One day, a good friend of mine, Allison Torneros, messages me on Facebook.
Allison’s a free-styling modern urban abstract artist. She’s super talented and super awesome. We lived on the same dorm floor (Rieber 6south!!!) and I passed her room frequently because it was on the way to the bathroom. One time she had her door opened and as I was passing through, I saw her in the middle of her room with paintbrush in hand toward a canvas that had latex boobies protruding out of it. To be honest it was weird. But intriguing too. Who doesn’t like boobies? And ever since then, we’ve been really good friends. Now five years later and Allison is doing extremely well. She’s pretty legit and is coming out with a solo show in LA next month. The show will be made of pieces inspired by her research on creatives – from rising to establish- and their rituals to getting creative.
So she messages me on Facebook asking if she can use me for her show. Uh duh! I would be honored! She wanted to follow me around before I had an audition. She wanted to see how I prepared, how I got in my element, how I got creative. My ritual.
This request made me nervous. Wow what an honor, I could be in her show! Wait, that’s too much pressure! What if I don’t find an audition in time? Then I won’t be able to be in her show. Then I won’t be able to help her. Sad face.
I wanted to be in the show. If abstractly or even indirectly, I still wanted to be a part of it and give her something to possibly use. This totally motivated me to get an audition ASAP. There was an expiration date to this request and I had about a month to get an audition. The problem I quickly realize though, was that the industry was in a bit of a hiatus. Pilot season was over and summer break was just around the corner. On top of that, auditions for me didn’t come that often. So what to do?
I prayed. I asked the universe for an audition. I shouted the request out in my mind. And the universe listened!
It was weird. As soon as I decided that I wanted an audition for Allison’s research, I started meeting people relevant to the industry. My friend was taking pictures of me in Venice for new headshots and we bumped into her neighbor. Turned out he’s an actor. (Ok no surprise there when you’re living in LA). But what made him different from the next actor walking by was that he asked for my materials so that he could pass it on to his agent. He just wanted to help.
During acting class, I had lamented to my teacher that I was having difficulty getting auditions, this prompted her to connect me to a guy she knew that I could talk to to brainstorm about getting more auditions. He’s a producer of indie films.
Another friend messaged me on Facebook and asked for my materials so that he could connect me to his actor friend.
During Memorial Day weekend, I saw an old friend and met her friends at a bar. Her friends knew people in the industry and immediately offered to connect me as well! The following week, she gets an email from a friend that has friends at UCLA that was looking for an Asian actress. She connects me to the film students and I get an audition. Fuck yes! Allison follows me around right before that audition.
When it rains, it pours. The universe totally helped me out and brought people to help me, to connect me. Maybe not for an audition now, but for something later. But not only did my situation changed, I changed. I was more generous with sharing about myself.
In the past, I’ve been resistant to tell people I’m an actress. I haven’t booked anything, so why tell people that? I don’t make money as an actress, I make money as a waitress. And if someone were to really dig, I would tell people that I was trying to be an actress. I would say it dismissively, as if I was ashamed. I would be meek when sharing my materials, I wouldn’t even want to indulge upon my stuff. Who was I to show you anything?
The thing is, I still haven’t booked anything. I still make the bulk of my income as a waitress. But what really changed was my attitude. My thinking. Which in turned changed my habits and ultimately changed my situation. When my friend’s neighbor asked me for my materials to pass onto his agent, I found myself at a crossroad. 1. Either I continue my bad habits and let this opportunity slip by or 2. Stand by my stuff and be proud of it. Promote it. Sell it! Of course option number 2 is the obvious one, but for me, to share my materials with someone is putting myself in a very vulnerable state. To dismiss my stuff and myself before the other person even sees it was my way of quitting before getting fired. Breaking up before getting dumped. But then again, yes, quitting won’t get me fired, but it also won’t get me promoted as well. Break up a relationship just to not get dumped, and I lose out in a fulfilling relationship, I lose out in the possibility of a beautiful connection.
So alright, I did option number 2. And the neighbor was really receptive to my reel and my photos. This gave me more confidence, and with more people coming by, I shared myself with pride. This created a positive track – I share myself with confidence -> more ppl are confident in me -> more ppl want to see me and help me -> more auditions and hopefully more bookings …