Monday, September 24, 2012

"Never complain. Never explain." - Katherine Hepburn

Recently I have been thinking a lot about how one progresses from the lower status in this business to the upper crusty part.  You know, how do people get from community theater in the middle of Nowheres-ville and then they're in an Oscar-worthy film that made millions in the box office?  Thank God that I've gotten so many connections this year on at least the semi-professional level or full-time actors in the area that can give me some advice.  Yes, I will admit it can be discouraging when you have no SAG waivers and no clue how to get Equity points in this small town, but it seems almost useless to go to the big city without at least a few of each so you don't look like you don't know what you're doing on paper in a place where noone's ever heard of you.  I am slowly trudging up the hill to at least get a foothold around this town, and I'm not stopping until I can get into some sort of union.  Union means India Pearl will be on the road to the big city, and with a lot of work experience to boot so I won't be some young dreamer without any training who thinks they're going to be rich if they simply move to Hollywood.  I won't move right now, because I don't think God quite has me on that path yet.  He's given me plenty of opportunity here and I'm not starving so why not stay where I'm happy at least until I start to look older than 16 in front of a camera.

When I tell strangers or even family members that I'm an actress, (and a full-time working actress who doesn't do much else) they seem surprised.  There's this look they give you that's sort of mixed up between pity, scoff, and awe.  It's as though they think they know why they should "feel bad" for you and then they feel obligated to remind you that it's a hard field and all that repeated bullcrap, but they don't want to be rude so they say in a nicer way, "oh, that must be tough! Lot of rejection in that field..." like they're saying anything that's news to you.  Sometimes they'll try to think of some second-cousin's-daughter-in-law that's an actress in New York and name some play they were in that you've never heard of, maybe for comfort that they know someone who sort of made it?  Although I suppose it's very common to do that in a conversation to name someone else who has the same line of work and the person you're conversing with.  But really the only response to that bit of small talk two cents is, "Oooo0o0o0o, ok... yeah that's cool." and hope you both think of something else to add before there's a dead silence.  

The other thing I hate is when I say to them I'm an actor and they interrupt me with an I know more than you do grin and they say, "You mean actress?" NO I don't mean actress, this is 2012 and I will use whichever feminine or masculine noun I prefer you sexist old fashioned numbskull because I'm an artist and I would obviously know more about what I'm calling myself in my own field thank you very much.  Or here's the question I can't stand getting, "Are you a good actress?"  What the heck am I supposed to say to that?!  I mean I'm getting work, and constant steady work at that, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm soon to be up for a Tony.  Maybe I should ask people that in the future, because they ask me that abut my music too I always get someone who wonders if I can actually play guitar or sing, as if I'm a hack with a Youtube channel and pretends like most people and they can't wait to oust me to the rest of the world as such.  I'll look at them and say, "Are you a good dentist? I've heard filling are really tough to do, patients are real hard to come by." or "Are you good at putting out fires, 'cause I know a lot of firemen who just don't know how to hose it down.  You sure you're not just rescuing cats out of trees?"

I get it, people don't know they're being rude.  It's also very easy to get defensive over your abilities and work ethic as an artist, because your work is your whole life.  So I decided to look up some quotes from other female actors that I really look up to due to their impact on Hollywood, and their sheer talent.  Everybody needs some sort of inspiration, and when you're feeling like the world is just a tough place and work is hard to come by, it's good to know that these women often felt the same.

There seems to be a law that governs all our actions so I never make plans. - Greta Garbo 

A career is wonderful, but you can't curl up with it on a cold night.
Marilyn Monroe  

Acting is the perfect idiot's profession.
Katharine Hepburn  

I don't think the money people in Hollywood have ever thought I was normal, but I am dedicated to my work and that's what counts.
Angelina Jolie

If only those who dream about Hollywood knew how difficult it all is. - Greta Garbo

 When I started out, I didn't have any desire to be an actress or to learn how to act. I just wanted to be famous.
Katharine Hepburn

Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.
Marilyn Monroe 
Acting is the most minor of gifts. After all, Shirley Temple could do it when she was four.
Katharine Hepburn

If you ask people what they've always wanted to do, most people haven't done it. That breaks my heart.
Angelina Jolie

Yeah sure they're not all a hundred percent understandable if you don't do what I do, or if you don't watch their movies and feel like you have some sort of secret connection to them when you read anything they say that's just plain real and not written down in a script.  But I like them. And the little sense that they give me still motivates me to keep at it.  Any time I think about what my life could be like if I gave up, my happiness would count more in the end.  And that's what truly matters.

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