"Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!"
These are the words that echo in my mind whenever I think of my acting teacher Stuart. I used to get very tired of hearing this repeated to me during the critique, after many of my scenes in class, but I understand the essence of this statement now. In my acting career, I have made a grave mistake. I entered the profession, more green than Kermit the frog....no professional acting classes, 5 x 7 photographs (not industry standard eeks) that my mom took of me on her Kodak disposable camera on the stairs in our house (makeup done by an amateur a.k.a. yours truly), no car to get to auditions, and the list goes on and on of everything an actor "must have" in their arsenal, so to speak. I had none of that. But what I did have is a bunch of ambition and whole lot of faith. I went in to every audition expecting to stand out, expecting to be cast, and expecting preferential treatment. Why? Because Hello! Tia has landed in Hollywood!! I'm the one you've been waiting for! There's no one like me! You want me! You need me!
And guess what!? I was a booking machine. With no agent, no real head shots, no car and no on camera experience. And yet in my first two years, I booked more than I have in my last two years, with legit head shots ($600+ worth of head shots I might add), acting classes with some of the best teachers in the business, and loads of experience. But why is that? Where did I go wrong? Shouldn't I be doing better NOW than when I started. Why have I watched others do more with less, while I, with a loaded arsenal slowly fizzle out.
I threw the baby out with the bathwater. Damnit! Sorry Stuart, I skipped that all important note...AGAIN!
You see, I now realize that you can't substitute your faith with your talent, and vice versa. You simply add it on. Somewhere along this crazy journey I got the notion that my faith and ambition alone wasn't going to get me through the doors that I wanted to get through. And I was right. There had to be a works portion mixed in with that faith. Because faith without works.....yea, you know the rest (But if you don't, do a quick search of James 2:17). I saw brilliant actors in class talk about all the huge projects they were being cast in and I got the crazy idea that in order to be like them, I had to strictly focus on my acting skills. And so I did. I put so much effort in to being the most authentic and present actress that I could possibly be. And after that, THEN I was ready to audition and book! Or so I thought. I would walk in and see lots of beautiful actresses, quietly rehearsing to themselves, with their beautiful head shots and lengthy resumes and I would shrink. Literally and figuratively, as I would slouch while waiting to go into the room. I would think, "Maybe that girl has been in class longer than me, or done more network stuff; and because I haven't, it's going to show! And they won't like me as much as they like her...Oh man, I'm definitely not going to book this one. I should just leave." These same thoughts coming from the girl who would walk into a huge casting office, proudly hand the casting director my 5x7 and wait to slay in the room. And then wait for the phone call to be cast....which I usually received. So why was this not working out how I imagined in my silly little actor head?
Looking back now, I see it all too clearly. The skills (and maybe that pricey headshot) got me in the room, but my faith was supposed to take me the rest of the way. I simply had to marry the two. I could not be focused on what another girl (possibly) has and what I don't have. I have to focus on what I do have going for me, work it to the fullest and have faith that anywhere I fall short, God has already made the provision for me to grow and succeed. I just have to walk into the room knowing that I am unique, and because of that, I have something special to offer to that particular production that no one else can offer, regardless of how many guest-star, supporting, or lead roles others may have on their resume, or if they trained with Hollywood's top acting teachers. I am an asset to their production. Period. And it's not cockiness. It's unadulterated truth. For everyone. If you don't catch this truth now, then "...Molly, you in danger girl." (Props to those who know what flick that's from). Because you will constantly be stuck in the web of comparison, falling short of some impossible level of perfection, and resorting to crying in your bed while being the only attendee at the world's most pathetic pity party. But enough about me. What are YOU going to do? Hopefully, marry your skill, whatever it may be, and your faith, in holy matrimony. No annulment and no divorce. You're in it for the long haul—baby.