Saturday, March 25, 2006

Today marks my 5-year anniversary of leaving my job waiting tables at The Hollywood Standard. I simply say "Wow!" Five years of making my entire living solely as an actor.

It hasn't always been easy, but sometimes it's been very easy. I've lived a pretty good life since entering the entertainment business, especially after moving to New York to really pursue it.

I remember when I first considered leaving The Standard; I didn't know if or when I would need to return. What I did know was that is was a chance that I had to take. The way I looked at it I wasn’t making that much money for the effort I was putting out. I worked the graveyard shift, 11pm – 7am. I probably could have gotten a more profitable shift like 5pm – midnight, but that would have conflicted with my workshops and classes. Those were considered the “good shifts” and all the “veterans” had those. I had a different plan.

It’s funny, my fellow employees would ask how in the heck I could stand to work the hours that I did. Let me tell you, I played a lot of mind games with myself to justify it. My answer would usually be, “I’m doing this so I won’t have to do this”. Remember, I was working the graveyard shift at a Hollywood Hotspot on The Sunset Strip. Whew!

There were so many shifts when I would be at work at 4:30 am wondering if I was crazy for putting myself through it. I knew one day I would go back there and not have to serve a burger or a mixed drink. That day came when I booked the commercial for Honda/Japan. The production, advertising execs and director happened to be staying at The Standard and had the wardrobe fitting there…….by the pool! It was quite interesting because at the time I had been gone from the job for about a year, but several of the same people still worked there. They were wondering why I was kinda hanging out in the middle of the day sitting in those funky chairs in the lobby. I was waiting for my close-up! I’m kidding, but I must admit that it felt great to be back in that way.

The moment I knew I had to leave was the morning I got off work and parked my car in front of a driveway from like 7:20am until 2pm! Ooops! I was lucky that I didn’t get a ticket or worse towed. Something had to give, I was going crazy.

At first when I left I'd drive by the hotel and wonder if or when I would return. That eventually changed to "I am on a leave of absence from there" to "I used to work there" to "Wow, I used to work there!" to now I can drive by there and not even notice the building. I have to say that is a really great feeling.

Although, it doesn't always feel like such an incredible feat; I know when I look at the numbers of SAG members and the odds against me making a freaking dime in the business it's something to be very excited and proud about.

Being an actor is the best job I've ever had, but I have to say that working at The Harley-Davidson CafĂ© was a close second. That was a great time. Well, wait a minute. I HAVE to include my 15+ years working for my parents at the family deli, Philadelphia Cold Cuts, in Virginia Beach, VA. Although it wasn't always a smooth situation; it did teach me things about business and life. My tireless work ethic definitely came from my experiences there. I hope to never have to serve another burger or mixed drink unless it's in a film, TV, stage or commercial project. Don't get me started on working at Old Navy/Beverly Center. Now THAT was a whole ‘nother thing.


Bonnie said...


Congratulations on the milestone, Stephon!

Stephon Fuller said...

Thanks Bonnie!

Antonio said...

Indeed. I'm familiar with that feeling of accomplishment and appreciation, just not with acting... yet.