Here’s a newsflash:
Being an actor is, at times, very boring.
You’ve all heard of the feast or famine thing, which is as terrifying as it sounds. Scrambling to pay the bills until you reach your next job while trying not to reek of desperation when you’re in an audition room, shaking in your boots because you don’t know where that next mortgage payment is gonna come from if you don’t book the role of ambiguously sexy vampire #2. It’s a hard life full of rejection, a job where hearing the word “No” twenty different ways is just par for the course. We are hungry for validation, clambering for creative fulfilment, forever threatening to quit…. (We’re also just kinda dramatic by nature, in case you haven’t already picked up on that but IT’S OUR JOB TO BE DRAMATIC, OKAY?)
But then there’s this other level, the one you’ve reached where you finally have what you’ve been working towards: a bonafide TV show and an iron-clad contract. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Except here’s the thing. It’s one dizzying extreme to the other. See, for a few months out of the year, it’s pedal to the metal, 70 hour work weeks, brain in overdrive, trying to remember lines and keep people happy and make sure your family doesn’t resent the hell out of you. And then wham: it’s over, the show’s in the can. That’s a wrap, see you next year. Hopefully.
Then the hiatus begins. The show’s in post production and awaiting an air date. Speculation starts to happen pretty quickly about whether the show will be successful enough to warrant another season, but sometimes decisions like that don’t happen for literally six months or more. Your work life has completely halted, and because of that iron-clad contract, you’re not really allowed to accept work outside of that contract unless it’s something short-lived (guest stars maybe, or the odd movie with network approval). You also don’t get paid for this hold period, so it’s an exercise in patience and good faith that at some point, money will be coming in again instead of just going out… It’s a new kind of anxiety, one that makes it nearly impossible to actually enjoy the rest period, especially if you’re a control freak planner like me who NEEDS TO KNOW what’s happening at any given time. (I’m in the wrong business, I know.)
So my life, currently, is seesawing. Working actor on a TV show for four months out of the year, and stay-at-home mom for the rest (guess which one my kid likes more). The trick is to figure out how to enjoy both lives, to soak up the time in each world while I have it, because I always miss the other when I’m not in it. I’ve figured out (and forgiven myself for) the fact that I can’t be everything to everyone all at once. I’m either really great at my job and not present enough in my personal life, or I’m acing the mom thing and wondering if I’ll ever work again.
Which is kind of how this blog began in the first place: a delightful distraction and a venue to implement my other passion, which is all things food. Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t my first passion, to be honest, but I’m too damn good of an actor to give it up for good. And so humble, too!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for following. It’s a thing that means so much to me, to be supported in this little hobby of mine, until the thing that actually pays the bills comes along. Who knows? Maybe I can combine them some day.
I leave you with a recipe I’m kinda particularly lusty about lately, influenced by the Modern Proper… Behold the best Thai chicken pizza I’ve ever had.
The BEST Thai Chicken Pizza
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar (or sub brown sugar)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 tbsp coconut milk (open up a 14 oz can and use the rest for the peanut sauce below!)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
- 2 tbsp red Thai curry paste
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- the juice of one lime
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 balls store bought pizza dough
- flour for dusting a work surface
- 1 yellow pepper, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 large handful bean sprouts (about a cup)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Start the chicken. Combine all of the ingredients for the chicken into a bowl with some salt and pepper. Slice the chicken into strips and marinate in the sauce for 30min minimum or a couple of hours in the fridge if you're not like me and remembered to do that ahead of time.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce into a bowl and mix well. This sauce is killer with grilled chicken or pork tenderloin, so double batch it if you want to thank yourself later.
- Heat a pan over medium high heat with a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil (a healthy drizzle, is what we call that). Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and sautee for about 7 minutes, until cooked through.
- Preheat the oven to screaming hot, 500F. Dust your work surface with a little flour and roll out each ball of pizza dough to make two pizzas. Spray a pizza pan with a little non-stick (we use coconut oil nonstick spray) and add your dough, nice and even-like. If you don't have a pizza pan, no sweat. Just use a regular cookie sheet and form your dough into a square shape. No one cares, it's equally delicious.
- Spread some peanut sauce over the pizza (be liberal), top with sliced chicken, red and yellow pepper, sprouts, and shredded cheese. Bake in the oven for about ten minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Sprinkle with the green onion, cilantro, and chopped peanuts. AMAZE.
11 Comments Add yours
I have a super easy recipe for pizza dough (orig. from America’s Test Kitchen) , if you’re interested. I made fried chicken, blue chs pizza on it last night.
My friend and I were rewatching (for the thousandth time) the Firefly pilot last night and I told her about your blog. Then here you go popping up in my inbox! I get what you mean about trying to be all things to all people. I’ve been a widow for just over a year now and I’m trying to figure out how to be both a great mom and take up the role of dad too. All while still trying to be a good sister, daughter, friend, and middle school teacher. Forget dating! I just want a nap! I know you’ll figure out how to balance the two – or at least how to balance a little better. And I will too. It’ll just take us some time. 🙂 P.S. Know any mid-40’s single men who would be interested in a Wisconsin girl with two teens? No? It was worth a shot. 😉
I sympathize with the sentiment. Since WFH started, one side feels I’m not taking enough breaks to do small things around the house. The other is guilty for taking a full hour for lunch. IDK if I’ll ever find the balance, but I have discovered a power nap at 3pm makes everything better.
Ah how I’d love to have a few months to be a stay at home dad, there’s so much that needs to be done in the house and boy I need some rest. But how I’d freak out not knowing if job/money is going to come back and when so all in all I feel you and I’m fine with my 9 to 5 job 😅
The wife and I love your current show. We live in the US so we only can watch season 1 right now. Hopefully the CW will put the 2nd season on here very soon. Hang in there and enjoy the time with your family.
If you are allowed to do guest star work maybe Nathan needs an old friend to guest star on his show? Anyway keep up the blog, we love reading what you have to say.
Can’t wait to try this recipe!!! Also sending hugs your way 🙂
You’d think that in these days of streaming television that someone would come up with the idea that a great television show can be produced in six months with everyone working 40-hour weeks rather than four months of 70-80 hour weeks, giving everyone on cast and crew a better work-life balance (and a longer period of having health insurance!). Of course, that’s easy for me to say, working in a completely different industry! At any rate, you make it look effortless!
I used to get a little annoyed that some big actors who have had multi-million dollar paycheques would end up doing ads for pop and cars and stuff. I thought, “You’ve got plenty of money – stop flogging stuff!” Then I realized that for many of them a lot of their career was just as you describe. Lots of financial uncertainty and worry about being able to support themselves. And I think that even if a person does become rich it is hard for some of them to let go of that habit of always looking for the next job, the next paycheque. That and I think some of them are workaholics who hate to be idle between jobs. You’ve confirmed my suspicions. : >
If you want to “act” (like yourself) then, making YouTube videos where you actually cook your recipes might be an idea (that I’m sure, someone else has already suggested).
you are an amazing actor. I’m a fan of Stargate Atlantis and I notice amazing performances during the time you were part of the show. You are doing an amazing job on “Family Law”. Any show will be lucky to have you. I guess it sucks not being able to plan years in advance. Worries me when actors I like are not part of any regular show. Something is overdue for you. Something big should come next.