Today makes five years in Los Angeles, and just to annoy my girl Tanedra, I guess I should say, “It’s my Caliversary!” LOL, Love ya T!
But in all seriousness, five years, man that’s crazy! I can’t even begin to tell you where the time went. One thing people often ask me is how did I even end up pursing acting in the first place. So if you have a minute, I’ll explain, because that is the very reason I’m in Los Angeles.
In the deep backwoods of East Texas, there sits a small town called Woodville, Texas. That’s where I grew up, heavily involved in sports, where baseball was my first love. My first year of T-Ball I SUCKED! At the end of the season I went to spend the remainder of the summer with my Dad in Lufkin, Texas. He practiced with me daily and made me play against my older cousins. I got a lot better.
I know this has nothing to do with acting, but it was during that summer that I found a VHS tape that changed my life. No, it wasn’t porn, it was a standup comedy special, Eddie Murphy: Delirious. It wasn’t appropriate for a 5 year old, but I learned it from front to back. It was then that I discovered I wanted to be a comedian.
Fast forward several years through a lot of sporting events, fights, girls, and somewhere down the line, I graduated from college. A couple of years later, I’m driving home from work when I hear a radio ad for an acting class. I signed up. It wasn’t standup comedy, but I liked it. This was late 2007.
I stuck with it, booked a few indie projects and a commercial, and in 2011 I decided to move to New Orleans. There were bigger films shooting there and it allowed me to be close to my family and girlfriend back in Texas. I got an agent there and booked a couple higher profile projects, everything was going good. And then there was Hurricane Isaac.
I actually went to Texas a week before the storm landed, to avoid whatever was to come. I didn’t return until the power was restored at my apartment. When I walked through my front door, I realized that I forgot to trash the food in my fridge. That combined with 3 weeks of New Orleans heat had my place smelling like death. While cleaning out the mess I decided I was moving to Atlanta. There were more roles for black actors there, so I could build up more resume a bit more and I had more friends living there to hang out with.
Since my lease was ending in September, I decided to go back to Dallas to plan my move to Atlanta, telling myself I’d move by January. I didn’t. The week I was supposed to go apartment hunting in Atlanta, I booked a last-minute flight to Los Angeles instead. I’d been out to visit LA damn near every year since 2007, I had a friends living there, and the end goal was to eventually move out West anyways.
So just like that, with no research, I decided I’d fly to LA, apartment hunt during lunch breaks, so I wouldn’t have to take off from work, and I figured I’d have a spot by Friday before I flew back to Texas. First off, I was dead wrong, I wanted to live in the city but I got a hotel way the fuck out in Burbank. DUMB. With traffic, I only had time to view 1 apartment per day, unless I took off from work. But I couldn’t take off from work because I always saved vacation days in case I booked something that required me taking extended time off. Quick side note, I work from home so I pretty much can work from anywhere as long as I have a decent Internet connection and a cell phone.
I ended up hitting up my homie Bernard, who I’d recently met and worked with for a few weeks on a film in New Orleans. I knew he was moving to LA around the same time I now planned to, so luckily he’d come across a leasing agent that had a few units open in Koreatown. I had to lock something in asap, because by now it’s already Thursday and I was heading back to Texas Friday.
I ended up meeting the leasing agent and paying my deposit for a small, 650 sq ft studio. It wasn’t the best, but it was going to work for now. Now that I think about it, I wonder whatever happened to my little homie James. He was this little Mexican kid that lived next door to me. Every time I’d see him with his Mom, he’d have this huge smile and run up to me kicking his soccer ball. I’d “play defense” against him, and let him go by me to make a goal, and he’d yell “SCOOOOOOOORE!” Haha, that was random but I wonder how he’s doing, he has to be like 10 or 11 now.
So many life lessons were experienced as a result of this move, so many ups and downs, a few cool bookings, a few close calls on major film and tv projects that I didn’t book, but I wouldn’t trade any of it. I’ve learned a lot about myself through all of this. I’m truly grateful for all of it, as well as the new friends I’ve met, many of whom are transplants as well, so we’re figuring this town out together.
I will admit that with each trip to visit Texas, I’m somewhat tempted to move back. All of my friends are married with kids, and have 5BR homes that are like $200k cheaper than buying a decent 2BR condo in LA. They have a backyard and a dog. When I feel that urge, I simply remind myself that I came to LA for a reason, and sacrifices had to be made so I could chase a dream. So far I have no regrets.
Ya’ll keep living!
P.S. I didn’t intend on this post being so long, but I started typing and the memories started flowing. Self-reflection is a good thing though, sometimes we get so focused on where we wanna go that we forget to appreciate how far we’ve come.