January 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
January 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’m not generally the kind of person who regrets.
This is not to say I don’t do and say regrettable things, but as a general rule my regrets tend to do with people I have interacted with, rather than life decisions I have made for myself. When it comes to my personal road more-or-less traveled, I always seem to find just as many irreplaceable experiences, lessons, and relationships that occurred because of what I chose as what I might have chosen. That said, I seem to have drawn myself to a fork in the ole life-road. I mentioned that I’ve been accepted at my dream-with-an-asterisk-cause-y’all-know-how-I-roll school, which also happens to reside across the country and be SUPER expensive. I’ve mentioned that I’m perpetually broke no matter what, and that I hate it. I may not have mentioned but you can probably surmise that I still kind of want to keep my education options open, because as much as I love Southern California and salivate at the idea of being back in a classroom, 12-23 months is a long time to leave my life, career, and loved ones.
The hardest part about this decision is, oddly, that I am confident that I will be happy no matter what. Like I said, I don’t generally spend a lot of time regretting*. If I go to L.A., I’ll be warm year-round, get to hang out with my brother and friends from middle school, meet awesome new people, and learn amazing things about my craft from a school that makes a habit of throwing you directly into the business. If I go to New York, I’ll be able to cross “lived in New York” off my life list, get to hang out with friends from high school, college, and the film I just finished, be only a 4 hour bus ride from Mr. B, make awesome new friends, and learn amazing things about my craft**. If I stay in DC, I’ll get to continue to live with Mr. B, hang out with my best friends in the world so who needs new friends, be close to my parents, and establish myself as a designer and a business. Not to mention the fact that DC is the only place of the three that has an actual owner of a design company who wants to hand her business over to me. The question there is whether going to school will help or hurt this endeavor.
So yeah there’s that. And so I’ve decided, in true B style, that I’m just going to work my ass off and let the cards fall where they may. I have landed three weekly part time jobs since I started this blog post over a week ago***, and I’m doing pretty well (IF-I-do-say-so-myself) at scheduling them properly so I don’t get all crazy and lose track of everything and never get anything actually done like last time (and this time, as long as we’re being honest here.) Doing this film, blowing all my money in California****, and getting into school really changed my perspective. I’m ready to move to the next step, and no matter what that step is, the first step is getting my finances in order.
I’m tired of being broke, y’all. RENT is a lie… you can’t be an awesome artist with no money (and imagine the medication bills!). That’s what I’ve learned in the three years of recession since graduating. You can’t be an awesome artist with no money… but you also can’t be an awesome artist with no time. I have no regrets about quitting my terrible tech writing job, because I never would have gotten the film, and I never would have pursued school so doggedly, and I never would have had the awesome revelation I’m laying out to you now.
I need money, and I want to go to school, so at this moment in time I’m putting my head down and slamming through this business we call freelancing. I officially have an unofficial financial advisor, who, as a freelancer herself and also one of my best friends, I find exactly qualified to explain to my poor little artist brain what a CD is and why I should have one. (Also, what savings are, because let’s get something straight right now. I am awesome in many ways, but I do not do math, and I do not deal well with money.) I have exactly the right amount of regular freelancing work, and good amount of promise for sporatic-but-well-paying work, to really think I can do this without 1) running myself into the ground or 2) killing Mr. B’s soul.
I’ll actually stick to my 2011 statement of not taking work that can’t pay for itself (ie. no $200 paychecks for two months’ worth of work… if you don’t work in theater, I’m sorry to shock you. If you do work in theater, represent! We deserve to be paid what we’re worth*****.) No big vacations until after everything is all said and done and I know what will be happening this fall, and exponentially fewer slips of the cash here and there for dinner, drinks, and the like. You know, all the really clear, obvious stuff that you probably already knew and maybe even told me about but I just figured out.
Most important though, I need to figure out how to do symbols other than asterisks, because five in a row-plus-sneaking-some-parenthetical-statements-in is just too many.
*Unless you count being embarrassed that I said or did something ridiculous or uncalled for in front of other humans. In that case I spend a lot of time regretting.
**Also, fabric stores out the hoo-ha!
***I know, I know, and I’m sorry. But it’s just something that is going to happen a lot.
****Did I tell you that’s where I went? I went to California immediately after Christmas, which was immediately after the film wrapped, to be the MOH in a wedding, hang out with some awesome old friends, and then hang out with my awesome brother and interview at The School In Question before coming back broke, jobless, and without a plan.
*****I know most companies have to sacrifice and scrape by in the beginning, but I just can’t afford to spend money to work anymore. Also I have yet to ever be rehired by the same company for more money; all my best paying jobs have been my best paying jobs from the start, so now try to tell my I just have to pay my dues.
November 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
I should be in bed right now, but that’s how much I love you*. I just spent the loveliest weekend + two days off to attend a wedding for one of my very oldest and very dearest, and I’m hanging on to that wonderful, relaxing, full of love feeling as much as possible before I go back into the belly of the beast**.
I’ll be honest, this tv thing is hard. I didn’t expect it to be so hard. I think a lot of it is just the learning curve, and the level of embarrassment and/or shame I feel every time I don’t automatically pick up on or know something, regardless of the fact that I have zero prior film experience so why would I know certain nuggets of information pertaining only to costuming for film. And the fact that I’m spoiled and have been the boss or first hand for every project I’ve worked on since, oh, 2007, and I straight up forgot what it is like to be the least experienced, lowest rung on the totem pole. And let me tell you, it is not my favorite.
Lucky for me, everyone I work with is so incredibly nice and actively wants to help me learn the biz. In that way, it’s a great learning experience. I just really hate learning experiences. I read an article once about my people, “smart kids,” and it really rang true for me. “Smart kids” (with the quotation marks) are the kids who had no trouble in school; every class we came across was a breeze, until our late teens or early twenties when things finally started getting hard for us. Suddenly we struggled, and instead of furrowing our brows, putting our heads down, and working at the things that were hard for us like everyone else did, we quit. Because, oh yeah, being naturally ahead your whole life makes you lazy.
I’m aware of my laziness, and my inexplicable shame at not immediately knowing how to do things, so I try to work through it. But at this point I’m so used to my comfort zone, it’s hard. Which brings me to the other thought that diverged in this winey, and somewhat cheesy***, wood. Here is the most pressing thing I have learned through this experience so far: apparently, I am still so very, very, incredibly awkward with new groups of people. Apparently, I’m the type of person who stands conspicuously near a group of people, eavesdropping, laughing when they laugh, but never actually saying anything above a mutter and NEVER actually making eye contact for more than an accidental second.
I did not know this about myself. I thought I was rather gregarious and comfortable with new people. I thought I was friendly, dammit! But, apparently, the truth of the matter is, when I am thrown into a totally new situation with totally new people who know a whole hell of a lot more than I do in the most important subject of the day, I am the most awkward person who ever lived.
Since I don’t live in New York and I come from either an office or casual/non-mountainous background, I don’t know how to dress in a way that is warm, comfortable, AND fashionable. I wake up at a time that makes contacts only barely doable, and makeup impossible. Since I’m incredibly aware of the fact that I don’t actually know anyone very well because I go home every night, I am incredibly awkward to speak to. I make inside jokes with people who have no idea what I’m talking about. I blush. I get confused. I mutter. I avoid eye contact. It’s like an out of body experience. It’s not that it’s not me, because it is me… fifteen years ago. 1996 me would absolutely have all of these traits; I just thought I had gotten better at this thing, man.
It seems like people like me, though I can’t imagine why. It seems like I’m picking up things, though it doesn’t feel fast enough. I’m holding out judgement until I’ve worked for longer than three weeks, though it feels like three months. Basically, I can’t wait until I’m good at this thing.
I will like it a lot more then.
*Also how much I’m pretending I don’t have to go back to work tomorrow, plus also this cheap ass wine from the bottle is inexplicably delicious today. Please don’t be sad, the love you part is first.
**Though I’ve heard/read that it’s better this week.
***And even more hummus-y, which is a delight. Hooray for Mr. B’s taste in groceries!
October 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m a bit at a loss as to whether or not I should remain anonymous on this blog. My instinct is to keep it this way, but then I’m reluctant to talk too in-depth about what I’m doing and where I’m working for fear of outing myself, which is kind of the whole point of the thing. But if I’m totally out, maybe I’ll get in trouble for what I say here in the mind-bendingly small community that is art and entertainment.
It’s a conundrum.
I think, for the moment, I’m going to refrain from using proper nouns and see how far that gets me. If you guess who I am and which companies I’m talking about, so be it. I don’t think I’ll die. Probably, anyway. I guess we’ll see.
So now that I’ve gotten that sorted out, I can tell you my awesome news. I got a gig assisting a costume designer for a tv miniseries being shot in West Virginia.
Ahem. Excuse me, let me rephrase to show my true feelings on this subject a bit more clearly. HOLY CRAP I GOT A GIG ASSISTING A DESIGNER FOR A FREAKING TV MINISERIES OMG OMG OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING THIS IS MY LIFE.
So yeah. I’m excited. It’s basically my dream foot-in-the-door job*. And the way I came about it still makes my head spin because honestly, even three years in the business, I had my doubts about the efficacy of “networking.” Mainly because if I’m cognizant of the fact that I am at that moment supposed to be schmoozing, I suddenly become a hulking, painfully awkward nuisance who is more than likely standing creepily at the edge of a group and laughing at all the jokes but not actually introducing herself or looking anyone in the eye for more than an apologetic/also creepy glance.
That said, if I just think I’m catching up with old friends/coworkers I’m totally fine and only as awkward as usual**. So thankfully a week or so ago I remained in the latter category when I ran into a director I have worked with a few times over the past few years at the fundraiser for my show that opens in a week***. My renewed career as a freelancer came up, and I asked her to keep me in mind if she heard of any jobs floating around. That night she emailed me the post for this gig, the next day I emailed the designer in question, and the day after that she emailed me saying she would love to work with me.
And just like that, I got the best/best paying gig I’ve ever had.
This is the gig I was talking about a few posts ago when I said I had to burn every bridge I had forged this fall, and just hope that I would not be blacklisted from DC/Baltimore/DelMarVa theater****. So now I’m about to go on this wild ride and I’m not remotely ready, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. But it’s a thing that is about to happen, and I guess I’ll find out once and for all if I’m cut out for film.
*Ok well, one of them. I have a lot of dreams for a lot of jobs. I plan on living a very full and ever-changing life.
**Which is to say, mainly in realm of “funny/quirky,” and only crossing the line to inappropriate or weird in a weird way a socially acceptable number of times.
***Having trouble not advertising for this right now because I think it’s going to be AWESOME and want everyone to see it. Maybe this whole anonymity thing is the pits after all.
****So far so good. Also, four asterisks is just too many.
August 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
I got a job. With a theater. Part time. They want me to start next Wednesday.
I am freaking out. Jubilation, and then my heart drops into my stomach and I break out in a cold sweat. Have to put in my two weeks. Have to leave the comfort of the reliable paycheck, the friends I’ve made.
I want to throw up, of joy and terror.