Actor | Blogger | Photographer | Writer | Director | Worship Leader
Dreams. I'm curious to know what yours are. After reading this blog, feel free to comment & share your dreams with me!
The indefinite question that people always ask me is, "Are you sure you want to pursue that career?" Whatever "That," means. See, here's the thing, I want to be an actor--but it is so much more than that. I didn't just "want," to be an actor, I felt called to be one. Trust me, if it were that easy as people make it to be, and If I got paid each time they mention, "just let it go and choose a different plan," then I'd be a millionaire already. Don't you just love when people feel as if they have a right to control your life and discourage your aspirations?
There are multiple moments in my life, where I can recall trying to put my dream on a shelf and forget about it. I became angry at the fact that nothing was moving forward and the more I allowed individuals' projected discouragement to welcome itself into my ears--stemming from their own disappointments they've faced with their dreams not coming true, I began to realize that I was indeed, becoming just like them. After a while of listening, I started believing their words to be true. "Maybe this isn't going to work out the way I had dreamed it would, maybe this isn't what I'm supposed to be doing, I've faced enough rejection--maybe it's time to let it all go..." I watched my dream sit on a shelf for some time, collecting dust, as if it were just another shelf item that was forgotten about. The negativity got to me and to be honest here, it was exhausting to put a smile on my face, in order to act the way I was expected to by others.
Then, it dawned on me. Why was I letting someone who was not living my life, call the shots? My life and journey is mine, not theirs. My mindset is my own, and I have the power to decide whether or not to live by faith, positivity, hope, rather than discouragement and fear. If I would have listened to what others thought I should do, I wouldn't be where I am today. Never in a million years did I think that I would be auditioning this much, booking work, meeting new people from around the world, working as lead in a love psychological thriller feature; wrapping that film after a few weeks and jumping straight into starring/ making my directorial debut on my first ever, original short film, the very next day! All of this, on top of working a day job-- full time, owning my own photography business that landed me a 1k gig, & traveling when time allows; you cannot tell me that having a positive mindset, remaining focused, passionate, and keeping your dream alive, doesn't work. I've worked too hard, overcame too much, and persevered through every rejection to make it happen. Not for anyone else, for me. We live in a world where we feel that we must entertain the idea of meeting others' perception of us; present a different version of ourselves to simply, "fit the part". You don't have to do any of that in order to live the life you dream of living. You CAN make your dream your reality. Get out of your own way and know that is is POSSIBLE.
I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but this years accomplishments have become stepping stones to my future success. Don't settle for less than your worth, you owe it to yourself to, MAKE. IT. HAPPEN! '
Stay Tuned for my next blog! It will be ALL about my experience, beginning to end on my newest projects, "My Lost Love", and my original film, "The Day After Halloween".
One year ago, I was starring in a production at my college called, "The Playboy of The Western World." I can't believe it's been one year since this show premiered to sold out crowds our entire run. My first debut back to theater after many years, and it all happened on campus, where I was currently a full-time student-- navigating through the ups and downs college brings.
There was a musical that was casting one day, I kept walking by the audition sign ups-- contemplating wether or not I should audition. I mean I sing, but the thought of doing a musical and having to try to read music sheets terrified me. I crossed my name off of the list and went about my day. In my acting class, my professor later asked me to audition for the new show that our college would be doing. Telling him I'd think about it, I went home and kept trying to talk myself into it..... and out of it again and again. I finally made the last minute decision to audition so I went back to the school that next week in the evening. I sat there in the Arts building, going over my monologue. You could tell that nearly everyone there to audition, already knew each other. I called my friends because the anxiety was getting to me. I haven't done professional theater in so long, what if I screw up? I don't even know what a theater audition is like anymore, because I mainly audition for TV and Film. I went back and forth and told my friends that I'm just gonna walk out and they of course, convinced me to stay. My name was called and I nervously walked into one of our campus theaters. I greeted my professor as well as the director of the play and I began my monologue. Thinking I did awful, the director said, "wow, that was a really good piece." They sent me out of the theater with sides for the cold-read. I went in with 3 other people I've never met before and as they performed in their Irish accents-- I thought, if I do an accent I've never done, it might affect my acting. If I don't do it, I can show them strong acting. So I took the risk and didn't do the accent at all. We finished the audition and went on to leave. I left feeling at peace with not getting cast at all. I knew this would be a huge challenge and the question that was haunting me: Was I ready?
The next day, as I ran late to my psychology class, I get a call from the productions stage manager telling me that they'd like to offer me the role of Christy Mahon. I of course took the role but immediately got struck by the fear and anxiety of going back to the stage-- having not been there in years. After that, I headed into my acting 1 course where my professor greeted me with a smile and told me how proud he was. He also said, this is the lead to don't F*** it up." Trying to gather me words, I managed to choke out, "Excuse me?" At this point, I hadn't even read the play, so I had no clue what was to come. We began our table reads right before the holidays, where we all attempted to read in our accents. Mine was absolutely terrible and I struggled through it due to the nature of the text and language in general. After that we had a nice break for the holiday's and then as I hit my second semester in college as a full-time student was when our rehearsals started. Once February hit, we had rehearsal practically everyday; during those rehearsals our director just gave me such a hard time and I always questioned why. I knew what I was capable of and I have dreamt of this for a long time, but getting yelled at and never receiving vocal affirmation-- it became discouraging. I was beyond stressed and just couldn't keep up. Being up at 6:50AM every morning, at class by 8AM out by 4-4:30pm, go to work, then go straight to rehearsals till 10 or 11PM; back home, eat dinner at 12-12:30AM and do homework till 3-4AM... That was my life until we finally opened the show. I had a hard time during the rehearsal process because of being the lead, the pressure continued to stack on my shoulders like giant weights. Overtime I remember, I would listen to my cast-mate, Vera--she was actually from Mayo, Ireland where this play takes place and she had the accent. After listening to her, eventually I was able to get the dialect down and become comfortable and confident as I stood outside of my comfort zone. Everyday, I nearly pulled my hair out trying to memorize 3 acts, but one day, I had a pep talk with myself and decided I will no longer allow the negative words to affect me. If I know what I'm capable of doing, then I believe I can and WILL get there. So, I worked harder to memorize all of my lines, my blocking, and character breakdowns. Although there were many time I wanted to quit, I had to remind myself that if I did, it would destroy me more than anything. Pushing through, I finally memorized nearly all of my lines and by the end of the rehearsal, our director FINALLY gave me vocal affirmation with really positive words. At that moment, I felt as if the weight I was carrying for some time, lifted. Two days before opening day, we all went to our fight call to execute the fight choreography we were professionally trained to do. As we went on to do it, all I can remember is turning too fast, getting "hit" and falling (like I was supposed to) only I felt dizzy and fell wrong--hitting the back of my head on the ground. I opened my eyes only to see the room spinning and as I laid on my stomach, I lifted my head and I felt fluid rushing out of my nose. Did I get hit in the face? What happened? Am I bleeding? All of these questions overwhelmed my head. I was able to kind of see and it wasn't blood it was completely clear. Someone brought me tissues and I could hear our director calling out to me to see if I was ok, only I couldn't put the words together to answer. From that point I had no recollection of falling on the ground, I was confused. I began to yell stating, "Say the line! Let's go! Why are we stopping?!" I became slightly aggressive--only I wasn't even aware of that. From what I'm told, I was asked if I was sure I wanted to keep going and I said yes. I finished the scene and afterward I ran down to the dressing room feeling nauseated. When I got back upstairs, I was forced to sit down and put ice on my head. Non-coherent of the world around me during this time, my brother picked me up and took me to the hospital where I found out that I had a minor concussion. The scariest part, was that I couldn't even remember how any of this happened, so it was hard for me to tell the doctor. I began to fear the thought of not being able to remember any of my lines and all we had rehearsed.
Shortly after, we hit tech week as soon as I came back from a small road trip with friends and we worked very hard to prepare for the show we'd be opening on Feb. 24th, 2016. I was becoming close to this cast, I even celebrated my birthday with them during tech week and my parents were adamant about having a dinner for my birthday--as tired as I already was. As tech week came to a close, the words that came out of our directors mouth finally paved the way for us to breathe life into what we've worked on. "I'm handing the show to you guys, we have a show and it's now your show. I'll see you opening night tomorrow." His words excited me as I thought about this journey and how much of an obstacle it was-- that I overcame. We reached opening night and we found out that the show sold out the ENTIRE run. As we got ready, I looked into the mirror as I sat in my dressing room chair, thinking about the crazy journey it took to get to this very moment. Feeling all kinds of emotions, we were finally called up to the stage and before we knew it, we debuted, "The Playboy of The Western World." I could go on and on about my experience performing the show to each audience, but it'd be a book. Every night I got to be on that stage, I realized how much of my heart I was sharing with others. From living this story-- to our bows at the end of our shows... it all made it so worth every ounce of exhaustion, stress, sweat, tears, etc. Seeing my family at a plethora of the shows throughout the run rooted an unwavering feeling a pride and humility. This is who I am; it's what I want to do and my family got to share this experience with me.
If you are an actor, artist, creator, etc... NEVER give up on your dreams! Have patience and hold onto the Faith--already knowing that it WILL happen. Push through the No's, the discouragement, the doubt and fear; push through the negative comments and CHOOSE to make YOUR dream, a reality and trust me, one day it will happen for you!
Failure. Something we, as humans constantly fear. Naturally, we want to do good, we strive to make our parents, our families and friends proud... But we so often get to the point of our minds being consumed by fear and doubt--I might add, to the unknown. The journey we're on in life, is a long road, filled with many ups and downs that could very much lead to, failure. This may not even be a point of vocally expressing how you feel about this word, it's most likely all internalized--which is actually 10x worse. You might feel like someone has failed you; failed at getting the opportunity you were hoping for, told no, or you feel that you, yourself, have failed someone else. This has become something that is common is our world today.
Here's the thing about failure, it's only temporary. Rather than holding onto the fear--which becomes doubt and ultimately hinders what God is trying to do, we should think of mistakes, stumbling blocks, or FAILURE, as a progressive road full of POSITIVE growth, leading to success. The bible even talks about some things that turn into positives! Romans 5:3-5, "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." It also says that though my flesh & heart may fail, God is my strength! So don't be anxious, we only get into these negative stages because something is lacking and for me, if I'm being transparent here, it's prayer. I find that when I'm not in prayer as often as I should, I begin to doubt, I become discouraged and not just that...I fear potential failure or even feel that I have already failed.
What we, as humans, don't always bother doing, is changing our perception. Instead of being scared of failure or feeling like I am already there, why don't I change that around into a positive. "I'm not a failure, as it is only but a journey; a process to success." There, is where I can find self encouragement, I can push on a bit more, I can hope for another day, I can expect greatness, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Personally, Getting on my knees and praying to God for peace, for restored faith, for any doubt to be removed and to ultimately lay all of my trust in him, is the only way I find that I am able to live the life God created for me.
I decided that when I'm not posting blogs, I will be posting some encouraging stand-alone quotes, words, or verses- some of which, are my favorite verses to read!
Just a food for thought, today. When we think about the bible, is it something we run to in times of need for answers and to truly know the father? Or is it something we tend to not think about? Maybe it's just another book placed on our desks or shelves- collecting dust. In our generation, I realize how hard it is for us to pick up our bibles and read something we don't always understand. I've found that when I just pray and open my bible, God tends to direct me to the appropriate place that I needed to read in that time. Sometimes I'm afraid of being unable to understand what I'm reading, however, I sought out God and asked for him to help me understand his word. We can all become so consumed with being busy, that we forget the one who created us, never has thought about how busy he was--where he couldn't create us. If he isn't too busy for us, why should we be too busy for him?