If I Knew Then What I Know Now

I joined a friend’s family dinner right before Thanksgiving and listened to them share some hilarious stories. One story told was about an actress (no name given) who wanted everyone to think she was younger than she really was so she organized a massive 30th birthday party. I don’t know how old she actually was, that wasn’t mentioned (or known?). But from that point on, when she would run into people and they would wonder how long it had been, they would instantly remember her “30th birthday” and do the math from there.

Now that I’m back in L.A. for a semi-long stretch of time, it almost feels like starting over. Except this time, I know something about Hollywood. And life. I don’t have the secrets to success (yet) but I think I’m getting the hang of surviving as an artist.

Although I signed right back up to do extra work again (which has been slow thanks to the holidays), rather than seeing it just as a way of earning money, I also see it as a way to network and make new friends in the business. Last week while working on set in a “strip club” I made a new friend who is now my new writing partner for my next short film (oh, you’ll hear more about this, trust me). I used to be the girl who sat in the corner with a book, and although I do bring books and magazines (and snacks), I have learned the power of networking. And I’m ready to use it.

Although I don’t have a lot of play money at the moment, I am making an effort to get out, so I can meet more people! And have fun, of course. Life is too short to not have fun. Or, as John the AD said last week, “we don’t get paid enough to sit around being miserable.” (and a few sentences later came the phrase, “let’s blow some shit up!”)

Moving back and forth has meant that in both countries, a lot of my things have gotten left in storage. On every visit back to the US I try to get rid of some things, but never really have enough time to deal with it all. I don’t just throw things away. For one, these things still have a monetary value, and I could use that money. Two, I hate knowing that my things will just get buried in a landfill, especially if they’re still useful. I don’t even like buying food in packages because it’s wasteful. But I’ve got clothing and jewelry supplies that other people can still use. So I have to find them new homes. Today I shipped off four items sold on ebay and etsy. Although I have way too many interests to ever really live out of a suitcase or even a car, simplifying life as much as I can does feel good. Having an uncluttered space to live in definitely makes a difference. Or I think it will. I’m not there yet.

If you want something done….

Not even done RIGHT, just done. Do it yourself. For several years I’ve known this was the case. It took me a long time to embrace being a producer. I don’t mind it so much now, although ideas are few and far between. But I have a few for this year! A short film for Cannes, a short documentary for 168, and I still want to do my web series. I’m also working on music. I spent too much time just submitting for other peoples’ projects, auditioning for other people, waiting on other people…. they don’t care about you. You’re the only one who cares about you. So take matters into your own hands! If you’re doing what you love, having fun, creating something awesome (which may not happen the first time, or even the second time, as you’re learning), it’s so much better than just waiting to be handed a role. You’re meeting people, working on your craft, learning new things, and getting out there.

Don’t panic about money. Panicking doesn’t make money come faster. Easier said than done. I have to keep reminding myself about this one. I’ve spent a lot of time on craigslist and listing things on ebay, looking at my bills and my bank account, and neglecting the creative things I should be doing that may not earn money right now. But because I enjoy creating, and these things feed into my actual career, they are investments I can’t afford to not make. Years from now when I wonder why I still suck on guitar and haven’t recorded anything, I can look back and blame all the time I spent worrying about making money, and selling things on ebay for $20. I’m pretty sure I’ll be OK, I’ve got some plans for financial stability, it’s just a very slow process. Besides, when you’re worried about money, it can put you in a foul mood and you’ll have a harder time networking. :-P Just be open to opportunities, and do your best, but don’t just chase money. Chase the things that last, and they’ll lead you to the pot of gold. :-)

I’m so excited about everything I have (tentatively) planned for this coming year. Another short film (oh, it’ll be good), a documentary, some music, some traveling, some surprises. ;-)

So hello, Hollywood. I’m back. Let’s dance.

 

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