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Acting and the Pandemic

Before the pandemic happened my acting career wasn't exactly skyrocketing. I was working as a paralegal at a real estate law firm during the day and going to class on the weekends and rehearsing scenes from plays at night. I even auditioned for MFA programs in January and had callbacks for NYU.

I was exhausted. I was getting up at 6am to go to work, to come home, to rehearse, to go to bed, to do it again the next day, and on and on. I didn't have a weekend and I didn't have free time. I thought this meant I was doing great. Then the pandemic happened. Everything stopped, there was no more acting class on the weekends, no more rehearsals, no more voice lessons, no more commuting to my day job. My day job became my night job as I found it increasingly difficult to wake up in the morning.

At first I didn't think this disaster would be the end of my acting career, but weeks turned into months, turning into a year and a half and all of a sudden acting seemed like a foolish thing to be concerned with. The only thing that mattered was surviving and not getting fired, and paying your rent on time. My company ended up shutting its doors unexpectedly. I didn't know why I still couldn't wake up in the morning.

This spring I started to dip my toes back into the acting pond. I don't have any representation and can count on one hand the amount of auditions I've had in the past two years. Yes I know that sounds pretty bad. It's been bad. I signed up for some casting workshops but to be honest it's difficult to stay on their radar without a rep.

The pandemic seems to be ending but my old life is not coming back. My job is gone, the stride I made in my acting feels gone, my improv team is gone, and even the theaters I once performed at are closed permanently. Sometimes it feels like I'm starting from scratch again.

I'm not complaining I know people lost their homes, their lives and their loved ones. I lost my passion, and my day job. And I'm lucky that that was it.

I think more than anything though, I want to use this time to carve out a life I really want. I remember the relief I felt when the world shut down. I needed a two week break. What I really needed though was time to evaluate the kind of life I want.

I haven't been applying to paralegal jobs. (I have been applying to jobs in general, obviously), and I have been thinking of ways to become more involved in acting. I even wrote a short script not sure if I have the guts to film it though.

I'm not saying I'm back where I started. I am not there and I may never be there again. I don't want to go back to that exhausting cycle I was in. I was a hamster on a wheel. Even though I was working hard I wasn't really getting anywhere, and to be honest that's no way to live either.

The pandemic made a not so great situation worse than I realized it actually was. But look I'm not grateful. I cant be grateful for the sadness and pain this crisis brought upon the world but I do plan on surviving, continuing to pay my rent on time and maybe taking a risk here and there. Because why not? Life's short, and sometimes two weeks becomes an eternity without us even realizing it.

Stay brave everyone! - Alex Palmer

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