(<---------That's a pic of my mother and me!)
It's a quarter 'til 2 in the morning and I should be in bed, but I'm up thinking, plotting, planning, researching, and reviewing. I was in a really foul mood earlier this week- wait, let me go back.
I worked on the production gig (a Jennifer Hudson Christmas special) that shot in Chicago. That's my hometown, so I got to see the fam as well. I worked hard, but I got paid, and I got a trip home, so it was all pretty much gravy (except for my grandfather's health not being well). The job was cool, and I enjoyed my family. It was also nice to be away from L.A. and give my mind a rest. Y'know, stop figuring out how to game the machine.
When I returned to Los Angeles and went through my mail, there were more bills than anything else. Without telling too much of my personal business, there is a particular entity that owes me money (that I was counting on) and is disputing it over some nonsense. Basically, I got back and realized that even with the job I just worked, I'm still broke.
I started questioning "What in the world am I doing with my life??" Bad economy or not, at my age, I shouldn't be in a position of having to borrow money to pay my rent. I had to reevaluate my choices - "Is it irresponsible of me to work in such a volatile industry?" "Is there something else I could be doing right now?" "Is this really worth it?"
I am thankful that I have a wide variety of interests, and a number of different options for making a living. I don't feel like acting is the only thing that I can do, and not even the only thing I WANT to do with my life. But after kicking around a bunch of other options, this really is still what I want to do right now, and I'm not done yet. I thought I was being responsible in saving for my retirement, buying stock, and minimizing my personal debt. Then the bottom fell out, I had to pull out all the money so I could live right now. Suze Orman would surely scream, and Uncle Sam is going to put a hurtin' on me at tax time, but I'm glad I had it stashed away so I could avoid living in my car. At this point, all I can do is continue with my 'creative accounting': pay what I can to whomever I can and do better when I can. I DO want to diversify and have multiple streams of income from various sources, so I need to come up with a plan to make that happen. Really, had I booked any commercials this year, I would not be in this mess because commercial residuals can go a long way toward keeping the bills paid, plus some.
After the good 3-year run I had, this financial downturn really, really sucks. Really. Deciding whether to pay my past-due dentist's bill or to pay my utilities is hardly a fun way to pass the time. PLUS I need more headshots, and I need to send out postcards. I need car repairs, I need, I need, I need. Not having enough money to pay for all of my (personal and business) essentials is stressful, but in order to pull out of that funk, I had to put it all into perspective: I'm still standing, I have my health, and faith that this, too, shall pass. Watch.
This is the career path I've chosen, and this is just how it is sometimes. I think anybody working without a steady paycheck knows the feeling. Flying without a net can be exhilarating... until you fall. But then you heal, and you move on, a bit battered (that would be my credit rating), but wiser for the experience. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but today, I'm making lemonade.
"The darkest hour is just before the dawn."