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BWW Blog: Because I Said So - Adding To Your Hyphen

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We all bring new life experiences to the table, and our previous day jobs and side hustles actually help us create the lives we want to live as actors.

BWW Blog: Because I Said So - Adding To Your Hyphen

I recently spoke with a successful actress who emphasized the importance of hyphens in our titles. She wasn't referring to those little dashes in our last names, but in the addition of our many talents and skills as performers. She said that "Actor-Musician-Dancer-Directors" can always find more open doors than "Actors." Her insightful comments helped me realize that every one of us has special talents, side hustles and personalized training that makes us unique. We all bring new life experiences to the table, and our previous day jobs and side hustles actually help us create the lives we want to live as actors. While her words sound simple and insightful, the idea of connecting my "other" talents to theatre once felt foreign to me. Until I did it. This is my "side hustle" story.

Flashback to senior year when I was frantically applying to performing arts colleges. My parents were adamant that I double major in theatre AND communications. I wanted no such thing. Theatre or bust. I couldn't even imagine taking a day job not related to theatre, it felt like I was cheating on my dream. I don't know what I thought life post-college would be like, but I only wanted to imagine it filled with acting jobs. One year of college (in which I double majored) and 8 months of quarantine later...and I'm realizing that senior-year Leah did NOT have the most realistic world view. Actors are an incredibly multifaceted group of people. We all have those special hyphens in our names, signifying the cornucopia of skills and resources we can bring to a cast. Double majoring helped me build my hyphen, adding skills to my resume that I didn't know I had! I then learned to use these new talents during quarantine, as actors became more resourceful than ever before- finding new ways to inspire others and open doors that appeared to be firmly closed. And it was the perfect blend of quarantine boredom, my new (double-majored) hyphens, and that need to create that led me to my very first side hustle. Welcome to Because I Said So.

"Why don't we start a cooking channel?" This revolutionary moment occurred about three months into quarantine, while my mom and I were on one of our (MANY) quarantine walks. Since being sent home from school in March, I had already realized quite a lot about myself. The need for self-care in my life, the joy of class in pajamas...and the fact that I had no idea how to cook. Which triggered some other (frightening) realizations. If I lived in an apartment next year, how would I make dinner for myself? Did I really want to eat take-out every night for a year? I also began wondering if any other college student had this problem, especially now that corona spelled an uncertain future for university-communal dining halls. As my mom began dutifully trying to teach me her recipes, the idea began to surface. What if there was a way to not only teach me how to cook...but my friends how to as well? What if we used our humor, relationship, and lessons to...start a cooking channel? Thus, Because I Said So was born. My mom and I created a mother/daughter Youtube cooking channel. We post weekly cooking videos with simple ingredients, easy how-to's and a whole lot of mom/daughter humor to teach college students (and all beginner cooks) ways to make delicious and healthy foods. Aka my first little "side hustle."

Every week, I use all the talents in my hyphen to create this show. My mom and I start the week writing a light 'script' for the video, setting up our filming location and shooting the video. I finish the week with video editing, publishing, and marketing it to the world. If we're not filming or editing, we're sharing our channel on as many platforms as we can and trying to secure new opportunities. Because I Said So uses not only my theatre talents, but aspects from my communications major as well: video editing, marketing, writing, etc. And of course, I get to act and direct in new content every week- with my mom!!

It won't be an easy stroll from school to Broadway. I will have to take other jobs, find other side hustles along the way to make ends meet. But I no longer choose to deny or dread that fact. Taking a day job or a side hustle makes you NO less of an actor. In fact, I'd say it makes you more of one. Jobs and side hustles allow you to meet new people, gain new life experiences, use your imagination and resourcefulness to find ways to connect your work and your dream. That's the life of an actor. Not sitting around, waiting for opportunities to fall into your lap. We have to create the opportunities for ourselves.

So instead of an acting-communications-filming job like Because I Said So taking opportunities away from me in my life, it just adds to my experiences, my talents, my hyphen. I don't have to be just Leah Packer, an actor. I am Leah Packer. An actor-singer-director-writer-ukulele playing-rollerskating-ballet attempting-communicator-Youtube Channel creator. I love bringing my theatrical side and humor into Because I Said So. And I can't wait to see the opportunities and relationships the theatre world has in store for me. So, here's my weekly reminder to all of you- embrace your hyphen!! Take hold of all those opportunities in your life, find your personal way to connect it to the theatre, and use them all to better you and enrich your life experiences!! You never know how things will wind up connecting. Our side hustles are not cheating on the dream. They may even bring us closer.

Follow Because I Said So on Instagram @becauseisaidso._ or on Youtube: Because I Said So- Cooking For College

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From This Author Student Blogger: Leah Packer