Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's been a while

It's been a while since I've done any serious acting. I try to do at least one production a year, and since moving to Houston 10 years ago I have managed to be on stage at least that much. A few years ago, I even managed to make the lion's share of my income by acting--not that the lion's share was much, but I did live as a working actor. And let me tell you, it was hard. After that year I questioned whether or not I was on the right path and if acting really was my life's passion. I felt demoralized, unsuccessful, depressed and a level of frustration I had never experienced before.

So I decided to take some time off to reevaluate how I felt about the industry. I became a massage therapist (partly to have a flexible schedule should I ever seriously return to acting), I got engaged to my long time boyfriend, spent a year planning the wedding, and I continued to do at least one show a year.

During this time, I constantly thought about acting. At first I had negative feelings about the industry and was relieved to no longer struggle to be a part of it. I was tired of being poor and eating Ramen noodle soup every day. I was tired of being judged on how I looked. I felt like the acting scene in Houston was as clique-ish as middle school and, try as I might, I was never cool enough to fit in. I hated seeing people who had never acted before get cast in something just because they were friends with the writer/director/producer when there was an endless supply of "real" actors practically begging for work. I was sick of it all.

After a while, my feelings began to change. I wanted to start chasing my dream again. One play a year was just not cutting it! But I was afraid that I had let too much time pass. I hadn't done any film work in years. All the directors, producers, and screenwriters I had met over the years would certainly not remember me. The plays I was in during this time were all at my college theatre; it was all unpaid work at a theatre I loved, but did not push my skills or career to the next level. I had gotten terribly out of shape, and in an industry where image is almost everything I wouldn't be able to compete with other actors who simply looked better than me. I felt defeated and resigned to my decision to not be a part of it all. I had burned my bridges and there was no going back. I had made my decision to quit and I just had to live with it and all the regret that went along with it. A lot of the other things I wanted in life depended on me being a responsible adult and earning an equal living to my partner; if I wanted a wedding and a house and a baby meant never again pursuing my career seriously. After all, how can a mortgage get paid on an actor's salary?

I became resentful at the world for being in a position to have to choose between a comfortable life and my dream. I was angry that I couldn't have it all--a house, a family, financial security and being a successful actor. Why couldn't all those things go together? I saw no reason why they couldn't go together, but I didn't know how to make them go together. So I continued to do my one show a year. I told myself to be happy with that. It's too late to get back into the game.

But then I realized something. It's not too late. I can still go after my dream. Just because I'm married now and want to buy a house, start a family, and open my own massage spa doesn't mean I can't lay down the ground work to launch my acting career again. Sure, it's going to be hard. I'm going to have a lot of work to do, but I can do it. It's not impossible!!! And it's probably a good thing that I took so much time away from my career. In reality I wasn't as successful as I would have liked to believe I was. All those bridges I think I burned weren't very big bridges to begin with and they certainly weren't the majority of the bridges I need to cross. If anything, I have an advantage. I get to start fresh. I get to make new connections with people, I get to change my image, I get to be who I want to be in this industry. I get to start over, and I couldn't be more excited!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just so you know - you can write too! Excellent blog!

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