Actor Emily Brown Returned to Acting But Then Came the Pandemic

I can’t believe it’s been a little over a year since I filmed my first commercial through Chicago Talent Network and O’Connor Casting. (Warning! You will encounter a motto or two or three in this blog post.)

Focusing primarily on theater in the 80s and 90s, in 2019, I returned to acting after taking a break lasting many years. Since my encounter with death 4 years ago, thoughts of immortality remain constant. I no longer want to wait for retirement age to pursue acting and my other creative endeavors. Tomorrow, the next hour, minute or even second is not guaranteed. Not to mention, it seems like there’s a force propelling me towards a life of creativity. Besides, when you are doing what you love for a living, there is no such thing as retirement! (Currently, I am not making a living being creative. But I believe in, “Do what you love and the money will follow.”)

I tell you though, in 2019, it felt like fate gave me a resounding, “Yes, Emily! Now is the time to continue acting!” I was on a roll – I put together my self-taping space in my home, booked industrials, a web series, had an audition and callback for one of the most prominent theaters in Chicago and then…2020. Covid 19! The acting world came to a screeching halt!!!!!!

However, I’m an optimist who believes that sometimes necessary evils occur to propel us in different directions – and in the end, perceived bad events can usually lead to better outcomes. With the stay at home edict in place, I worked on improving my acting skills to become more marketable in the future. I continued working on improving my self-taping skills and learned how to use an ear prompter (more on this later).

I know that for a lot of us, when Covid 19 happened, it felt like we gradually woke up into an alternate reality. Now, we are doing things we probably would not have been doing if the stay at home edict had not occurred. We’ve had to depend more on telecommunication, which offers the opportunity to easily connect with people. Some of us are probably meeting and making connections with people we probably never would have met if it had not been for this universal shift.

In these past few months, we’ve all had a huge chunk of, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” We’ve had to wash that difficult piece down with a humongous glass of, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!”

In April 2020, I placed pursuing acting on the back burner, and shifted gears to the one thing I can always count on being able to do whenever I’ve been alone – music.

My YouTube channel evolved from an acting channel into a music channel where I’m singing and playing bass covers. And, that led me to create a blog writing about the three loves of my life – Acting, Art and Music. Yes, life occasionally reminds all of us, “Sometimes you have to trust, keep moving forward, and see where the road leads you.”

And, then a month ago, the road led me to a place where it seems like the Covid 19 induced acting break is over. (Fingers crossed) I submitted for auditions on Backstage, received audition requests, and have had a few fun self-taped auditions.

With what seems like a new beginning, I have decided to start keeping track of my auditions vs. booking. Here’s what happened during the month of August 2020:

The feeling of being in an alternate reality continues. Never have I ever booked so many projects in a matter of weeks.

Another wonderful outcome of the stay home: having taken the time to learn ear prompter, I was prepared when I received an audition from my agent for an industrial film. Faced with a few paragraphs of content and one day to prep for the audition, I auditioned with an ear prompter and booked the job! At the shoot, I even got to experience using a teleprompter for the first time. As, Seneca, the Roman philosopher said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!”

Yes, Covid 19 shook us up and jerked us out of our comfort zones. But, it presented us with an opportunity to stop, look at our lives, think of where we want to be and take the steps needed to get there.

Knock on wood – it seems like acting is slowly picking up again. I’m in a zone I hope never ends.

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