An Actor’s Life

Hey friends!

So in case you didn’t know, I’m actually in Ohio right now! I had a commercial shoot yesterday, two auditions today, and I feel a bit like a chicken with its head cut off.

And…typing that little saying out…I’ve never really considered how gruesome it really is. Yikes.

Love life update: I’ve been kind of “talking” with a gentleman caller. And in conversation, he admitted that he has no idea what my job is actually like. He knows I’m an actor, but he confessed that that whole industry is completely foreign to him.

And talking to my mom, she admitted that, she, too, has no idea what my job is really like.

So. I thought I’d pull back the curtain and share what it is actually like on a shoot.

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A few weeks back, I auditioned for the role. My agent called me up with the audition opportunity. I learned the script, showed up “camera ready” in jeans and a plain, bright colored T-shirt, handed them my headshot and resume and did my best.

And then I forgot about it. Here’s the thing: for every “yes” — you get about ten “no’s.” So the best M.O. for your mental health is to just forget about every audition once you leave the room. You only hear back if you get the role, so if you forget about it, you are pleasantly surprised if you “get the call.”

Anywho, last week, I got a callback for the role. I was already back in NYC, so I sent in a “self tape” and the next day, I got the call that I booked the job!


So then, it was just prepping for the big day.

I memorized the script all week, and the day before, I did my nails, a face mask, tried not to eat too much sodium, and got a good night’s sleep.

So I showed up at a beautiful historic building downtown where the set was. You show up and are met by the “talent wrangler.” She introduced me to the director, producer, sound guy, camera men, clients, everyone. The whole time, I’m just thinking in my head — please let me remember their names!!


Then I go to hair and makeup, and wardrobe. The makeup people are always so wonderful. They’re fun to talk to, always have a story, and plus…it’s literally their job to make you look your best. So they’re awesome people! I always try to take away a tip or a trick, or their favorite “secret holy grail” product from each shoot. Yesterday, it was Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray! It’s literally like hairspray for your face! haha

The hair and makeup is always by “Craft Services.” Or “crafty” as it’s often called…which is everyone’s favorite place. It’s the table with the coffee, donuts, snacks, mints, fruit. — It’s basically it’s like walking into your best friend’s pantry, and finding all the goodies that your mother never let you eat in your own house. We’re talking candy, Little Debbies, there are always Dunkin Donuts. Sadly, most things aren’t on my Specific Carb Diet, so I always end up bringing my own food on set.


After hair and makeup, it was time for the photo shoot. Oftentimes, they’ll take stills for promotional materials, or their website/social media, so I worked with the director of photography. He would give me direction on what the client is looking for, how to use the  product, etc. And then it’s just time to have fun. They’ll usually play some music during this time. I always request Justin Bieber. 🙂


Finally, it’s time for the commercial shoot. The name of the game is hurry up and wait. There are so many things to do before the director can actually yell “Action!” Like, putting on your microphone and adjusting the volume, adjusting the lights, focusing the cameras, practicing the cameras’ movements, adjusting the script for any last minute edits, perfecting the set, final hair and makeup touchups. You’ve got to exercise some major patience behind the scenes, all while being professional with a smile on your face.

So then you finally perform the script. You give it 110% and perform your heart out. I always like to pretend that the lens of the camera is someone I care about — my best friend, or my brother, or a crush (if that’s the tone of the scene) — because it really helps make your delivery more natural.

But during this, you take direction, make adjustments on the fly, and basically just have fun! — Albeit stressful and the-success-of-this-project-is-riding-on-you kind of pressure…it’s fun.

And that’s a wrap! Everyone cheers, you shake people’s hands, sign release papers, pack up and go home!

And it’s onto the next audition! There will be days where I literally swing by an audition on the way home from the shoot. You can’t let any grass grow if you want to be a working actor!

Thennn the waiting game begins! It will usually be several months before you get to see what you actually produced, if you get to see it at all!

Guess who!!

So there ya go! A day in the life of a working actor. It’s definitely not glamorous, but if it’s your passion, you will put up with the inconsistent jobs, being the bottom of the totem pole, long hours, and constant rejection to pursue what makes you feel fully alive. 🙂

Hope you all are having a great week!

See ya Monday!

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159 responses to “An Actor’s Life”

  1. So excited to read your experience as an actor ! When I was young, 1000 years ago, I also did commercial work! It was a Cattlecall and an experience! I loved it 😍 Bravo to you for having the tenacity to hang in there! – Can’t wait to see you! Love your writing!

    • Hi Laurie! aw, thank you so much! Oh that’s so awesome! yeah it is definitely exciting 🙂 thanks for stopping by! have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  2. Oh, so you don’t just show up at the last minute and captivate them with your good looks and effervescent personality? Guess I’ll just stick with my current job then. 🙂

    • hahaha oh my gosh you’re too funny! thanks for stopping by, JP! have an awesome night! Hugs and love xox

  3. Nice! My daughter did a lot of commercials as a child, so I’ve been part of the scene for a while… Fun, but always hard to wait for bookings after auditions! Good luck with it…

    • oh that’s awesome, Sherrill! You’re right…that is definitely the hardest part!!! Hugs and love xox

  4. Congrats on getting this gig!
    What other commercials / productions have you been in? I would love to see some!

    • Aw thank you Kat! Oh gosh – lots of things that no one has ever seen haha indie stuff and pilots mostly. That and live theater 🙂 also…mother goose club 😎

  5. The constant rejection would have been pretty tough for me to take. I’ve had a couple jobs that were 100% commission, and the stress often made it difficult to do the job well. I loved acting, but I think the business part of it might have been more than I could handle! Email waiting for you with some news.

    • yeah it is definitely tough to swallow. Honestly i don’t know if i could do it if I didn’t have Christ in my life, giving me my worth. Great! Thanks Jeff!! Hugs and love xox

  6. So cute. The daughter of one of our friends is making a career of acting – though other than one small scene in a movie I don’t know what she’s been doing. Your post reminds me of how much fun or anxiety it might be. My sister appeared in an Apple Jacks television commercial she was always very calm and collected when put on the spot.

    • aw thank you so much! fun or anxiety – yea that pretty much sums it up! haha awesome! Hugs and love xox

  7. You’re a rockstar! Seriously! And I have to say that I loved this blog post, because I’ve always been curious about what goes on behind the scenes. Thank you for sharing with us!

    • oh my gosh Nicole, you’re so sweet. thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it!! have a great night! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much Gorman! What a kind thing to say:) hope you have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  8. Thanks for taking me with you to your job, that’s the closest I’ll get behind the cameras! I enjoy your blogs ! Thank you

    • Haha thank you LeeAnn! Yeah it was a fun day:) so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

    • Hahah thank you Barbara! 🙂 they’re actually just a Snapchat filter! Hahaha I wish they were real! 🙂 have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  9. Woah I had no idea this is what it was like to be an actor! I know someone who works in that industry, and it’s cool to understand her excitements and worries. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on booking this role! By the way, how do you keep your busy schedule as an actor while putting in time for your blog? I am finding it hard to balance school and blogging.

    • Thanks friend! Yeah it’s pretty crazy! Haha – it’s hard to balance that’s for sure. The fringe hours, that’s when i do most of my Blogging! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  10. Hey Caralyn. Congratulations on another shoot. If those in charge, and making choices, have any intelligence and taste, you should receive a positive call, affirming the spot is yours. With the combination of beauty, personality, humour, and Intelligence you have, there should be no doubt as to who receives that gig.
    God Bless you, Good Friend!
    Luv. 😀❤️🌹

    • Thanks so much George!! Awww you’re so kind to say that. Seriously, you’re amazing. Thanks for this wonderful encouragement! Big hugs to you my good friend! Xox

  11. ☺️All that work for a few moments of screen time. Nice. Keep it up. And i thought it was tough to put in 18 hours for an hour of audio podcast. No make up required.

    • Thanks Keith. Yeah it definitely is a lot! What we do for our passions! Hah Hugs and love xox

  12. Thanks for sharing! I would be one of those who doesn’t know what your life is like. (Of course, I understand what it’s like; I get plenty of people who think that my job consists of playing with kids all day and being done with the day at 2:30. And I’ve also met people who think that university mathematicians – another career I considered briefly long ago – sit around coming up with faster ways to multiply big numbers in their heads.)

    • Thank you so much! Yeah i think a lot of people have false ideas about a lot of different jobs! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read! Hugs and love xox

  13. Well done my friend, I like how you condensed what can be much more complicated than all of that. I commend you on the courage and perseverance it must take to endure this profession.

  14. Looks like you survive on stress because meeting deadlines and trying to be perfect is a natural gift few have. But you obviously love it! 🙂 There comes a time though in any career when you reach a use by date. I’ve often wondered if the average actor, not the privileged super few, do for money when they reach that time and have to put bread on the table. In your case again it seems you have multiple streams of income which you could leverage if and when use by date occurs. What about others who don’t have your multiple talents?

    • Thanks Ian 🙂 yeah it is definitely tough. They don’t call it a “survival job” for nothin! Hugs and love xox

  15. Great post! Really interesting reading all about the process and your experience. I wish you many more successful auditions and commercials in the future 🙂 k x

    • Thanks friend! So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for your kind words K! Hugs and love xox

  16. I’ll never view a commercial the same again, now knowing what goes on behind the scenes! It sounds as though it has a lot of parallels with freelance writing: writing your heart out, submitting, waiting, getting more rejections than acceptances–and the key is to move on to the next project after submitting. Thanks for sharing your “off-screen/getting-to-the-screen” perspective. And best wishes for more call-backs!

  17. Caralyn, I’ve had an inkling (drawn from others over the years who’ve lived parts of their lives before the cameras and on various sets – TV, movie, news broadcasts) of the kind of life you have detailed. Nevertheless, your description exhausts me! Wow! Praying you well. Carry on!

  18. Congratulations on your shoot. Thanks for sharing your “day in the life” of an actor. It’s always been fascinating to me. You definitely have the grace and talent!!

    • Thanks so much Laura Beth! That’s so kind of you to say. Yeah is a pretty crazy profession! Haha Hugs and love xox

  19. Given the battles you’ve fought in life, it made me smile to notice how you are able to wade into fields like acting and writing where, as you say, you get many more rejections than affirmations. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 in action.

    • Thank you so much friend. I really appreciate this beautiful affirmation. I think everything we go through shapes who we are 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  20. Enjoyed reading what happens on a shoot. I have only done stage acting in dinner theater and church drama and never liked the make up part. Made my eyes burn a little lol

    • Thank you so much! Oh dinner theater is so fun!! Haha yeah the lights are definitely something to get used to!! Hugs and love xox

  21. So proud of you Caralyn, so you’ve worked with high profile companies! We don’t have a Bed Bath & Beyond here but I know it’s big over there, you done any big movie/TV work? Also, are trying to kill our hearts with that Snapchat filter 😍😍😍 plus you need to come do act thing in the UK then we could meet 😇❤️

    • Thank you so much Benny, I’m so grateful to have you as a friend! you always are so encouraging. Nothing big…all indie stuff that no one has seen. Although, I have done some Mother Goose Club videos – they’re pretty big hahah you’re so sweet, thanks again! Hugs and love xox

  22. That was cool. Thanks for sharing that part of your life with us. You make it sound like fun, work, and just plain normal, all rolled up into one.

    • Thanks so much Lynda! So glad you enjoyed it! Haha yes – it definitely is all those things! Hugs and love xox

  23. Busy girl…I saw the bachelor link at the bottom that intrigued me..good for you choosing you over the latter clatter of drama trauma…at least from a moms point of support my daughters in anything they chose of course..that one just seems so invasive for the soul..I say good choice..and love that you and your parents are so close,your a beautiful example of parent gratitude.

      • awww and it was such a good comment hahaha I jest. I am happy you got the job :):) I didn’t realize until your post the work that goes into it all. I was curious about you said, if you see the finished product. Do they not send you a copy, if that’s the proper term, or let you know when it will be out?

      • Thank you Margaret. That’s really kind of you to say. Unfortunately no, they don’t! I have to put on my detective hat and search it out. In fact, I’d say I’ve only seen about 60-70% of my work! It’s really frustrating. :/ thanks for repeating your comment. I’m sorry, I don’t know what the deal was there with my spam folder. Ever since the last WordPress app update, I’ve been getting a lot of feedback that the comments section is being wonky, so I’m sorry you had to experience that! Hope you’re having a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

      • Wow, see that part would be just as bad to me as the rest. But then again, as long as the check clears, all would be good hahaha.

        No worries at all. I honestly don’t even know what made me realize it. I usually make comments and then forget because I am getting old hahaha. It will work itself out but I did notice that with the number of “likes” it seems the comments were down. Hopefully they will get it fixed. Hugs and love :):)

      • Haha true! Yeah – I’ll talk to WordPress about it! Thanks again and have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  24. Hi there,
    thanks for the insgihts. It was really fun to read. Would love to read more on this topic.
    Best, Mina

  25. yes, other actors also say that the expectation is more hard than a denial. The life of screenwriters is the same, but our ideas can also be stolen (especially often in Russia and Ukraine). In general, in the cinema and on TV, wild competition exists and everything depends not so much on your talent as on the personal taste of someone (the producer of the project, the producer of the TV channel, and so on ;))

    • Oh gosh, I can’t imagine the pain of getting an idea stolen. Heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing that! hugs xox

  26. Can you share your journey of how you came to be an actress? I am also from a smallish town in Ohio.

    • Hi Jessica! Thanks for your question! Sure, I began doing theater since the age of 5. First with community theater in my city, and then I began to book professional jobs at the age of 7: a television pilot, a movie, commercials, professional musical theater. I continued doing that through high school, taking a break for college. (And taking a big break when I was suffering from anorexia). After college, once in recovery, I got back at it again. I moved to NYC, got an agent, and have been doing jobs here and in the midwest ever since!! 🙂 hope that helps! big hugs xo

  27. Dear friend Blogger this is the FIRST time my laptop took me to your site. I want to see your posts but I cannot buy a new laptop. I miss you not stopping by my Blog anymore. I did not “like” and did read anything because of technical problems. I pray my Laptop will start working better. I just used the CCleaner so, I hope. Please I miss you, LOL you have been good to m from the very beginning. Thank you.

  28. Wow! I will add to the list of people who really had no idea! Proud of you for going on and on even with all the “No’s” you are one tough lady! OH and I hope it works out with the gentleman!

  29. Congrats, Caralyn! How stinking cool. This was suchhhh a fun read! I’ve always been curious about this lifestyle. Also, I love the urban decay setting spray- I practiced using it for my wedding & have had it ever since. So refreshing and I always feel like it’s the perfect finishing touch!

    • Aw, thank you so much!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the read! Yeah it’s a bit crazy, but also very fun 🙂 And yes – holy grail setting spray! hahaha Hugs and love xox

    • Thanks so much Michael! Yeah auditioning is definitely my least favorite part hah Hugs and love xox

  30. YOU HAVE A GENTLEMAN CALLING YOU????? Wait, we have all been following you for a while and you cannot just let that little phrase drop with no more details!!! At that point who cares about your actor’s world — what about him? Ok, you don’t want to splash him all over the place yet. I get it. Seriously, celebrating someone interested. XXOO

    • Hahahahahahah aw thank you Brian. Yeah kind of exciting 🙂 more details to come soon!! 😎 Hugs and love xox

  31. Congrats! It was awesome to read about your experiences as an actor. Also the hair and makeup room sounds like a great place to talk to great people!

  32. hi! thanks for liking my post on 🙂 I know that this post was posted a little while back, but I have a couple questions about acting and hope you won’t mind answering them 🙂
    how did you start your acting career?
    how do you look for acting opportunities?
    thank you so much! <3

    • Thanks so much Lydia. I started when I was five and I have an agent! Hugs and love xox

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