The 11 Months I Was Unemployed (Part 2 of 3)

(This is the second part of a story that tells the story of how I made a poor decision that left me unemployed for 11 months. For the first part read here)

After I had left my regular work at Disney in the fall of 2005, I thought things were going to go my way. We had some money saved up. I was sure that television commercial work would start pouring in.

I was so confident that I even turned down a seasonal opportunity from another theme park because I was going to leave that behind me.

My problem… I didn’t have a plan in place. I wasn’t in a regular acting class at the time or a regular group where I could exchange ideas about how to get consistent work.

I was just winging it.

Not having a plan in place was very detrimental. I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. Without a clear direction, I became easily distracted or overwhelmed by what needed to happen in order to book work.

Kevin Gregg doing extra work on the set of "24" (FOX) circa 2006

Kevin Gregg doing extra work on the set of “24” (FOX) circa 2006

I wasn’t handling it very well.

I felt guilty that I couldn’t seem to get things done so I started filling my days with anything and everything.  I started volunteering at the kids’ school, volunteering at church and just being involved in a myriad of different non-paying activities.

Volunteering is a good thing, but when you are not taking care of  basic income for the home it can cause its own problems. And it did. Before I knew it I found myself emotionally committed to things that had nothing to do with forward motion for my career. I was stretching myself too thin and getting exhausted. But at least I could claim that I was “busy.”

I also started numbing myself with food and booze. Not helpful. When you go to an audition for a television commercial, you don’t look too attractive when you’ve got a puffy face from booze and a poor diet.
I was fortunate enough to book odd jobs here and there. I did extra work for a few television shows but found the experience depressing and not very lucrative for a man trying to support a family of five.

I did book one commercial during this time. Unfortunately the shoot day didn’t go the way the director had planned. As a result myself and another actor were edited out of the final commercial and I only got paid for the day of work. No residual money was coming in. No regular money was coming in either.
I had no financial plan in place in our home so we were going through all of this without a budget. I continued to spend money in our house the way that we did when the times were really good. After a few months it started catching up with us.
I started to see our savings get depleted. As the money started running out my anxiety started to increase. I was beginning to have a sense of desperation and it was starting to carry over into my work.
It’s also not very attractive when an actor comes into an audition and has a look that says “I NEED THIS JOB OR MY FAMILY WILL STARVE!” It doesn’t help you book work.
I spent more time and energy involved in non-paying theater work just so I could convince myself that I had talent.
I remember there were several nights where I would tell Kate that I was going for a walk. I would spend a good hour walking in our neighborhood crying and praying to God for help because I didn’t know what to do.
I felt that I had squandered a great opportunity working regularly at Disney. I felt as if I had thrown it away and I would never work regularly again in a creative atmosphere.
I started looking for any work that I could do during the night so I would be available for auditions.
I was stuck in my own head and I was paralyzed with indecision. I wasn’t sure what was coming next and I was afraid…
(To be concluded)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “The 11 Months I Was Unemployed (Part 2 of 3)

    • Thanks Kim. Yep, it was a frus rating stretch. In the final installment of this story I’ll also share what I learned from the experience. Thanks for reading and thanks for your support!