When we hit 2020, it will have been a year since I have been on a set. And I’m tired of pretending that’s not true.
Last December I went to a yearly Christmas party with a huge smile on my face. I had found out earlier that day I had booked a national commercial. I could not have been more excited, not for money (which is never guaranteed), but for knowing I was about to do what I love and I would get to enter the holidays knowing I was kicking off the next year as a working actor.
When the new year began I also booked a costar role right away (see this article to hear what happened to that) and I was flying. A TV and a commercial shoot in the same month?! Oh, and I got engaged over Christmas. Yes indeed, this was going to be the best year yet.
And then I didn’t book another role for the rest of the year. Yes, I had a voiceover thing here and there, and got to do a cool spot on the Emmys (this was a direct booking because I was a 5’6 brunette). But nothing I auditioned for or was on a “real set” for. Nada. Zip. And guess what is this weekend? That same set of holiday parties I was so excited about last year, shortly followed by travel to see family and friends…I am already exhausted at the thought of answering the question, “hows the acting work?”.
I wasn’t going to tell anyone I felt so awful about this. I actually didn’t intend to point this out at all. I was planning on throwing on a smile and saying how excited I was for my new class/updated reel/good things to come. I was planning on continuing to showcase how unfazed I am, how thick my skin has become as a working actor in LA. But I’m going to tell you the harsh truth, I have been really bummed. To answer your unasked questions, I read scripts weekly, I am in class, I keep up with my networks, and I am constantly submitting and self taping (and please don’t tell me to go “make my own work” because that is not the point of this piece, the point here is to acknowledge how hard this is in waves and waves). In short, I do the leg work…it just hasn’t been my year.
Sure, there are career gaps MUCH longer than this, and tomorrow I could wake up with a really cool opportunity in my inbox (this is why we do this after all isn’t it? knowing that it can all change on a dime?) and I know I am more than prepared for it. But for today, this job is really hard. And if you are an actor about to head home for the holidays dreading that fateful career question with little to answer it, know that I am with you. I feel you. And you may not have a platform to share these feelings as freely as I do, but let’s all just agree sometimes this sucks. Sometimes it’s hard. And all the time, we will keep working.
(Photo: Riker Brothers)