Living out here in LA, you can pretty much guarantee that all your waitstaff, retail workers and bartenders are actors. Having been an actor a thousand years ago, I know how rough it can be. There are a thousand people who look just like you and had more money to go to school or buy the best clothes or take those very expensive workshops. Nothing makes you stand out. The same can be said for writers, costume designers, etc. It can be demoralizing to hear your hundredth rejection, or have yet another audition where they don’t call you back. You can only console yourself so many times with, “Oh, he’s probably related to the director,” or whatever other excuse we creative types like to use. So, what’s the solution? DIY production.
Now, I know you aren’t all actors out there. Maybe you're reading this on the way to your job as a plumber, lawyer or construction worker. It doesn’t really matter. Today I wanted to talk about doing things yourself and creating your own opportunities. My world is entertainment, so I’ll approach it that way, but this really applies to anyone feeling stuck.
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I cannot begin to recount the many stories I’ve heard from successful actors who were sick of the same things we all are. No one was listening and they were getting lost in the noise. What did they do? Wrote and starred in their own web series. Started writing their own shows, shot it themselves and posted it. They did the leg-work, learned about production, bought a cheap camera, got a friend to do sound, sewed costumes themselves or found cosplay friends to help.
They crowdfunded. They spent hours packing DVDs in envelopes and sent them overseas. They learned about union rules and how many of their friends would work for donuts and pizza. They put their work out there for the world to see and, sometimes, it hit. It’s the same for comics. The creator-owned and indie comic movements have gained steam and we have a far wider variety of awesomeness to check out. People are self-publishing their books! (Whether or not the dinosaur porn movement happened because of that is up for debate, but maybe it’s best not to think about it.)
As someone who started her own website because she wanted to write what she was passionate about, I can tell you that it’s hard work. I mean, give-up-a-social-life-oh-my-god-I-haven’t-seen-the-sun-in-a-month hard, but in then end, it has given me opportunities I’ve only dreamed about. It’s the wild west right now in Hollywood, and it’s worth giving it a shot. It’s always worth it. Don’t wait for it to come to you. Go out and get it yourself!