The beginning of the journey
The 5 bar upside down pyramid of hope at the top right hand side of my computer blinks up and down without connecting to the UCB wifi. Harold auditions are happening and I’ve never seen more people in the café. I’m annoyed. I’m not here to audition. I’m here to get out of my apartment and be self loathing under a different roof. A Hipster with enthusiastic hopes of being on SNL leans against the table I’m at, getting pumped for his audition. The one that will make him famous he describes, as I continue to stare at the broken wifi while scrolling FB on my phone. This is NOT what I came here and spent the last $2 in my bank account to do. I’m supposed to be starting a blog about women in comedy, mental illness, addiction, and how to deal with the ever-changing landscape of the comedy community. You know, change the world… At least, that’s what I’ve decided I’m supposed to write about in an attempt to make meaning out of my life, but in reality, I have no idea where to begin. My wifi still hasn’t connected and I’m getting pissed. That, and they’re out of water, my boobs hurt (no, I’m not pregnant), my sketch packet that’s due in a few days is far from complete, and I’ve bitten off far more creative projects than I can chew- a habit that I’ve become infamous for since college. At this point, I’m seriously considering dropping everything to move to Thailand where my $2 will go much further.
I plug my computer in. It’s been running on 1% for quite a while now and It’s about to shut off, losing everything. There isn’t much- a perfect metaphor for my life and many (if not all) of my fellow overworked creatives making comedy in Hollywood. It’s a side effect of ambition- a disease that kills more dreams than the Boulevard itself.
If I sound jaded, don’t worry. I’m not. Sort of… The sparkle in my eye still lingers. I still want to be here. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here, but for the first time in my life, I’ve taken a more radical stance on how I want to achieve my dreams. When I first arrived, I wanted to be discovered in a mall, like Ashton Kutcher. I was different! I was hilarious! I had to be! It was DEFINITLY going to happen…Or was it? As I push forward in my career, dwell on the mistakes I’ve made, the failures I’ve encountered, and the foolishness of my blind desire for fame without a foundation, I realize that I’m not special- and neither are you. Don’t take this the wrong way, but neither are the people that you think are special. They just happened to have resources and be in the right place at the right time, and if that code is cracked, maybe we can position ourselves to be in the right place at the right time too.
I don’t think much in Hollywood has anything to do with talent. I mean, some of it does, obviously you have to hold your own. If that were really the case though, Hollywood would be a very different place. Today however, you need to have talent in a different way. You need to be able to adapt to the right place and find the right break in the constantly changing entertainment matrix. You need to know how to create things for yourself (easier said than done, I know.) Gone are the days of waiting for a phone call or hoping that someone else will take enough interest in you to build your career. The system just doesn’t work like that. It’s not their job. It’s yours.
The development of digital media has changed the landscape for so many people. Now, instead of investing your entire inheritance trying to make movies (like I did), you can take your iPhone and create your heart out until you become viral! How cool is that! And how annoying. What the fuck did I put myself through all this comedy and performance training for? Now, more than ever, comedians alike have a platform to put their content up, in sketch form! The internet has literally catered a way to create so specific to comedians it’s mind boggling! -And yet, we don’t utilize it. We lean on tables hoping lauren michaels will walk in, take one look at us, and say “Yes You. You are Brilliant. You are Special. Come be funny for me.” And yes. That is absolutely the dream, but that dream is offered to those who already have a body of work- who take the time and energy to spearhead their careers for themselves. It’s like this. Have you ever been interested in someone who’s wanted you so bad that they lust after you every day and begged and pleaded with you to give ’em a shot? No! You’d be creeped out! You want the person who doesn’t want you until you do something that makes them want you. Otherwise, where’s the thrill of the fight! My advice? Be funny for yourself. Stop waiting for permission to create, and maybe, just maybe that last $2 you spent on a cookie to sustain yourself while writing invisibly amongst the crowd, will lead to a shitty sketch packet and a first blog entry that jump start you to the next one, then the next one, until you have a body of work that speaks for itself and the work comes to you.
I’m by no means a guru, and I’m definitely being a judgmental asshole about this poor kids dreams. For all I know, he killed his audition and will be on a team next week, and I hope he did. I’m not on a team currently… but then again, I am not yet eligible, so I do what I can. I sit here, I write my own sketches, stand up, scripts and songs (the Ss’) and I think strategically about my next move using my background in digital strategy and marketing. I have NO idea where any of this will lead and it scares the shit out of me. I have so far to go I make my own head spin, but as they say- It’s the not the destination, it’s the journey (Though I’ve taken some pretty shitty journeys and the destination has always been better). So here’s to the beginning of a new journey, to a destination where the wifi works and I can afford a coffee or at least a La Croix to go with my cookie. One unbalanced step at a time.