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Identity Crisis November 20, 2011

Filed under: Life — Televixen @ 2:10 am

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…

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3 Responses to “Identity Crisis”

  1. Well, SoCal can be cold. Even on a Hot, Sunny day. But if you need to have an ear, get hold of me. I’m here, friend.

  2. Dayton Ward Says:

    Good luck with the new writing gig!

  3. D.S. Says:

    Hi Mary,

    As a writer and a filmmaker, I can relate!

    I was a writer from a young age, so the written word is very dear to me. I too, remember the excitement of seeing my name in print the first few times. It’s still exciting to see my writing out there in the world, every time. These days though, it’s more likely to be on a screen. I’ll never forget the day I opened the letter with the news about my first short story sale! What a rush!

    I developed my writing throughout grade school and high school with short stories, and articles for the high school newspaper (along with comics and helping with layout). In university I studied creative writing and again contributed to a student newspaper, as well as having poetry and articles published in various outlets. After that, I studied film in college and worked in the film/TV biz for a while helping others make their projects, then I concentrated on making my own films. I still make films and videos, and have some large projects in the works, but I always come back to writing. I love to write fiction for the page, and I also get a lot of satisfaction out of crafting a good screenplay: it’s interesting how the foundation of a good film is the written word!

    I never stopped writing over the years, but sometimes other things took priority, and I didn’t do it for a while. But, it always called me back before long.

    Lately, with the rise of ebooks, I’ve found a new excitement and outlet for my work. I’m working on new writing, more inspired than ever! And, all of those pieces of writing I didn’t know what to do with, or that never found a home, now have homes! It’s a great time to be a writer! So far I’ve put 11 ebooks online this year, ranging from short stories, to screenplays, to my first novel! Soon, I’ll be making my ebooks available in print as well, as there is nothing like a real paper book!

    Film/TV and writing are challenging fields at times, but they seem to pull us back in when we are least expecting it. Enjoy the ride, I say!

    You write well, and I’m interested to read more from you.

    Thanks for being inspiring!

    To paraphrase Stephen King: “…write and get happy.”

    -Dave


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