Sunday, April 20, 2008

My First Big Screw-up

This afternoon I totally fucked up. I was supposed to have a photo shoot with my agent and it didn’t happen.

I expressed the other day that I wasn’t exactly looking forward to styling myself; in my experience, the photographer never likes what you bring. Obviously that wasn’t the best attitude to go into it with and it snowballed from there...

The more I thought about it the more insanely stressed I became. I spent nearly four hours last night going through my (still packed) clothes trying to find outfits to fit the roles of girl next door, tough street chick and nerd. Because we were meeting at Venice beach, a public place with limited restrooms to change, I put each outfit on last night and used the timer function on my camera to take a picture, so they could scroll through the photos and I could leave what they didn’t like in my car. I came up with seven street looks, eight girl next door outfits and only three nerdy things.

As I mentioned before, unlike the super casual California look I’m noticing around me – I am more put together. I thought about shoes, undergarment, and hair for all of this. I suppose some people would just grab three outfits and be excited about a day at the beach, but I managed to wind myself up like a fucking top!

This morning I had no desire to get out of bed, but once I did I had to shower, shave (in case they picked a skirt look!), iron several of the garments, pack them up and do my hair and makeup. Not surprisingly, I had to send my agent and his assistant a text saying I wasn’t going to make it to lunch. They had told me food was the first priority, around noon or one and then we’d shoot around two or three.

I didn’t get a text back, but called when I was on my way. The background noise on their end was awful; they told me to call back when I got there. I did around a quarter til three and they told me to call back once I parked… After driving in circles I found a meter spot, popped two quarters in and headed for the pier. I have been to Venice beach twice before and neither time had it been so crowded; I was surprised because it really isn’t warm out today, especially with the strong ocean breeze. I call them back again only to learn I was at the wrong place. They were a mile away at the boardwalk, not the pier. I felt like an idiot .

By now it’s twenty after three and in the brief time I was out of my car the breeze had destroyed my hair. One of my biggest pet peeves in life is background noise when you’re trying to talk to someone on the phone. My boyfriend knows this all too well; often the first thing out of my mouth if he calls me from the car is “turn off the damn radio!” My agent was in a busy restaurant and I could barely understand the directions he was trying to give me.

My boyfriend got online and from Ohio, navigated my ass a mile down the road in California. Once in the right area, I drove around for more than thirty minutes trying to find parking. I was not willing to use the $12 to $15 lots; I know that paying to park is something I will have to get used to, but today it wasn’t an options, likely because my gut was telling me I didn’t want to do this anymore.

I just couldn’t fathom how it was going to work – there were people EVERYWHERE! I called it a breeze above, but it was windy and I have long hair, not to mention that the wind and bright sun tend to make my eyes water. Yes I’m a performer, but no matter who you are, if your confidence is shot, its shot. I was really worried about how they would react to the outfits I brought, and I don’t feel pretty in the minimal makeup you have to wear for these types of things. Most of all, I’m not really a model! I’m still learning how to move in front of a camera and I knew I’d feel really awkward trying to do it with people walking by!

As for all those people – I didn’t “get” them either, what were they all doing? It was too cold to get in the water. They were gleefully riding bikes down ally ways, on skateboards being pulled by their dogs, they were everywhere and seemingly going nowhere! Then I realized, this would be a lot of fun if you had someone to share it with, a fact I have to keep reminding myself. Suddenly the pain of missing my friend and family was too awful for words. Everything reminded me of things I left in Ohio – all the dogs, all the MINI Coopers, all the happy fucking couples that I wanted to run over!

I was trying so hard to hold it together, but I knew it was just a matter of time before the tears came. I didn’t want to call my boyfriend because for one thing, I knew he had gone to a movie, but I also knew verbalizing my frustrations would start the waterworks.

By this time it was nearly four o’clock! I pulled into a no parking zone and called my agent to say I still hadn’t found a spot. “Well did you try….” He asked. “YES! I’ve been driving in fucking circles!” I thought, but what I said was, “Should we just try this another day?” “I’d like to get it done today,” he replied. “Go to the end of Rose street, there’s tons of parking right on the beach for $7.”

I said okay and closed the phone but I had already decided that I just couldn’t pull this off today. I thought about calling my roommate, who has been pursuing the entertainment field out here for a year… but of course I called my man instead. I tried leaning my head straight down, so the tears fell directly out of my eyes and onto my lap, but it was only a matter of time before it was a lost cause, especially considering my nose gets really red when I cry.

I just didn’t know what to do. I felt so stupid and unprofessional. “If I can’t even make it to his stupid, free photo shoot, he won’t trust sending me to auditions,” I sobbed over the phone. I don’t want to be that girl – the client they have to handle carefully and who they think cries about everything. Every judgmental thing you are thinking right now, or can think of went through my head, time ten!

The more I made myself feel like a failure, the harder I cried which only solidified that fact that a photo shoot wasn’t going to happen. My beau missed part of his movie to calm me down and at a quarter after four I called the agent to say “I am so sorry for wasting your time, but this just isn’t going to work today.” “Because you can’t find a parking spot?” His tone acknowledged the distress in my voice. That did remain a logistical obstacle, but I replied “This is the first really stressful thing that has happened to me since getting here and I’ve let it get the best of me. I am so sorry.” He told me not to be upset and that we’d reschedule.

Whether we will or not is yet to be determined. I am so frustrated with myself that I’ve tarnished my image, although this is the same guy whose office and appearance are totally unimpressive to me. Perhaps that’s why I allowed myself to fuck this up – I’m still not sold on them either. Despite what he now thinks, I know I am not that girl, I'm not usually a crier and I am confident had I been paying or being paid, I would have handled everything different.

I also feel that having just uprooted my life, this was an inevitable breakdown; hopefully now that it’s happened, it won’t happen again, or at least not for a while or as bad. The past two weeks have gone incredibly fast and my mom reminded me that I’ve been taking it all in stride and today it just all came out.

So there it is – my first big mistake.

You have to know that I am incredibly embarrassed and I can’t believe I just admitted that to all of you. But I want this blog to be real - with the good and the bad!


Judy said...

Don't feel so bad, everything you are going through is pretty normal. I can't tell you how many times Jaycie called me in tears. Oh, and for directions too. Like she said L.A. is a big city, but it can be very lonely. She was just starting to get settled in(after 4 months) when she had to leave for her new contract. Gotta go where the work is and for her that was back out to sea. Damn that writers strike. Take care, hang in there, and get a Garman. It was life saver for Jay.

Anonymous said...

A friend told me just yesterday that sometimes you just have to have a good cry and get it out of your system.
You are one of the bravest women I know. It's ok to have a bad day. Hold your head up, take a deep breath and know that all of us back home are rooting for you!
Traci R.

Anonymous said...

Traci and Judy,

Thank you both so much for your kind words and support. As hesitant as I was to share that story, the smile your comments brought me was worth it.

I do have a Garmen and Judy, you’re right, it’s a life saver and I LOVE it! I can’t image trying to function in this town without it. In this case I was given a general area and not an address- big mistake that I won’t let happen again!

Thanks again!

~ Buckeye…

Anonymous said...

Aw, everyone of us have those times! Just remember the good times and know that you will have more of those! You should put pictures in your car of some really funny/fun times in your life and when you have a "meltdown" take them out and look at them. This will definately help! (Smile ;)

Anonymous said...

I did this many times and I just moved from Toledo to Columbus. I can' t imagine having to go through it thousands of miles away!! You are so strong and brave! :)

Anonymous said...

You did not screw up--I think it's a good thing not to get hooked up with someone you have a bad feeling about. Always trust your intuition. A legitimate photographer would not do professional photos for free. He will eventually want to take photos with your clothes off. I'm glad the photo "shoot" didn't happen--you may have dodged your first bullet. I know I'm being cautious but I'm your Mom's age and I want you to stay safe.
Take care,
Nancy M./Ohio