I was a Librarian
As a frustrating rule of thumb, my mind seems to reject consistency & balance. It spits them back out like sour fruit when I try to shovel them into my life. This propensity for chaos is what makes my recent career change both terrifying & potentially quite successful because in my new career(s) flexibility is a necessity while job stability is a rare luxury. Writing, one of my first passions, has historically helped me wrap my fingers around sanity & hold it tightly yet gently & so, now I write to gain perspective about my various new professional ventures. I publish to solidify that my decisions to take this leap into unknown realms of employment & unemployment & employment & unemployment may be scary but I should not be ashamed of them & do not need to hide them even if it is my initial instinct to do so.
I am a Writer
I cannot say for certain, yet I believe the title will fit more comfortably after the publication of my current major project "The Octopus Ink" an illustrated autobiographical memoir. The first in a simple trilogy "The Suicide Shark" depicting the journey protagonist, Red March takes to save her own life. I am currently forty thousand words deep & hope to have the first draft of the first book to the editor within the month.
I am an Artist
I have always been happy to own the fact that I am an artist but I have never meant it in any professional capacity in the past. Although I enjoy creating graphics, posting promotional material, etc. I am not one to ask for help or self-promote boldly. Having said that, I have recently decided to start offering my services for a price. I have typically reserved my artwork for gifts, apologies, decorations, to promote The Pish Tosh Podcast or the library I used to work at, or most often, to simply express myself in whatever medium I chose to without any expectations. Yet I have developed the confidence to ask for payment for my artwork because I know the following two statements to be fact: 1: I buy & cherish artwork from actual artists & 2: I believe one should support artists talent & skills & hard work.
I am an Actor
Historically, I have had an obsession with television & film yet secretly, I had maintained a skewed negative view of actors in general for much of my early life (by "actors" I mean to include all genders). The screen has always comforted me, made me laugh, cry, & most importantly think. It basically raised me as I spent many hours at home alone in front of the busy glowing buzzing body of the tube. In spite of my admiration for film & TV, actors seemed like aliens to me. I loved the characters yet the people behind them seemed like fiction. I thought of actors as wealthy, stuck-up, lucky, connected, entitled, lazy, narcissistic, unappreciative unicorns who lived on another planet with money trees & in-ground swimming pools.
When I auditioned for the first time in 2017 & began rehearsing for my first performance, my perception of actors quickly changed. I have never before voiced (or written of) my previous distaste for actors in general as I try not to give sound (noise, really) to negative, unhelpful perceptions. I have since learned that actors who take their craft &/or career seriously are some of the most hardworking, self-aware individuals I've ever known. I immediately felt at home among other actors. Many of us share commonalities (some of which are more attractive than others): Attention-seeking behavior, flexibility, commitment, a retentive memory, an artistic flare, a respect for & desire to better understand the audience, the art form, & the story we are portraying.
My second audition was also a success & I gained another leading part but my next two auditions produced no roles & I tried not to let myself be devastated. Getting back on the horse & auditioning again paid off & earlier this year, I played a role that solidified my love for acting & the acting community. It was during this, my most recent, play that I decided to quit my job of over 10 years & by the close of the show, I was unemployed & ready-or-not was getting my fresh start. My performance gigs then (plays & stand-up showcases mostly) had been satisfying & rewarding in many ways but for the most part not monetarily beneficial.
Unfortunately, recognizability (not technically a word yet) is a big part of landing paying roles yet it's a catch-22 for any actor just starting out:
-> Many roles submissions require video reels, head shots, education, &/or recognition in the acting community
-> These things cost money &/or require on-set experience which you would get from landing roles.
In North Carolina, I had opportunities that I will always cherish: Doing the three plays mentioned above, performing as the lead character in a short film (This was my first lead role on film & my first acting role in which I was paid!), acting in a small dramatic role in my first full-length feature film Reggie, a millennial depression comedy (This was my first credit on IMDB!), & acting in a simple tourist commercial that promoted a county I still love.
Here in Chicago, I am surrounded by opportunities but I'm unsure of which to grab for or exactly how. It feels like being in one of those game show dollar bill tornado wind-tunnel...machine things. I've been fortunate enough to perform as an extra on some major network TV shows & have found that the unpredictability of acting (call time, amount of time acting & in holding, location, wardrobe, scenes, etc. is typically a complete mystery) is balanced out by the experience I gain from being surrounded by professionals (actors, directors, writers, talented crew, producers, etc.) which is invaluable. It also doesn't hurt that as background talent willing to jump when the casting agent says to, I have made more in this industry hourly than I did as a librarian (with a master's degree in a management position).
I am a Comedian
I began writing & performing Stand-Up Comedy about a year ago. I have always enjoyed making myself & others laugh whenever possible because of the many benefits of comedy (the mental & physical health benefits of laughter itself, gaining new perspectives, releasing tension, the distraction from daily stresses & lifetime struggles, opening minds, sharing stories, etc.).
I have used comic relief to carry me through the hardest struggles I've dealt with so far & plan to use this weapon to help me fight through any future struggles that are thrown my way as well.
I so enjoy performing stand-up but I must actively suppress (or at least channel) the crippling anxiety that comes with standing in front of a room full of strangers & basically performing a monologue in the hopes that someone will find a piece they can relate to & will retaliate with a titter, a laugh, applause, or maybe even a tip. The thrill of performing stand-up is unlike anything I've experienced in that it is uniquely a solitary experience - If you fail, it's on you yet if you succeed, you get the credit. Having said that, aside from the thrills, one of my favorite advantages of performing & absorbing stand-up comedy has been the friendships I've made along the way.
A couple of days before the big move from NC to IL, I volunteered to help out at the NC Comedy Festival & if you're a penny-pincher like me, volunteering at comedy festivals, at theaters, etc. is a great way to access some amazing performances, help out, meet some of the funniest people around, & not go broke while you're at it.
Speaking of auditions, I have two more this evening! So I better get to them & wish me luck!