Blueprints matter?

This post is more for creatives who have yet to really break through in their industry. That's how I'm feeling right now. 

How do you do something that has no blueprint? No pattern? No roadmap soon outdated? 

In my case, the thing I'm trying to do is become a successful/continually working actress. I've had a few successes, but I'm not done yet. I am not searching for fame or celebrity-- I just really love acting, being on set, and making great stuff with equally great people. I absolutely love making people laugh. I love movies, and how they make me cry. I want to do that for people. Make people feel something, maybe even evoke action. I want to enjoy my job, and not worry about money while doing it. But as many creatives soon learn upon moving to Los Angeles (or New York, or wherever), it's freakin' hard. It's hard to do this thing called "following your dreams" even if you did have some magic blueprint. (Anyone??)

Examples (aka mini rants):

+At one (since-deemed a scam) film audition, the "project creator and casting director" made me cry, and then said, "I won't apologize for anything I've said because I've worked too hard to get where I am." Wait...what? You're acknowledging your complete and total out-of-line behavior, yet not apologizing? OK. And yes, I'm hyper-sensitive, but he was hands-down the rudest person I've ever met. And that's the first time I've cried in an audition room (when it wasn't asked for, ha). 

+One feature film call was for 7 days (nights) of background work. Call times were about 5:00 pm, and I was wrapped and (barely) driving home at 7am...for 7 nights in a row. But I got my SAG vouchers, so mission accomplished.

+It took 9 months for me to get paid for one print job I did. The maximum time it should take is about 3 months. Apparently, the client took a massive cat-nap, which stressed me out for a few months. Can you imagine working a whole day on an awesome project with a huge brand, and even seeing the final thing in your Instagram ads..only to realize 4, then 6, then 9 months later that you still haven't gotten paid?? When I worked at Haagen-Dazs, Flower Child, even 24 Hour Fitness, I never worried about being paid on time. Mmm, Haagen-Dazs.


Pursuing a creative career, whether it's acting, music, writing, producing, painting, etc., is not like pursuing any other career. In America, the typical societal standard is to go to high school, go to college and get some debt, then start your 9-5 so you can pay back that debt, whether you really enjoy it or not. Though the method is not 100% fool-proof, there's a clear path to 'success' and it's based on that education. Education is important. But our system is very flawed. One thing that struck me was that some years ago, "only 62 percent of U.S. college graduates had a job that required a college degree" (Plumer, 2013). I'm not a math whiz, but if only 62% of college grads had jobs that required college degrees, then that's a whole lot of college grads who were either unemployed after graduating, or working jobs that did not require a degree (McDonald's, anyone?). I'm willing to bet today that even more grads have even fewer degree-requiring jobs.

I myself was so unsure about what I wanted to major in in college because I knew that I didn't need a college degree to act. Some actors take that route, and it works for some, but I didn't want that for me. I even considered becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist or an Ultrasound Technician, because I thought I needed to do something "real" and "attainable." Something with a blueprint. If I had followed either path, I don't think I'd be happy.

It's been two and a half years since moving to Los Angeles, and I am fortunate enough to still be living here. Sometimes I think, "how??!" All the time I miss my Arizona rent. And my mom. But deep down, I know it's just great desire that has kept me afloat.

So again, how do you do something that has no blueprint? No pattern? No roadmap soon outdated?

I'm still figuring it out myself, but I think that you have to create your own blueprint, which might mean scrapping the blueprint altogether. You try everything, and hope something sticks. You do the recommended, and you do what you feel you should do. You do what you want to do, and you do it passionately. You shoot for the bull's eye, and if you miss, you've learned two things: what you just did didn't work too well, and you can try again. Just because you didn't hit it this time doesn't mean you aren't meant to hit the bull's eye. It's the people who try one million and one times who finally see their greatest successes in life. 

Have a great week!





(No, I'm not going to format it correctly. I graduated already. Leave me alone.)

India Grasso