Life as a WILDCARD

“I’m a WILDCARD.”

That’s what I tell people when they ask me what my next big move is. 

There’s something fun about describing myself as a wildcard. It makes me feel free and unpredictable. That’s how actors should feel, right? I mean, I ditched predictability when I decided to stop being a lawyer. I needed to get in touch with my creative side. I needed change. 

And I got it. 

I’ve been pursuing the arts for a year and a half now and every day is different.  My work schedule varies weekly. My retail hours change. Some weeks I’m giving tours twice a week – other times it’s 5 times a week.  Some weeks I’m on set acting in my latest indie project. Other weeks I’m writing creatively. Or memorizing lines. Or reading veraciously.

Every week is different but no big moves have really been made. 

If I’m the “wildcard” I claim to be, eventually I’ll have to make a big move. But what will it be?

This question has been bugging me the last couple months. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to be. Is Nashville home? Do I want to move to Los Angeles? Do I want to move to Atlanta? 

I’ve also been thinking about what I want to do. Is Acting my end all be all career? Will I be happy making a living working retail and giving tours in the meantime? 

The answer to all of the above questions is one BIG FAT I DON’T KNOW. 

But here’s where my head’s at…

I love acting. But as of now (and likely for the foreseeable future) I’m not making a living acting. I’ve got a LONG WAYS to go before that becomes a possibility. I’ve been told that acting is a 10-year business. Meaning, it takes 10 years before you can make a living to doing it. 

I knew the whole making a living thing would be hard before I transitioned. I’m also perfectly aware that I started late. I’m a 29-year-old, straight, caucasian male with nothing but non-union credits to my name. Not the best age, casting, and credits – I know. 

So, if I can’t rely on acting for money, how will I make a living?

So far, I’ve been able to scrape by working retail, giving tours, freelance writing, as well as picking up random jobs here and there. But is that life sustainable? Will that work keep me happy while I pursue my creative interests?

I don’t think it will. 

I need something else. Working numerous part-time jobs and pursuing acting will be difficult to sustain. I would LOVE if I found something else, in addition to acting, that I was passionate about. Something that would allow me to make a living. 

What is that something else?

Here comes another BIG FAT I DON’T KNOW. 

Here’s what I do know…

I know that I love film and television. I love the creative elements, the production elements, even the post production and marketing elements. The magic of film and television interest me to no end. It’s what drew me to acting in the first place. I veraciously read books on the film business, screenwriting, storytelling, directing, producing, and Hollywood in general. So wouldn’t it be awesome if I could somehow make a living working IN the film industry? That question is rhetorical. It would most definitely be awesome.

Does that mean I should move to Los Angeles? Should I do what all Hollywood newbies do and become a production assistant?

This is something that I’ve been seriously considering the last couple months.

Los Angeles would allow me to continue my acting career and pursue opportunities within the film industry (outside of acting). Sounds like a win-win to me. 

So what’s holding me back?

MONEY.

Not a good excuse, I know. But hear me out…

Los Angeles is expensive. And landing a legit assistant gig in Hollywood is DIFFICULT. Hundreds apply and success depends on who you know. And how do you “get to know” people in the industry if you don’t currently live there? You can’t. 

So either I save up a chunk of savings, move to LA, and hope I can survive until I can find an industry gig. OR I settle for a non-industry gig to pay the bills and network my way into an assistant gig. 

The second option is more likely considering my current financial situation.

If you’ve read this far, clearly you can see I’m leaning towards moving to LA. 

The question now is when do I pull the trigger and move?

Time for my third BIG FAT I DON’T KNOW. 

I’m in no rush. When I made my career transition away from law, I deployed a ton of patience in my life. Success doesn’t come overnight.  It takes time. 

When I feel the time is right for me, I’ll make my move to Los Angeles. 

But then again, Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll move somewhere completely different. Maybe I’ll even stay in Nashville. Who knows…

After-all, I am a WILDCARD!

-Brendan 

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