The time is coming…

 

A lot of “starving” actors put a time limit on their pursuit of happiness, aka “making it.” I am one of those actors. The typical time limit is five years and if nothing happens within those years, you give up and move on to something else. Tomorrow will mark my four year anniversary with California which means I have one more year left to make my Me as Abigail Adams in the musical 1776, production 2012career as an actress a reality. And by “career” I mean “no other job but acting.”

It’s rather incredible how time has flown. Some days feel like I just got here. Other days feel like I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve been with the same roommate since and she and I have grown to be like sisters. I’ve gone through two major relationships, The Terminator and Mr. Georgia, before deciding that I don’t like being in relationships. I’ve become married to my career. I gained two awesome best friends, Pablo the GreatPablo and me and Number 1, the three of us making the three stooges. I’ve become a runner, a FIRST in my life, and I adopted my very first dog, Toby Lee Orion. I’ve been blessed immensely when I follow the signs, and faced with serious resistance when I ignore them. And as the months go by, the more I Number 1 and melove the thrill of not knowing what will happen next.Me and Toby hiking

Every year I say “a lot has happened,” but I feel like this past year A LOT really DID happen. Maybe it’s because I finally accomplished a handful of my goals that I had been pushing off the moment I moved here in 2009.

I FINALLY made myself get a California license, something I slacked on for years, finally got my very first passport, set up my very first website ChristannaRowader.com and my IMDb page, finally got fantastic headshots, landed my first TV role on Discovery ID, signed with Abstract Talent, an agency that actually KNOWS me, attended a handful of casting director workshops, got accepted into SAG-AFTRA, and made my first actor’s demo reel…to name a few things.Me on Discovery ID's Blood Relatives

I blame Star Wars Episode VII for my sudden burst of motivation. Ever since the news released in the fall of 2012, I haven’t stopped. All I can think about is my career. All I can think about is having just ONE audition for Star Wars. I’ve done everything I can to impress upon April Webster to call me in for a read, sans becoming a psycho stalker. And I won’t stop until all three movies release with or without me. Either way, at least I’ll know I tried EVERYTHING. If anything, Star Wars has jolted me into high gear.

I’ve also put myself in a happier place when concerning my “other job.” After having nightmare after nightmare about BJ’s Restaurant, I finally quit my six-ish year run working for the company as a server. I now work at a fine-dining location where “serving” is actually worth the effort.

But not all has been great. This has been the first year where I’ve auditioned for roles that were PERFECT for me—and by perfect, I mean to say that I WAS those characters—and STILL managed to not be cast. So, needless to say, this has been the most discouraging year as an actress. But, despite feeling hopelessness stalking at my door, I still believe everything happens for a reason. This past month has been the worst, though. On top of not landing any roles that I knew were meant for me, I had injured my leg running and can’t run off my stress and anger now. So I sit and wait and try to think good thoughts and pray that I can get through this and heal up faster. Number 1 said he believes “the fourth quarter” at the end of this year will be a great one for me, that something is coming. Of course, when he says that, all I think about is being in that galaxy far, far away.

Number 1 is probably the only thing left keeping me fighting for my dreams now. His faith in me somehow keeps me alive. And as much as I tell him I don’t want him, I don’t love him, I can’t be his, he’s still there. He’s the first man I’ve met that can tolerate me. A glutton for punishment, I say. But he chooses to carry my world when I no longer can.

The tides have turned in ways I don’t understand, but I’m ready.

Some acting is happening…

The Actor’s Check List

 

I was running through the neighborhood. It was my daily run. Something I did to push out all my anxiety and frustration. As any actor can tell you, pursuing an acting career is one hell of a discouraging journey. But it can also be incredibly gratifying. Checking off on your check list is one of them.

This summer I had laid out many specific goals in order to have a possible chance to audition for the upcoming Star Wars film. I’d attended casting director workshops, many of whom had even the smallest connection to J.J. Abrams. I finally created my first actor’s website, and now have only a few more checkmarks left. One of them was creating my first actor’s reel, which I’m still waiting on doing. Another was my admittance letter to SAG-AFTRA actor’s union, something that would make my profession as an actor much more legitimate. And then, if all went well, I could have a better chance at an audition for Star Wars VII.

I had submitted a proof of eligibility form, but didn’t hear from SAG-AFTRA for over a month. So I called and discovered I had submitted the wrong for to the wrong place. Go figure. That’s typical of me. I never got accepted into the Tisch school of NYU because I didn’t complete the entire application. I’ve learned to always call because of this mistake. I submitted the correct form to the correct location, but still waited anxiously. I had read plenty of forums on how long people wait for SAG to get back to them. I was expecting to wait 6 months. But I was hoping that because of the joining of the two unions, SAG and AFTRA, things would be different.

And so I ran. Ran to get it out of my system, to feel stronger, to exhale out my anger and inhale new hope. I ran past the mail lady driving through our neighborhood and pushed the thought of “mail” out of my mind. I slowed down when two horses nearly bolted from the sight of me going by. I ran up the steep hill, feeling the beating sun sucking the sweat from me, passed through the hillside path, and came out on the other side of the neighborhood, back to my home street. And there was the mail lady again and the two horses I’d frightened.

Maybe there was mail for me this time. This was my daily regiment. Hoping I had a special envelope waiting for me. I felt 18 again, waiting to be accepted into something I wanted desperately. I waved to the mail lady and ran straight home to our box, opened it up and grabbed a large envelope that was reminiscent of what I mailed out. “James Riva” it said. One of my roommates. As per usual, not for me.

I collected the rest of the mail in disappointment, beads of sweat finally able to run down my face without the sun taking it from me, and pretty much accepting I’d have to find another way to get into the union. I walked in the door, enjoying the coolness of the house and sorted out our mail. SAG-AFTRA for James. SAG-AFTRA for Heather. SAG-AFTRA for Heather again. One more for James. Another one for Heather. Another one for Christanna—

Wait—what?! Oh God! I clutched the envelope like a baby and, like anyone, I was apprehensive about opening it, as if the letter would kindly say, “no.”

And then, of course, I ripped it open…

As you can imagine, I pretty much did laps around the house, bellowing at the top of my lungs.

It’s more than an incredible feeling when you can check something off the list of things to accomplish. It rejuvenates you, encourages you to keep going and fight for what you want. Even the smallest things, like this letter, can boost a person’s life to a whole-nother incredible level.

And this was a BIG checkmark for me. That’s one wall down, just a few more to go…

Being an unknown actress…

 

When asked about how life as an actress in California was going so far, this is what I said:

“Perseverance is paying off, but I still remain the "starving actor" at the moment. I’ve been to many callbacks for commercials and theatrical shows, but no snags on the commercials as of yet. That’s okay though, I’m focusing on feature film. That’s where my heart lies, in the thick of storytelling where reality and adventure collide.

I have two agents, one for theater and one for film/commercial/print and such. Steven, my theater agent, is super cool and dry-humored. He thinks I’m a goof, I’m sure. Jan and Terry, my film/commercial agents, are pretty energetic enough for me.

But I do most of the work and find a lot of auditions on my own, which is how it is here. Except for the film industry. But I’ve been attending many casting director workshops as of late and that helps. Right now is hiatus time, so auditions are few and far between, but I’m hoping when August comes around, things will get slammed for me. My main goal is to get an audition for the new Star Wars film (which I’m sure you’re gonna laugh at me about—who doesn’t) so I’ve been focusing most of my efforts in searching out THAT particular casting director.

I don’t really like most musicals lately. I find them annoying and less realistic. My favorite one was 1776, but that was perhaps because it felt like I was doing a movie on stage with John Williams scoring. It felt so real and true. No breaking out into song and dance for no reason, which I can’t stand. But maybe it’s because I’m at a stage in my life where I’m sick of it and want more than anything to tell a story that can really impact people all over the world. I’m sure when I’m older, I’ll revert back to wanting to do stage or musicals. But for now, film is all I want.”

 

That pretty much sums it up. Only become an actor if that really IS all you can do. OR if you have super-duper tough skin and have an unrelenting “never give up” sense of attitude. OR if you were born into it and roles come easier to you. OR if you seem to be surrounded by luck ALL THE TIME. OR if you marry rich and you have a ton of free time and you’re bored and you can do as many auditions as you want without worrying about your “other job” getting in the way and needing the money to support your livelihood because you don’t have a “job” because you married rich and you’re bored. THEN you can be an actor any time you want.

…I would love to marry rich…

Lol, I crack myself.

IT’S MY BIRTH…wait for it…………………………………………..

 

A lot of changes have happened over the past months since I last wrote. A lot of mental changes and feelings and other things I can’t quite explain. At first, I thought maybe it was because I was feeling the “three-year itch” being an actress. I’ve gone into turbo mode. I am, for lack of a better word, throwing myself at people as if to say “HEY I’M ALIVE AND VERY TALENTED!!! LET ME PERFORM FOR YOU!!!” Then I thought it was because one of my most favorite movie series was being added on to and it switched on my “I don’t give a crap-fighting for what I want” mode. Star Wars was something I lived in since I was 13. Hell, I’ve even written my own stories to the series! Memorized every line of Luke’s. Wanted to be Luke, AND was in love with him. I even compare the guys I date to Luke Skywalker. THIS, alone, is proof of my obsessive compulsiveness. Or was it the fact that all my past girlfriends were married and having children, and I wasn’t. Or was it…simply…the feeling of the clock…ticking.

My birthday is in a few hours. There were many moments where I felt like I should write, but tonight felt like the right moment.

I have a dog sleeping in my bed right now. Tiny, white and cream colored, with long silk hair, and gentle eyes and a quiet demeanor. I rescued him yesterday. It seems like everyone was having babies…and I produced a dog. I named him Toby Lee Orion, aka (just) Toby. Yeah, so I wanted a little touch of sci-fi to the name, I couldn’t resist. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, though…I’ve never been a “small dog” person. I guess you could blame it on my whimming personality. But I feel there’s something else changing in me.

I mailed George Lucas a letter yesterday as well…AND Kathleen Kennedy AND J.J. Abrams AND Disney. I mailed them because I am THAT desperate to have a chance to audition for Star Wars, I’m starting to feel a little nuts. But I figured I have nothing to lose, because currently in the film world I am pretty close to nothing anyhow, so what better thing to do but send George Lucas and friends a “Hello, you don’t know me, but I love you!” letter…for those of you who don’t know me, the “I love you” part is completely satirical……so I say……

I also have a boyfriend that I can’t admit is a boyfriend because the term freaks me out SO much, I immediately turn off and don’t want him anymore. But as long as he stays in the friend zone, I want him. This may also prove I’ve gone officially nuts, but haven’t seen a professional yet… He’s my Number 1 and he’s my best friend. He’s also my intimate lover. But labels really sit sourly with me…to the point of an upset stomach…to the point of me running like there’s zombies after me. EXACTLY!

My mother asked me recently if my motivation as an actress has been spurred on because of the new Star Wars movies and I told her, “Yes.” As a child, I really wanted to be an astronaut. Truly, I still want to be one, but because my bad eyesight wouldn’t be able to make the cut AND when I was young I didn’t think of myself as smart enough, the dream of being in space was limited to just pretense. But an actor CAN travel space within the mind’s eye. So, yes, I know the new SW movies have become my main motivation in life. There’s nothing I want more. There really really is nothing!

For the first time, I’m taking workshops with casting directors that work for J.J. Abrams, sending out headshots and resumes to people I don’t think would ever even care to look at (that’s why I’ll be sending them out every month Winking smile) , buying my first dog that acts like a fabulous stress reliever, and pulling along a fantastic guy/person because I can’t seem to relax in a committed relationship.

So as a result, I have spent more money this year than I EVER have just to somehow make sense of things in my personal life and catch someone’s attention in the Star Wars world. And every bit of it has felt worth it. Because I know that if I don’t get a chance, at least I can say I didn’t try my all……in BOTH worlds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to me because I’m a MayDay baby

Goodbye old year, Hello NEW Year!!!

I just finished reading last year’s post on the coming of 2010, The Sequel: 2010, and still marvel at how much can happen in one short year! 2010 is over, but boy was it interesting. Although this year wasn’t nearly as epic or life-changing as 2009, it still remains memorable. If there is ever a year which is not, I gotta say, that would suck. I don’t do boring.

To recap, 2009 was filled with an unwanted ambulance ride to an unwanted hospital visit, therapy with an awesomely sarcastic therapist, whimming adventures with my San Diego Whimclosest friends, the start of this blog, internships, short-short hair, parties, graduation, moving to California, Red Carpet events, and meeting the Terminator. By the end of the year, my resolution was to either find a way to quit BJ’s or fall in love again. Or both! Did either of them come to? Hmmm…

2010 wasn’t as dramatic as ‘09, thank goodness! But it was still entertaining. At the beginning, I had decided to be in a relationship with the Terminator, the man I had been seeing consistently since the first week I had moved to California. I had also been going on a lot of auditions for film and stage, but nothing catching until the summer when I got cast in Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I met some wonderful people and it felt incredible to be on the stage again. Earlier in the year, I had been saddened about not making any close friends. I had the Terminator and his friends. But his friends weren’t really my friends; I was the “girlfriend,” someone who would eventually disappear. I had people at work that I liked, but couldn’t seem to find the right connection.

Then the Terminator and I broke up, for no other reason but that it wasn’t going Red Carpet Eventanywhere. Thankfully I was in Cinderella so I could keep busy. I was also working a LOT! That’s when things started to take shape. You know, that feeling where you felt like you finally found home? A new girl named Alisha moved here from Las Vegas. She and I instantly clicked, our personalities and way of life being agreeable. I also got a new roommate, as the old one moved out. Her name was Monique. When she and I met, it was like we had known each other for a long time. Instant friends, we were. I was finally making a good group of close friends.

First boyfriendAlso, epically enough, I had finally reconnected with my famous ex-boyfriend, Chris Cameron, putting everything else at rest. The thing of inspiration: horoscope prediction. Or whatever you call it, cause I really don’t believe in that stuff…Go figure.

Speaking of boyfriends, near the end of this year, I have officially had a THIRD boyfriend. Third times a charm, ya know… Um, sure.

The funny thing is how we met. Here I was out with my girlfriends, being forced out actually because I was in hate-men mode. I had had another new experience with a date that went horribly wrong a week earlier. Needless to say, I didn’t want to be touched by another guy for a while.

So here I was at Bogie’s, a lounge bar in Westlake, where my girlfriends wanted to teach me on how to use men and get free drinks out of them. Low and behold a football game was on TV, and I decided to yell out FIRST DOWN randomly. Because that had become a new saying by me as of late. A handsome man standing next to me at the bar asked, “Do you watch football?”

I glance at him and say, “No. I just yell out ‘first down’ any time they move.”

He laughed, but I turned my back on him and started talking to my friends. One of them frowned at me and said, “Turn back and say hello. At the very least, get a drink out of him.”

I became irritated. I didn’t want to play this game. In fact, I didn’t want to have to socialize with anyone there, especially a man. Even if it were Ryan Reynolds who had said hello, I would have ignored him…

Ryan ReynoldsWell, okay. Maybe not Ryan Reynolds, cause that would have been AWESOME!

I can’t seem to really remember the order of things, but somehow I ended up having a full on conversation with the man I named Mr. Georgia. He seemed normal enough. Winking smile

Eventually we switched “business cards,” lol! How dorky is that! And by the end of the week, I was flying with him, and two comedian celebrities (names have been removed for privacy reasons) on a private jet to Arizona. If that’s not a whim, I don’t know what is.

I had no idea Mr. Georgia was actually interested in me until he asked me out for dinner. Being that I’m a whimmer, of course I agreed. And I’ve been with him since.

Now, to come back to my new year’s resolution for 2010. I wanted to quit BJ’s or fall in love. Well, unfortunately I have not been able to find a good way to quit BJ’s. And as for falling in love… Let me put it this way. For the first time ever, my mom is actually interested in talking with me about my boyfriend and about anything! She literally calls just to talk about Mr. Georgia. I asked why, and she said, “Because you talk differently about him. You’re actually happy.”Las Vegas

Marilyn, one of my best friends from college, says I’ve fallen in love, my mom says I just need to say it aloud, Monique, my roommate, says I’m smitten and I glow when I talk about him. Although I won’t be the one to admit anything that makes me vulnerable, I guess you could argue that one of my resolutions was fulfilled, if you count what everyone else is saying.

OH I ALMOST FORGOT!!!! I got rid of the hybrid car owned by my dad and purchased my very first car! Now I am fully independent from my parents ENTIRELY! Now that’s epic.

So what about 2011’s resolution? Hmm, that’s a tough one. Oh I got!!! Just came to me. To find a good agent to represent me and send me on more auditions, ones that I can’t get by myself. At least that’s something I can have more control over.

Happy new year! Another round of adventures are coming.