My Creative Story…Mel Peters…
When I was 6-years-old, I fell in love with The Amanda Show on Nickelodeon! I’d wait for it to come on every Sunday night, and I’d act out all my favorite scenes when it was over. It was my escape from the world, but reality hit when I remembered I had school the next day. I would cry and beg my mom to let me stay home…I hated being away from home. I was a really sensitive kid with a strange sense of humor. I always just felt so different from everyone, but I wanted to be just like Amanda Bynes. She was so wonderfully weird! So, I decided I wanted to be an actress and that I would be her friend.
My cousins and I would make short films every time we were together. We were so excited to show them to our parents when we were finished, and then we’d brainstorm ideas for our next projects. My aunt always told me I belonged in front of the camera, and it made me feel so good! I’d imagine myself making thousands of people laugh, and that was an exhilarating feeling. I wanted to be the one who made everyone laugh all the time because it made me feel like I was on top of the world, like I’d never be forgotten…that became a problem though, because I definitely used that as a way to prove myself. I wanted to be a famous actress, but did I want it for the right reasons? Did I just want to be known? I’ve always felt the need to entertain people, and I constantly wonder if it’s better for my emotional health to just disappear from society and go live on a farm. But then I’d probably just act out movie scenes to chickens and become even more eccentric than I already am. The possibilities are endless.
I forgot about the acting dream when I entered junior high, because I thought it was just too big and it intimidated me. The dream came back to me when I was a sophomore in college. I was running cross country at Mesa Community College and dreaded it almost every day. I quit a workout one morning, which I never had done, and my coach asked me what was wrong. I looked at him and said, “Coach, I want to be an actress.” He paused and said, “Well, I think you’re in the wrong place.” The next semester I participated in theater and choir instead of track. I decided enough was enough, and I had to follow my heart. I couldn’t cheat myself anymore! My parents were generous enough to pay for my schooling, but they didn’t want me majoring in acting. So, my mom told me about a program at Northern Arizona University that sounded fascinating to me. I then decided to take a different approach at film! I majored in Creative Media and fell in love with behind the scenes work. I acquired many skills and discovered I had a passion for filmmaking. Along the way, I never lost my desire to be an actress. I told myself I’d move to Atlanta to pursue this dream, so I set a date: August of 2017. I finished up my video residency at Central Christian Church, and one month later I packed up my car and drove to Atlanta.
I’ve been a background actress for the past five months, but I’m soon beginning the journey of auditioning for small speaking roles! Set life is extremely repetitive, but that’s the industry. “Quiet on the set”, “Rolling”, “Background”, “Action”, “Cut”, “Take it again”… I hear these terms over and over and over again, and my brain still has them on repeat during my drive home after a 12-hour day. I’ve been a cashier, a bar patron, a med student, a party goer, a submariner, a jogger, and the list goes on. My job is to make a scene appear more real by filling in background space behind the main actors. I’m basically a nobody, but my job is an important piece that makes the production happen! I’m just really anxious to move up from a nobody to a somebody. I’m still only at the start of this adventure, and to be honest with you there have been many times when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel. Patience is something I still have to master, because I just want big results already! But, I have to remind myself that great things take time, and nothing worthwhile is ever easy. My fervor for filmmaking still controls part of me though; when I’m on set, I imagine how I’d direct a scene, or what camera angles I’d use to capture a moment. I’ll never be able to shut that off!
So, I’m out in Atlanta, living in my aunts’ guest bedroom, creating a whole new life for myself, and I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult that’s been at times. I can tell you though, that I’m constantly growing and learning hard truths about myself. I’ve had to face these realities head-on because I don’t have all of my previous distractions to cover them up anymore. I still relentlessly ask myself, “Am I doing this for the right reasons?” I honestly don’t even know what that means anymore, yet I continue to ask it.
When you start your own adventure from scratch, it’s exciting, but it’s brutal. I left behind an incredible boyfriend, family, and community, and that brings me down almost daily. I miss the familiar, but I left because I knew I had to. If we want to grow, we must embrace change, take chances, and not let fear control our decisions. Now, when I make a new friend, I treasure it! When I get to work on a film or show I like, I’m ecstatic! When I go hiking, I smile a lot and enjoy my time in nature. I appreciate and soak up my good moments that bring me comfort. If you have a dream, go for it; and if you think it’s too crazy, go for it now! Why not? If I don’t ever make it big, or I decide next week that acting is no longer my dream; I’ll never regret this adventure, because it’s taught me things I wouldn’t have learned if I stayed home.