Since I have links to several resources I’ve found helpful over the years, I thought I’d talk about them in my first few blogs, pretty much in chronological order as I found them. However, a little background first.
At a very young age, about 9 or so, my mother introduced me to the performing arts. The local community college had a theatre department and would produce plays, mostly musicals. I was in the chorus of The Music Man, Oliver!, Carousel, etc. I fell in love. The people, costumes, energy, everything about it was fascinating!
A couple of things happened at age 13 that changed my life’s trajectory for many years. My father passed away, and I began to dabble with drinking and marijuana. I quickly lost interest in just about everything, including acting. Eventually I actually forgot how I used to love it. To be clear, I didn’t “set it aside”; it was completely forgotten. That will tell you briefly the ravaging effects these substances caused in me.
To make a long sad story shorter and happier, I’ll skip ahead. Eventually, at the age of 29, I finally started turning my life around with the help of a Higher Power and many lovely, supportive friends. For ten years I focused on rebuilding the wreckage of my past and little else. Eventually the memories of my childhood passion began to resurface. I signed with a talent agent and actually booked a few roles.
The main turning point in my journey back was when my agent brought in a Casting Director from a nearby major market for a workshop. Without a doubt, I stunk up the room! Fortunately my agent, Sarah Tackett, was honest with me. When I commented on how bad I had been, she didn’t pat me on the back and tell me it was OK. She simply told me that I had nowhere near the experience that the other actors in the workshop had, and therefore shouldn’t be surprised that I did not do well.
This is when I first became intentional about an acting career. I knew I needed experience auditioning, so I began going to all the open calls at the local theaters. To my surprise, I began landing some roles. The local theatre community was extremely supportive, and the people were just a lovely as I remembered from my youth. After my first time back on stage after a nearly 40-year hiatus, my passion had been rekindled! (I started with something easy, King Duncan in Macbeth)
Shortly after this I discovered the local film community and found I actually loved making movies even more than performing on stage. I was fortunate enough to get a few roles and some footage to put together a demo reel. As I began to get serious and form long-term goals in regard to a career in film and television, I found social media to be extremely helpful. That is where I found the subject of my next blog, Self-Management for Actors by Bonnie Gillespie.
(I hope the stories of my jaded past are not found to be in bad taste and that perhaps some may find it helpful. Feel free to reach out if you’re struggling with grief or substance abuse issues. I would be happy to share my experience, strength, and hope.)