Alright so I was born and raised Roman Catholic. Went to catholic Saturday school, went to mass every weekend, and the first things I actually memorized were prayers in Vietnamese. I still know them today.
Now, I never lost my faith. Of course I had doubts and questions along the way, but I never gave up on god. Then again, I’ve never been really devout either. I’m not very religious, I do not go to mass every Sunday, but I would consider myself spiritual. Why not? I do believe in god not because I was raised to, but because it’s comforting. There’s someone out there looking out for me.
Because the entertainment industry is so unpredictable and so saturated with people, it’s hard to keep your head up when you audition and you hear nothing back. When you spend your weekdays in your star wars shirt and boxers looking at breakdowns and waiting for auditions. When you actually get an audition and you blow it, hard. When you make more money as a waitress than an actress and you begin to wonder what your actual job title really is.
I went to a casting director workshop yesterday and the casting director presented the stats again. For a guest star role in an hour-long drama that is airing on national television, after one hour of posting the role up, she can get 1000+ submissions. Out of those, she brings in 20 people to audition, and then out of those, only 1 gets the role. 1/1000. The stats, the facts are so discouraging. I’m in LA and every other person is not only an actor, but is also a writer/musician/producer/director, let’s also add that they’re hotter and has booked a lot more jobs than me. There are so many factors that are at play for booking a role, there are so many unknowns and things that are out of my control, who else could I turn to for comfort if it were not for god?
In times of most distressed, I tend to turn toward things that are familiar to me. Because the church was always there when I was growing up, I find it comforting sometimes to just sit in the pews and pray. Or sometimes I feel a guilt from all the sins I’ve been racking up, that I feel a pull to go to mass to clean my soul. Or maybe because of my sins, I’ve been having lousy luck with auditions and booking, that to change my luck around, I should go to mass. Sounds kind of irrational, but it makes me feel better afterwards.
Yesterday I felt that pull to go to mass. There’s a new church near me. It’s not a catholic church, it’s a Christian church. And it’s not called mass, it’s called “worship experience”. I was down for a new experience, so I decided to check it out. They’re a bit overzealous with their rejoicing to god, compared to the uptight and structured rituals during a catholic mass that I’m used to, but the message came through.
The message was this: everyone has a god dream. A god dream is a sign or a feeling of what you’re meant to do in this lifetime. It’s your gift from god. It’s your calling. But the dream is not about you. It’s not about what you’re gonna get from accomplishing the dream. It’s about how your gift is going to serve others. How it is going to serve god. Because if the dream becomes about you, it will become a nightmare. If you’re too scared to go for the dream, you are not serving others. If you think how your calling will serve you selfishly, you are not serving god.
This message is reminiscent of a past homily I had heard from a priest once. When I was living in norcal and having doubts about moving to Los Angeles to pursue this, I felt the pull to go to mass one day. I went to a church that my family had been going to for years. I went by myself. And the priest told the story about the Virgin Mary and how her gift from god, her calling was to bear god in human form. Then the priest asked, “but what if she had said, ‘no, I can’t. I won’t. Who am I to be the mother of god?'” the priest went on to say, “the point is, it’s not about Mary. It’s about god. If she had refused, she would be refusing Jesus from the people. She would be refusing to serve others.” That was one of the moments that gave me faith and motivation to move to Los Angeles.
With the odds stacked against me, and to be honest, my acting skills are not as good as Cate Blanchet in blue jasmine (because she was phenomenal and mesmerizing to watch) … yet, I pray to god. Because I think about quitting all. The. Time. I think how I’m absolute garbage and that acting is so hard (the more I learn about acting, the more I realize it’s not just memorizing lines, but being present, listening, having an intention, making the other person the most important person in the room, connecting, creating an experience out of nothing, script analysis, pacing … etc.) that I have no business here and that I should just go home to my parents. I lose hope every other moment. But then I pray every other moment for hope in the situation and myself. I pray for auditions and bookings. I pray for courage and patience to tough it out.