I wish I had the words to express how wonderful it is having your best friend back in town. We've been out of college for four years now and we've only seen each other maybe nine months out of that time because of her incredibly busy touring schedule and my habit of over-working myself. Now that we are finally roommates again (though she's already back on tour for a bit all the way in Cali) I always have someone to goof off with or talk some serious future-development shit. Now that I'm finally, FINALLY settled into a supportive job which will allow me to work just a few days a week while enabling me to afford rent, bills, health care and groceries (!!!!), it's time to put the focus back into action, and part of that action is continuing this blog.
In between this job and the last job I had - but whose counting, amiright? - I was working temp at a law-firm drafting O-1 visa petition letters. What I learned about marketing language during this time was invaluable. 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. It's already weird enough that I spend crazy amounts of money on pictures of myself and I have a website all about me, and sometimes I have to be really bitchy to people who won't give me footage of myself so I can spend hours making a demo reel that's all of my best acting moments, and that I have to insist that people use my middle initial when crediting me for weird union reasons; 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? It's been a fun trial & error process so far, but if I didn't care about an acting career so much, hell no would I ever have acquired these skills.
Since I won't pay for meet and greets with agents, my only two options are to:
1) Keep working until I bump into someone who knows someone who can get me an interview (hey, it happens!),
2) Find a way to send them a newsletter that will catch their eye and put all the necessary information into their brain to hook them in before they lose interest.
How do I make them see that I have that special spark they are looking for when it's so easy to just swipe away an email? I am in no way bashing the ways of the modern world - Quite the opposite. What I'm saying is: Challenge Accepted.
For those of you who haven't heard of mailchimp.com, it's a great resource. They have templates where you can create clean and versatile newsletters and schedule them to be sent at a specific date and time. You can also track who opens the email at what time and how many times, what links are clicked on, and who unsubscribes. I've tried so many different newsletter formats and I think this last time I got it right. I was so confident that I imported all my contacts from my two gmail accounts and added them into my newsletter mailing list and sent it out to more than 800 people. I use to swear I would never do that, but I've learned there are more serious ways of pissing people off that I need to be much more worried about. The responses I got however were extremely sweet. Out of all of those new subscribers, only 16 unsubscribed. People I hadn't spoken to in years where messaging me thanking me for the update and congratulating me on everything so far. Some directors who I had only auditioned or submitted for in the past messaged me and talked about working together in the future. I can now target a lot of agents who opened my email and clicked on my links and keep a sharper eye on my radar for them.
I read an article recently talking about how, after he dropped out of school, Steve Jobs was sort of roaming from hobby to hobby and stumbled upon a calligraphy class. He embraced the subject and walked away with the roots of an entirely new skill. Had he not said yes to this new experience, Apple products would not have the feng-shui interface and sleek designs they are so well known for. Even their packaging is beautiful. Anyway, the point of the story is always say yes to experiences because you can't see the seeds you're planting when you're looking towards the future. You can only see them when you look in the past. Just have faith that where your intuition tells you to go is the place where you need to be.
I never thought I'd have to be a freelancer. I never even really knew what the word meant most of my life. I just assumed I'd graduate, move to New York City, and then book an agent. Duh, how obvs. I am SO happy things didn't turn out that way. Success rarely lasts if it falls in your lap. You need to take the time to plant seeds. I believe the saying is “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” I've got nowhere else to be. I can take my time.
Now, throughout the past I've been called idealistic by a lot of people. That is one of the few adjectives that really piss me off when I hear it addressed at me. I take being called idealistic as a direct insult to my intelligence. To assume I'm happy or optimistic because I haven't weighed all the risks and challenges of this career is one of the rudest things you could say to me. I don't feel this way out of naivety, I feel this way by choice. Why would I deny myself the happiness of believing I'm going to have success with the things that make me happy? If I don't put the happiness out into the world first, how will I get it back? I am going through life full-steam like I am banking on a miracle. I'm aware of that. But that's also what makes each day exciting. If I reach my deathbed never having found great success, I'll probably spend my last breath thinking “Oh, Life. Life was the miracle all along. I get it.” And everything will still be A-Okay. I'm not going to turn unto a bitter old gross person no matter how this career pans out. That's not my style. Being happy makes being brave easier.