I'm an actress in Los Angeles, sharing my Lessons Learned along the way.

I Love LA but its Time to Go Home!

May 22, 2016

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.

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After reading an article on FastCompany.com about Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, regarding the hidden trials and tribulations of successful creative artists arriving at their success, I knew I had to write about a recent victory. Look, great things happen to me all the time, but this is probably the most fortuitous occurrence of my entertainment career to date, […]

My first Los Angeles commercial agent came by way of a targeted mailing. In December 2006 I had purchased the latest issue of Ross Reports, now called Call Sheet, and I highlighted commercial agents that took on new non-union clients, then sent them a headshot, resume and cover letter. By January of 2006, I opted to give 3 […]

  After 4 years of living alone in LA,  I got it into my head to try a roommate situation. The thing about that was, I hadn’t experienced living with roommates ever, in my entire life. I have no idea why I thought it would be a fun idea to live with two other NYC chicks, I barely knew, […]

Leap Of Faith!

December 4, 2014


 

In 2004, I was living in Jersey City, NJ, after a long term relationship had ended,  was fired from my full-time job at Bergdorf Goodman and had euthanized my 16 year old ill cat.  What felt like a trinity of catastrophes, was actually a turning point, a silver-lining if you will.  I’d lived in NYC all of my life, except for 3 years spent in NJ.  At that point, I realized that I had nothing tying me down.  A friend had been trying to persuade me to move to Los Angeles, where she lived, for at least 5 years. Recognizing I had complete carte blanche to do what ever I desired, I set September 2005 as the date I would move to Los Angeles, to pursue acting.

The only experience in acting I had, at that time, was completing a Meisner program at the Ward Studio in NYC.  Fortuitously, I had a brilliant career coach who taught me how to be business minded by setting & achieving goals, being professional and knowledgable about my industry.  I created a 1 year plan broken down into quarters, to prepare for my move to LA.

In August 2005, 1 month before my big move, I visited LA, for employment interviews  and to look for an apartment.  What was supposed to be one week, turned into two, and I was able to go back to the east coast with a full-time job and a studio apartment in place for my return.

The idea of working a full-time job was met with resistance.  See, I was making a modest living off of non-union commercials and a part-time job in NY.  I enjoyed having my freedom to be an artist, although, sometimes a struggle.  My co-worker asked me how was I going to purse acting while working a full-time job.  My response to him was, to bust my ass at the new job for a year, make them love me and ask for a part-time position. Continue Reading