By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 1, 2014 at 1:02PM
Recapping the series, if you're just joining us...
This is a feature I first ran in 2012, and it proved to be quite successful, because I received a healthy number of responses, most of which I shared right here on S&A, and all of which were well-received by readers. So I thought I'd reboot the series, and continue it, 2 years later.
In short, I know that a significant chunk of S&A's audience comprises of actors, actresses, directors, DPs, editors, composers, etc, etc, etc. Some are able to earn a paycheck utilizing their artistic and/or technical skills; others - and I'd say the majority - are what we've labeled the proverbial *starving artists*, working diligently, relentlessly, struggling to climb this incredibly steep hill, trying to reach some self-defined pinnacle of success - whether personal or professional. And still others exist somewhere between the former and the latter.
Where do you fall? And, as the title of this post states, what's YOUR story, and would you like to share it with the rest of the world?
I'm looking for your individual stories of struggle and/or success, regardless of what rung on the ladder you are currently on.
It takes a certain amount of courage to be able to be vulnerable and share one's plight, but I suppose that's exactly what I'm asking for; After all, not only is S&A just a source for news, its goal is also to become a community of cinema lovers where we can all share/debate/discuss/learn/teach/commiserate/etc.
Here's your chance. You might learn something; you might teach someone something.
So what's YOUR story? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with "What's your story?" in the subject line. You can submit your story in any format - written, or even documented on video. It could be a story about a current situation you find yourself in; or it could cover several days, weeks, months, or years. It could be that you just want to vent your frustrations; aspects of, or people in this business that enrage you; aspects of, or people in the industry that encourage you. It doesn't have to be all negative, nor all positive. We're complex people, and so I assume our stories are as well.
If you're uncertain of how to present your story, check out past submissions here.
In the second of many to come, actress/writer/TV host/producer Tracee Loran tells her story:
Did you hear the story about the former ESPN reporter who walked into the “aid” office to apply for an emergency grant and ended up on The WELFARE?As a kid growing up in the great City of Chicago, I was a HUGE sports fan and I loved to perform. So at the ripe age of ten I knew I wanted to be an actress and the best female sportscaster ever.
Fast Forward…. Los Angeles, California, Circa 2006
I’m at the ESPY Awards standing in front of the Kodak Center on the Red Carpet (in a baaad dress) interviewing sports luminaries and celebrities…
Four years prior to King James taking his talents to South Beach, Dwayne Wade dons a cape and leads the Heat to their first NBA title. Now he’s gliding down the Red Carpet making his way toward me. And I already know what I’m gon’ say, because my main sports partner Austin and I have been planning it since the Finals.
Tracee Loran: D-Wade, my friend and I have a new nickname for you.
Dwayne Wade: Oh yeah, what’s that?
TL: “AT WILL.” Cuz you be droppin’ dimes on kids whenever you want.
DW: (flashing those pearly whites) That’s hot!
Yep, that was hot. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t on my way to the Sportscasters Hall of Fame. A week prior to the ESPYs I was in England covering Wimbledon and a few months before that I was at Super Bowl XL living a dream. I counted Stewart Scott, Dan Patrick, and Chris Berman as colleagues! I was making plenty of money, covering premier sporting events, and picking up hotties because of it. (Who doesn’t love a cool sports chick?) I had a perfect credit score and I was debt free for the first time in my showbiz life.
Cue melancholy music.
You know what comes next. The Ikea rug was abruptly snatched from under me. My hiring producer left and the new dude wanted his people. And I was not one of his people. Yeah, somebody forgot to give homeboy the right script.
“I shall not be moved!”
Determined not to be defeated I said what every reality show loser says when voted off the island, “You haven’t seen the last of me!” I took an aggressive stance and came out swingin’ like Mike Tyson.
I created a non-fiction sports show and liberated my entire savings to produce it. I used my ESPN clout to gain access to my hometown Chicago Bears (and saw a lot of fat booties in the locker room. Ick!) With the help of my BFF’s dad I landed an interview with Super Bowl XX MVP Richard Dent (funny man!). The show was hot and once again I thought I was on my way to the HoF. I think you know how how this movie ends. Meeting after meeting. Rejection after rejection. Proverbial tail between my legs. Now I’m flat broke living off of credit cards and the benevolence of my mother & grandmother to survive.
Turn that dayum music off!
Since my ESPN days I’ve had some incredibly interesting, humbling, funny, sad, crazy, and enriching experiences. And the jobs? Oh the jobs! I once stood in front of Grand Central Terminal hocking products in a wedding dress, I’ve shucked corn in the middle of Brooklyn, I’ve written a book about shucking corn in the middle of Brooklyn; I’ve been a scavenger hunt host, real estate agent, a restaurant manager, a waitress (of course!), youth mentor (still am), a Recycling Engineer (fancy title for separating the reusable junk from the junk junk), and so much more! (Ask me about the time I was hired to be a witness at a strange couple’s City Hall nuptials.)
Forget about the struggle, the journey is real.
I did fulfill the dream of that 10-year-old girl. I became an actress and a sportscaster and a pretty snazzy writer. I’ve had national television commercials, amazing reporting/hosting gigs, and I’ve had the pleasure of writing some pretty dope promos for HBO starring True Blood’s Rutina Wesley and Nelsan Ellis.
I recently came up for air. Not because the windstorm is totally over, but because it was time to breathe. As painful as it’s been at times, I wouldn’t change One. Part. Of. My. Story. Period.
"Keep on pushing..."
One thing I love about me is I don’t believe in the word “quit.” If it’s broke, fix it. I’m always changing up the game. My latest caper involves starting an online petition to be the new co-host of The View, because why in the LL Cool J not? (Gotta be a fan of ThePJs to catch that reference.)
Laugh until it hurts and then laugh some more.
"God has a sense of humor," as my homie Stacey likes to say. Yep, and He's "always on time," as everybody's Grandmama likes to say. Well, I'm certainly biding my time in Brooklyn and anxiously anticipating my next adventure.
Oh yeah about “The Welfare.” That’s a whole 'nother story for a whole 'nother day. You’ll have to wait for the book...or my appearance on The View. Whichever comes first. ;-)