I was 24 years old.
A restaurant job was how I made my money and I constantly lamented that my acting career wasn’t further along.
I had done a bunch of student films, some theater, and even a few Indies. But I had never been paid to act. This, I felt, was what separated the professionals from the wannabes.
I made a decision: I will no longer work for free.
I said it to myself. I said it to my family. I said it to my friends.
I meant it.
A few days later, a fellow waiter told me about an acting job he had just booked.
He encouraged me to audition. Said there was a great part in it for me. My ears perked up.
Really? What are they paying? I asked casually.
The inner turmoil began. I had to be true to myself, right? I mean, I promised myself I wouldn’t work for free anymore.
So, what was this nagging voice inside my head screaming at me to audition?!
A week later I found myself in the filmmaker’s boyhood home with a skeleton crew of three.
The filmmakers name was Ed Burns and his movie went on to win the Grand Jury prize at Sundance.
It was one of the best decisions I ever made, and it led to much more acting work in my future.
The lesson I took away from this experience?
Listen to your instincts. Don’t set limits for yourself. Try to say yes instead of no.
There are one million ways to get where you’re going. Stay strong. Stay open. You’ll get there some way!
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