While talking to my best friend Kym on the phone last night, we began discussing how I never tell people what jobs I’ve booked. How I just let people get surprised when I pop up on their TV screen. Many people ask me why I don’t inform them where to look for me. Well, there are several reasons.
I got my start in the entertainment business by being a Hip-Hop dancer in music videos, in the early to mid 90’s. I had booked Madonna’s Secret music video, as a club patron. The video was shot in Harlem at the legendary Lenox Lounge. I was ecstatic to have booked the job. It was Madonna in her heyday and she was right there in this little lounge performing this song for about 10 of us. I was seated with a small group of dancers, just a few tables from the love interest. The cameraman filmed me and the small group, jamming to this song. No, let me break this down, the camera didn’t just film us, the camera was all up in our face, recording, for several minutes. We were subtle, but live, in our movements, having a great time. When the shoot wrapped, I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my mother and all of my friends around the way. Yo, I’m Gonna Be In A Madonna Video!!!
Now let me tell you. This job was not about the money, because music videos paid chump change back then. No, this job was about being archived in a Madonna video, and street cred I would gain from it. It had an intangible value. I waited, excitedly, for that video to come out. I watched MTV like crazy. And finally, it aired. Yay!!! I sat with a few of my friends and we watched the entire video, on the edge of our seats, eyes big, and there was no Tiwana in it, at all. What?!? But, the camera was all in my face. But, I told all of my friends. I was heated and I was mad at Madonna for a long while after that. Like we were friends and she lied to me. I was not feeling her anymore, I got over it, but if I saw her today, I made give her a little shade. After that, I vowed not to tell people where to look out for me, because it wasn’t guaranteed that I would make the final cut.
Fast forward almost 20 years later. In 2012, I booked 5 national commercials. It was the most I’d booked in one year. I thought I was going to hit 6 figures, for the first time from acting. Now, I didn’t make any drastic purchases, but I was planning a lifestyle change for the better, in my head. Slowly, I received outgrade letters, one by one, back to back for 3 of the spots. An outgrade letter is a mandatory letter informing talent that they did not make the final cut for whatever reason, and therefore, will not receive any residuals or holding fees. Poof, there went my 6 figures.
Because I had learned not to divulge my bookings, many years ago, I had not told anyone about the 5 commercials that I’d booked. And, I learned a new lesson. Don’t Count The Money Until It’s In the Bank.
My final reason for not telling people is, quite contrary to how people appear, not everyone is happy for me, or you. I’ve learned discernment over the course of my life. This is not to say all people are out to malign against me, you. We all have moments of envy in this industry, in general life. Sometimes someone hasn’t booked a job in a year or so, and as much as they want to be happy for me, you, it’s hard. And sometimes people want to be in your mix because of what you stand for, not because they like me, you. Discernment is another topic that I’m sure will make it’s way on this blog.