New Year’s brought with it bright optimism. Karissa, a Hollywood actress, was a recurring cast member on CBS’s show S.W.A.T. She had her social circles and a good life. Then 2020 came and took a 180 degree turn.
Her life hit a rough patch. All TV and film production was put on hiatus, and then right before the lockdown, she moved into an apartment to live with no one besides her dog. The lockdown literally forced her to be with herself 24 hours a day. It was bad timing and it got worse before it got better.
“My initial reaction to the pandemic and being alone was not healthy. I realized I have a difficult time sitting with myself, being alone and lonely instead of just being alone.”
She was floundering in that empty space on her own. With her new time, she started reading up on the news and educating herself about the disease. It was increasingly terrifying to not know what the next few months would be like.
It took a lot of falling down and getting back up before she realized that she could flip the switch. The alone time became a big opportunity for her to take care of herself and learn things about herself that she had never had before. Karissa decided to use introspection as a tool to find the best version of herself possible, and it would help her with her craft as well.
“I think as an actor, you got to have a very good sense of self to begin with. That’s the foundation. The rest is just skill and technique.”
The lockdown also gave her time to connect to other people. She’s now reconnected with high school friends, other friends, and family members. Back when she was working on the set, it was so easy to just get caught up in her own life; the cast and crew, and her social circles were her family. Being alone gave her time to reflect and reconnect.
“I really appreciate the friendships that I have, and I never really gave that time or acknowledged it to this degree.”
As the months went by, some TV and film productions restarted filming. She heard that on soap opera sets, everyone was getting tested. Strict protocols of social distancing were being followed. Walking was different, and everyone had to be set far from each other. Even the angles of the cameras were tight to give that illusion of being closer. Film production was moving forward slowly.
She wasn’t as lucky. The show she has a role on, S.W.A.T., was supposed to make a fall premiere, but now filming is not set to start until December or January next year.
“Word on the street is some productions are pushing their start dates and some are just going for it. I think it’s a little bit more difficult now because there’s so many rules that they have to follow.”
Karissa wonders what the future of Hollywood will be like. Being physical is an essential ingredient to acting, and in every project that she was on, she kissed someone. Romantic storylines were the bulk of what she has done. She heard that in order to follow social distancing guidelines, on the set for Bold and the Beautiful one actress’s husband filled in for her co-star when a romantic scene was needed.
“I don’t think they’re going to do many romantic storylines in the near future because that’s a huge, huge risk to take.”
She doesn’t know how film productions will make romantic scenes work. Actors would have to work together very closely, and it scares her because those were the parts that she was filling. Still, if a part was offered to her, Karissa would definitely take it. She wants to work. She worries more about giving the virus to someone else than getting it herself.
“I’d imagine that any production that’s happening right now will adhere to all of the rules set forth, given this pandemic. So, I would feel safe in that regard, and I don’t have too many people that I associate with right now. I can literally work and come back home and be alone. I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
However, the category of acting work that she does is going to be few and far between, and that concerns her.
Karissa is staying optimistic, though. She competes with thousands of blondes for acting parts, and she knows that in order to keep trucking in this industry, you have to believe that you are 100 percent capable of getting the part. Having a good mindset is essential.
After the darkness comes the dawn. Karissa sees that it is so easy to focus on the negatives, but there will be good things that come out of the pandemic. From her own time of introspection, she learned many valuable lessons about herself.
“I just feel we’re not acknowledging enough of the positives. I think we’re flashing light on all the negativity that’s going on….I think in dark times, it’s important to not forget the good things in life, and I know I’m being very broad with this, but we could all use a little more levity, a little more love.”
Read more about how Matthew Atkinson is back to work at The Bold and The Beautiful or more about Safe Way Forward and the post-pandemic film production experience.