I'm a firm believer in the idea that when you follow your heart and do what you love, success follows. Now, I don't know what success looks like to you; it could be rolling around in dollar bills on your bed (but you shouldn't do that 'cause it's gross), it could be a fancy enough house to warrant a table runner (that wasn't what I thought it was, either). For me, success has always meant that I could hold my ground with 8-year-old me.
See, 8-year-old me wasn't a jerk, and she wasn't judgmental. She wouldn't have cared if someone had a fancy house or piles of money (though growing up amongst affluent families in Calgary, she certainly enviously stroked her friends' velvety table runners). But she dreamed BIG. When she discovered that movies weren't actually real life (sorry to those of you that haven't caught up yet), she knew that the next best thing to living in a movie was making one. So by god, she acted her little heart out. In her bedroom, in her friends' (ridiculously spacious) bedrooms, anywhere she could invent a story for herself. I'd like to pause here and say I hope I'm not being saccharine like some actors: "Ooohhh I've been acting since I was a kid, putting on plays for my unnaturally doting family and my mother who dropped everything to schlep me to auditions the next state over" and blah, blah, blah. Okay, we get it, this is your destiny and you're honouring us with your talent. Moving on.
It was a big, wide world when you were that age, and "impossible" wasn't in your vocabulary. But in a few years, you realize it's impossible to stay that way. Responsibility creeps in, sometimes happily but most times not, and what you once dreamed for yourself becomes a sweet memory. You get little glimpses of it throughout your life, in something you smell or hear, it catches you for that SECOND, and it's gone before you can tag it. Which adds to its sweetness, I suppose. But it's gone nonetheless.
I was very fortunate to have an encouraging family, that told me not to settle for less than what I truly wanted to do in this life. So I got to carry on with my little dreams.
Today, I'm not making boatloads of money. I'm not accosted in the street and asked for my autograph (if I pay you, will you do this for me? Please?) But I'm doing what I love, and I think it shows. Because I get to do this, I'm a good person to the people around me. I've taken care of myself so I can take care of others, if and when the time comes. I put my head down to do the work, and I look up when it's done so I can feel the sun on my face. I've sacrificed, but I haven't compromised. Essentially, I'm on my way. And that, to me, is success. To me, this means I can stand before 8-year-old me without apology, and she could be proud. And then we'd go for slurpees and talk about boys.
Two projects that honoured me by choosing me to participate in them, are selections for the 2014 LAWeb Fest. I met some of my best friends doing Standard Action and Aeternus, we worked our asses off, and some people south of the border took notice. We're heading down in March to celebrate, to represent, and to take our 8-year-old selves on the town.
Thank you, my friends.