When I moved to Toronto to pursue acting two years ago I was wildly optimistic. I envisioned talk show interviews, red carpets, sparkly lights, glam dresses, set life— actually wait a minute, HAHAHA. No I didn’t. I’m a dreamer, but also a realist… which is maybe a bit contradictory. I didn’t imagine being the next insert-actor-name-here, that’s never been my goal. I did, however, imagine being able to support myself a little more comfortably with the help of the odd job here and there. I did imagine booking real acting roles with substance that were both fun and challenging to perform. I imagined that the arts culture here would help me to discover and shape my craft.
Some of these visions have come true, and others not so much. Most of my circle is comprised of like-minded souls who are in the arts community in some form or another. Lots of actors, musicians, dancers, artists, writers. We’re all here for the same reason— for the opportunity to share our stories and our talents with a community that cares. We’re here to be discovered, to create, and to have a voice.
The past few months have been very introspective for me. To be perfectly honest they’ve been a bit of a struggle. I only have myself to blame, I mean, who goes galavanting around Europe for two months knowing they’d be coming home broke and stressed and still goes anyway? I have no regrets. But it does mean that I’m looking objectively at my life choice of pursuing acting and what that means for me in terms of being able to actually support myself— while ideally maintaining some form of sanity. Not to mention trying to maintain my creative charge. Life can be pretty difficult in this concrete jungle which is one of the most expensive cities in Canada. On the plus side, one of the great things about being an actor is that when you do book jobs they pay very well. I have paid an entire month’s rent based off of one commercial booking which was just a day’s work. Print jobs are nothing to shake your head at either. The reality, unfortunately, is that most of the time I’m not working. Acting jobs are not something you can count on. And in that sense, a large part of this career that I’m after is totally out of my control. Yes, I can work on my own projects and hone the craft without a booking. But I’m talking straight up just surviving in the city without losing my mind.
It feels like the plan to be an actor translates into not having a plan at all.
A lot of us turn to restaurant jobs to pull us through. I did that for my first year here, but not again. It wasn’t for me. Each day I could feel my soul abandoning my body due to the sheer monotony. I said goodbye to that job and started something else, another pursuit which also didn’t work out. I stressed so much about what to do. Then 2018 rolled in and I made a promise to myself that no matter what I wouldn’t spend any time in a job that didn’t in some way satisfy my soul. If I wasn’t working as an actor, then I would be working in the field of some of my other interests.
I decided to start my own business. It’s very slow and not bringing in much more than pennies at the moment, but I hope that with my dedication and hard work I can see it grow throughout 2018. I’m also going back to my roots this year— teaching yoga and dance— and as an added bonus, as I mentioned in the previous post, I’m also starting a few photography projects.
Where will it all lead? I have no idea. But I feel a lot better now in not having a plan and instead having many plans. Because, why not? Life is not a cookie cutter event, it’s in our own hands and in our own power to mold into whatever cookie shape we want. When times are tough, I can still smile. When times aren’t tough, I’ll appreciate it more.
Someone once told me that if my life were easy, then I probably wasn’t on my own path. Well, things aren’t easy. So I guess that means I’m headed in the right direction.
If you have any thoughts on the subject I’d be interested in hearing them.
As always, thank you for reading.