“Getting My Life Together”

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I currently find myself in a transitional period, the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

I’m out of debt, I have an agent that I’m hoping will score me some sweet auditions (nothing yet), and I’m acquiring income by piecing together any freelance opportunities that come my way.

I’m staying afloat, paying my own way, and not starving for my art.

YET.

For those that know me in person, or have been reading this blog from the very beginning, you may be asking yourselves how I’m managing to live this new lifestyle while keeping depression and my anxiety disorder at bay.

The short answer is: I’m not.

I’m not.

That’s the honest truth.

I’m terrified, and I’m worried, and I’m anxious, and not an hour goes by each day when the ticker tape in my head doesn’t stream:

I NEED TO GET MY LIFE TOGETHER. 

In fact, whenever someone asks me how I’m doing or what I’m doing or where I am in my journey, my response is always, “I’m getting my life together.”

That single phrase both kills my confidence and my motivation in one foul swoop. It makes me feel guilty for not having full-time guaranteed income, makes me feel impotent (not in the sexual definition–the other one–google it, you dirty minded person) for not being able to control my career path, and just generally drives me insane because it implies that I AM NOT DOING ANYTHING.

[The shouty capitals are off the chain in this post because that’s what my subconscious is doing 24/7–it’s yelling at me. Sorry for taking it out on you, but misery loves company.]

But then, I stop and think about what it is that I am doing and I try to cut myself some slack:

  • I’m showering almost regularly (don’t judge!)
  • I’m accepting the work that’s being offered to me without thinking that I’m “taking a step back” by nannying or doing cashier work or menial assistant tasks
  • I’m really trying to meet up with friends more now that my schedule is flexible (which is hard when income is tight)
  • I’m not spending all day in bed depressed…at least not every day There have been quite a few in the past months where everything hurts and life sucks and I just need to try and sleep it off.

Other than that, I’m reminding myself to breathe.

And really utilizing the emotional support systems that I have because, MAN, this is tough. I’ve been talked off the ledge more times than I can count by my closest friends (who happen to be thousands of miles away).

I’m shaking while writing this because this is a “no income week” so far and I’m wondering if anything will pop up.

I’m looking ahead to March and my 30th birthday and wondering what I have to show for the three decades I’ve been circling around the sun.

I am not in a happy place, or even a good place for that matter (The Good Place on NBC is a great show that’s been helping me get by, just gonna plug that. 1st season on Netflix, 2nd season happening now).

It’s hard to be creative and to write when survival is looming over your head and you feel selfish for pursuing these astronomical goals and not abandoning them for stable work.

It’s lonely being a spinster sometimes, and modern dating makes it even harder to find and form an emotional/romantic connection with someone without the threat of being “ghosted” or ending up in a dead end relationship.

Things suck right now. Yes, they could always be worse, but HOLY CRAP, you guys!

But I’m always open and honest when I write on these pages, so there you have it. Things are ugly right now. But I know that once you’ve hit the bottom, you can only go up. And I’m thankful that my “bottom” hasn’t found me starving and homeless.

YET.

I wanted to end this post on a high note, but that would feel really disingenuous.

So here’s a pretty picture of the sunset that I took at The Grove last night.

Just because.

 

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5 Years Here and I’m Feeling…OLD.

To stay up-do-date on all of Short and Feisty’s posts, click the Follow this blog button at the top right of this page.

I’m coming at you a month late with this one, but I have been in LA 5 years.

FIVE YEARS, PEOPLE.

And now when I tell new people I meet that I’ve been here for FIVE YEARS, the first comment is always “WOW, that’s such a long time,” and then I fall to the ground and curl up in the fetal position.

Because no starving artist miles away from their intended destination likes to be reminded of JUST how much time they’ve been at it.

I’m still working on embracing the “big 5” and I think writing out this blog and seeing my progress will help…right? RIGHT?!

Let me take a little second to drop the link to the summary of YEAR 4 for a little comparison. See where the Short and Feisty one was a year ago before sinking your teeth into this one.

Without anymore preamble, let’s jump right in to this year, shall we?

Things I HAVE accomplished:

  • Worked my first personal assistant job on a big budget studio feature.
    • Survived said job with very little (physical) scarring–I came home in one piece, and I’m counting that.
    • Made a ton of new friends with the other assistants/crew members on the project.
  • I PAID OFF MY CAR LOAN.
    • I am officially debt free and it feels MAGNIFICENT.
  • I’m still in the same apartment, though I didn’t live in it for 6 months of this year. I’m beating my previous record, anyway!
  • I only had one truly severe panic attack within this past year–
    • It happened on a plane, in the lavatory of all places, and I thought I was going to die, but PROGRESS.
  • I wrote the first three episodes of a web series, made a pitch video, and it’s currently being considered for a competition. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
  • I’ve started the perilous task of getting rid of half of my belongings by the end of the year. I’ve collected so much stuff over the last 5 years and I’m sure I don’t use at least half of it, so it gotsta go.
  • I visited: England, Scotland, Greece, and New Zealand this year. I also spent time in Hawaii, almost all of those destinations through work.
  • I SIGNED WITH A TALENT AGENT.
    • This is BY FAR the best news of the entire year because it is the BIGGEST THING that makes me feel like I’ve actively made progress in my acting career. I’ve convinced someone that I have what it takes, now I just need to get out on some auditions to prove them right.

Things I’ve learned:

On Work:

  • Gain as much experience as you can in whatever industry your interested in, but never forget what your ultimate goal is.
    • Make decisions that best serve that goal. You may be tempted to veer off into another path for a number of reasons (usually more money for survival) but don’t do it. Eyes on the prize.
  • Never depend on others to get you where you need to be. Honestly, the only person you can count on is YOURSELF. That probably sounds more harsh than I mean it to, but it’ll keep you from being disappointed when others don’t pull for you.
  • I learned this next nugget of knowledge from a producer and it’s honestly what keeps me going out here in LaLaLand: BE. PATIENT. Shit doesn’t happen overnight, y’all.
  • Still working on finding that work/life balance. I’ll get it right someday.
  • Never stop hustling. Ever.
    • Work as many jobs as you can. Only buy things that’ll genuinely be useful and make you happy. Write those web series. Submit yourself to auditions. Hustle.

 

On Hollywood and The Grind:

  • Leap.
    • The net may or may not catch you, but if you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, LEAP. It somehow paid off well for me this time around. And the next time I take a leap, I’ll have a wider view on which to base my decision.
  • Trust sparingly.
    • Probably my biggest industry takeaway of the last year. There’s no harm in being skeptical of others, especially when you don’t know their motives.
  • Trust your instincts.
    • Unless your instincts are buttholes and lead you astray. But then again, if your instincts told you one thing and new information is making you change your mind, that’s ok, too. Don’t be mad, just change your perception and make better decisions next time.
  • Assistants are hard ass workers and being a part of that small group really taught me the most on my adventures.
    • You can tell how a person truly is by the way they treat their assistants.
  • When working as an assistant, your principal’s life becomes your life.
    • You have to make a concerted effort to pull yourself away from the inbox often or you’ll go bananas.
  • Costume, Hair, and Makeup have the most fun on a set because they’re the most fun/nicest people.
  • It’s ok to have days that’ll make you feel like running away to a remote island where you and the sheep are the only residents.
    • Breathe through those days, minute by minute, and the next day will most likely be better. Or maybe the next day will suck even more. But the day after that holds hope and hope is what you’ll live on in LA/NY.
  • You set the tone for how you want others to treat you.
    • Go in to any new relationship sending the signals for how they should behave with you and speak to you. If they’re not getting the signals, that’s not your fault. Keep sending them.
  • The industry is trying to right their wrongs with their lack of intersectionality. Trying in a very slow way, but I’ll be here when they decide to speed that shit up.

 

On Love:

  • Crickets in this department this year.
    • Refer to last year’s post if you need some wisdom on that front, because all I learned this year is that I’m getting more comfortable with the idea of being a spinster.

 

On Life: 

  • You know you have good friends when they’ll listen to you groan, complain, and outright panic over the phone and over texts and they don’t tell you to STFU.
    • I am seriously lucky in this department.
  • You very genuinely do NOT have to take other people’s shit.
    • You might feel like you absolutely need to, in order to further your goals. Chances are, though, if it involves getting beat down that much…probably not the right path for you.
  • You can always work a little bit harder, put in a little bit more effort, and reach a little further. But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel that way everyday.
  • I NEED TO BLOG MORE.
    • I’ve gone to some absolutely astounding places over the last year and I didn’t document it as well as I should have. I need to work on that.

 

Biggest Takeaway of 2017:

I may not be living what I consider to be my BEST life, but I certainly am living an INTERESTING life and I need to remember that.

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That’s me! On a mountain top in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

 

“PUT ME IN, COACH, I SWEAR I’M AWESOME! or “Finding a Hollywood Agent Post-Pilot Season”

It’s officially post-pilot season in Los Angeles which means some actors are celebrating the auditions/callbacks/and bookings that that particular season brings. Other actors are crying into their vanilla lattes because their agencies may have given them the boot for not getting the results they wanted them to (which can be entirely unfair as a lot of those decisions are out of the actor’s hands).

And some actors, like yours truly, are in the throes of “mail out season”. This is often seen as the bottom of the barrel as far as courting representation is concerned, because everyone has dreams of being approached by the best-of-the-best and being swooped up. Guys, that just doesn’t really happen, much.

In order to get an agent, I mean a really good one, you have one of the following:

  1. You can get something called an “industry referral”. That means someone you know in the industry (director, producer, etc) or another actor friend has to put their faith in you and submit your name to an agency for their consideration. This isn’t likely to happen because many of your friends in LA who are actors are friends with dozens of other actors–they may feel guilty referring you and not all of their other pals.
  2. If you have successfully booked work on ACTUAL TV shows or features or ACTUAL national commercials, without the help of an agent, you’re a freaking wizard please show me your ways. That means you have a lot of leverage in finding a really awesome agent.
  3. An even less likely way to get an agent is to get discovered. This means that someone that’s looking for new talent sees your work, goes to one of your performances, or something as random as “seeing you walking past the food court in a mall and thinking you have a good look” approaches you and asks for a meeting. This probably happens more than I realize, but it hasn’t happened to anyone I’m close to, so I think it’s pretty rare.

If none of these have panned out for you, “Mailing Out” is your best option and it’s exactly what it sounds like. You get your best headshots and attach your resume to the back of it. You write a brief cover letter explaining who you are and why you’re awesome and why they should meet with you in person. DO NOT INCLUDE ANYTHING ELSE. No gimmicks, no cheesey props, and DEFINITELY NO GLITTER–Tobias Fünke learned the hard way:

Spell things correctly! Make sure you put the right letter in the correspondingly addressed envelope! You take both of those bad boys, put them in a big old envelope (no folding!), and mail them to agencies that allow for “unsolicited submissions”. peter-parker-crying-meme-sends-agent-query-misspells-agents-name

If you mail them to agencies that DON’T accept unsolicited submissions, I can assure you they will be trashed (I know a Junior Agent that works at one of the Big 5 and he assured me he spent a lot of time in the mail room just tossing headshots and resumes into the “circular file” aka the garbage).

Now that technology is superseding the the good ‘ole days, a lot of agencies allow for submissions to be e-mailed, as well. This usually brings the fastest results for actors because there’s no lag time between you sending it and them reading it. They can also just quickly tap the “reply” button and ask you to come in without exerting much effort. Again, check to see that the agency accepts emailed submissions.

Last Thursday I emailed out to about 15 SAG Franchised agents (that means they’re “legit”). By Friday morning, I had two solid meetings scheduled and 2 tentative meetings–that’s a lot, even though it might not seem like it! On Friday morning, I mailed out to all of the agencies that didn’t accept emails and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Agents are one of those special breeds that will only respond if they want to see you–if you never hear from them, you assume the answer is a “no”.

I’m crossing the heck out of my fingers that by June 1st, I’ll have representation.