Transforming

Transformers 3 is filming in Chicago at the moment.  It’s a really big deal because they’re going to be here for about 7 weeks and they’re putting a lot of industry people to work during that time.  They’ve really taken over the city and they’ve infused an unmistakeable excitement all over town.  Not just the tourists are getting excited.  Even the hard calloused natives are enjoying the ooh and aah factor of it all, even if only because it gives them something new to be snarky about.  The stuff these guys are doing and the stunts they are co-ordinating is rarely if never seen in these parts.  Explosions, base jumpers, helicopters, real ammo (albeit loaded with squibs), cars and buses on fire or flipping upside down.  And they aren’t relegated to the hinterlands of the city.  All this is happening downtown at the intersection of Michigan and Wacker right along the river.

A few days ago, I wandered into where they were storing the cars in their non-Autobot state.  It wasn’t long before I was hustled out of the area by a young, but well meaning production assistant.  Seems I wasn’t supposed to be there.  Imagine that!  I was curious about the PA, how he got the job, was he local, how many days he’d worked, how long were his days.  Turns out he was local, this was his 7th day on the set and the longest day he’d worked was about 15 hours.  Most of the days were well over 12 hours as the locations they had were high traffic areas that couldn’t be shut down for long so the crew needed to maximize the time they had.  I spent about 45 minutes asking him all kinds of questions which is something I can’t help but do.  I’m a question gal.  He was a student at a local college studying film and wanted to worked in production design which sets up all the non human parts of a film.  Even on a 90 degree day when the closest he was getting to where everything was blowing up was standing 500 feet away guarding cars under tarps and answering the same silly questions from throngs of tourists, his enthusiasm for his job and the chance to be part of this production was palpable.

I have no doubt this guy will one day be working in production design.  And even when blowing stuff up becomes an everyday occurrence, he’ll still get excited about doing it because that’s the great thing about working in this business.  We get to do things everyday that people only dream about or see on a screen.  What’s not to love about this business?

Anniversaries

Today is an interesting anniversary for me.  It was one year ago today that I was laid off from my corporate job as a Sales Manager for a television commercial sales firm.  Even though I was planning to leave and had been saving for over a year for this leap of faith, I was still surprised.  I sat there with a grin on my face during the meeting because I couldn’t believe my plans were coming together.  I’m sure they thought I’d gone over the edge and had security on alert just in case.  It was a surreal experience.  Not because I wanted it to happen, but because it was happening at all.  Being a manager one of my responsibilities was to forecast the month and quarter ahead.  I’d been watching the numbers get smaller and smaller as the recession tightened it’s grip around the economy.  I thought the powers-that-be would merge us with another division and keep the strongest people.  Kind of like what happened when the NFL merged with the AFL.  Instead they chose to amputate us.  I don’t blame them.  Our amputation brought them back almost to breaking even.

The funny thing is, even though I wanted it to happen exactly the way it did, I still went through a depression afterwards.  It’s not easy being told you aren’t wanted anymore and that you as an employee aren’t valued.  It took me a while to break through that and move forward to my new life.  One of the best things I did was take a long driving trip through the south.  It was a physical and timing break, a perfect transition from one life to the next.

So here we are 1 year later and I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  I am living the life I envisioned for myself, a free lance creative life full of auditions and go-sees and bookings and voiceovers.  At this point I really can’t imagine going back to corporate.  Hitting this one year mark in important because if I were to go back to my former corporation within a year, I would go right back in as if I’d never left.  Back into the health plan, the 401K and the earned vacation.  I needed to hit this mark so there’s nothing for me to go back to.  Here’s to moving forward!

Closed fist/Open hand

As I mentioned the other day, I was talking with my career coach Kristine Oller about my transition from full time j-o-b to full time artist and she mentioned that so many times in counseling people  in this particular aspect of their career, they hold on so tightly to what they know that won’t let go until they have a for-certain guarantee that what they are going towards will be successful.  They won’t let go of the past until they are sure of the future.  Which of course can never happen.  We can never be sure of the future.  Life is full of twists and turns that can’t be predicted.  I was in that exact same spot.  I wanted to make sure I had every base covered, every potential pitfall considered, every monetary need accounted for.  And on top of that I wanted an absolute sign that I was doing the right thing.  I wasn’t asking for much right?

The image that kept coming to mind was the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana had to cross an uncross-able ravine.  There was no bridge that he could see.  He closed his eyes and stepped out, fully expecting to plummet to the bottom but instead his foot hit solid rock.  There was a bridge only it was disguised so his eyes didn’t see it.

I realized I had to let go.  I had to unclench my fist from the past so my hand could be open to receive what the future was offering.  Letting go is easier said than done but it is necessary to move forward.  Otherwise you’ll always have one foot in the past not moving you forward.  Let go a little and see what the universe brings to you.

And so it begins…

As the poet Virgil said, Look with favor upon a bold beginning.

I have been noodling around with the idea of posting a blog for quite a while now.  I’ve been collecting quotes and anecdotes that inspire and inform me for over a year.  I’ve been trying to get the perfect format, the ideal colors, embedding within my website, all kinds of delaying details down pat.  The trouble is, it’s all busy work.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s very important to think about these things.  It’s all avoidance in the name of branding and control.  You will find I am very much aware of the power of branding, marketing and streamlined messages.  It’s been my career for all of my adult life.  But in my quest to micromanage every aspect of what I put out there, I’ve ended up with a whole lot of nothing.  And when you get down to it, it’s the doing that matters, not the talking about the doing.  One can spend one’s entire life in this pattern and end up at the end with a whole lot of nothing.

So it begins.  It may not be what Virgil had in mind, perhaps not as bold as one would hope.  But it is a beginning.  And thus ends the talking and begins the doing.