Happy Birthday Charlie Chaplin!!
He’s been my inspiration in so many ways. I still get giddy by the sight of his old studio on La Brea.
It’s also the 5th anniversary of moving from my Pacific Northwestern hometown to Hollywood.
No idea what was ahead of me then. I still have no idea what is ahead of me now, but I do know that I feel fulfilled and happy as can be.
5 years ago I picked up and moved to LA planning on being there for only a year. Just to take improv classes at the iO West and then I was going to be off to New York City to pursue my career in the Theatahhh!
A year went by, I moved to 3 different apartments, found a circle of friends that instantly felt like family. I finished up my training (although, do you ever finish learning improv? heck no!) at the iO West, auditioned and was put onto a regularly performing improv team on Friday nights. I started picking up little jobs here and there. Dabbled in background/extra work. 3 months was all I could handle of it. And when things were starting to look really dark – I was completely broke, I gave my roommate a month’s notice. I couldn’t pay rent, my bags were packed, and I was going to head back home. Right after calling to notify my parents to air out my old room I got a call from the AFTRA-SAG credit union offering me a job (I had applied weeks earlier but had given up). Called the parents back. Told them “nevermind”, LA wasn’t done with me yet.
The credit union helped me pay rent and make some really great connections with other artists in the industry. Suffice it to say, I was much better at networking than being a bank teller…. I was let go 9 months later. I honestly couldn’t have been happier. I knew it wasn’t the job for me, but who was I to turn down a steady income offered to me? A couple weeks of unemployment and I was back to figuring out what roof I would stay under. Fly home? Crash on a friend’s couch? Stick it out a little longer? Thankfully I was rescued by dear friends who had an extra room. I made a promise to them. 2 months. That’s as long as I would stay… whether I found a job or not.
Thanks to my friends – who I like to call my “heart family” I was able to find work on commercial and film sets as a craft service girl. In those two months I made enough to get back on my feet and secure a studio apartment all to myself. Finally! After moving 5 times in about 3 years and having crazy roommates (at one point I lived in a house with 10 other girls), I finally had a place to call my own. A little over 2 years in LA and I was starting to feel settled. I had a theatre company I was part of and taking scene study classes there. I filmed my first silent film. Was regularly taking voice lessons, working on sets, and exploring more of LA. I even got to work at the Oscars! The fear of not being able to pay next month’s rent was always there but I kept on. Trusting things would come up. And they did.
When crafty gigs slowed down I managed to find a job with one of my castmates I was in a play with at the time. I started working with him and another friend who was in the play. Not only did I get a job out of that play, but I also met my future husband. Not the castmate, his brother. One of my best girlfriends is marrying the castmate now as well.
See!? How little I knew back then! One of the girls I became best friends with right at the beginning of my Hollywood adventures would turn out to be my future sis in-law. We always seemed to date the same guys all those years, no surprise we would marry brothers.
This time last year I had been dating Eric for about 9 months and were talking about moving in together. He lived in Big Bear, CA (about 100 miles east of LA). I wasn’t getting many auditions and I was tired of the shooting happening outside my apartment on a regular basis so I thought, why not? The transition wasn’t easy. I still miss my LA family very very much. But I made new friends…
Since moving to Big Bear I have had more auditions and more creative projects going than in my first 4 years. I still go down to LA regularly. Booked my first TV show a couple weeks ago and booked my first commercial a couple months ago! Now a proud member of the SAG-AFTRA union too!
Busy writing/filming/ and acting in a sketch comedy show (Happy Hour Sketch Comedy) here in Big Bear and I am also in the early stages of creating a non-profit theatre company – Big Bear Theatre Project.
5 years. I heard before I moved that for a lot of people in LA it takes about 3-5 years for things to feel like they are falling into place and for you to figure out just where in the heck you’re going.
I’m getting married next month. Now there’s a new adventure!
I’m happy. And I’m super happy that every time I was on the verge of giving up, for some odd reason I didn’t or couldn’t.
So, my dear friend, keep going. It truly is about the journey.