Every few years I have an identity crisis. I’m having one right now. I don’t know if I really enjoy the entertainment business anymore. Now, don’t worry, I’m not quitting acting, but I certainly feel a need to hone my other abilities.
It’s funny, I acted a lot in high school, but then focused on journalism in college. I worked as an editor on the university newspaper and eventually graduated with a journalism degree. I worked for a little while in the editorial world, first, interning at a magazine while in school. Once I graduated, I worked as a freelance writer and then eventually got a staff position on a publication. I did this, freelanced and had another (unrelated) part-time job. So naturally I burned out.
I stepped away from the editorial world for a good number of years when I realized I might be able to make a living as an actor. This was easier said than done, but I put forth a lot of time, effort, money and went through a bunch of agents in the process. I even moved 2,000 miles from my hometown to pursue acting in Hollywood. Like the hoards of people coming out here chasing a dream, it’s very easy to get discouraged with all the bullshit networking and hurdle jumping. I’m not a natural schmoozer. I feel very uncomfortable talking myself up or getting close to people in hopes of a job. Maybe it’s the Midwest in me, but I’m humble and sincere. I don’t make friends to see what they can do for me.
This year and half in Los Angeles has been one with lots of ups and downs. I guess what I didn’t realize was how little acting I’d be doing and how much other work for my career I’d be doing. It’s not easy, but I’m not complaining. I just find myself feeling very unfulfilled by the whole rat race out here. At times this industry is cold and empty. I feel the emptiness more and more these days. In Chicago, I had my own theatre company where I experienced a camaraderie like no other. I miss being a part of something special. Mostly, I miss creating.
I find myself seeking solace in the printed word. As we all shift towards technology, I retreat with books and blogs. The printed word seems so tangible now. Hollywood success seems so fleeting if you are even lucky enough to harness it at all.
I forgot how much pride I felt when I saw my byline in a magazine or newspaper. I forgot all about the excitement of sharing a freshly printed copy of the paper with my parents. It’s nice to know I have these skills to fall back on and the time to devote to writing again. For starters, I’ll be writing for a female-focused website about movies, TV and pop culture. The site officially launches next month, but I’m already working on my first piece. It inspired me to jump back into the freelance pool. It feels good knowing I can already swim there.
I’m surprised I got the writing bug again, but I’m happy it caught me. Let’s see where this leads. What’s the point of life without crazy adventures? Stay tuned…