Sunday, February 24, 2008

"When Actors Decide To Quit Their Day Job"

Wow. Where do I start?

This past Wednesday evening, I had the opportunity (and the honor) to speak on a panel at the SAG Foundation addressing the topic: "When Actors Decide To Quit Their Day Job." From the time I was approached about doing this, I had assumed "panel" meant 6 people or so (give or take one), so when I received an email saying that there were going to be two of us, I got nervous. "Only two of us? For TWO HOURS!??" Then, the day before the event I received an update - three of us were scheduled, and one was a friend of mine. I felt better knowing that there would be a familiar face. As it turned out, the third person didn't show up, so it was myself and Stephon Fuller.

The room was already full when we were escorted in. I would estimate that there were about 75 people there. I didn't feel nervous at all - just excited that I had the opportunity to share my experiences and pass on information that has proven to be valuable to me. The moderator (I'm sooooo sorry that I am unable to remember her name right now) asked questions, I answered, then Stephon answered. Our answers and approach to doing things were generally very different, which just goes to show that there are as many ways to do a thing as there are people doing it.

Near the end of our 2-hour block, I caught myself glancing at the clock - not out of boredom, but because the time seemed to be too short for everything there was to share. It felt surreal. For Y-E-A-R-S I wracked my brain, trying to figure out how to get out of corporate America, and make my living as an actress. Years. I know what that feels like right down to my bones, and I wanted to inspire these actors to make the leap and trust that the net would appear. People tell me that I speak slowly (if I don't, all of my standard English goes out of the window and it's all Ebonics in da house), so I was conscious of that and I tried to be as succinct as possible without being glib, but more than once a question was asked that I found difficult to answer without kicking it around a little. That would lead me down a path, and I would find myself talking about another topic and forgetting how I got there or what the original question was, lol. The people listening laughed when it happened (all 3 or 4 times). They probably think I'm an airhead, but all I could do was laugh along with them because, heck...where was I going with this again? lol

Anyway, it was a great experience that I'm still thinking about. I'm so used to being the one in the audience, seeking knowledge. It's been a long time since I have been asked to do something like this, and the FIRST time as it pertains to acting. I guess I HAVE learned a few things. Can't wait to see what's next...

Going to bed.


--Nicole

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