(This article was first published in the June 2014 issue of Indie Chick)
I live in Hollywood, the most infamously oversaturated town of dreamers on the planet. Everyone from your barista, to your Uber driver, and even your yoga instructor has a script, a headshot, or a demo CD that they are anxious to slip you. To some, this is revolting. As an actress/singer myself, it’s a constant reminder of the colossal amount of competition I face.
There’s a famine in Hollywood. There isn’t enough work to go round and everyone is rabidly clamoring for every last crumb. I’m sure you’ve seen enough America’s Next Top Model to know that when people get hungry, they get bitchy. A couple of years ago, the cold hard truth started to set in: Sitting in my room tearfully asking the heavens WHY I was not “making it” wasn’t helping. Dreaming up all the killer music videos I was going to make someday, was not leading to anything more than feeling antsy and frustrated. When I poured out my guts in acting class, blathering about how tough it is to work so hard and feel like you’re going in circles my teacher said,
Stop Acting like This World Owes You Something
The problem with a big dream, is that too many people approach it the same way they do romantic love. They think that someday, it’s just going to happen. Knight in shining armor, Prince Charming, Ryan effing Gosling, is going to appear out of thin air and sweep you off your feet and you will live happily ever after, in your Hollywood Hills castle. YOU’LL BE DISCOVERED! Here’s the truth: for some lucky bitches, that will actually happen. Maybe you know one of these women. Maybe you ARE one of these women. Hey girl, power to ya!
For the rest of us, there’s something the universe is going to demand of you before you can win that Pulitzer/manufacture that toy/design that fashion line: action.
Getting up at 6am because your day job starts at 9, but you have to finish that chapter of your memoir that no one is waiting for. Leaving your hometown and family to go to Manhattan because that’s where your non-paying yet awesome internship is awaiting you. Sending in that resume every couple months and calling the annoyed secretary to follow up, until they finally give in and agree to an interview.
For me personally, that meant writing/producing/starring in my own damn musical because I couldn’t, for the life of me, get on Glee.
Seriously, how many times have you heard someone say, “I’ve got this really great idea for (insert invention/movie/song/recipe/app)”? Can you imagine if everyone who had a brilliant idea was undaunted by the foreseen challenges of actually creating said piece of epicness? I wouldn’t be standing around for 40 minutes while I try to curl my super thick, annoying hair! I could eat vegetarian bacon that actually tastes like bacon! I could wear a strapless bra that doesn’t make me want to kill myself! (Seriously, someone really needs to work on that)
This World Does NOT Need More Dreamers, It Needs More Doers
You may be talented, brilliant, and have the great voice of our time, but you’re not doing anyone any favors by talking a big one and then sitting on your couch watching American Idol, laughing at all the talentless hacks (I am guilty of this, too). At least they had the guts to get up there!
I’m no Angelina, but I’m proud to say that I’ve finally become a dreamer that’s also a doer. I’ve stopped waiting to be discovered; stopped treating the world as though it owes me something just for showing up.
If I get a great idea for a script, I write it.
Cool idea for a music video? I shoot it.
Am I afraid to fail? Always.
Do I think sometimes I suck and don’t have what it takes? Absolutely.
Do I get tired, cynical, angry, defeated? All the damn time. But, I also get results because I don’t stop. If I waited around for auditions and bookings, I’d have a lot of time on my hands to cry! This industry; this town; this country; this world is dog eat dog. If you’re nothing but a hopeless dreamer you will be devoured for breakfast by the Mark Zuckerbergs, the Malala’s, and the young Oprah freaking Winfrey’s of the world.
It’s very cozy in our homes with just our lofty dreams and ourselves, and it’s quite poetic to quote Lennon and pat ourselves on the backs for keeping the dreaming alive. But the reality is, all the revolutionary inventions we use every day, the crusades that changed our daily lives for the better, began with people who went out on a limb and often times were ostracized because of their dream. Rosa Parks, Shakespeare, Jesus, Ellen DeGeneres.
In this world, it’s much easier just being a dreamer; but it’s much more rewarding, for everyone when you make the decision to become a doer. So please, write that novel and self-publish it. Start that business in your apartment and nurture it. Pitch that crazy idea and fight for it. And when it gets hard, because chances are it’s going to– keep going. Society needs you to become an active dreamer. Take it from me; things will start getting a hell of a lot more interesting when you do.