Ok, folks I will start with the great news! Stunt Mom got accepted into the Queens World Film Festival! That was my first choice, truly one of the best festivals! And it really is because of this first big "yes" that I feel free to write about the feelings behind this process.
As an actor, I audition for roles, sometimes how good your work is has nothing to do with if you get the part. Therefore, a lot of things have to go right to get hired. It is grueling, emotional and sometimes downright painstaking. We aren't in control of who hires us, therefore we aren't in control of how much we work, therefore we don't have a lot of control over our lives. I recently began audiobook narration as a means to bring in some extra money. I was thrilled to have some instant success. My training as an actor and a singer lent itself very well to the art form and I was getting requests for some jobs without even auditioning. I thought, well, "I have some control." Some control is right. After those projects ended I wanted to do another book and guess what I had to do. You guessed it! Audition! So now I am auditioning as an actor and auditioning as an audiobook narrator. I don't believe in the word rejection when you don't get the job. It is simply not getting the job. As long as I do good work, I'm generally happy with that. But as time and auditions go on, it does tend to wear on you. And then there is that total lack of control again. So what do I decide to do? Create my own opportunity! Write my own short film! Talk about rewarding, talk about taking control, and feeling empowered! It was wonderful! Now, after I made the film I had some choices, after all, it is mine to do with as I choose. I could have just released it online for anyone and everyone to see. At first, I thought this was a great idea, no stress! Just show it off to anyone who wants to see it and then move on to my next project. But then I had a conversation with someone who asked me a simple question. She said, "Did you make the film to be viewed on people's phones and computers, or do you want it shown on a big screen?" Well, the answer was obvious. The point in taking control of my own destiny was to make something big happen, to see this film on a big screen and to create more opportunities. The kind of opportunities that Festivals provide. And that brings us to now. I can't control who accepts my film into their Festival. My only control was where I chose to submit it and the specific cover letters I wrote, and then it was out of my hands. How funny, that I purposely put myself back into this situation with the very project that was supposed to give me some control. Well, the first place I submitted was to a monthly screening series in Brooklyn that I regularly attend. I know the producers and submitted my film in person. The theater is gorgeous and right in downtown Brooklyn where so many of my friends would be able to come. Knowing the producers personally, I thought that might give me a better chance to get in. They were very kind and very quick in turning the film down. Even though I really wanted it and really thought I had a good chance, I wasn't terribly disappointed. After all, I'm used to this process. Stunt Mom just wasn't the right fit. I get it. But now I have to wait another two months before I find out anything else. No problem, I just put it out of my mind for a while. On January 5th there were two Festivals that were supposed to notify. Half way through day I went online and saw that one changed the date to January 12 (which incidentally is today) the other hadn't made a change. The day went on and I couldn't stop thinking about it. No response. All weekend, no response. Monday rolls around and I'm actually quite anxious. The day went by painfully slow and then in the late afternoon I got the "not accepted" email. Well, I'm not proud to admit it, but I cried. Why did I cry? Why did I care that much? Yes, it was a Manhattan Festival but there weren't a lot of events surrounding it and I didn't even know too much about this one in particular. But I just felt defeated. I put myself out there and my work out there and now I just received a second "no." This was when it occurred to me, I chose this! But there is no other choice. You can't be an actor that doesn't audition. You can't be a filmmaker that doesn't try to expose your work to the world. You can't be an artist without taking risks and opening yourself up. It doesn't matter what career you have, you can't control how others react to you, perceive you, hire you, say yes or no to you. We have control over our own actions! That is where we have control and that is it! I chose to submit to Festivals and I'm glad I did. Although, it might not have been easy to admit that if I didn't get into any. I need strength to reveal my vulnerability. The next day I got a very BIG "YES!" Getting into the Queens World Film Festival and being notified a week before scheduled was just absolutely joyous! This was the one I wanted most! In my own borough, gorgeous movie theater, many filmmaker events. Heck, while I've been writing this blog I got an invitation to the first event next weekend. I'm thrilled! But the only thing I know for sure is that Stunt Mom couldn't have gotten in if I didn't submit it! You don't get the highs (or the lows) of the rollercoaster if you don't get on the ride. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. You get it, right?! I signed up for this, I take risks and they don't always work out. But I will always keep trying. And I will let you in on a little secret, I really only needed to get into one Festival! Just one big screen, just one yes, to truly make this feel like a win! And I got it! There are 9 Festivals left and from this point on, anything else that happens is just a bonus!