From movie sets to work desks- my journey into web development(A series: Part 1)
Lights…cameras…spotlight...I wanted fame! For hours, I’d literally walk around my bedroom in circles, vividly imaging me living the life I dreamed of in my head. When I say ‘vividly’, I mean VIVDLY.
All in my thoughts- I’d wake up in my mansion, make breakfast, then meet my driver outside to take me to set. When I got there, I’d head over to hair and makeup, converse with the hairstylists while snapchatting myself getting dolled up for my fans. When hair and makeup were finished, I’d walk over to my trailer in a warm white robe, hot coffee in hand, and chill with my ‘momager’ and sister until they called me to set. I did this for years- visualizing every fiber of that Hollywood life and I was the star. I can’t even truly explain to you how much detail I put into these thoughts. I visualized my every movement, every word I spoke, what I wore, how I’d feel on a particular day. I visualized my plans from the moment I woke up on my California King mattress until I met it again to sleep. I traveled, made relationships with people I made up, etc. That all probably sounds crazy but that’s how badly I wanted it. It was my passion. I pursued it.
In 2009, I graduated from high school (barely, math was my weakness) and moved to NYC to attend Pace University, majoring in film and screen studies. Where better to try and become a writer and director than the grand city of flashing lights? The school and main dormitory were in the center of Manhattan but I was put into newly refurbished dorms that used to be hotel rooms in Brooklyn Heights, alone and away from my friends. Can’t say I was too mad. The area had an old vintage feel to it, I was next to the water, my room was spacious and could practically swim in my tub. To top it off- I didn’t have a roommate most of that year. Score!
One day after class, I went to put on a movie and discovered that a few DVD’s I owned (I’m so old) came with an additional disc that contained blooper reels and ‘the making of’ the movie features. I remember the movies were the Pirates of the Caribbean series and the Twilight saga. Man, I must have watched those additional discs dozens of times! I got to see all the behind the scenes action, from the actors auditioning to landing the role. Cast members first day on set through out wrapping up production. I saw how they did cold readings, practiced scenes, special effects, and trainings. All of my curiosities and questions about set life were answered. The biggest take away for me was seeing how much fun the cast members and crew had during production. It was far from what I’d consider a job or work. They got paid to play pretend on amazing sets around the world and then go home to their big comfy beds and lavish lives. Count me in! That’s when I changed my mind- “I wanna be an actress!”
I wrapped up my year at Pace in May then moved back home to Boston for the summer. Came August, I packed my bags and had a going away party. Adios Boston, hello LA! I moved in with a friend who lived in Santa Monica, California. Here’s something important that you should know- My friend had a roommate who was on tour for a year. The deal was, I move into his roommates room, save up and find my own place before the roommate returned. Back to the story.
LA is like NYC- it’s unique and there’s no place like it! Everything is beautiful. The plants, the houses, the people, even the freaking birds had some pep in their step! Looking to my left or my right, nearly every person looked like somebody important, somebody I wanted to know and get close to. If you think you’re insecure now, just head to LA. *jokes* In the midst of all this sexiness, I heard a record scratch*scratching record sound* EVERYONE in LA wants to be famous. Every day, I met people and every day, I became more frightened for my career. Every one was either a model, actor, producer, musician and everyone knew this person or that person, was rich and had the biggest connects. Ugh! Then there was me- 5'2, shapely and a total noob with no network. I was basically a cupcake in an elite crowd of asparagus. Everyone was hungry for Hollywood, literally and figuratively.
Oh, I was also broke. No breast implants for me…
Anyway, a popular way for actors to make money in LA is to do background acting, also known as, being an ‘extra’. You know the people in the background of tv shows who just walk by and don’t matter? That’s what I did. The process was simple- I signed with an agency and they’d call me when background work was available. The dope thing about background acting is not only getting to be on different sets, but sometimes you’d see the main cast members who were super famous(they never really talked to extras). It was also possible to get bumped up to doing bigger scenes that gave you more screen time. I think the best part of it was watching actors and directors working in real time; seeing what it took to complete one scene. Fascinating stuff! Also, free food. The horrid thing about being a background actor is that you could be on set for up to 12 hours and never film. You’d be bored and confined to a room or in some space filled with other background actors bragging about their past work and fighting for outlets to charge their phones. That sucked!
We’re gonna fast forward this story because as interesting as every intricate detail of my LA journey was, we’ve got things to do. Let’s speed this up.
I was in bed one night relaxing, window open, slight breeze coming through as the wind chimes chimed. Suddenly, the bedroom door swings open. I snapped out of my peaceful state, looked in the doorway and guess who it is? A pissed off roommate who came back from their tour disrespectfully early. “What the **** is this?!”, he yelled. Actually, a lot of yelling and pacing back and forth was happening until all three of us ended up at the kitchen table to explain the recent events. My friend and I explained, with our best puppy faces, how I was staying there until I saved enough to move out and we didn’t expect him to be back so early. Unfortunately, liars who do sneaky things don’t get much empathy. Not only did I get kicked out THAT night, but the roommate told my friend he had a month to find somewhere to go. He was livid! (By the way, the reason why the roommate had so much authority was because his name was on the lease.)
Just as quickly as I spontaneously packed my bags to move to LA, I forcefully packed up my bags and literally ended up on the street. Like, on the sidewalk, across the street, late at night, from the place I was just living in for the past few months.
I had a choice: get a hotel, hustle for more work and just figure it out or go back to Boston tonight. Honestly, I could have stayed. I could have made it work. I could be living out there right now with a completely different life from the one I have now.
Never getting the chance to make an actual imprint in the industry I desired to be a part of so badly- I called a cab, headed to the airport and got on a plane back home to Boston.
Thus, my journey to becoming a web developer begins.
Click here for part two.
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