“Because I was freelance, I was able to sneak out of the film industry.”
I started off in the film business in a very low-level position called a production assistant, which is taking on a little bit of everything. It’s taking out trash, it’s setting up chairs, or fluffing pillows just the right way. It really makes you question why you went to college, and in that process I knew I wanted to get into the camera department. And so as that was growing and building and I was developing more connections within the realm of the camera department, I felt like I was making progress, and I think in those two years it was really a feeling of personal growth that I was enjoying more than the business itself. But at this time, five to six years ago—when I was barely established as a camera assistant—I already knew it wasn’t satisfying any level of growth anymore.
The camera department is a little different than other departments in that you don’t really get a “smoke break.” If you get up to use the restroom or you just aren’t there, there’s no one else to do your job. With my work ethic I felt I had a responsibility to never be unavailable. And as a result, I found myself being sometimes in the desert, or in other really dry conditions—we shot a lot of times in a dry lakebed, places where you’re outside, getting dehydrated—and I wouldn’t drink water! And the reason I wouldn’t drink water was because I didn’t want to have to walk away to go to the bathroom. Another thing, you’re not supposed to exceed eight hours on your tampon or you can get toxic shock syndrome. And that would be the one motivating thing where I was like, “Whoa. Eight hours! Time to use the restroom!” So I would try to time my water consumption and coffee consumption with the tampon change. Ridiculous! An absolutely ridiculous way to live!
Music videos tend to be the most brutal, because they don’t always have large budgets, and as a result you work really long hours and at a very fast pace. You also get the least amount of perks, like the great organic catering that might come with a bigger budget production. I was on one of those really tough jobs—physically demanding and an all-night operation. I think we got to work at four in the afternoon and got off work at ten the next morning. So I was driving home, and I was in lovely LA traffic, in the middle of the day for no apparent reason, and after about an hour drive home I struggled to find parking and I finally parked. And I just felt like it had been so long since I actually got off work to when I actually able to go to sleep. When I got into the house, I was relieved that none of my roommates were home because I just didn’t really have energy to speak to a human being. I just wanted to have my own space. And just as I was getting ready to plop down on my bed, with my shoes on and my jacket on and everything—I didn’t brush my teeth, I didn’t go to wash my face, I didn’t do anything, I just went and jumped on my bed. And I had discovered that my roommate’s cat had peed on my bed, and I was so—I wasn’t even angry, I love cats so much and I wasn’t mad at the cat. I was so worn down with all of my exhaustion, that I didn’t have the emotional strength to just handle this easy situation that wouldn’t be that big of a deal normally. So I just had this breakdown moment when I went into the hallway to open the linen closet to get a change of sheets, and I did this really dramatic move like in the movies. I leaned up against the wall across from the linen closet. I kind of just flung my body across the wall and I did this really dramatic slide down the wall where I was now sitting in the hallway and I was crying and screaming. I’m crying and screaming at the same time, going, “I’m just so tired! My God, I’m just so tired!” And all I can be is helpless like a little baby.
And then the owner of the cat, my roommate, opened her bedroom door and walked down the hall and said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m going to give the cat up for adoption. “ And I was just like, “Wait, no, you can’t. No, oh God.” I was so embarrassed; I really thought no one was home. And suddenly I pulled myself together for the sake of saving face—it just was so embarrassing that I could allow myself to do that. But seeing it in my roommate’s eyes just really reflected how ridiculous I was being. And I ended up adopting the cat because I was like, “No, you can’t get rid of the cat! I’ll take the cat, I just don’t want to have to deal with the pee!” Oh my God, it was horrible.
So I had a real slow motion quit. I had it easy. Because I’m freelance I was able to sneak out of the film industry. But it’s only been recently that I’ve been out of the closet about my intention to start a new beginning. That came with confidence in knowing that life coaching was certainly the direction that I wanted to go in. Now I’m visible to everyone. Oddly enough, I was expecting the worst-case scenario. I was expecting my old co-workers or bosses to be unsupportive, especially since it’s life coaching that I’m going into, which a lot of people think is this New Age guru voodoo magic or something. I imagine them picturing me sitting there meditating with crystals or going to full moon harmony party or something.
I feel like I’ve taken a huge risk. It’s weird. I feel like I was putting something out there that people weren’t going to believe in. Or that they’d judge me really harshly. It took a while till I was comfortable enough to tell everybody. But I got nothing but supportive feedback. I received a lot of: “Good for you. I wish that I could find my way out.” Or “Wow, that’s amazing. I wish I had as much guts as you.” I think there are a lot of people in the industry who have a lot of gifts to share, who really aren’t honoring their own unique identities, and they’re settling to be the mules when really they have something they have to offer.