Tales From Tele-Hell: Feed Your Gut with Greener Grass

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The room I spent most of my time had 24 light bulbs, 18 fluorescent bulbs, and 41 computers. I know this because I counted. It was either that or watch my fingernails grow. Don’t judge me until you, too, spend 2 months working as a tele-fundraiser.


I remember one of my first days on the job; I was on the Planned Parenthood Acquisition Campaign. This means I was cold-calling people for Planned Parenthood Federation of America who have never given to the organization before. Ok, so here’s where my empathy has to come and deliver me. I gotta believe for some people, this would feel like someone calling me and asking me to support the KKK or Donald Trump. To many Americans, my phone calls were, let’s just say, not welcomed.


I remember checking out the call stats of people sitting on either side of me and was shocked. The person to one side had already raised $250 with 4 donors, and the person on the other side had raised $275 with 6 donors. Here I was: $0. 0 Donors. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. It really got me upset. Was I that unapproachable on the phone?


It turns out that wasn’t necessarily the case. What I didn’t know was that everyone was on different campaigns at the same time. So on either side of me was the Human Rights Campaign (People who have already donated to an organization that supports the LGBT Community) and the ASPCA (Mostly old ladies who love dogs.) These are much easier sells, so it makes sense their numbers were higher than mine!


So there I was, on the hardest campaign, comparing myself to the others around me, who were on two of the easiest campaigns, and for what? What was I actually accomplishing?


Has this ever happened to you? As an actor, it’s easy to compare yourself to others in this industry, and it always looks like others’ careers are shining brighter than our own. And honestly, the age-old “grass is always greener” theory isn’t always wrong. I’d be a fool to think I’m as successful as Brad Pitt. I’m not delusional, but I’m also not going to waste my time comparing my career to his.


Everyone has their own story, and to attempt to duplicate someone’s path and expect the same results is ludicrous. There’s enough success to go around, but we gotta find our own ways of achieving said success. There are 2 steps to that:


  1. Research. Take in as much information as you can, through books, blogs, teachers, classes, other actors’ stories, etc.


  1. Put all that information through your filter and listen to your gut. Not everything that works for others will work for you.


Our guts are our best friends. They tell it like it is. They are waiting to be fed. It’s our job to feed our guts with as much information as possible, then listen to their reactions. We create our own stories, and we can’t do it without our guts and what we feed them.


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