I went on to go the "normal" route of finishing school, going to post-secondary school and finding a good paying job. I eventually did what I had long wanted to do, which was to quit my job in pursuit of an entrepreneurial dream. I love being an entrepreneur, but through the years, opportunities to be in front of people or in front of the camera just started presenting itself to me without me looking for it. News interviews, hosting gigs, speaking engagements, and eventually a commercial. My husband encouraged me to continue pursuing that childhood dream, but i brushed it off, putting up my own limitations... "nah, i'm not good enough for that.", i would say again and again. After being in a slump for most of 2014, I finally just said "screw it! i may not be good enough, but i'll at least give it a shot" so I went online to start looking for opportunities and landed on one that said "looking for young asian adults, aged 17-25". I am past 25 now but being in the "screw it!" mindset, i decided to submit my photo and resume anyway and see what they say. Immediately, they said yes.
I wasn't going to get paid for this extra gig but there was promise of LOTS of free food so I was definitely down for that! Besides, I wanted to get more experience in the industry to see if it was really something I wanted to pursue further.
The movie was going to be directed by someone who had worked on films such as Avengers, Ender's Game, and Sin City so I knew it was legit and didn't have to be afraid it was some kind of scam and I would end up on the 5 o' clock news. It was a Japanese film and we were instructed to come dressed as people going to a party during Fall season so I put together my best party outfit and went on my way.
When i got there, there was a tent full of Japanese people and another tent full of food. I got nervous as 99% of them were Japanese (with Japanese as a first language) and they all either came with a friend or a group of friends, I was alone. It didn't take long though before the ice was broken and everyone started to form friendships. Trying to get a non-Japanese person to memorize and recite a tent full of Japanese names can definitely break the ice.
After an hour of waiting, chatting, and eating - we were told that we would be called in, in groups of 5, for costume fitting. Costume fitting? I thought what I was wearing WAS going to be my costume. We eventually found out that this Japanese party was going to be set in the 90's. When it was my turn to get fitted, the costume designer ran her hands through each outfit hanging on the rack and paused at an outfit involving a furry bright green coat. She started to move on as I sensed that she thought "there's no way she'll want to wear this" so i quickly piped in and said "i'll wear it!" and with a happily surprised look on her face, she handed me the full costume which involved a patterned orange crop top, a jean/leather mini skirt, a neon green see-through plastic backpack, and the furry green coat. She asked for my shoe size and handed me a pair of really high heels and asked if I was wearing white socks underneath. I told her that unfortunately I was wearing pink socks with donuts all over it, to which she responded, "perfect! the tackier the better" Ha!
Call time was 7pm but by 11pm, we were still waiting outside in the cold and by this time I had probably consumed 3 pizzas, 50 gummy bears, coffee, 2 cheese strings, chips, and trail mix so I wasn't complaining. Finally, we were called to the party scene which was outside, under a tent that was decorated with lanterns, balloons and lights.
We were instructed to dance (with no music) and talk amongst ourselves but with no sound. It felt awkward at first but it didn't take long to get used to the pretend dancing and talking. We had to do a few other fun scenes and for the last scene, they wanted us to talk amongst ourselves again but this time with sound and ONLY in Japanese. Uh-oh, i thought. Thankfully, my new Japanese friends were quick to give me training and taught me a few easy words that I could just say in between pretend laughing.
Me and my fellow pretend party-goers / Japanese instructors :)
6 hours later, we wrapped things up, i exchanged contact information with new friends, and said my goodbyes. I couldn't stop grinning and was on such a high that I could hardly sleep that night. The following day, I was to host our church's 14th anniversary party and I couldn't wait. It made me think about why I was feeling this way. While it would be my husbands worst nightmare to stand in front of hundreds of people and speak, it made me excited. While most people would complain about sitting around in the cold for 6 hours and mingling with strangers only to be put in front of the camera to do the same thing over and over again, i couldn't get enough. I'm nowhere near a superstar, my gigs are very humble and "small time" but by the end of all the festivities this weekend, I turned to my husband and said "i've never felt so alive." Perhaps this is what they say about loving what you're doing, even when you're not being paid. I don't get paid to host, I don't get paid to be interviewed, heck, I didn't even get paid to be an extra in that movie but... I just can't seem to stop smiling.
What would you keep doing, even if you weren't paid?