The First One! August 5, 2009Posted by darpop in Blog.
So, ok, I got laid off. Just like millions of others. 2009 was my 30th year working in the corporate world and the first time I’ve been laid off so I guess I should consider myself lucky. I guess. My emotions run from a Ferris Bueller-type to scared stiff and dare I admit, a millimeter of relief. For several years I worked under horrendous corporate deadlines mostly without the proper resources that would allow me to put forth my best effort so in a way I’m glad that monkey’s off my back. Now I just have to find a way to make a living!
I should probably mention that I am a Comic-Actress-Singer. Oh yeah, I’ve been performing professionally for about…30 years! Yes, for 30 years, I suckled a corporate full-time day job around my performing. Some would categorize me as a “not-really-serious-professional-performer” because we all know serious professionals in the Arts starve. Well, I was really serious about eating, paying rent, bills etc. Hence, the day job. Now, I’m withOUT a day job! Now, I’m a REALLY serious-professional performer! Let’s hear it for starving artists! I’ve always been terrified that I wouldn’t be able to support myself. When I had an audition or a role in a musical or play that rehearsed in the daytime I would take vacation time or a leave of absence. I was fortunate to be able to make it work. Now I’m FREEEEE! Gasp…Oh God, now I’m free…
So far, I’ve lost out on three musicals because the theatres don’t have budgets to pay union contracts. We’re not even talking a living wage here, one job would’ve paid me $196 a week. I live in San Francisco where $196 could be a tab at an average restaurant for two. That is, if you don’t order wine.
I’m not alone in this union-performers-in-San-Francisco-Bay-Area predicament. It wasn’t easy to find union work when the economy was strong! Oh swell! NOW I can pursue my dream when the economy really sucks! “They” say it’s getting better…I certainly hope so but where do “they” live? What business are “they” in? And are they hiring union performers? I must admit that I’m a good performer mainly because I’ve had a wonderful mentor, performance coach (whom I call Coach) who, when I’m standing at the end of a diving board thinking “should I do it?” is behind me sawing off the board. She’s 84 now and I’d like to find a way to make a living at performing while she’s still here so she can say “I told you so!” I have this problem with playing those tapes in my head that psychologists say we shouldn’t play…”you’re no good! You’ll never amount to anything!” Oh puh-leeeze! Let-it-go!!
This Blog will be about my struggles to pursue my dream of dreams. If no one reads it fine. Writing about my struggles will probably be more help to me than to those families struggling to pay their mortgages, feed their children, or those in dire need of health care. I have only myself to worry about. No family. No children…that I know of…surely one would remember having children. I’ve been pretty busy though.
So I’ve been auditioning and contacting theatre people. I’m working on choosing the right monologues with a wonderful actor-director. I’ve also been getting into physical shape by trying to work off years of cubicle fat. Not that I’m heavy but I have places where I didn’t used to have places. They have to go. I’m participating in a reading of a new musical – no money, but it’s an exciting project. I have a few gigs (performing jobs) scheduled i.e. a one-nighter salute to Dorothy Fields (union job – INCOME – YAY!) a Johnny Mercer show at a club and in between auditioning, auditioning, auditioning.
Ok, so the Blog is on. I hope it’ll be entertaining, and also show people what it’s like to follow a dream. Dreams do come true…I know they do. They always did in Disney movies when I was growing up. So I’m a few years older big deal. It’s never too late. This Blog will keep me honest, hardworking, creative and will keep me from giving up. No, no, no, I’m not giving up! Nooooo…hey, do you hear a sawing noise??