If you would have asked me 5 months ago, where I would be in April 2012, I would have probably been annoyed. Then I’d say, “I don’t bleeping know” in a more tactful manner. This time in December, I was nearing the end of my term on Capitol Hill and once again found myself at a dead end. I felt I had exhausted my resources as far as coffee and informational meetings and emails could take you and working at Starbucks had started to seem like the most viable option. My plan after the holidays in Minnesota was to return to Washington D.C., find a peanut job so I could eat and at least pay my angel of an auntie a little something for letting me squat in her apartment, and co-produce a webisode series I wrote with the little money I had. Meanwhile, I would wait for my 5-figure job to fall from the sky.
The Sunday before my departure from Minnesota, I received a call from one of my best friends from high school that I can now confidently say changed the course of my life forever. She asked me if I had a job yet and if I’d be willing to move to L.A. to work for a show we will refer to as, Mr. Bigtime. A production assistant had just quit and she was going to give my resume to the producer. After wiping up my drool I was able to say, heck yes. In a matter of two hours I was on the phone with a producer for Mr. Bigtime. She was extremely bubbly and excited to talk to little old me for some reason. This woman tells me (and my mom, who was sitting on pins and needles listening along), “Now, I could hire someone locally, but because of your resume and what I’ve heard about you if you can get here by next Monday the job is yours. Call me on Tuesday with your answer.” It took a nanosecond for me to decide that I would go. I really could not believe it! Me, the quirkster, suburban, African girl was finally going to the big time! Who knew, maybe I would have a chance to be the first production assistant ever to take over a major network primetime show. At this point anything was possible! I floated. Of course my parents were elated as well. So much so they told quite literally our whole extended family. Immediately, I devised a plan that I would go to D.C., pack up my things, and fly to L.A. that Saturday. I bought my ticket from Reagan to LAX, planned to ship my car, and made arrangements to stay with my friend until I could find my own place.
When I called the woman back her tone was substantially less bubbly and she told me to call her back on Thursday. Strange I thought, this hussy better not try to pull a fast one on me. In the days leading up to Thursday I could not eat or sleep. It was definitely the worst anticipation anxiety I’ve ever had. My gut told me that something was wrong. I called again on Thursday and she handed the phone to her Associate producer who goes through my job description, what my days will be like, tells me to watch the last 2 episodes of the show, and tells me she will email me a sample of the packets I will put together each week. AH, I could breath again It hought until I heard her whisper “Should I tell her now?” The associate producer then informs me that she would “ call me back in 5 min”.
I wanted to say, “No, you trickster. Tell me whatever you have to say NOW!” I mean, come on woman, this was no small decision, it’s Thursday and my ticket was for Saturday. But I conceded and again waited for her call. FOUR HOURS LATER my phone rings. The sweethearted associate producer is on the line. It went something like this:
“Hi hun, we actually decided to hire someone local just because we didn’t want you to move here just for this job, you know? And we’d feel responsible if it didn’t work out.”…And a bunch of other stuff that sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown. At the end, I simply said, “Okay, thank you for your consideration.”
So here we have it, a one way a non-refundable ticket to Los Angeles International Airport, cancelled casting calls for my webisode series, and a big fat question mark lingering over my head. The bon voyage dinner my best friend Camille and I cooked had turned in to something quite different. It wasn’t until Camille’s older brother said, “Well, you’re still going right” that I considered still going. Who knows what could happen, I thought. But this was just too gutsy; my parents would think I was crazy. And obviously I was because that Saturday I got on the plane and not one of those doubts have come to fruition.
I just recently made the deposit on a studio in, yes you guessed right, L.A. May will not only mark my 1st year as a graduate, but also my 5th month living in the City of Angels. Within a week of arriving in this foreign land, I had a freelance job on a film. This led me to the permanent job I have now. My dream of pursuing acting seemed so far fetched only weeks before; I now have an agent. And most unbelievably to me, I auditioned, passed, and enrolled in the first course at the Groundlings School. Something I truly dreamed of, but thought could only be reality years from whenever I was dreaming. I really cannot believe my life right now and I owe it all to that tricky producer at Mr. Bigtime.
You see, I didn’t ramble on with every detail of that story to hype myself. That’s actually one of my least favorite things to do. I want you to understand my thought process because I know you’ve worn those apprehensive shoes too. We’ve all found ourselves at a dead end where our options seemed limited. We doubt, we stress, and we complain about things that are out of our control as opposed to the easier option of taking control. There is something beautiful about risk. No, not tightrope walking across a high-rise building over a pool of sharks. I’m talking about jumping in to an insecure situation and trusting yourself to turn it into something solid. When you take risks, you take control. Think about the times where you doubted yourself and went for it anyway. You took a risk! Regardless if the situation ended in your favor or not, I know you lived because you’re reading this article. And if it don’t kill ya, (in unison, please) it makes ya stronger. My friends, when it comes to your dreams, especially those that seem farfetched, the only thing that will come from sitting and waiting is a sore toosh. Make the choice to take control and turn your dreams in to your reality. You’ll surprise yourself.
And always, be thankful!