These past few months have been real fucking hard. I have not felt this hopeless and depressed since my divorce 6 years ago. I guess really, I feel like I’ve never fully recovered from that. The sadness I feel is always just right below the […]
“I just don’t think you have the drive.” Those words were said to me over a decade ago, after I finally found the courage to tell the one person I loved and trusted more than anyone my crazy dreams of pursuing acting and singing as […]
Dear best friend,
When you told me you had an idea for something you wanted to pursue, but that it was stupid and you probably couldn’t do it anyway, it killed me. Nobody is allowed to say such things about my best friend. Nobody!
I have been in your shoes. I’ve been in a place where not only did I tell myself my dreams were dumb and something I couldn’t do, I had some people around me telling me that too. So I put those dreams off for years. I prayed for God to take away those dreams if they weren’t meant to be. My desire to pursue those dreams only grew stronger. Now I am 34 and very much regret the years I wasted not doing what I actually wanted to do.
I don’t want you to have the same regrets.
Please don’t give up on yourself before you even try it. You can absolutely do anything you put your mind to. Everything is figureoutable. It may not be easy, but it will feel so much better going for it than wishing you had a decade from now.
You are brave. You are strong. You are smart. During the times you don’t believe that yourself, know that I absolutely know those things to be true and will always, always believe in you.
There is purpose in those desires you have. Even if it ends up not being where you stay, I believe following any inkling of anything you may be interested will lead you to your life purpose.
I love you. Go forth and do the thing! 🙂
One message I’m receiving over and over: What a difference a year (and some effort, and a scooch of bravery) can make. Last September (in 2018), I attended the Norman Film Fest as a volunteer. It was my very first film career related event and […]
I signed up for the Friends in Film program one year ago this month. When I joined, I had no idea just how much (and how quickly) my life was about to change.
It did take about six months to actually get my first production assistant gig. And while I was impatient and frustrated that I was not finding any work, looking back I can see that I needed that time to work on myself. I took acting classes, had my first big role in a musical and my second big role in a play, worked as background on a couple films, networked at film festivals, and worked through the Friends in Film training to learn how to be the kind of production assistant that keeps getting recommended/hired for jobs.
Once I worked my first film set, the gigs just kept coming. And, before I knew it, I was finding paid PA gigs. At this point, I have six gigs under my belt (almost all of which I’ve also been able to either act in or be background in in addition to PA), one lined up for the end of the month, and two potential gigs pending. I have also made gains in my other creative ventures: I have found a publisher who seems interested in my woodwind books and have an upcoming interview with a talent agency.
A year ago, I felt miserable and stuck. I was an actor and a writer who had no idea how to make her dreams come true. I took a chance on that program and it made all the difference. I can see a path towards those dreams of mine and they finally, actually feel within reach for me. I feel like I have found the place where I belong. This might sound cheesy, but when I’m on a film set, I feel at home. Everyone I’ve worked with has been just so awesome. No matter how long the shoot day is or how much grunt work I have to do on a set, I just feel so happy and lucky to be there (I voluntarily, happily did dishes the other day on set. This is not a chore I normally enjoy). It is the best feeling. Those 12+ hour days just fly by and I’m always so excited to wake up and do it all over again the next day.
I’ve changed too. I have an easier time talking to and joking with new people on set. I’m much happier and more confident in myself. I’ve had to face a lot of my fears to make this career work and I’m a much better person for it.
A couple things I’ve learned along the way:
- Your life can change for the better fairly quickly, but YOU have to put in the work to make that happen. It’s not going to magically change on its own. I always had the “it will happen someday” mentality that made me put off the things I wanted, but it will not happen someday if you stay stuck in that mentality and do nothing about it.
- You aren’t always going to feel like doing it. If it is something that you know will bring you closer to your goals and dreams, do it anyway. Just showing up is half the battle. I definitely still wake up on the first day of shoots feeling like I would rather stay home and sleep, but I know that won’t do me any good. If I let my anxiety about driving in big cities and meeting new people keep me from getting to set, I would have missed out on so many great opportunities and would not have met all of the awesome people I’ve been working with. I’ve found that the more I face my fears and anxieties the easier it gets to do the things that once held me back.
- Listen to your gut. The price of the Friends in Film program was daunting, but I really felt like it was something I had to sign up for. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I don’t always understand why I feel like I should do things, but I am definitely glad when I follow my instincts. My interview for a job with a talent agency lead to a second interview for possible representation with them. I almost turned down the first interview completely. Just last night I was not feeling up for going to a film festival, but something told me I should go and I got introduced to some of the big, local film people as a result.
- Don’t give up. It’s not always fun or easy to make your dreams come true. But it is so, so worth striving for. I am definitely much happier when I’m working towards my dreams than when I’m doing nothing about them.
If you’re feeling stuck or miserable like I was, take that first step towards the change you want to make in your life. Even if it’s not necessarily the right step, eventually it will help you find your way to where you are meant to be. I tried a ton of different things before I figured out I needed to be in film, and looking back I’ve discovered that it was pursuing my various interests that helped me realize exactly what my dreams are and lead me to the place where I could make those dreams come true.
A few weeks ago, I applied for an office assistant position with a local talent agency. Their office is located in the city I would love to live in, plus it’s a job in the field I want to get into, so I figured it […]
Above: Me acting as art director for my friend’s short film.
My goal at the beginning of the year was to blog twice a week. And as much as I’ve tried to keep my Sunday and Wednesday blog schedule, that has not always been possible with my increasingly busy schedule.
Anyway, someone keeps nagging at me to write a post, so I thought I would just give an update for anyone who is interested. 🙂
I have had so many exciting opportunities the past couple of months. In March, I got to help as a production assistant with a full-length movie written and directed by a local filmmaker. It was a great learning opportunity for me. He taught me how to record audio, hold a boom mic, and I even got to help with script supervising and continuity (which is one of my dream jobs on set). The last day we filmed at a space museum, and it occurred to me just how many awesome places I’m already getting to see from working in film. Places I would probably never go to on my own (or be able to see if we weren’t filming there).
Also in March, I got a call out of nowhere for a one-day production assistant gig. The production company had found my profile on Staff Me Up (a great website to find film gigs, if you are looking. You can set up an account for free.). They had filmed a reality show called “Unexpected” in a nearby small town last year and needed someone to clear out their storage unit for them. Since I was the closest PA they could find, they called me! I even got to take a friend with me to help, and I gotta tell you, I’ve never been so excited about cleaning out a storage unit. I actually really enjoyed the opportunity. I got to get some experience driving a big cargo van and spend the day with my best friend. Wins all around!
I have also been working as an art director and location manager for a short film written by a friend of mine. I have also been considering working in the art department eventually, so this has been a fantastic experience for me. I’ve also been helping the wardrobe department (who just happens to be my best friend 🙂 ). It has been so much fun and showed me that I absolutely want to keep doing this for a living.
A couple weeks ago I was notified that I was accepted for an upcoming film workshop that I applied for. I get to learn script supervising during this workshop! I am especially excited for this opportunity because there are no local classes on script supervising and it seems to be a position that is a little more difficult to learn just being on set as a PA (like you can with other departments).
I stepped out of my comfort zone a whole bunch and volunteered to be an actor for a film festival table reading. I was sent my script and role yesterday, and I gotta tell you, I am incredibly nervous. But, I am trying to do more of the things I want to do even if they scare me. When I first saw the post calling for volunteers, I thought to myself how much fun that would be and how I wished I were brave enough to do it. Then I told myself that’s exactly the kind of experiences I should try for, because they are things I really want to do. So, anyway, long story short, I’m doing it.
This past Sunday, I was feeling really depressed by my lack of upcoming gigs. But it’s because I hadn’t really been applying for any more, an obvious epiphany told me. So I looked for upcoming shoots online and found one that I had seen before but avoided applying for because it’s 3 hours away. This time I applied. I got a response later that evening asking about my experience and such and then had a sort-of phone interview the next night. The guy told me they’d had a PA just drop out and he was about to call some other PAs that had been recommended to him when he got my email. This is a paid gig and he’s putting me in a hotel room for the weekend. What an opportunity I almost missed out on! And the timing! If I hadn’t listened to my gut and instead had waited a day or two to apply, I would not have what sounds like a really fun shoot to gain some experience on. (Lesson here is to listen to your intuition and don’t let dumb excuses keep you from doing it.)
I have three more potential gigs pending. I don’t know the dates yet but they told me they would add me to their crew list. 🙂
When I’m not on set, I have been working on finishing a play I started last year. (Another reason for not blogging. I figured some of my blog time could be spent finishing projects I started and would love to finish.)
I love this career so much. I’ve met some really awesome people and have gotten to travel and see new places. I cannot stress enough just how perfect the film world is for me. I feel right at home on sets. I have been searching for so long for my dream career and I have finally found it. It’s a great feeling.
One thing I told my friend recently (who told me they feel like they’ve just wasted their life so far) is that nothing you pursue is a waste. I started out going to school to be a band director. I tried all the different things I thought I might enjoy/want to do for a living (music, theatre, creative writing) and they all helped lead me to film. I think if you just try the things you dream of or are interested in they’ll guide you to where you’re meant to be. You’re given those dreams and interests for a reason.
I recently read this article about how you should keep your goals to yourself. I really dislike and disagree with this article. Brendon Burchard, who has interviewed and studied some of the most successful people of today (you can read or hear more about this […]