A Secret Career Confession

Today I have a guest post from Tonya at Budget and the Beach. Enjoy!

Last week a friend of mine was looking for people that wanted to do a little “acting” for a video that was being produced for the company he works for. I can’t say much about it, except that it involved pretending you were part of a company (I chose to be an accountant-hee!), and drumming.

Aside from having to drive from the Westside of LA to the Valley at rush hour, I had a blast participating in the video. It felt like I was just “playing,” and to me that’s a huge escape from the grind of daily life.

When I  was a young child, I asked my mom if I could be on The Brady Bunch. As if you just called someone and signed up, like joining a youth soccer team. My mom rolled her eyes and said, “uh…no.” Now if she were a good mom, she would have taken her 7-year-old daughter seriously and packed up everything and shipped the family off to live in LA. But no she was a terrible mom, and decided I should be a kid and stay in school. Of course I’m being totally sarcastic. :)

But here’s the thing: I’ve always had a secret passion for acting. But did I totally miss that boat?

I loved “performing” as a kid. I loved writing and putting on little plays, and when I got a huge jam box when I was around 10, I would spend hours interviewing my family and friends and playing DJ. I didn’t like playing sports back then and was a creative, introverted child who could spend hours in my room daydreaming in my own little imaginative world.  Oh, and by the way, I still spend a lot of time daydreaming.

Now, I know that lots of kids dream of stuff like this…or being professional athletes or rock stars. That’s probably true, and probably why the older I got, the more my dreams faded away…

…well sort of. I think as the awkward teenage years approached many things occurred. For one, I was never put in dance, music, or theater as a kid, as much as I really wanted to be doing that kind of stuff. My brother was a natural athlete, and so I think my parents just thought I would follow in the same path. Well that didn’t happen.

I did find one performance outlet though: cheerleading (yes, most people are shocked to know I was a cheerleader). I was in junior cheerleading for about five years until it was time to try out for high school. I think I could have made the team, but my self-conscious ways kept me from ever trying out.

I thought the answer to my performance needs in high school would be drama. But unfortunately, I was even too awkward for that, and the drama teacher had a tendency to play favorites anyway. It could have really launched my career though, like the way it did for Mary Lynn Rajskup who plays Chloe on 24. Yes, she was a year younger than me in school, and was in all the school plays. Damn, missed that boat too.

I satiated my performance needs though by joining the color guard in the marching band, and joining the pom pom squad in college.

Throughout my 20’s I dabbled in a couple different things: I took a lot of dance classes, performed in a laughable version of Beauty and the Beast, took an improv class, and a pretty serious level 1 and 2 acting class at the Freehold Theater in Seattle.

So why not pursue acting more seriously? I think by that point my career felt pretty solid as a video editor. You see, I decided in high school the second best thing to being in front of the camera was being behind it. A choice I’m still not sure was the best one for me.

The thought of struggling financially, starting over, waiting tables, rejection, etc., felt too daunting and scary.

But things feel a little different now. One thing is, I’ve been a freelancer for almost six years and have a somewhat flexible schedule, so I have the opportunity to dabble if I want to, like the time I was an extra on the TV show Parenthood. It kind of helps that my friend is a writer on that show. :)

Also, a huge thing that has changed is viral videos, and the ability to create your own content and put it out there for other people to suffer enjoy. Technology to make a movie, skit, or music video is dirt cheap compared to the “olden days” when it was damn near impossible to produce your own material, let alone distribute it. But with the advent of YouTube, you can create and distribute to your heart’s content.

So while I don’t plan on getting a Hollywood agent or standing in long cattle call lines anytime soon, I do have the opportunity to fulfill a childhood passion of mine if I really want to. The only thing that’s holding me back is me.

Have you ever wanted to pursue a far-fetched career? What stopped you? Are you doing the career you dreamed of as a child? 

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