Heart, Hard, Holland & Happiness

First things first: Happy twenty twelve everyone! Hope you all made it through the night with all your fingers intact and stars in the eyes of all the amazing fireworks. I myself, spent New Years’ Eve in Las Vegas with my boyfriend, staying up till 11am because we didn’t book a hotel that night and then sleeping the day away to end it with some unsuccessful gambling and an amazing Cirque de Soleil show.

I really have been in a big bubble of escapism these last weeks; traveling and sightseeing from dusk til dawn, spending money like a heiress, and avoiding all real life matters. But now it’s 2012, the holidays are over, and some tough, all-encompassing life decisions are waiting to be made. And that isn’t easy…

To be honest, it’s actually been very hard. As soon as a little crack in my bubble let slip in some real life facts, I became depressed instantly. Yes, everyone I love is healthy, has a roof over their head and has enough food to have created a food baby during the holidays. I do realize there are worse things in the world and that I have plenty to be grateful for. But the complete fuzziness of my future and the decisions that I have to make have been weighing down on me tremendously. I just stand to lose so much.

After the excitement about the news of having a shot at an O1 visa settled down, reality hit me in the face. As it often does. I suppose being super realistic isn’t characteristic typically found in actresses. Now I really have to decide between my life in Holland and a small chance of having a career in Hollywood.

My life in Holland has my family, a home, wonderful friends, a boyfriend I never want to lose and a cosy historic city with everything on bicycle distance. Unfortunately it also has rainy weather, a very slow film industry and no agents or an actor’s union.

My life in Los Angeles has little real, deep friendships (but I only have been here 5 months), no real place that feels like home, and a gigantic city mostly consistent of freeways and cars. But of course it also has the biggest film industry in the Western world, an agent who wants to sign me and the opportunity of pursuing my dream.

And no matter how I twist and turn it, I can’t have both lives. If I choose to pursue the small chance of having a career in Hollywood, I lose everything but mostly everyone in Holland. And then what if I run out of money or just never make it? Then I will have nothing. It’s the darkest possibility, the one that keeps all actors awake at night in times of doubt I’m sure. But not all actors lose a boyfriend in the process. And that particularly has been haunting me.

Now we’re not quite there yet. The O1 visa isn’t a sure thing. There’s lots of things that could still go wrong which leaves me with another scary future image: being stuck in Holland with no career and $5000 lighter after legal fees for the visa. So right now my whole future just seems one big question mark with lots of ways it could go wrong. So what to do?

At the moment I just try to remember that this too shall pass, and that these feelings of doubt are inherently part of an actor’s life. And that nothing worth pursuing has an easy path. I just try to take it day by day and do as much as I can to keep my head clear. And do the work. Stop avoiding…

But I did want to share all this with you. I still fully intend on keeping this blog a positive one, but it shouldn’t be a fake one. I’m not going to be the neighbor who buys a bigger car than you just to make you believe my life is finer and dandier. Complicated emotions  and sadness are part of this road, and might be part of your road, so who else to share it with than other aspiring actors?

Be good, everyone. Thanks for all your comments and tweets in 2011. Hope to hear more of you!

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24 Comments

Filed under Los Angeles

24 responses to “Heart, Hard, Holland & Happiness

  1. Sweetie, I understand you completely, and I haven’t even moved to LA yet. There isn’t anything to say really, and I like how real this post was. Life isn’t a piece of cake, and it’s extremely important that we face it. The more we live in Dreamland, the higher is our fall. And if you see that life is the way it is, it means that you can only go up. I wish all the best, and may our dreams become true (I hope we get to be costars someday!).

    And I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I absolutely love, probably because I can see myself a lot in your posts. And the fact that you write really well and are funny surelly helps a lot, too!

    Oh, and remember I mentioned I haven’t moved to LA yet? Oh well, it will all change on February 24th, because that’s the day I’ll be landing in La La Land, all the way from Brazil (see, I said I could relate to your blog posts)! Let’s meet for coffee or something, because I’m truly willing to become a friend of yours 🙂

    Stay strong and don’t give up!

    Gabriela

    • Gabriela, thanks for your comments. It is nice to know there are people out there who are in the same situation. Good luck with all your preparations for moving here (what visa will you come on?) and drop me a note when you’re here, and we’ll grab a coffee!

  2. Ben

    First off, big thumbs up for dealing very effectively with hard issues. These kind of things are enough to get some people down and under, so pat yourself on the shoulder for being awesome at dealing with life. Secondly, don’t give up on your dream. You must also realize that while you can’t have both THESE lives, you can be an actor and still have your boyfriend. The world isn’t 2 or 3 likely scenarios that are coming down on you, it’s every opportunity known to mankind, happening at once. Let’s say you go back to Holland and live there with friends, loved ones, family and boyfriend; can you still act? Yes. I think you should try reflecting over WHY it is you want to be an actress, is it so you can ‘make it’ and have fame, money and/or awards? Or is it because it is the only thing that makes sense to you, your identity, your path. If being an actor is your life, then it IS you, you can’t leave it with a plane or by changing cities. You’ll always be an actress, and you’re just deciding where you want to focus your ambitions. This may not help you decide which of the two paths you see before you to walk, but remember that “making it” isn’t why you’re in this at all, at least it shouldn’t be. Most people in the business escape reality by going into bubbles of hope for a while and push towards celebrity and fame, but the reality is that what we as actors want is to escape reality, not make reality comfortable to live in. We invent, we pretend, we imagine and we act like we’re something we’re not. Not because we don’t like who we are, but because that’s what we do, that’s who we are. You can still be an actor in Holland, but you won’t ‘make it’ like you’ve envisioned in your dreams in terms of The O.C. or other idealistic lifestyles. You still have your passion, your youth and your love, don’t try to weigh them up against the great pursuit of the dream. If being an actress is what you love, you can do that with great splendor in Holland, and maybe return to LA later on in life. I personally recommend you to think about what is the most important to you, the profession itself or the dream. Reality makes you choose between Holland and LA, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on being an actress, or making it. Either way you’ve done something very many plan to, and few ever do, and you should be proud of that. It’s a difficult choice ahead, one that you will probably always look back at and think, what if, but it’s often when we are tested we find out who we truly are. You’ve probably always been the girl with the dream of making it, but this should not be about your identity versus reality, try thinking off it as a choice between paths to the person and actress you are destined to become either way. Your boyfriend is not responsible for this choice, nor is he pushing you to make it, I’m not saying you think that, but remember. I’m sorry I can’t offer any absolute truths, but personally I don’t think you should give up on hope either way. Going to Holland doesn’t mean you’ll never make it, and staying in LA doesn’t mean a brake up. Don’t think about it as black and white. Remember that it’s all about love, and that you’re not the first or last actress to be faced with this choice. But no one who made it ever quit, and no one who quit ever made it. Just stay true to who you are and remember there’s always people who love and support you. From one actor to another, all I can say is that it is a life worth living. I know you’d rather do this than wash hallways in your childhood school. If you have faith in your own talent and that you have something to give to the world that hasn’t been seen before, then do it. Either way I love your Blog, and I apologize for the length and lack of clarity in this response. All I can say is that the dream of acting professionally is worth it, sacrificing all you have for the shot at fame is insanity. Fame, wealth and recognition does not buy happiness or even joy, being involved in creating art is the joy, happiness comes from love and recognition is being on the job, doing that character with heart, soul and passion. All the best and good luck!

    • Hi Ben, thanks for the interesting read! You bring up some valid points. I can honestly say I have the dream because I love the art of acting and storytelling and not because I want to be famous. I can be content with just making enough money with acting to live on. That doesn’t mean I don’t dream of the success of Nicole Kidman and the like. That success is my ultimate dream, and I would love the designer dresses, money to shop at Anthropologie and ship my family over….but it doesn’t mean I’m in it for those things.

      The problem with the film industry in Holland is that there is no union and there are no real agents. That means that even if you do big roles on national TV (like I did last year) you still don’t even get close to making rent. I made $200 for four 12+ hour days. Whereas if you work in LA because of SAG you can live off of acting by doing guest star roles in shows. In Holland you really have to be famous to live off acting.

      Hope that elaborates on my feelings towards the Holland versus LA decision!

      • Ben

        Then I think you leave a very clear impression to me at least that you heart is set towards LA. Good luck onwards 🙂

  3. Clouds

    As I said once before, as silly as it may sound, things always go worse before they go well again.
    I know the feeling of doubts you have, but as Ben says, don’t give up on your dream. Be good to yourself and keep believing in yourself, you is what you will always have no matter what happens.
    Oh, and Happy Newyear! Xxx

  4. No matter what you will always have us. And we’ve got your back, we are proud of you and we believe in you. And ofcourse we miss you. (I’m just assuming mom & dad agree with me, so I say ‘we’)

  5. Anna

    Your dreams is the part of you and giving it up will make you the other person. It’s some kind of crack inside if you which lets fear and uncertainty in and leads to one big everlasting doubt and “notmovinganywhere” as a result. You’ve already made huge and totally crazy thing and when you need to make decisions remember why you’ve started all that and just give yourself some time to make right and honest decision. And there is one more important thing about you – you know what you want to do in life (not all people find it) and you’re already on your way, no matter you are in Holland or LA.
    Oh I love these moments of truth when there is all at stake and life makes you really angry – time to attack Girl!

  6. Feeling for you, my dear! Yet if you won’t stay in L.A. now, it doesn’t mean you can’t at some point in the future. Some actors had to come few times in order to be able to stay – see it as a learning opportunity and soak up the most you can from this experience. If you have to go back to Holland, you will come richer of all this experience and it will help you. And if your relationship is meant to stand this, it will. I just read this, it’s so true – http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/what-20-something-has-their-dream-job-and-dream-relationship/
    I’m now experiencing very similar situation, both from the personal and career point of view. I’m now coming back from holidays spent in Czech to London and I’m going to be living for about 2 months at least on couches of my friends, I feel so lucky they’ll let me stay, while I’d be job hunting and trying to earn some money to get enough for a room share somewhere, so then I could possibly start with acting after devoting last year to training. 2012 is for me personally going to be a really hard test of will and persistence. Lemme know if you need to talk.

    Lenka

    • Hi Lenka, it’s always so nice to hear from you. I know you know exactly how I feel. I wish you were in LA too so we could complain to each other ;P

      I’m going to read that article right now, it sounds very familiar! All the best in Czech, I might have to go back to Holland as well! x

  7. *sorry if I didn’t write with perfect english, thats because im from Ecuador, South America. Now, I’m living in Barcelona, Spain. I moved here in october 2010, so you can see I’ve been here for a while… and it’s still hard. I’m an actress too and I was sooo happy whan I found your blog, because you literally have stars in the eyes when you wrote, so don’t loose that! I’ve cried a lot for keeping my dream alive and I’m sure I will do it more times, but in the other hand, I’m sure I will make many movies. You are youger than me and you are in L.A. be strong and fight more for what you want. wait for the visa, yo will get it. keep dreaming! 😉

  8. DON’T write with perfect english* that’s what i wanted to say. oops.

  9. Thanks everyone for the sweet, supportive comments! Makes me feel so much better. Wish you all the best of luck!

  10. Kirsten

    Stay strong, and follow your dreams. It gets much harder to follow your dreams when you are older….

    Not sure what this is all about, but it may be something worth looking into: http://www.starnow.com/Casting-Calls/Actors-wanted/Feature-film/leading_female_for_our_first_feature_film_to_be_shot_in_the_us.htm

  11. OMG, u’re blog really interesting.. nice stuff to read 🙂
    hope to see you someday in a big screen..

  12. Sorry folks, it’s easier for me to write this in our friend’s native language:
    ik heb met veel plezier je blog gevolgd, en heb bewondering voor de manier waarop je tegen de dingen aankijkt. En laat me je vooral een compliment geven voor je goede kennis van het Engels! (al een belangrijke vereiste om je staande te houden in de US filmindustrie, lijkt me).
    Je hebt een droom, en je hebt er jaren naartoe gewerkt om die al waar trachten te maken. Ik heb ook de indruk dat je echt wel kwaliteiten als actrice hebt (en dus niet alleen maar een droom). Dus nu je toch vrij dicht lijkt te zijn bij de kansen om die droom waar te maken, vind ik dat je er voor moet gaan!
    Hoezoe, je gaat iedereen in Nederland verliezen? He, als dat het geval is, dan is het hun verlies hoor! Zulke ‘vrienden’ zijn niet veel waard. Die worden dan weer wel vervangen door anderen. Tot je natuurlijk succes hebt, je gaat niet weten hoeveel ‘vrienden’ je dan hebt, hahaha!
    Moest je vriend je werkelijk voor de keuze stellen, dan vind ik dat heel triest van hem. Als je echt van iemand houdt, dan wil je toch dat die persoon het beste uit zichzelf haalt en al zijn talenten ten volle benut om dat waar te maken waar ze al zo hard voor gewerkt heeft?! Wat is dan een jaartje meer? Nu je jong bent moet je je kansen nemen! Ik zou nooit diegene willen zijn die er voor gezorgd heeft dat mijn geliefde zich de rest van zijn/haar leven af blijft vragen “wat als….”. (en ik hoop dat je vriend helemaal anders is, dus dat hij je aanmoedigd om door te gaan nu je toch al redelijk dichtbij gekomen bent).
    Hou de moed er in, en ik hoop dat je dat O-visum te pakken krijgt!!!!

    • Hi roots2wings thanks for your comments! Luckily my friends and especially my boyfriend are very supportive of my dream and all think I should make the move. It’s just that having relationships with them from a 7000 km distance is hardly possible. But the next few weeks should be very crucial so stay tuned!

  13. Ninon

    Girl you don´t have to lose no one by following your dream, special relations with people (friends, boyfriends, family) come and go -always whether ur living your dream or not. The ones that love you, will support you. Especially in friendships, you will realize that it is something you can´t throw away. If someone is a real friend, you can maybe stop seeing that person due to the circumstances, but you can never stop the feeling you give eachother when you meet again.
    Obviously many relations will change, some in good and others in a bad way. But hey, that would have happened anyway…
    However, if you decide to stay, make sure it´s a decision you take with all your heart, make sure you wake up many days with the feeling that the place where you open your eyes (wherever that may be) is the place you wanna be, for all the reasons that are important to you.
    Well that´s the best advise I can give you. Un beso, bonita

  14. kueta

    hi , i’m follwowing your post for a while . i would like to know that when you come to LA, which visa do you use.

    Can you work in LA, i’m thinking about to move in NYC, i’m from France. So people tell i can’t work if i’m not american .

  15. Hoi Shanice,

    Goed dat je dit uitspreekt, je het voor jezelf duidelijk maakt.
    Sterkte bij de te maken keuzes.

    Ken je trouwens ACT? http://www.acteursbelangen.nl/

  16. Peter

    Perhaps you can file for the O2 and do some stuff in NL as well. There are daily flights to the EU every day after all. I would hedge my risks and play both places. Once the O2 is denied and/or you run out of cash the NL is really the better place to be. Hundreds of thousands (if not millions) have tried and failed in Hollywood so your odds are about as good as winning a big prize in the Staatsloterij. Just my 2 cents.

  17. manoncarphotography

    Thank you for your raw honesty; you and I are in the same boat. Keep your head held high no matter what!! Good Luck!

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