“…[I am] always on a path, seeking, questing, looking for [my] special star to follow into a night of endless mystery.”
-The Magic Circle by Katherine Neville
In two months, my third year in LA will be over. In my last article, Questing, I ended the post with not booking a single commercial audition. There were several theatrical roles I shot, but for some reason advertisements were elusive. Why was this important? First, commercials are the bread and butter for actors. It is how we make most of our money in the beginning of our careers; however, that was not a big concern for me because I had acquired a new stable job in West Hollywood. Second, I signed with an agency and I had not made them a single dime for a whole year. Upfront, they already paid for my online subscriptions and spent the time getting me into rooms, but I had not garnered any income.
I felt discouraged, inadequate, and mopey. Predictably, I took a break from my acting school. My emotions were at the helm and they screamed, “Wallow in your misery!” However, I am also a workaholic and I could not completely separate myself from my ambition. In my “downtime,” I picked up classes at Playhouse West. I cannot quite logically explain how this made sense in my mind, but this was the best decision I ever made. I booked my first commercial after attending for a month. Playhouse West’s program is designed to instill confidence and discipline within their students. The more faith I had in myself, the more work I earned.
The first commercial I booked was for Etsy, an e-commerce website designed for selling handmade knick-knacks and vintage items. It was my first time on a well-budgeted set. I arrived five minutes early and was immediately ushered into hair and makeup once I checked-in. Before I finished, they were calling for me. Side note: This is not unusual. Everything moves fast because thousands of dollars are being spent every minute.
On set, everyone hustled and bustled. The director commanded the performance of the crew. Eventually, he slowed down to give me guidance for my shots. Everyone settled into their positions, “Camera rolling” and “action.” The smoke detector went off. Unexpectedly, the fog machine used to create atmosphere awakened the screeching beast. The director stated, “It’s okay. Could someone figure out a way to turn that off? Let’s keep rolling.” (<–I am paraphrasing here). My first on-set experience was shot under the wailing of an inanimate protector. NBD.
I shot three more commercials that year. Shortly after Etsy, I booked an Opal spot. Then I nailed a Walmart Christmas commercial; however, it never aired due to reasons unknown to me. Finally, I was selected by Amazon for their new product designed for their Prime Members, Amazon Key. I went from zero to four commercials within a five month period. Cool. My confidence was back baby! Haha.
What have I learned in the last three years? Too much. Not enough. Being an artist is a roll-coaster. At one moment, I am laughing. Another, I am screaming from joy and/or fear. In the other, vomiting. Obviously, this is an exaggerated metaphor; however, you get the point.
Year-three. Part three of a three part series.