In the past week I severed ties with my manager who was supposed to be helping me with my career. There have been a few times in the past year where I ignored the feeling in my body that said, “This doesn’t feel right” or “I shouldn’t do this”, but old habits die hard I guess, so I went out for jobs that I didn’t even want just to make her happy.
To be honest, I don’t even need a manager and I guess I figured that out midway through our partnership. I was excited that she wanted me on her roster, since she was just starting up in this arena.
Funny isn’t it! No matter how old we get, we still want to be the kid who gets picked. We want to be the person people flock over to at a cocktail party. The one that tells interesting stories everyone wants to hear, and the one that people clamor over to when they see them in a grocery store.
I was never that kid, I was the one who always wanted to be chosen but rarely was. It was the best day ever in 6th grade, when Jenny wanted you to sit next to her at the lunch table The worst, when she didn’t even notice you were there. Which is how I have felt with many people throughout my life, including my manager.
My relationship with her was ridiculous. I know I have talent. She however, liked to pick apart my audition tapes, which I didn’t feel was her job as a manger. It was to build me up. And while she would say the acting was good, she would go on and say something about the camera angle, the way I was sitting, not being able to hear me too well, so maybe I wanted to invest in a mic.
I’m an actress, not a camera man! She already said the acting was good, so my job was done. But with her, it wasn’t. She was the job! I see that now that I have quit her. I remember the Zoom calls where all of the young girls were oohing and ahhing over her. She just sopped it up like garlic bread to tomato sauce.
During the pandemic I was one of 50 people chosen out of the 16,000 who entered audition tapes to a famous Casting Director. I received an email about my win from my manager, but she didn’t tell me this amazing news, until she berated me for three paragraphs about how I didn’t check in with her enough.
So this past week when I nailed an audition and was booked for a job that shot in Boston, I was elated. But then the emails started coming in about how I had to travel over 3 hours there and back by train because they didn’t want to pay for a plane ticket. I was then expected to get a covid test, which had not been mentioned prior. I looked at the time I was due to come home after shooting probably a 12 hour day, and I wouldn’t get home until 1am. What the job paid after she took her 20%, well, what I was giving versus what I was receiving was ridiculous.
By the way, flying and the train to Boston are almost the same price. Acting has never been about money for me either. What acting is, is about talent, transparency and honoring the people you work with and for. I didn’t see the honor or transparency in any of this job. Just me rehearsing a lot of lines, traveling on a train for many hours and working 12 hours and then getting on a train afterwards and traveling another 4 hours home.
In short, I was the kid who Jenny dissed because it made her feel good to do so. I was the one doing all the work, while she sat there trying to tell me how lucky I was to be booking something and that everyone else who worked for her would be happy to do. So….why aren’t they then? Because they don’t have the talent!
I could see that this was becoming a pattern. Me accepting less than what I know I deserve, but having a manger who was perpetuating this, didn’t help it at all. It just made me question my worth, like I had no right to ask for the bare minimum, like the facts of the shoot before I decided to say yes to it.
I literally felt sick to my stomach about the job, instead of elation. Which got me thinking, why don’t we listen to our bodies more? They never lie. They tell us when we don’t feel well, when we feel like you are being scammed, lied to, disrespected, not admired and when someone is disparaging us.
Be mindful of who you are giving your attention to. The minute your body tries to tell you something doesn’t feel right, trust it. It knows. It always knows!