If you’ve followed my blog for a while or know me personally, you know that I’ve been an actor since I was 11 years old. I started in community theatre like we all do, studied acting in high school and college, then I went out into the world and worked as both an amateur and at a professional level.
You’ll also know if you’ve followed me for a while or know me personally that I took a hiatus from consistent auditioning around this time last year. I had never, in 18 years, taken a break from acting. It had never even crossed my mind. It was considered disastrous. If I took a break, all of the millions and millions of women who want the same thing I do will get ahead of me and then I’ll obviously burn into a million pieces. Too dramatic? Well, I am an actor after all.
In all seriousness, I needed that break so badly. There were a lot of things that led to me taking it. If you want to read more about it you can read it here. Now I am back in the game but it has certainly changed. I am way pickier about the projects I say yes to auditioning for, my boundaries are known and, most importantly, it is no longer my entire life.
I don’t talk about my acting career because, to be honest, I’m not very interested in talking about it. I know my anxiety is part of it. I immediately shrink up when someone asks me what projects I’m working on, expecting they want me to say that I’ve had my big break and will be famous by noon. I’ve always struggled with that, meeting expectations that aren’t really there, but I’ll save that for another post. I’ve never been that creative that wanted to sit at a bar until 4am and talk about nothing but actors and films and theatre. Sure, I love to indulge once in a while but – not often. I always felt guilty for that. There are so many people who live for that kind of thing and I hear it allll the time… when I’m on auditions, when I’m on set or in rehearsal. There is always that one person who wants to talk about the next big casting director in town or the 8 auditions they had last week or my favorite “how did you get your agent?!” I’m just not that person. I can’t explain it. It doesn’t make me better. It just makes me different.
I spent a long time thinking that because I didn’t want to talk about it, I shouldn’t be trying to pursue it. Acting was set aside for the fiercely passionate, the people who are devoted to Shakespeare and who honor the acting dialogue. Not for people who, dare I say, don’t make it their life. That’s the only way you can make it work and be happy. Then I started a job where I worked part time with a lot of well established Chicago actors, and my perspective shifted.
To avoid saying the name of where I worked, I’m going to give it a pseudonym…Las Vegas….
So back when I worked at…..Las Vegas….I worked with several actors. Actors who soared in the Chicago theatre seen. They had had major roles on TV shows and had opportunities I’d kill for. Guess what? Not all of them, but most of them, seemed miserable. They complained that they’re not getting enough audition, they haven’t booked enough in their life or that the last 4 shows they were in were not fulfilling enough. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t speak for how they really felt, but I can speak to how I felt listening to their whoas; I felt scared.
I thought; that is the last place I want to end up mentally. The scarier thing was, that’s how I already felt. I already felt bitter and under-appreciated, and seeing these actors, actors I’d kill to be in the same shoes as feel the same way? That was eye opening.
So, I took a year to focus on other things other than acting and it has done WONDERS. I’m so much happier, relaxed and I’m clearer on what I want. Now, I audition only for what interests me, and I have clear acting goals that aren’t my only goals. It’s working out really well.
Yet, I still don’t bring it up much. I keep it completely separate from my job and I have another creative outlet (oh hey this blog) that I like to focus on. I don’t feel so guilty about it anymore though.
Maybe one day I’ll want to work my acting business into more conversations, but really all you need to know is – it’s part of who I am, I love it, I’m good at it and I’m going to keep doing it my way and as long as it makes me happy. Kind of the point of doing anything right?
Self care, self flare.