Not even a week ago it looked like I was going to die by spontaneous combustion while doing financial administration in a place even villagers call the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the smell of a nearby Lays factory in the early, rainy morning. But yesterday  I booked a ticket to Los Angeles, today I quit my job and June 1st I will be on a plane to Los Angeles again, on my way to meet with an agent…

And though these events were also inspired by a sad development that freed my way, they would have never had the  ”meet with an agent” part, were it not for one small thing that I nearly didn’t do because I gave up…

You may remember that when I was in Los Angeles last time, only a couple of months ago, I was very close to getting an O1 actor’s visa. You may also remember that that got blown off right before I went back to Holland, leaving me with little hope. You see, for an O1 visa you need someone to “sponsor” you, which in the case of actors means someone to represent you, like a manager or an agent. Now getting an agent or manager on it’s own is quite a big deal already, a very large percentage of US actors are unrepresented. For a foreign actor it’s even more of a hassle, because after all: why would an agent go through the trouble of sponsoring you (it’s actually not that much extra work) when there are a gazillion actors who are ready to work right away?

But I am a lucky girl sometimes. While LA is famous for it’s sharks and backstabbers and fakes, the people I met were like private little angels. The people I met gave me rides, free hair dyes, a place to live… They got me a bottle of Reisling for my first scene in class, took free headshots, and -completely fantastic- referred me to agents.

And so when I left Lalaland last time, I had one little glimmer of hope left in the last agent I was referred to, one that told me to get in touch after pilot season. So of course once pilot season ended (oh who am I kidding, the millisecond after) I sent a perfect, well thought out e-mail to said agent with a “hi” and “remember-me?” and “want-to-meet?” And then started waiting…

And waiting a while longer. A reply unfortunately never came. And Hollywood’s golden rule is that no reply is a negative reply. So when I finished my new show reel a few weeks back I didn’t think it would be of much use to send it to the agent. I even kind of forgot about it. But then right before I went to sleep I did it anyway, in just a quick 10 word e-mail. Not even an hour later I had a reply back:

Hi Shanice,

Just give us a call when you are in LA and we’ll set something up! 

Now does this mean I will get signed, get a visa, start life in Hollywood and hold a golden statue in a couple of years? No. I’ve had previous meetings with agents that didn’t work out. But the important lesson – cliche and overpresent in pop-music – is, of course: “Don’t give up.” Or: “Success is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.” Because I really didn’t think my e-mail would lead to anything anymore. And I imagine many have been there with me. But it’s exactly at that moment where you really feel it’s the end, not the ones where you think okay-one-more-time, that you should persist. This is just a small example.

So, now it’s all about making plans to get the best out of my time in LA, on which I will write here of course. In the mean time, share examples of moments in your life where persistance paid off!

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