You can’t put your life on hold for anything...including your career.
I’m getting married this year. It’s something I must say I’m pretty darn excited about. Picking out a white dress, referring to my guy as my “fiancé” and the constant stream of celebratory parties have made heart sing. But for the longest time, getting married was something that I refused to let myself get excited about or seriously consider. I did this, not because I wasn’t ready or hadn’t met the right person but because I’d put it on that long list of things I decided “I can only do once I’m more successful”.
I would mentally map out my life and it’d be entirely in the framework of where I was in my career. I’d say to friends, “Sure I want to get a dog eventually! But only when I’m working more!” I felt like, time spent, going on that trip or picking up a new hobby we’re just things that would distract me from my goal.
I don’t know about you guys, but from the moment I entered this industry I’ve had laser focus, possibly to a fault. I was terrified of the thought of branching out or frankly living my life for fear it meant I’ve somehow abandoned my dream.
If I walk down the aisle before I’m a series regular, surely I’ve failed at this whole thing, right? …Hell no! What I’m (finally) learning is you can’t put your life on hold for anything. And yes, I still work my butt off. I’m reading scripts, working material and writing but over the past couple months I’ve given my self permission to live a FULL life. The funny part is, I’ve had more wins in my career since I’ve adopted this way of thinking.
I recently took a trip to NYC and while I was there got an audition for a pilot. I read it, worked the material, taped it, then went to dinner, drank rosé with my best friend and sister and FORGOT ABOUT IT. Of course, it was THIS tape that got me my first callback for a series regular (a big deal for me).
It got me thinking about a Hollywood Reporter Roundtable interview with Emma Thompson, Lupita Nyong’o and a few other godesses. Lupita, being the youngest of the crew asked in the most sincere manner, “What do you do in between gigs to keep your instrument sharp if anything”. I could see the excitement and intensity in her eyes, a real front-of-the-classroom-sitting, asking for extra-credit homework, dying to learn kind of student (my kind of gal). Emma Thompson then leaned in and said, “You have to REALLY go away and recharge. Your instrument is fine. It’s fine.”
All I’m saying is, I’ve come to believe, the best way to not only survive but thrive and enjoy this crazy career we all picked is to find true balance between being an actor and being a person. It’s definitely easier said then done, but something I’m working on.
Jenna is an LA based actor and filmmaker, hailing from the East Coast. She started out in NYC, honing her craft playing the bubbly, sensitive, and slightly neurotic girl next door. She found her niche as a writer, co-creating a popular webseries and several short films. Most recently, she co-wrote 'Signing Out' – since premiering in Toronto, the film has screened in 12 festivals in the U.S. She owns the cutest dog in the world, plays mediocre guitar, and blames her strong love for wine and cheese on being half Swiss.