Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Every day I'm hustlin'

I didn't actually mean to take a month and a half long break from posting. Honestly. But if I gave you a laundry list of what my December and first half of January has been like, your brain might explode. Or you might just die of boredom, considering it's a list. So I'll try to re-cap in a way that doesn't garner either of the aforementioned reactions. Just because I love you guys.

On Thanksgiving Day, Benni proposed to me in front of my family and I (of course) said yes. What followed in the month of December was a training montage of Benni and I trying to find a caterer and venue before the end of 2011, seeing as how we had chosen October of 2012 to be the month we get married and we were already behind schedule. This was both easy and hard, easy because both Benni and I are incredibly laid back, hard because, as I'm discovering, I am a Wedding Asshole. Which is to say that I have not dreamed about my wedding since I was five, I don't really care about coordinating "color palettes" (sorry, sweet girl at David's Bridal whom I inadvertently mocked when she said that), and I am somewhat confused by what a "rustic wedding" means and why on earth it involves a truckload of burlap. To be more clear, I'm not overly sentimental, or emotionally attached, to many things. Except maybe my Battlestar Galactica DVDs.

So we found a caterer, and this is when I learned the number one rule of weddings: which is that most of the venues are actually just catering companies that happen to have a space. Having a caterer beforehand eliminated 90% of all the locations Benni and I were interested in getting married at. Also: it is hard to have a wedding when you are poor. Just putting that out there. Because most venues were several thousand dollars over what we could afford. Some venues were OUR ENTIRE BUDGET. I seriously began considering a wedding at In N Out and a reception in the drive-through line of In N Out (hey, the line takes long enough.)

Meanwhile, what I was trying to do in December when I wasn't madly trying to secure locations or buying presents off Amazon like a fiend was attend pre-production meetings for the second season of my web-series, Hell Froze Over (which is now currently shooting); work a full time job; shoot a print ad that I'd booked for a full day; spend a day at Disneyland as someone's guests (meaning we got in for free but we were on our generous host's schedule); and do a 36 hour, fully live-streamed horror movie on December 12 and 13th.

Yes, folks, the horror movie I did (Kill Cam Live) had a live element to it - throw the actors into the "kill room" and stream the footage live for as long as the characters survived. My character and her boyfriend found themselves trapped in the kill room for all of Monday and a good part of Tuesday - up until about 10 pm that night - when we finally both met our bloody ends. During the 36 hour time period, I had to be in character the entire time and pretend I was suffering from dehydration and starvation, that I was terrified to death, constantly interact with the audience and the killer (who was outside the room), and constantly interact with the other actor I was placed in the room with. And in two days, we got half a million views. Not bad... not bad at all. Overall, the project got almost 3 MILLION views. You can read about it here and here.

When I got out of the Kill Room late Tuesday night, I had a voicemail message. It was from the assistant to the hottest casting director in town, wanting to know my email address. The casting director (a casual friend of mine) wanted to email me the contact info of a few agents that he had personally called and pitched me to, and wanted me to follow up with meetings. And after my own brain was done exploding from such extraordinary kindness and thoughtfulness, that's what I did.

So I took two meetings right before I was supposed to leave town, got positive feedback, and was told to check back in after the holidays. The third meeting would have to wait until January. Benni and I drove an hour down to my mom's house, the Tuesday night before we were set to leave for New York and New Jersey to go visit his family for Christmas, in order to have an early Christmas dinner and celebration with my family. We opened presents, we ate a ton, and then we drove back up to LA.

At about 4 in the morning on Wednesday, I got out of bed and started throwing up. And I didn't stop for a good six hours. I'm pretty sure I threw up everything I have eaten since, oh I don't know, THIRD GRADE. It was that bad. Benni got me towels, and stayed with me in the bathroom, but nothing stayed down.

10 am rolled around. We needed to get on a plane to fly into New Jersey. I couldn't do it. I could not physically get out of bed, I was so tired and dehydrated. Benni had to leave without me, and even though I wanted to go with him more than I've ever wanted anything in my life, I couldn't make my body do anything anymore. It had just quit on me.

Sobbing, I called my best friend in the entire world, and she sprang into action. "Do you think you'll be feeling better by Friday?" she asked. "I better be, I don't have anything left to throw up," I replied. And then she did what every best friend in the entire world does: she bought me a plane ticket to go to New Jersey for Friday afternoon, having me arrive in Philadelphia late Friday night. "Merry Christmas," she said. I love that girl. There's a reason she's walking me down the aisle in October. She damn well EARNED it.

Friday night I fly out to Philly, and Benni and his sister and brother in law come pick me up. We spend the weekend with his family, then get ready to leave for LA Monday afternoon. On Monday morning, around 3 am, Benni gets out of bed and starts throwing up. We have a plane to catch at 4 pm. I am PISSED at the Stomach Flu Gods. PISSED.

So help me God, we are getting on that plane, I tell Benni. He nods weakly. And by the sheer grace, or determination, or stubbornness of me, I start him on a juice diet that morning, which he manages to hold down, I haul us off to the airport, and we get on that plane. We touched down in LA that evening, took the bus home from the airport, and just collapsed into bed. And that was Christmas. And in between recovering and resting during the remainder of December, we found a beautiful venue for our wedding that fit our budget, fit our every need, and let us use our own caterer. THANK YOU BABY JESUS.

When January hit, we jumped full speed back into filming Hell Froze Over (which we've been doing on the weekends), I met with the last agent and got signed on the spot, I jumped back into acting class, I signed up for another semester of American Sign Language, and I have been hustling. Every. Single. Day. to keep making these opportunities happen, to keep kicking ass as an actress, to keep myself employed, fulfilled, healthy, well-fed, well-rested, and bringing my A game.

It's hit and miss. But the point is... I'm still trying to hustle. And it's the trying that counts.

22 comments:

Elisabeth said...

Wow Tracy, no wonder you haven't had time to post. What a wonderful - despite the throw up flu episodes - roller coaster, your life. May it continue.

It's good to see you again and to read of such success. One day I'm sure we'll see your name up in lights.

Anthony Duce said...

Enjoyed.

Mohamed Mughal said...

Congrats on all the exciting developments!

And now,

please, please, please

GET SOME REST!

Taylor K said...

Whoa. Congratulations and I'm sorry about the stomach flu. But yay! you're getting married!

Robin said...

It made me tired reading this. But like FNL video said... character is in the trying. I guess I posted that one for you and didn't even know it. I love it when that happens!

rosaria said...

Ah, life is more complex than any movie script. Congratulations on getting your wedding planned so far in advance, and hustlin... so hard to get all this info into one post.
Happy New Year,Tracy.

kj said...

tracy, this is fantastic. the universe is moving its molecules for you, thanks to your showing up and caring and doing the work.

congratulations to you and benni. that live webcam sounds incredible. i haven;t checked it out yet but i will

you are doinng everything right and best. it's obvious.

now then: what's the menu? :*)

love
kj

Snowbrush said...

Yes, I can see why you're not blogging as often--wow! Just hearing about the intensity of the wedding plans alone wore me out.

Marion said...

Wow, Phoenix, you've been Super Woman!! I'm sorry you had the flu, but I'm glad you had a friend to help you out.

Did you tell us the wedding date? I'm so excited and can't wait to see the pics when it's all said and done. I've missed you in blogland, but I knew you'd been busy living. :-) Take care of yourself, sweet friend! Love & Hugs!!! xoxo

Wine and Words said...

CONGRATULATIONS SWEET GIRL AND BENNI! I'm so excited for you and all the work opportunities too. You ARE making it happen (with a little help from Baby Jesus) :)

Eric W. Trant said...

Congratulations on everything! What an exciting end to 2011, and what an exciting howl you're already making in 2012.

I hear you on the wedding. I've been planning my (second) wedding since last March, when my wife and I decided to stop living in sin and get married. Like you, she is not all fancy-pantsy about the napkins. The thing she has worried over the most is our wedding dance, what song to play, and trying to put together a dance routine.

See, she wants it to be a fun time. So do I. It's better that way. We're dancing to Los Lonely Boys, I Never Met a Woman. It's a ~sexy~ song. And she is trying to con her dance-aerobics teacher into helping us choreograph something.

Good luck with everything, and keep hustling! Do it now before you have kids.

Trust me on that last part. When you said you threw up, I thought maybe someone got too excited about the proposal, and that there was going to be a Tracy-bump soon.


- Eric

Indigo said...

It's all about the trying sweet friend. As hectic as things sound, you sound happier and busier than I've ever seen you.

Sorry about the stomach bug. I had my round with it last week. I don't know how you managed the holidays so soon after that. (Hugs)Indigo

Gwen said...

WOW! I am so proud of you!!! You have accomplished so much in the past two months!!! I sure hope to see you on the big screen (or hell...little screen soon). Everything sounds wonderful except for the flu part but I can't wait to see and hear details about all of your wedding plans!!

Ed Pilolla said...

pretty impressive. you deserve it all. the acting in the room sounds like quite a scene. that kind of screwy (and i know it's not really screwy at all) experience must build some kind of worthy acting muscle.

LenoreNeverM♡re said...

Congrats dear, exciting time!
I'm going 2 check the film-link now...

Lydia Kang said...

OMG, congrats on getting engaged, sorry that the planning is so horrendous, and super sorry that you were so sick!

JJ said...

Weddings! I don't think it is possible to find a better marriage than mine, but if I had a time machine, I'd go back, and right after the proposal, I'd buy a ladder. I never needed color coordinated anything. Focus on each other and let everyone else go nuts. Best to you, Phoenix.

Eric W. Trant said...

BTW, one of your old posts inspired me to buy Florence & the Machine's album. I bought both of them! They are awesome and inspiring.

- Eric

drollgirl said...

OMG! girl! you need a vacation! but maybe you aren't the type! you are a go-getter! yeesh!

so happy you are engaged. but your wedding stories re-confirm that i could never handle that process! too much to deal with! but it is good that things are coming together!

the barf bug sounds like it was just awful. ugh. fingers crossed that you and your man (AND ME!) never catch that particular bug again. hurl!

Jo said...

Girl, you are an inspiration! And congrats on landing a new agent!! Yay!!
xox

krista said...

i haven't checked out your webcam series yet because i either have an almost four year old or a tiny baby attached to me at all times. seems like a bad idea.
but you. i remember your craft. i remember watching it on a weekly basis. and i knew something then that maybe you're just figuring out.
you.
have.
it.
and now you're going to get it.
the love, the happiness, the validation that your career is worthy of you.
i'm just so happy it's all playing out the way it should.

Behold the Metatron said...

I chose Oct 2012 for my wedding too and haven't done a damn thing is. Is that bad? I don't know anything about weddings...

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