50 First Breaks

“I’ve surrendered the idea that I need one big break; I need twenty.”

I tweeted that thought out a few weeks ago. The “just one more…just one more….” slot machine mentality is just not true. That epiphany is being hammered home to me this week.

I hoped, I prayed, that the audition for Diverse Talent Group would be that Big Break. The elusive white whale of acting. The prize to put on the mantle. It wasn’t. I didn’t get it. They were incredibly nice and encouraging to all the auditioners and the whole experience was great, but in the end they picked someone else. Even as that throb in my heart told me “you’re not it” when I my inbox chimed that a new email from Breakthrough Star arrived, I still held onto hope. Because of that hope, I shed some hot, angry tears and was heartbroken for a good couple of hours. I was ready to risk so much for them – even moving to L.A – and they weren’t ready to risk anything on me.

I think my audition is damn good. What do you think?

But the lesson got me thinking that a career eventually has a tipping point. Like a Kickstarter campaign that snowballs, or the point when you give in and buy four boxes of Girl Scout cookies instead of two (because who buys just one?!), there’s a point where the future has been weighted in your favor by all the work you’ve accomplished in your past: 50 first breaks.

No career is an overnight sensation. Careers may come to the attention of the rest of the public seemingly overnight, but everyone has put their time, reputation, and sweat on the line to build up their trajectory one project at a time – a trajectory they keep aimed at the stars.

I’m pretty stubborn; sometimes I’ll keep at acting just because an entity like DTG seems to tell me “you can’t.” In your perseverance you will claim your reward. On the same day that DTG turned me down, I won an award, 3rd place for Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking for Connect To from a film festival. The next day, we won a silver award for it’s score from a different festival. Perhaps these accolades are building to an unseen tipping point…the break.

How's that for a paperweight!

A few days later, a webseries I worked on for free all summer in a hot, airless greenscreen room, The Adventures of Chadwick Periwinkle, finally debuted on the intarwebs. It’s pointedly irreverent and gambles on its own rebellion that you’ll want to see more. It’s terrible, and I’m delighted by it! Maybe this is my break….

My next possible break is the amazing opportunity to be a guest on a radio show and podcast I idolize, Film Courage – and I would ask for your vote to help me do just that, by leaving a comment here.

Would that be break # 49, or 19? Who knows! The point is to stop counting and keep creating.

Do the work. God’s counting. Our break is coming.


If you liked this article, tweet it out in pithy chunks!

“Surrender the idea you need one break: You need 50!”

“Your future is weighted in your favor by your past work.”

“No career is an overnight sensation; keep your trajectory aimed at the stars.”

Posted on June 8, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Well, since you asked….

    I walked away from the computer half way through your audition, if that means anything…

    I agree with most of what you said, however, you have to understand that it’s a tournament, and not a cash game.

  2. I agree with you 100%. Overnight careers take (roughly/at least) 5-10 years to happen. =)

    Keep on plugging.

    Regarding the audition video… The framing was poor, it should have been tighter, and the audio mix made it very difficult to hear you at times (loud the soft). None of which was your, or any of the performers, fault but it did make it hard to watch.

    • Good point – beyond the performer’s control and actually something I wasn’t even that aware of when I watched it (over and over), I’m so emotionally invested! 😛

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