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The Evolution of “The Dream Job”

May 15, 2013

To all the struggling performers out there: close down the browser that’s searching for a survival job, close down that one with your diminishing checking account staring you in the face, put down the book of audition monologues your desperately flipping through. Now look back on your past career as a whole and compare it to your dream job in the future. Are you the person you always dreamed you’d become? I urge you to throw that question away and replace it with this: Are you happy with the person you are now?

As a child, I told everyone I encountered that I was going to be an astronaut and walk on the moon. Moving into my teens, I advanced from my astronomical fascination and moved into the glossy eyed land of superstardom infatuation, tenaciously stopping at nothing to become a famous movie star. Currently, in my early twenties, I seem pretty thrilled simply to tell anyone who will listen that I have a low paying, non-union, zero budget job in which I get to do a bit of singing and dancing.

What exactly was the bridging gap between young enthusiastic dreamer and current day realistic survivor? Is it years of rejection at auditions that bring our dreams crashing to the ground? Is it that dwindling bank account that keeps us accepting jobs we never thought we’d wind up doing? Or is it a genuine change of heart that moves our life in a different direction.

Think back to when you picked this career path. Sure, I imagined a few auditions and dance classes….but the end picture was several major motion picture movie deals that result in an Oscar and one of those gigantic Malibu mansions that seem to be a requirement for all modern-day superstars. Plus I never expected that “end picture” to take more than a year or so to become a reality, of course.

Fast forward to college. Several years and many auditions later, I collide with the rude awakening that there are thousands of other performers out there, with jaw dropping talent, auditioning for the same things as I am. My ideals and plans quickly change. Maybe I wont be a famous movie star, who needs an Oscar anyways? And I can settle for an upper-middle class house in a nice area of town. But the world is still my oyster! My heart is set on finding an agent, and my mind is geared towards some TV shows and regional theatre gigs!

Soon, college graduation slaps me in the face and I wake up to the daunting realization that I don’t know how to go about finding the right agent or looking for work. Additionally, why would anyone want to hire a girl fresh out of college with so little experience? Is there anything particularly special about me? Time to rewrite my dreams again. Maybe ill work on landing some cruise ships deals or overseas contracts to save some money and get some experience, then I’ll chase that life dream, riddled with fame and awards.

Jump back to present day. I’ve returned home from my contract overseas with more money and a bit more experience as desired….yet I seem to be in relatively the same place. Who should I pursue for representation, do I have enough experience to land a good agent, do I even have what it takes to regularly land good union work? One thing is different though. My dream job doesn’t have to land me a Malibu mansion, if that was my priority it’d be time to go back to school for a Masters Degree….in something other than theatre. And after being stared at and photographed to the point of insanity on my contract overseas because I looked so vastly different than everyone else on that continent, I’m pretty satisfied with never being famous…ever.

My priorities seem to lie in getting a job that is enjoyable. I have to constantly remind myself that the reason I chose this crapshoot career was because I am elated with joy when I’m on stage, because my days are filled with excitement, because my work isn’t really work at all. I’m looking for a job that is consistent, one that doesn’t force me to audition on an endless basis and never know where my next paycheck is coming from. I’m looking for something that keeps me living in a place that I feel comfortable in. Having been to about twenty countries over the last two years, I have realized just how big of an impact your surroundings have on your attitude. Finally, I want a job that is comfortable. As much fun as it was to travel, it was a nightmare having to deal with the mountainous red tape that comes with it.

So where does this land me? I’ve been back in the country for a matter of weeks and I already have several steady performing gigs around my area. Some don’t pay that well and some do, I have fantastic roles in some…and not so great roles in others. With just this moderate success around my hometown, I feel pretty content! I’m not making movies and I’m not in a regional show, but I’m having a great time and I’m happy where I am at. My current dream job may be around the corner at some theme park I never really considered, it may be a cover band that works events around southern California, it may be completely unknown to me at this time. Even more importantly, my current dream job may last about 3 months before I start itching for something else out of life. Changing your ideals or your direction does not even remotely resemble giving up on your dreams, it is simply inviting other opportunities to come your way!

Who knows, my future may still hold a Malibu mansion and a SAG stocked resume, or it might include a cozy one bedroom apartment and a consistent Disneyland AGVA job, I’m accepting either with open arms as long as I end the day with a happy and full filled heart. To take this philosophical career whirl to a different level, I’m realizing that I may not be content spending my life hustling for work and having my self-confidence swayed by some strangers behind a table. I’m keeping other career options open for ten years down the road when I’ve had my fill of performing and I need to run away from this career screaming. Maybe I’m being fickle, maybe I’m just in that mid-20’s confused stage, or maybe…dare I say it…I might just be growing up.

The Reckless Artist sig

2 Comments leave one →
  1. California Triple-Threat permalink
    May 16, 2013 2:27 am

    LOVE love love this.

  2. May 17, 2013 2:50 pm

    This is great. It’s about adjusting life to your plans, but making sure those plans include well-being and happiness!

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