and being a critic. This week's topics -Getting All The Details & Avoiding Competition
Because my ego is bumping heads with my insecurities, I'm going to allow myself to stop feeling guilty about certain things as a freelance/independent actor. I'm so over telling myself that by raising my expectations I am inflating my ego.
Your film will lose a large demographic when a movie is rated highly by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). It literally becomes harder to market. And the MPAA has never released a set of guidelines on what separates ratings from one another. It's just a panel of people who vote on stuff. Don't believe me? Check out the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated.
I catch the glare of headlights in between glass and streaks of water as I sit in the café of WholeFoods looking out the window down into the Chinatown traffic. I feel a particular contentment in saying out loud, "Hey Tony, we live in New York City." To which Tony knowingly replies "It's easy to see how far you've come when you share a history with the company you're in."
Learning how to write a strong marketing pitch for myself has been one of the most uncomfortable things I've had to learn since being in New York City...trying to write about yourself like you're the best at what you do without making people want to punch you in the face is tough. The same goes with social media updates. How do you get people to engage without annoying them?
I have, more often than I would like to admit, been a part of a project that I was less than thrilled to be a part of once certain aspects of the production were revealed. Since none of the negative aspects of the productions went against any of my deep morals, I always saw them through because that’s what you do. You learn what you don’t like about the experience and you look for the red flags to avoid being stuck in those situations in the future.
I know there is a necessary business side to this acting career, but have a let myself get so tuned in to the pressures of using social media to parlay success that I'm convincing myself that my star meter on IMDb, while sadly somewhat important to certain people in the industry, should be something I really give a serious shit about?
Am I constantly worrying that this career may not pan out for me? Absolutely. I think Ryan Gosling stated it best when he was being interviewed for the documentary Seduced and Abandoned: "No one is sure if it was a premonition or a delusion, and there's only one way to find out.”
I don't feel I deserve a career as an actor, I feel I deserve a chance to prove how hard I want a career as an actor.
Once you realize that being an individual can be a really terrifying thing, you start to support those who really live to the beat of their own heart. When you build that respect people will see it and recognize it, and you'll be part of a community that let's you express yourself without the fear of ever being completely alone.
You can’t pretend to feel something- that’s asking the audience to meet you halfway. YOU have to do the hardwork. That’s your job. The audience will come in with a willingness to be captivated. Be so good at being honest that you make them forget they’ve even agreed to suspend their belief.
Finding a survival job is one of the top three most stressful aspects of pursuing an artistic career. Not only do you feel like you are compromising your time for something that sucks the very joy and life you need to create out of your soul, but if you’re really keeping your time free to audition then you’re probably JUST scraping by as-is working part-time.
After reading Tina Fey's "Bossypants" I remember thinking, “One day someone will hate me and I'll have to learn to see it as a compliment." If someone hates me this much I must be making some strong impressions. What that translates to is: I must be doing something right.
Since when is it okay to pay agents to decide if they want to take their 15%? There's a lot of us out there - throwing your money at agents and casting directors isn't going to make you stand out, especially since this seems to be some socially acceptable thing nowadays. It certainly won't win you respect as an actor either. If you have to pay someone to take a chance on you, what kind of relationship does that breed?
My best friend in the whole world told me once “New York will punch you in the face, but L.A. will stab you in the back.” Given the choice, I’d rather be punched in the face. It puts me in a much better position to swing back.
Aside from the occasional distraction, almost always in the form of video games (#nintendo4life), I was convinced that I needed to take every step with extreme caution because once I moved to New York, which I knew I was going to do, everyone and their mom would be taking acting careers seriously.