Big Country Blues Trailer

Big Country Blues Trailer
Sarah e Jacobs recognized as OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES at LA Webfest! And nominated for BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA at ITVFest! Click to watch the trailer!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Eff Word.

It came on quick, (appropriately) as if on cue - I started to cry a bit. My back pressed against the cold brick wall of a building on West 27th street. It was weird. I had just been to an audition that went extremely well. My monologue was great - connected and honest, the feedback was amazing. I should have been in a great mood after how things went in the room. But for some reason, I was overcome with emotion that I couldn’t really explain.

So, here’s the thing - I’ve been putting off writing this. I’ve been writing on short stories and poetry and films and even started a play… but I’ve put off this post like I put off dealing with my 1099s.

Recently, I’ve been feeling things that no Actor, or probably any artist-type, likes to admit. We go to great lengths to convince ourselves and others that this particular feeling isn’t in our vocabulary. But, it inadvertently rears its ugly head when we get asked things like, “How’s the acting thing going?” (ps Ugh. Never ask that question unless you want the person you're asking to immediately think you're terrible). In response, I hear actors all the time get that deep, guttural voice and start grasping for words to make it sound like they have so much going on. Like they’re just too busy for words with Pilot Season, and agent meetings, and commercial callbacks... And it’s sad. Like watching a puppy try and get out of a pool.

This feeling is frustration. We’ve all been there. And while getting my nutrition certification and starting my business is an accomplishment that does quell some of my anxiety about my life as a whole, the truth is that in regards to my Acting career, I’m feeling mega frustrated. And, yes, it is something that is hard to admit.

It’s a very conscious decision to try not to lump my work with my self-worth. Not put value on myself and my abilities based on the amount of work I get as an Actor. But, the truth is, I like movement. Preferably forward movement. And more than anything I hate feeling stuck and out of control of my progress. It’s like when I was 10 and my Brother would hold me down and tickle me to the point of pants-wetting. …okay, well, not exactly like that, but you get my point - I feel claustrophobic and debilitated.

It took me a long time to even call myself an Actor. I was acting long before I ever endowed myself with the title (same as writer, for that matter). But once I did, and even more so with each passing day, dammit, I am an Actor. And, not only that, it turns out I’m a pretty good one. I go from audition to audition, pouring myself onto the floor and turning myself inside out for strangers, as we all do. And I say this without ego or pride - it is very rare that I get negative feedback. I usually get lauded with “wow”s and “great monologue”s (and there was that one time a casting director said, “She’s so good, I’d watch her take a shit on the floor." True story). Once booked on a job, I dedicate myself to a good performance and to a professional and fun working experience. In fact, the vast majority of people I work with, I end up working with more than once.

So when I left that audition and hit the open air, life felt a lot like a broken record. I did well. I heard great feedback. And… Annnnd… now what? I follow up. I send my updated info. …blah blah blah. And I’m still here. Wings clipped. Held down on the carpet of my childhood living room trying not to pee myself.

Y’all. I’m tired. I’m tired of waiting on others. I’m tired of convincing and fighting and schmoozing. I’m sick of feeling stuck. Treadmill on perpetual incline.

I go on auditions and get asked to do silly things like, let out a “cute fart” in an elevator (also a true story), or hide under my desk like I’m uncomfortable because of a “feminine situation”… and I’m at a point where I want more. I want real, challenging parts. And it makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, red faced and veins popping, “I’m a fucking good Actor!”

…But it’s the age old question - If an actress screams in the forest…

Now, please don’t mistake my frustration for ingratitude. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities that do come at me. But I am frustrated. And I’m writing this and confessing this because I know I’m not alone. I recognize it in the relief when people hashtag #blessed on Facebook. I hear it in the defeated voices that answer questions like, “when can I see you on the big screen?” I see it in the people pacing in the audition waiting room, obsessively smoothing the part of their hair. And I listen to it from my friends when we have candid conversations over tea about our life choices.

We deal with so much outside pressure and eventually, no matter how self assured you are, it can get to you. I frequently get asked when I’m going to be famous or be in something big. And, It’s a little infuriating. Like when people look at newly famous actors and say things like, “She came out of nowhere.” I want to laugh and say that, actually, she probably waited on your table at a restaurant on the Lower East Side, or bartended nights and weekends without ever taking a break so that she could pursue her passion. She didn’t come out of nowhere, she came out of years of effort and dedication and hope.

I’m so tired. It’s a little scary to me. I mean, I wouldn’t change my decision to be an Actor for anything. I love being part of a creative, passionate, supportive group that are so inspiring and dedicated. And I love acting so much that it physically hurts sometimes. When I’m not working I get aches and my insides itch. But I’m also just exhausted. I’m tired of changing in Starbucks bathrooms that smell like hamsters and crack cocaine. And I'm tired of saying yes to everything (even when the answer is no), and being excited like a kid on Christmas about dog food or feminine products.

For God’s sake, I just want to do good work. And I made the decision a long time ago not to sell out to this industry, sleep around to get what I want, schmooze, and gun finger, and get all LA-name-dropping-annoying. …So, here I am. Feeling stuck and out of control of my own future.

So, I figure, I could give in to the frustration - try and forget the itch, and dull the aches. But, giving up has never really been my M.O.

Instead, I get pissed. (and not like the little-girl-me on the carpet). I get effing ticked. And then, like a true Actor, I use it.

So, I have to figure some shit out. Shift my focus and energy onto things that I can control. And of course I’ll stay in the mix a bit, But I refuse to rely on others realizing what I already know: that I am capable of some really awesome work.

But it seems, story of my life, I just have to quit crying and make that work myself. And maybe 5 people will see it, but somehow, that has to be okay with me. Because I’m starting to feel that at the soul of all of this frustration, is the fact that the conventional version of acting success just may not be my cup of tea.

2 comments:

  1. Preaching to the choir, babe! Play your own game and all power to you. Lots of acting love from the other side of the world. xxA

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  2. Love your psots and the site. Dont give up, I jsut got promoted 2 weeks ago. grant it Im just working on wall street and I am not nearly as talented as you. Being single and jewish I will keep my fingers crossed for you
    Mike

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