Lydia's Journey BEYOND Hollywood

Follow an actress's journey beyond Hollywood. The life after a successful 10 year career...

Friday, August 29, 2008

How - No WHY - Does This Happen?

Ok. I have an audition tomorrow for Desperate Housewives. Great. Straight to producers. Great! Possible Recurring...AWESOME! Another freakin maid role....Ugh.... Oh, a MAID role with ONE line? WHAT???????!!!!!
I'm trying to understand how a.) I was even submitted for a role I have told my managers in the past that I don't want to do again (unless it was a major guest star with a great storyline or the lead in a film. Sad that there are prices I would sell out for! haha) And b.) How the hell I can go from SCREEN TESTING for a series regular role just two weeks ago to ONE freakin line tomorrow! My manager's defense was those words: POSSIBLE RECURRING. Ok, if it did recur, then I can understand wanting "recurring" again on my resume. That always looks good. But if it doesn't recur, I just sold my one opportunity to be on Desperate Housewives for a ONE line co-star. I have plenty of those on my resume already!
Like that saying: If I'm not moving forward, I'm moving backwards! (That is a saying right? If not, that I'M saying it!)
Alright, let me say that I have some readers who occasionally write me for advice on their careers, and I pride myself with giving out pretty knowledgeable information. But there are times whem I wonder if I take my own advice. Just tonight I had someone come to me with a similar issue. Their manager wanted them to take headshots that would show them in a stereotypical light, in a role they never wanted to do anyway. But they would probably work using these looks.
I told this person that they could do what their manager wanted, and it could suck, but they could build their resume and get some work that could possibly lead to bigger and better opportunities in their career. That's exactly what I did. Basically I paid my dues. I played Maria the maid more times that I'd like to count, and it has sometimes lead to great opportunities. But it has also felt like the black cloud looming over my head that won't ever go away. It's like no matter what I do, no mater how big my next project can be, someone somewhere will think of me when they have a maid to cast.
And that sucks, because I want them to think of me when they need a good actress for a role, any role, not just when they need a housekeeper.
So anyway, I digress.....I told this other actress that it also matters that YOU are happy with the choices you make. And proud of the work you do. But I think our jobs as actors are to find the balance of business and creative. To make a living while doing work we are proud of. That's the tricky part.
The whole reason I came out here to be a professional actress is to make a living doing what I LOVE. Well, I have to say that many years of doing parts you don't want to do because it either feels degrading or stereotypical, or insulting....can make it pretty hard to LOVE what you're doing. To have pride in it. You stop loving it after a while. And I never wanted that. I never saw that coming.
And again, I have to say that this isn't JUST about "another maid role audition". This is more about wanting the opportunity to tell OTHER stories. I feel like I've told that story. Over and over again.
And I want to feel like I'm evolving and growing as an actor. And in business. How am I supposed to be happy to go from a screen test to a one line co-star all in two weeks? Again, feels like I take two steps forward and three steps back. How do you progress that way?? (can you tell I'm venting here? Sorry)
Is it even possible?
When I did theater, I used to perform in 5 full productions a year. I was always in rehearsals. I was usually the lead or a major supporting role. My characters had arcs and meat to their storylines. I loved every bit of it. I move to LA, and I can finally say I'm a working actress and I make my living working on television and film, but that fulfillment is not there, not like in theater.
So I am going to this audition tomorrow, mainly because I know it will make my manager happy. It could POSSIBLY RECUR, you know! hmmm.... But it's blantantly obvious that I'm not taking my own advice of doing what makes ME happy. I even advised this person that if they didn't want to work the job they were auditioning for - then don't bother auditioning. And here I go....
With fingers crossed that if I book it, it will recur...and damn it, I hope it recurs a few episodes just to make me feel better about this whole thing.

And I will try harder next time to take my own advice.

Because I happen to think it's pretty good advice.


Anonymous Greta said...

Thanks for the honesty. I'm not an actor, but this issue has relevance for us all. I have a bottom line I won't cross with regard to my job, but I haven't set the bar as high as I'd really like simply because it would be almost impossible to survive if I did--or so I've told myself. We all find ourselves making compromises and selling ourselves out...a little at a time over the years. Next thing you know, you find yourself in a hole so deep you can barely see out of it, leading a life that isn't wonderfully fulfilling and only occasionally allows a glimpse of real happiness.

I'm slowly reclaiming myself after years of compromise and bad choices. I find it easier to progress when I don't pressure myself to always make the BEST choices. Instead, I focus on making BETTER choices.

You have good insight for your age. I'll be thinking of you and wishing you the best.

Greta (a friend of José's)

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi hon!

I just read your recent posting. Please, don´t beat yourself up about not following your won advice! As my sister (she is a psychologist) says ... it is always easier to tell somebody else what to do! (and this is after years of school and work as a psychologist!) I am very sorry about your struggles and proud of your accomplishments. Remember that those struggles make us grow as human beings ... what a shitty way to grow!

As an artist (photographer), I also found myself doing many things that I didn't enjoy just to get noticed, to make a few bucks. I guess it doesn't matter your line of work, you always end up compromising something. Now that I do not do as much photography (haven't given up just changed direction!) I still find myself making compromises. I guess that is just part of life.

My love, I wish you well in your journey! On a lighter note, aren't you glad that despite all the maid roles, you actually never have to clean! ;)


2:59 PM  
Blogger char said...

it's the best advice i've gotten.

now listen to your heart.

10:55 PM  

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