I still can't help wondering what it is about me that qualifies me for this position--or any type of acting for that matter. So, I decided to retrace my history of work experience to possibly find a link or clue to my fortune.
Before I was useful to the world (i.e. law states you need to be 15 years of age to legally work), I actually owned my own business! No joke! At the tender age of five, I launched the "Rugrat's Dog Walking Service" in my neighborhood, based off the popular "Rugrats" television show (what happened to kid's shows these days?). It was a small business, but we (my brother and I) branched out over three square blocks of customers. I believe we had the largest dog walking operation in that quadrant of the neighborhood.
Hand drawn fliers were handed out to people in the neighborhood, and the calls came in. For a whopping 25 cents, my brother and I would pick up your pooch, walk them around until they have relieved themselves, bring them back to our place to give them a bacon treat complete with cool water, and return them to your house. Pretty soon, I raised the price to 50 cents a walk and was pleased when not one customer had a complaint about the price increase!
Once I got into middle school, I swore off dog walking. I had received far too many bites and was now terrified of even the smallest chihuahua. I would only face my fears 10 years later at the age of 19 when I purchased Parsnip. Yes, that is all true.
When I turned 10, I again began soliciting my services around the neighborhood. This time I was encroaching on the neighborhood big leagues: Yard maintenance. For $7 an hour, I would do everything a professional service would charge $80 an hour to do. I trimmed trees, mowed, edged, weeded, fertilized, planted, replaced mailboxes, create pathways, raked, and power cleaned your driveway. I would borrow my parent's van, place the mower and other tools inside, and illegally drive to my destination within the neighborhood. I was on fire!
Once I turned 15, I was excited to finally have my first professional job! Boy did it suck! Nearly everyday after high school, my buddy and I would have our parents pick us up from the bus stop and drop us off at a nearby nursing home.
We worked as kitchen staff at Freedom Square based out of Seminole, FL. Job duties included:
Preparing food trays
Delivering food trays
Puree food for those without teeth
Prepare diabetic-friendly meals
Prepare made-up meals (my favorite was banana pudding sprinkled with salami)
Getting yelled at for swiping actual food from the freezer
Returning food trays
Washing every single plate, pan, drum, cup, bowl, and hair-covered fork
Taking out the 30+ bags of garbage
It was always extra fun when the bags of garbage were so over-stuffed with rotting soup and liquid that it burst like a rancid water balloon all over you while trying to hoist it into the trash compactor. Nothing says "I just completed a hard day's work" like a face covered with nursing home surprise!
As soon as I could, I left that job and began a new career as a WSI Lifeguard for the City of Largo. For two summers, I worked at both recreational pools offered by the city, Southwest and Highland. Every morning at 8:00 AM, I would teach swimming lessons for a few hours and then guard the pool during open swim. Though the job was better in every way (pay, duties, fun), I found I didn't enjoy the company as much. The other lifeguards were close friends, sometimes from the same school. I felt left out there, but it only mattered when I went on break. The majority of the time, I was interacting with the customers and children, having a blast.
During the winter of my Senior year in high school, I was broke. Apparently there isn't much need for lifeguards during the winter months. A girl at my school was recruiting new employees for a balloon twisting company called Balloon Distractions. I had never even twisted my ankle! After many weeks of trial and mostly error, I became a one of the most successful trainers within the company.
That's when I moved to Orlando to begin my college career in the BFA Acting Conservatory at the University of Central Florida (UCF). I continued training and building up the Orlando region of Balloon Distractions until the end of my first semester.
In January 2007, I auditioned for an acting role at Universal Studios, Florida. I remember it being my first cattle-call. There was a HUGE line of auditioners. I waited for over four hours for my turn to walk in and do a 1 minute comic monologue. It was one I had written myself about my childhood fears of The Beast from The Sandlot. ------------------>
I walked into the audition room, immediately tripped, and began my slate without pause. THAT is what landed me my job playing Taylor in Poseidon's Fury at Island's of Adventure. I loved that job. I entertained a crowd of 200 up to six times a day all by myself! Not even a year later, I helped open a brand new one-man show featuring The Rock and Christopher Walken; Disaster! at the Universal Studios park.
Recently, I just finished the new training DVD for Balloon Distractions. What a learning experience! I was able to write/direct/star/edit the entire project by myself. Iwent on location at a Perkin's restaurant, cast actors and random people, learned how to use a very expensive camera, failed at the proper use of lighting, and became a semi-expert on editing with iMovie for the Mac.
That was when I stumbled (not literally this time) into my current occupation with Feld. If you haven't already read the story, you can find it in this blog stream: How To Get An International Tour: The Spontaneous Method.
So what connections have I made by reminiscing about my past? Still none, actually.
The mystery continues to unravel.
-- Nathaniel Beaver