The publication Backstage produces an annual actor event called ActorFest, I attended my first Los Angeles event back in 2010. It’s a convention of everything actor. Performers get to learn about the business of acting, register for auditions with television and film casting directors, industry panels, workshops, and more. The industry panel discussion, I signed up for, was complied of powerful and notable casting directors from television and film. I was enthralled by this panel of experts, they were veterans of their industry, candid with their point of view and generous with information regarding actors, directors, how they get their jobs. Laray Mayfield, casting director for all of David Fincher’s films, was on the panel. I knew of Laray because she would sometimes cast commercials and had brough me in from time to time.
I am always in search for golden nuggets of guidance, I still have the notes from that day, full of information, that I still rely on. The copper in the penny moment, was a simple one. Laray Mayfield said she has to go back home, to Tennessee, often. She needs to go home to soak up all the love from her family and friends, go back to her roots, it’s what she needs to recharge her battery to continue thriving in hollywood. That small nugget of insight caused me to pause and recognize why I chose to go home every year. I’ve made it my business to go home, to NY, at least two times a year or at least a mandatory once. Before this panel, I don’t think I realized the relevance of why I needed to go home annually. Home is where unconditional love is. Where no one cares if I’m booking or not. It is where I go to decompress, recalibrate, inhale different air and eat good food.
I chose to move to LA, away from my family and closest friends to pursue a career in entertainment, like 10,000, or so, other people do annually. My drive, work ethic and focus, to make my career a success, can be so intense I tend to burn out. During my early years of residing in Los Angeles, I couldn’t recognize my burn out. It would show up as different maladies. I’d feel lonely, like, I’m out here by myself, woe is me, even though I chose to move here, by myself. I’d lose focus, not knowing what my next step was, causing me to make decisions that didn’t serve the grand vision, or suffered analysis paralysis, resulting in wasting time, money or energy. I’d lack desire to do anything except, watch reality TV and eat food that didn’t nurture my body or I’d just hate people and isolate myself. Yes, I know hate is a strong word, its usually only temporary. I grew numb to these emotions and what they meant when they showed up. Hearing Laray Mayfield state, why she must go home often, was a revelatory moment.