Houston to Hollywood · Stories

Houston to Hollywood: The Time is Now

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Am I too old? Will I make it? Am I sacrificing a perfectly nice career for an unstable one? Will they like me? These are questions that I asked myself before signing that agent contract; questions that, in all honesty, I continue to ask myself. In short, my answers are: No, Yes, Possibly, and Maybe.

There’s something about telling a story through acting. Something about expressing yourself so freely without any judgment. Something about being on set (or on stage) that is truly addicting. At least for me.

My passion for acting started at 10 years old. But, I did not actively pursue it until recently. Official start date: May 2016. By “official start date” I mean when I was signed to an agent. Sure, the bit before could count because I was going to classes and doing some background work here and there – nothing fancy. But, I don’t count that as real – not by my standards. I do count that as training, though. Kind of like an internship for a few months before I really jump into the career.

Through this “Hollywood to Houston” post series, I want to share my journey. Show my fellow actors that they’re not alone. And hopefully inspire you to go out there and get it 😉

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Getting Out of My Head

The hardest part of kicking off an acting career for me was getting out of my head. I’m not a tween, high school student, or even a college student, but just because I’m not  in that age group doesn’t mean I can’t fit in another place…or pass for a college student perhaps? I’m not saying it was is easy. It’s a daily struggle. Getting out of my head. Shutting down the insecurities about how I’m too old for this part, or too young for another.

The way I’ve come to see it, plenty of actors don’t make it until they are a bit older – and there are various roles to fill. And if there aren’t any now, there will be one day. Am I in denial? Perhaps. But I won’t know until I try. And I’m ready to try.

“Try not to wait until like me, you’re 29 before you find it. And if you are, that’s fine too.” – Peter Dinklage

Confidence. That’s what it took to get out of my head. And confidence, in acting, is everything. Because I am finally at a confident age. And if I had started at 13 – I may have burned bridges with all my insecurities. I would have been a lost cause. So, no. I am not too old to start an acting career. I am the perfect confident age to start an acting career. Moving forward, when people ask me how old I am, I will reply with “confident years old.” 😉

Easy to say, but harder to have. Confidence. Without it, it’s impossible to have an acting career. Without it, it’s impossible to make it.

“Making It”
A selfie after finishing my first paid gig…yes, I had to wear pigtails 😉

In an acting class, the teacher asked us what “making it” meant to us. At what moment will we say we’ve “made it?” I used to think that everyone’s end goal was the same: be a film/TV actor with continuous work…at least until Hollywood decided they were done with you.

But, to my surprise, some people were excited about doing steady background work – “just being in the environment.” Others wanted to be commercial actors. Others wanted to not do films, but focus on TV or vice versa. Levels of “making it” are different for everyone. As for me…

I used to want to be the next Salma Hayek, Sandra Bullock, etc. But now, it’s sort of a moving target. Right now, landing a role that pays at least double of my highest paying gig will classify as “making it” for me. Baby steps…

The truth about “making it” is that it’s a different definition for everyone. And an end goal is great, but the short term goals will celebrate those small victories.

Going All In

I don’t know that I would say that I’ve truly gone “all in” to pursue an acting career. I still hold a full-time job that pays well. But, I’m OK with that. My version of going all in may not match another actor’s version.

My version has me making it to every audition and call time. It lets me have enough money to not have to worry about the next paycheck. It gives me a little bit of freedom to pay for acting classes. And all of that makes this experience a lot more fun and a lot less stressful.

Am I sacrificing a stable career for an unstable one? Yes and no.

No, I am still fulfilling my responsibilities with work. I just so happened to be in a position where I have flexibility to also do this. On the flip side, yes. Could I do more? Go to a more demanding job with more responsibility but move up the ladder? Absolutely. It comes down to a balance for me. I’m happy with where I’m at. I know I’ll need to make a decision one day, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

They Like Me, They Like Me Not

My agent likes me…I think.

The casting directors of the gigs I’ve gotten liked me…I think.

😂

Sometimes (READ: every time) they won’t tell you if they like you or not. And I’ve come to learn that there are sooooo many variables that go into casting that may qualify or disqualify you for a role. Truth is, you’ll probably never know. So, you should be likable, but it’s not personal. It’s just business.

All you can do is put yourself out there, do your best, and brush it off. Not hearing back for a callback, and not getting the part hurts. But you can’t do anything about it. So you can either let it get to you or try again. I choose option number 2, please.

The Time Is Now
Liz Lauers Picture
Check me out on IMDB 😀

Am I too old? No, I’m confident years old and that’s all that matters.

Will I make it? Yes, according to my definition. Hell, I’ve “made it” to some extent when I reached some of my first baby step goals.

Am I sacrificing a perfectly nice career for an unstable one? Possibly. And I’m OK with that.

Will they like me? Maybe. I don’t know if I’ll ever know that, but I’m happy with doing my best.

So, when is the best time to start an acting career? Now. The time to start is when you are ready. When you are confident. When you are willing to make the sacrifices. The time was not yesterday; it may not even be today. But the time will come – so, if it’s something you are looking into, work towards being ready.

For me, the time is now.

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