“I’ll be in my Trailer…”

Oct 15, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Attitude, Thousands of Stories, Three Actors

"My trailer"

So I moved to Los Angeles in February of 2009. That means I’ve been living, as my brother would say, ‘on the fault line’ for almost exactly a year and a half. That’s kind of a long freakin’ time! Or at least it feels like it sometimes. And to be honest, just like everyone else I have days where I wonder, what the hell am I doing with my life…? (It doesn’t help that Mark Zuckerberg is barely a year older than I am…) When you’re on a long journey, it can be hard to remember how far you’ve come. It’s important, then, to take a step back, look backwards, and appreciate the journey.

I view that last few segments of my life in 4-year windows. I had the 4 years of high school (though I was a homeschooled cowboy playing 8-man football my freshman year which kind of doesn’t count). Then there were the 4 years of college. Then a partial-year transition period. And now I’m in the midst of what I consider my sophomore year of Los Angeles. When I contextualize it like that, the amount of time here feels a pittance, and when I remind myself that 18 months in LA is nothing in the grand scheme of a career in film and television, I feel a little better. The other day I was bummin’ a little bit looking at somewhat of a lazy month in the past 30 days, when I got to thinking about my very first audition in Los Angeles…

I remember when I first got it. I had put myself on the various submission services a couple days prior, and was submitting myself for basically any project in the greater LA area that was asking for a male between the ages of 16 and 37 (maybe not the smartest strategy, but hey, if you don’t think I look like a former pro-bowl football player, then don’t call me in ;p). Then it came. The email from Actor’s Access. I had an audition in Santa Monica for a nerdy rapper in this little comedy video. I was elated. I bolted into my roommate’s room, jumping for joy that I had an actual audition in Los Angeles. Barely one year later, I’m at a point in my career where I pretty much entirely look beyond the submission services, spending my time working towards opportunities on projects big enough that they probably don’t even end up on those sites.

Opportunities like the recent horror movie I just finished filming. I got an email from an industry friend I have kept in touch with out here pointing me to an audition for one of her director friends. I saw the email, didn’t think a whole lot of it, but the project seemed very professional and I never pass up an opportunity to audition. I went to the audition itself which went great, and it was clear that the people in the room really liked my read. The next day I got a callback, which I couldn’t make because I was filming a short that two of my buddies from college were doing (that in and of itself is freaking awesome…how many people can say they made a movie with their college friends in Hollywood?!?). Even so, I got a call the day after saying that they wanted to cast me for a different role than I had read for. Awesome, but something that I didn’t really think twice about. Until…

The shoot was at night up near Santa Clarita, meaning that I had to spend 2.5 hours driving north on the 405, braving probably one of the worst commutes in the country. But I made the best of it, making some phone calls, listening to some rad acting podcasts, and personally lamenting the inability of Democrats to form a coherent message. Then it happened. A moment I’ve been waiting for all my life. I arrived on set, checked in at the production trailer, and then had one of the production assistants show me to my trailer. That’s right: My. Trailer. Now in interest of transparency, the trailer itself was basically a broken down old RV, but it was mine for the evening to do with as I please. And after getting into costume and makeup I got to utter the words I’d jokingly said hundreds of times: “I’ll be in my trailer.”

So there I was, sitting in my very own trailer, thinking back to my first audition in LA. Ho-ly-crap. What a journey. I had just been snapped in half and flung against a tree by an alien (I know, right?!), and was sitting in my very own trailer on a set filled with dozens of professionals making a legitimate, union, feature-length film. I don’t care who you are, that’s awesome.

My point here is not to brag (okay, just a little), but to remind myself to be thankful for the life I have chosen, and the incredible opportunities and experiences along the way. And I implore you to do the same. It’s a long and hard road, but truly, how many people can say that they’ve looked at the Hollywood sign as they drove to set. That they’ve been paid to do the thing they love the most in the world. That they’ve gone against the advice of their closest family and friends and, even for a moment, been part of something they had dreamed about as a kid. Not many. You’re a special breed, my friends. Keep fightin’ the good fight…

Ben Whitehair is the Los Angeles contingent of this blog. Find out more information and view his materials on his website, or read the rest of his blog posts.