I’m excited to share Claudia Peters’ story today. She moved from New Zealand to New York City to follow her dream. I love stories like hers, especially when they have happy endings. I hope you enjoy reading this humorous yet heartwarming anecdote as much as I did, and here’s to hoping a happy ending finds its way to Claudia. Take it away, Claudia!
Question. How many parents let their child move from one side of the world to the other without ever visiting the city before, only with one suitcase and a carry-on at the infant age of 18?
Answer. One pair.
Question. Who has parents that are a little crazy?
Answer. This gal.
Kia Ora, you beautiful New Yorkers.
I am a 21-year-old girl who moved from the actual jungle to the concrete jungle at the tender age of 18 to attempt to follow her dream. This dream being, acting. And yes, I understand it’s the dream half of the American people share with me. But, I needed an escape from a tiny town I called home for the past seven years. And a scholarship to a New York acting school was that escape for me.
So school happened, but nothing had happened from it? Wait a minute that wasn’t meant to happen. I was meant to be found by an agent and have made it big by now? This was not in the five-year plan.
Ok. Amending the five-year plan. Internships. It worked for Andy in The Devil Wears Prada.
Thank you, Anne Hathaway, because through the new internship at Michael Mailer Films, the chance to assist Michael in his directorial debut, Blind, came by. After my excessive emailing though. Note, don’t be worried about being a pain in the ass. They will either get back to you or they won’t, and an extra email doesn’t hurt that. (Of course, don’t be a psychotic ex-girlfriend and become obsessed.) The film starred Alec Baldwin, Dylan McDermott, Demi Moore and John Buffalo Mailer (remember this name – he’ll come up a few times.)
Blind was a freaking whirlwind. And thanks to the most unbelievable UPM in the world, I was thrown into the deep end and taught so much. Granted, when she would tell me to sort out the G&E expendables list – I would have to google what that meant. (Grip and electrical equipment list, I eventually found out.)
Heads up. People love to use the terms “86” and “flying in.” I remember on the first day of filming, John Buffalo Mailer texted me saying, “86 that. Flying in.” Wtf did I just read??? Flying in? What do you mean, flying in? Why are we using numbers as words? Is this why I should have paid attention in algebra?
Flying in – walking in.
86 – cancel that. Abort mission. Stop what you’re doing. It’s not needed anymore.
When they start to 86 the 86 of the 86 at 5:30 in the morning, s*** begins to hit the fan. So you just hide out by the crafty table. If you couldn’t find me, you knew where I was. Grabbing lollipops at crafty.
Blind went on for two and a half months, including pre-production and filming, and what a way to be introduced to the industry. Amazing ––12 to 14 hours of my day lost every day, seven pounds lost from stress, highlights lost due to having no spare time to have them done, friendships lost cause I couldn’t give them the attention they needed, multiple phone and laptop chargers lost, but 9 million more things gained.
But I finished it.
So now what?
Is this the stress a freelancer has to deal with?
I hate the unknown. I’m a very organized person and not knowing what my plan is doesn’t go well with me.
So I went back to my day job –– auditioning. Was I rusty. Luckily a way for us to study is by watching Netflix. A few Jennifer Lawrence movies later, I could do this. I’m back.
A music video gig then came up. A few more auditions. A few more panic attacks.
Then, John Buffalo Mailer calls me for his new movie, Crazy Eyes. Love this guy –– I’m on board without needing to know anything more about the shoot. The full crew read was in two days.
Crazy Eyes was crazy. Two weeks of night shoots in a penthouse apartment on Gold Street, followed by exterior shots around Wall Street a few weeks later. You really become a family with these film sets. And we were the biggest dysfunctional family you’ll ever meet in your life. But it works.
And between film sets, so do I. Which isn’t conveyed to people who aren’t in the industry. They think it’s easy. It’s the furthest thing. But with help from mentors, friends, your crew family and your real one –– you can do it. As Shia LaBeouf once said “just do it.”
Want to share your New York story? Copy and paste it into the body of an email and send to tracykaler at gmail dot com.