After I've graduated from acting school, the acting gigs I get come and go like the waves in the ocean, or like clouds floating by on a windy, blue Chicago sky. I don't have a concise answer for people when they ask me what I do.
"I'm a freelance...actor. And I'm a teaching artist. And I also private tutor kids. Oh, and I teach an after school acting class at an elementary school in Chinatown." Truth be told, each of those things is accurate. I'm proud of what I do. I love that each day is different, and that I have a loving husband and cuddly cat - recently found not to be so cuddly with other cats - at home waiting for me. That's all I really need.
A few days ago, I woke up to do a voiceover at 8am, to be submitted by 9am. Then, I fed our cat, made breakfast for my husband and I, and did my hair and makeup. After that, I headed out to my first of two castings in a day. I took the train cross-town to my first casting, and the bus to my next one. Afterwards, I went grocery shopping - using the grocery bag I had packed in my purse that morning - and went home to prepare dinner. I vowed to myself: If every day could be like this, I would be content.
It's necessary for most actors to have side hustles in addition to being actors full-time. We're self-employed artists, and that means that we get to be creative with our time and resources, hopefully to create more resources and opportunities for ourselves. I've realized more and more that creating opportunities for myself is the most productive thing that I can be doing - not waiting around for opportunities to find me where I am.
Besides, creating my own opportunities for myself is not just about getting my name out there. That's not the sole purpose of my work - at least I don't want it to be. The purpose of creating my own opportunities is to share my perspective and artistic content with the world in hopes that it will make a positive difference in at least one other person's life.
Currently, I have a few personal projects under way:
1. A musical
2. A children's book
3. A short film
Honestly, it's been hard to get started on these, even though the idea of each of them excites me immensely. But I have only to hack at them little by little each day. In Chinese, there's an idiom (illustrated below) that moving one rock a day can move mountains.
The story behind the idiom features Yu Gong, whose name literally means Mr. Fool. Yu Gong took it upon himself to move a few mountains, rock by rock, that were bothering him. He worked tirelessly to move the rocks and believed that one day the mountains would be gone due to his efforts. Yu Gong was mocked by others who told him that his goal of moving mountains would never succeed, but God took notice of Yu Gong's work and rewarded him by removing the mountains.
My hope is that even on days when nothing exciting is happening (that would be most days), I can still find the motivation and excitement to pursue my projects with creativity and persistence. The artist's journey is not an easy one. I'm learning that I need a lot more knowledge, a lot more discipline, and a lot more entrepreneurship in the way I manage my life and priorities. This task is daunting, but I'm determined to take it on and make things work.
Hold onto your dreams! Work hard every day and don't look too far from the goal. And in all things, have faith that you have enough for each day. "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)
Thank you for reading my blog post! This blog is in a lot of ways a form of accountability for me. I hope to have made full drafts of each of my personal project goals by July 2020!
Shine On! XO
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Actress, Musician & Writer