Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Things that keep me up at night

It's 5am here now, and I can't manage to fall back asleep and I don't know why. What to do, what to do? I know, I'll post something in my new blog. That's logical, right?

The past couple of days I've actually gotten quite a few random sparks of ingenuity (rare I know) and inspiration concerning interesting things to write about. I've forgotten them all now. Sorry. I'll try to be more focused in the future (though to be honest I wouldn't suggest placing your bets - focus is not one of my strong suits). (Side note: I've written this in bed and on my iPhone, and I have a love/hate relationship with Apple's predictive text software, and upon proofreading this blog I found the previous sentence had said, "focus is not one of my string suits." I wish I had a string suit.)

So, I'm still a novice at this blogging thing, so bear with me, but I think I'll just say what's on my mind. Welcome to the twisted world of Jon Marx's brain. Enter at your own risk, and please leave your shoes at the door. I'll try to keep it lighthearted but please keep in mind I will be brutally honest if I feel the need. I won't hold back or sugar-coat anything. You are forewarned. I will always be tactful and clean however (and grammatically correct), though I'll try not to self-edit as I go, which is a bad habit I think all aspiring writers share.

So let's see ... what to write about ... what's on my mind ... acting acting acting. Ok wait. I've lied to you. I do in fact know why I can't fall back asleep. It's money. Money is tight at the moment, and I'm not one who lets worry creep into my subconscious much, if ever, but I'm sitting here now, at twenty past five in the morning, actually thinking I might not be able to pay my student loans this month. It's an awful feeling. Since I've quit my job and focused on acting (see above note on focusing) here is my history with money. I've depleted my savings, which I kind of regret. I've received some payment for some work I've done, but I decided to join a temp agency to give me occasional office admin jobs to help cover bills. It still wasn't enough, so I took out an overdraft with my bank (which I'm aware is the potential start of a slippery slope, but I'm careful) which has been spent on a plane ticket back to the US so I could see family for Christmas, some Christmas presents, and normal bills. Now it's a new year, this was the first working day of the UK, and I've got nothing in my sights at the moment yet, which is actually kind of scary. 

It is for this reason, and a few others, that I actually hate money. I hate that it's a necessity. I hate how everybody requires it for everything. I hate the devious methods that people and companies employ to obtain it. I hate how it makes people act. I hate that it makes me write this negative-sounding blog available for the world to see and I hate that I'm awake at night worrying about it. 

I don't dream about being rich and famous. I dream about being financially secure and distinguished in my chosen industry for producing high-quality work. Who in life wouldn't want that? I'm well aware that acting is a business just like any other profession, and my dreams, the way I've just written them there, applies to ANY profession. Why should acting be so different or more difficult? Someone please tell me I'm just needlessly complaining, or that I've gotten something wrong or missed something out. Ok rant over. 

I'd like to think that the fact I treat acting as a business puts me a step above of most "actors" out there who may not realise how much hard work it actually is. Still, I did ask for it. Sometimes I do consider just ditching the whole effort and finding another full-time job. Oh, how much relief that would bring! But then, I'd eventually be unhappy with myself because I'd know I couldn't really live with myself if I were growing older and older not doing what I love. So I'd break myself free and the cycle would start again. 

At the moment I'm still trying to find that happy medium between these two extremes. I realise that I'm not living in a fantasy where I get noticed overnight, so I'm happy with subsidising my income with a bit of "real world" employment (for now). But I'm so ready to land something, and I'm impatient and I know I'm just slightly panicked because I don't have anything on the cards at the moment. But I'm sure it will all work out eventually. I just want to speed things along a little. My current long-term goal is to be financially secure and independent doing just acting. I don't want to have to do anything else, and I believe that this is achievable for me. 

Wow, this has taken me an hour and a half to get out. What can I say, I spend my time pondering the perfect word. Now to try to get some rest. I wonder how much longer I can use jet lag as an excuse...

Saturday, 1 January 2011

I'll stop pretending this isn't a New Year's resolution.

I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions. I kind of hate them. I could go on for paragraph after paragraph about how they only set people up for failure, and how a calendar is merely a human construct, but instead I have to stop pretending that I’m not making a New Year’s resolution and admit that I have. (Also, I don’t want to start this blog by being overly negative and turn away potential readers.)

Although I wouldn’t like to admit it, I’ve made a New Year’s resolution. I’m going to start a blog and commit to it at least twice a week. I have a number of goals with it: I will document my efforts at establishing my career as a professional actor in London. I will use it to organise my thoughts in a coherent manner, and hopefully I won’t be so scatterbrained. I also want to get back into writing, since I like doing it, and seem to find too many excuses or distractions and avoid it. I think if I start a blog then at least I’m writing something and will eventually form a daily habit. And also, to avoid being entirely selfish, hopefully I will have some fun with it, so in case anyone else decides to read it, they can laugh, cry, rage along with me.

I’d like to avoid falling into that common amateur blogging trap that I always see when I browse random blogs, which is that entry dated 5 years ago saying, “Omg I know I haven’t written in this thing in like ages, but I promise I will get back to posting regular updates starting, like, tomorrow!” … and nothing since. I’d like to follow that up with a sentence on how I’m going to discipline myself to two entries a week, but I don’t think I’ve really thought that bit through. I’ll get back to you.

I am also very aware of the vast abundance of blogs out there. I sometimes wonder: what’s the point? Why is mine so special? In other words, why should you read it? (besides the fact it makes me feel special)

First and foremost, I am an actor. I feel comfortable calling myself that because I have done it professionally. There was a long time where I felt bad calling myself an actor because I hadn’t been doing anything about it. So I ended my full-time job about 7 months ago and began to focus purely on acting. Since then, I’ve been in a number of theatre shows on London’s fringe, a radio show, some student films, and an upcoming episodic made for the iPhone being called “The World’s first iPhone Series.” (More on that later.) The vast majority of it has been unpaid work, which has made it very difficult. And now that it’s a new year, I feel like I’ve put in my practice. I’ve built up my CV somewhat, and now I’m ready to break out. I feel like I definitely deserve it. And I don’t imagine myself doing anything else with my life.

So just you wait and see. Something big will happen. I’ve just turned 27 and I feel old. Right now I’m at the point in my life where something has to take off and I am very hungry for it. This is the year I will make it happen. And it’s about time.

I suppose that’s a New Year’s resolution if I’ve ever heard made one.