New Digs

Me trying to remember if there was one linen closet or two

I am quickly discovering that I am the worst at making decisions. When it's deciding where to eat or what to put on my sandwich, my indecision usually isn't a super big deal because the effects are relatively minimal but now that I'm out in the world making adult decisions, it is ROUGH.

J and I put a deposit down on a place we're renting in June. It has backyard access which is perfect for the dogs and it's in a super convenient place for his school and my work. Sounds great, right? Except the minute I put my deposit down, I started having all of these thoughts like: Was it really big enough? Can we fit everything in it? Will we have enough furniture to fill it? What if it's secretly the worst? What if we end up wishing we had gone for the bigger place? What if the layout is too funky or the kitchen is too light and GAH. I am simultaneously so excited and nervous and second-guessing and looking forward.

Is this a normal thing? I feel like I need a name for this but I've been racking my over-worked brain and I'm just coming up short.

Logically, I know that I picked it for a reason and if it doesn't suit us for whatever reason, we can start the hunt over again in a year. It's not really the biggest decision to make but this is my first post-grad, gainfully-employed person apartment and for some reason, it feels like a really big deal. 

Despite my tendency to overworry about everything, I am still excited. It's going to be nice to not have to drive an hour and a half to work! My car and my sanity are going to be so grateful. In the mean time, I'd love to hear any tips ya'll have for becoming better at decision-making! Because I'm getting the feeling this is going to be one of many.

The Ins and Outs of Being an Extra

While I was waiting for Bar results and without full-time employment, I picked up odd jobs to replenish my ever-depleting bank account. Being in Austin, there were a ton of opportunities for contract work that still gave me the opportunity to look for a full-time job. I don't know if I just hadn't noticed before or if it's been growing in recent years, but the film and television industry is taking (or has taken?) hold in Austin to the point where it's not impossible to find relatively common odd jobs. Be it crew, cast, or something in between, these film and television companies are waiting with open arms to feed you and pay you.

Over the past few months, I had the chance to get pretty regular work as an extra for ABC's American Crime. I got to meet incredible incredible people who are all out there hustling and making their dreams come true. I got to meet such talented cast and crew who's vision makes this unbelievable thing possible. And mostly, I got to get dolled up as a high school student and do completely random things I wouldn't get to do in normal life.

I know that before I started doing this time of work, I literally never noticed the people in the background. I never wondered how they got there. But it turns out, it's pretty easy. Basically....

You find a casting agency in your area. I think there's like, 4 or 5 in Austin and I know that there's an equally as strong if not stronger market in areas like Atlanta, New York City, LA (obvs), and Nashville. You can find them on Facebook most of the time and they'll post casting notices there. (Just make sure they're legit! Look at what type of projects they've had before and if you can, find people who have worked with them.)
Sample legit casting notice from a casting agency in Austin
If you look like what they're looking for, you submit your picture and contact information and wait. Most of the time, they'll get back to you in a few days and send you the call time, location, and any clothes they might need you to bring.

So you show up and on most major projects, you get a bomb breakfast buffet. Then you get sent to wardrobe. They inspect the outfits you brought and in my case, scrunch their noses and ask if I brought anything else. When I say "no," they roll out these big racks of clothes and I try things on until I/they stumble into the right outfit. Then hair and makeup.

Depending on the project, they might trust you to do your own. But if it's a period piece (Like this one J and I did!), they'll spend hours working on your hair and makeup. If it seems like this would be a super time consuming process, it is. Especially for the larger scenes where maybe 50-100 people are all lined up for their turn.

When you've been satisfactorily spruced up, you get sent to set! Sometimes you get to walk, but most times, you end up riding in unmarked white vans (super alarming the first time).

Set is a very quiet, chaotic place with about a million people trying to get their piece of the project just right. An Assistant Director puts you in a place, gives you an action and sometimes even an entire back story for your character. Again, if this sounds like a ridiculous extent to go to for the people who literally just stand in the background, it is. It is but I guess it works. Extras, as far as I've seen, take their work seriously. Partially because we sign a contract that says we will, partially because some want to become actors, and partially because we don't want to be that one person who messes it all up for everyone.

When "Background" then "Action" is called, we start doing our thing. Sometimes we do our thing for hours and hours and hours. Then we move to another scene. Sometimes we do our thing in buildings without AC or at 1 in the morning while we pretend it's really noon. Sometimes we do our thing bundled in winter clothing when it's 90 degrees outside or alternatively, in summer clothing when it's 30 degrees outside. But each time, it's a blast. It's almost as if that day's wrap makes you forget all of the annoying parts.

What Happens Next

The omission of the question mark was totally intentional. This post and the ones that'll follow are about what happens next. The 2016 chapter. So much has happened since the last time I updated ya'll. For a quick rundown:

  • I studied for the bar. It was BRUTAL.
  • I retook the bar.
  • I got a job in Houston...
  • .... so I moved.
  • I found an apartment here, too! 
  • My foster fail was diagnosed with heartworms from the Time Before I Got Her
  • My old man dog was given a clean bill of health
  • I started adulting full time again
And here we are. It doesn't seem like much now that I've typed it out but living through it seemed cataclysmic. Then again, most things do at the time they're happening. 

Now that my detour is over and now that I have gotten just the tiniest bit of free time back, I'd love to pick this story back up again, if only so that I can remember these stories farther down the road and so that I might be able to find other people who are going through similar things, too.

I'd also be lying if I said I didn't have a small blogging identity crisis over the last few months, too. I admire people who treat blogging as a business but for me, this was always meant to be a personal thing so being inundated with ads and reminders that I needed to increase my traffic or join the right affiliate program was exhausting. And the "Exhausted" field of my life is already full. 

I guess this is a new start for me and this tiny space then. I'm so, so excited for what happens next.