On August 26th, 2021, I celebrated 19 years of living in Los Angeles. And what made my anniversary so special, what made it a full circle moment, was that I shot a role on an Amazon Prime feature film that day!
19 years ago, I flew out to LA on a one-way flight from NYC, armed with one suitcase, my leather CD book, and a resolution to pursue my artistic dreams full-time. I had no job lined up. I had no apartment lined up. I had no car lined up. I just had my dreams that out-created what I temporarily lacked. When I landed in LAX, I got into a taxi and immediately quoted Madonna when she landed in NYC in 1977 and got into a taxi as well: “Take me to the center of everything.” Madonna’s taxi driver took her to Times Square and my taxi driver took me to Beverly Hills LOL. The rest, as they say, is history.
As I sat in my trailer on August 26th, 2021, I was filled with so much gratitude. Shooting a role on my 19th anniversary of living in LA was not lost on me. But beyond the role, I was filled with so much gratitude because I am still doing what I love to do. 19 years later and I am still actively involved as an artist. 19 years later and I am still going. 19 years later and I am still standing. And it’s such a testament to my raison d’être, my career bus that contains a community of persons, places, and things that keep me going. My community. My DOIN (Declaration of Independence aka business plan that we learn to create and build at the Richard Lawson Studios.) My DOIN is so important and I literally pulled it up two days before I booked this role to add and edit some things within it.
I am grateful to still be on this journey when a lot of people have stopped their own artistic journeys to pursue other endeavors (no judgement by the way!)
I am grateful that since I landed in LA 19 years ago, I have become a more causative, 360-degree artist. To know that 19 years later, I have weathered the highs and lows, the ups and downs. I mean, come on: The Covid-19 pandemic could have destroyed and obliterated me, but I found myself so creatively plugged in during 2020 by attending classes over Zoom, by working on my writing, by building my own rocking self-tape station and being able to film self-tape auditions, by submitting filmed monologues and scenes to various casting director open calls, by teaching classes over Zoom, by researching various industry topics, by attending artistic panels over Zoom, etc.
2021 has also been filled with artistic excitement. Some highlights:
**Self-tape auditions for TV series on Hulu, Netflix, Fox, HBO, ABC, etc.
**My feature film script placed as a semi-finalist in a big industry writing competition (Scriptapalooza) and it will be promoted to a network of 125 producers for one whole year.
**The same feature film script film script also placed in the top 15% of discoverable projects on Coverfly.
**I placed as a semi-finalist (in the top 6% of applicants) for a program with the Writers Guild Foundation.
**I’m waiting to hear back from other established industry writing competitions and programs.
**I revisited and rewrote a TV pilot script and I am now revisiting and rewriting another feature film script.
**Weekly career administration group meetings where we hold each other accountable to our artistic goals.
**Attending weekly classes.
**Writing meetings with the PDP 3.0 collective.
**I bought printer ink so that I can print up my sides (yes, even buying printer ink is a big win!)
**Relationship map building and outflow.
**In the 36 hours leading up to my film shoot, I had to complete two Covid tests, I had wardrobe fittings, I taught class, and I had to film two self-tape auditions for two different primetime TV series on ABC (one of which was due in six hours!)
So, as I sat in my trailer, the last 36 hours was not lost on me. 2021 was not lost on me. 2020 was not lost on me. My 19-year anniversary in LA was not lost on me.
Featured photo courtesy of: https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/champagne-glasses-happy-anniversary-card/5051937310033.html