Friday, October 4, 2013

September When It Comes

And then, ten years later, you become an overnight success.

Your life can change in an instant.

This is something I often joke about with many friends and colleagues and family members - the myth of the lightning strike that turns you from a nobody to a contender.

Not to say there's no such thing as the bolt from the blue that flips your career. That absolutely happens, perhaps in showbiz more often than any other industry - but rarely does it come out of nowhere and strike a random target.

You work really hard preparing yourself, building your skills, simmering your passion, navigating a dynamic and deadly landscape of extremes, braving conditions that would discourage most egos and navigating tough choices. You do all of this every day, so that you're ready when it happens. You constantly fight to improve your changes, position and posture yourself to be the best possible conductor for the power jolts.
 You want to be hit. You will yourself to be hit. You pray. You submit. You study. You interview. You toil and earn and fight and create and never stop so you'll be ready when the universe aligns.

The secret of successful people is that the universe aligns not just once, not twice, but many times. And this alignment is partially in our control, and partially not.

It seems like I spend a lot of time not necessarily having the stereotypical "big breaks," but rather experiencing nearly constant small breaks. They add up. Down the road, if you stick with something long enough and maintain laser focus on your vision, all those small breaks put together will be the "big break." It's just that no one other than myself will know just how many tiny little breaks, threats of rain, thunder, and electrical storms preceded the lightning strike.

There's a calm before every storm, but the storm always comes. Like a hurricane, my acting career seems to be arced in a tempestuous parabola. It's a cycle of work, preparation, searching, work, preparation, searching, work...Calm, storm, eye...jobless, working, regrouping...

September was a month of little lightning strikes for me. After a few fallow months, I booked an amazingly creative original play and two film jobs all at once. Both film roles were in projects I didn't audition for, and were opportunities supplied by artists I've met over the years and stayed in touch with. And one of those films, to my surprise and delight, brought me my first Taft-Hartley and, once all the filing is complete, my SAG/AFTRA-eligibility.

We spend a lot of time as actors waiting for our big breaks. We sometimes forget to mark and celebrate the small ones. Becoming SAG/AFTRA-eligible was one of my goals for the year, and I was behind schedule in my plans to achieve it by producing my own new media project. Then, BANG, the universe brought me a role through a fellow Actors Studio Drama School alum, who reached out to me. And this school chum, a bolt from the blue, has changed the course of my year. What a gift! Lightning struck and a seemingly small break, one short film role, brought me a big milestone. Thanks, Chelese Belmont, for furnishing such a significant moment in my life (and producing an amazingly fun shoot, can't wait to see the finished film!).

What I am trying to say, dear reader, is that we must always be ready for September when it comes, whether it is a burst of work or an opportunity to use down time in a constructive way. When the small breaks begin that domino effect, you don't want to be caught napping. I want to be standing up, saying yes, and full of decisive action.

We are always building toward something.