Emily Bennett Shares An Inspirational Interview About Her Life As A Freelance Scenic Artist
Emily Bennett was raised in the midwest where the phrase “entertainment industry” was unfamiliar. As she puts it “if you say you want to work in Entertainment and you aren’t from a coast, people look at you like you are crazy.” Emily studied Film Theory at Community College and graduated with a 2 year degree. Unfortunately, actual production training was not offered. She found that she wanted more. She worked as a Production Assistant on a couple of commercial / video shoots in her hometown, but it still wasn’t enough. Emily wanted to be a part of the magic in the entertainment industry and her determination to do just this, lead her to eventually painting for the 2012 Oscars! As this inspirational interview reveals, Emily is living her dream life, as a freelance scenic artist. But, she wasn’t always. Read on to hear about how she dealt with fear, doubt, and worry about the unknown.
What struggles did you encounter in order to become successful doing what you love?
“Oh goodness. I had to go through a time period where everyone thought I had no direction in life. But it wasn’t because they didn’t believe in me, it was because [the entertainment industry] was an unknown concept. Fear of the unknown can be anyone’s biggest hurdle in life even when referring to someone else’s life. I am not someone that has a fear of the unknown. When I set my mind to something, I make it happen.
As someone that wanted to be a part of the industry growing up in the Midwest, I had to find my path first. I studied Film at Community College and graduated with a 2 year degree. I started by working as a Production Assistant on a couple commercial/video shoots in my hometown through a friend. Next, I chose to do a Theatre internship (for very little pay) with the Performing Arts Center in my hometown. I loved every minute of it and realized Theatre was a more common form of entertainment where I lived. I decided then and there to go back to school and study Theatre for my Bachelor’s Degree.
One night at the beginning of my first semester, I came in to help paint a show with a professor and loved it! I fell in love with painting and I knew this is where I fit in with the magic behind entertainment. This was a struggle because I had to overcome my inner voice telling me I wasn’t good enough to do something like painting. I am sometimes still fighting that inner voice but for the most part, I overcame it.
College was very hard for me. I am not a very good student and I get distracted very easily. Finishing college was actually one the hardest experiences of my life. But I kept going and got through my struggles there. After two years, I had a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies: Theatre and Sociology. I was ready to start working in the entertainment industry in the Theatre world as a Scenic Artist. I was excited! I applied to many theatres across the country (literally 36), but the one that I ended up at was in Santa Maria, CA.
I moved with a one-way plane ticket 8 days after I graduated from college. I had a contract for 15 months there and absolutely loved it. I didn’t make very much money and it was a struggle at times, but I had so much fun and I am thankful for the opportunities I received while I was there. After my 15 months, I decided to try out Los Angeles. I was curious to see if I could make it here. And here I am! I am working on different projects all the time and making money to live my life! I have painted different projects for clients like Nike, ESPN, Dior, Juicy Couture, and Skylander. I have also painted at one of the top rated Theatres in Southern California, and even painted Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day projects at Knott’s Berry Farm. My most recent project was painting for 84th Annual Academy Awards. I am thankful to have gotten that opportunity!
I have definitely encountered many struggles throughout to get here! I had to create my own path to get me where I wanted. I believe that struggles are put in our lives to make us stronger. These struggles make us work harder and help us achieve what we have always wanted. I am happy with what has happened so far and I can’t wait to see where life takes me next.”
What people, places or things motivated you to make your dreams come true?
“The people that have motivated me are the ones that have thrown caution to the wind and achieved what they have alway wanted in life! I really look up to anyone that I see accomplishing that. It could be a friend, family member, or celebrity. I wanted to be accepted by my family members and friends. I wanted them to see that my what-may-have-seemed-like-a-crazy-path, has worked for me. My family members and friends have always believed in me, I’m just happy I have proof now that every decision I made wasn’t a crazy one. Well, maybe a little crazy is okay. It just makes life interesting. Yay, life! When you let life take you where it wants to take you, it’s surprising what’s waiting around the corner. Life is what motivates me the most.”
How did you deal with fear, doubt and worry?
“Oh fear. From time to time I have doubt when certain roadblocks get in my way. Who doesn’t? We all do. But I just remind myself that I am human. And no human is perfect. That is the beauty of human involvement in anything. Doubt and worry is always there to make us wonder but also to make us stronger. Any time I have doubt I just remember that I am lucky to have achieved what I achieved and that I should never question it. This is my life and I only get a short time to live it. So I’m going to do what I want and live it!”
How long did it take you to get to where you are now?
“Haha, I think I shared all the details up above in the first question. But if you count since the very first day I started Community College studying for my Associate’s Degree in Film, that total is 8 years. If you count since I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and started working in the professional world, that is less than 2 years. So, depends on how you look at it. I believe the path I took though was the right one for me, however long or short it is.”
Who or what inspires you to stay motivated?
“My personal mentors are my a professor from college, Heidi and a previous boss, Abby. Both are amazing artists that I hope to be as half as good as someday. When I get discouraged, I just ask myself, what would they do? Sometimes just realizing what makes me happy is what motivates me also. Being creative has always made me happy, no matter what. Some projects are more difficult than others, but the feeling of accomplishment in end is priceless.”
Is there anything else you’d like to contribute to this interview?
“Just do it!!! — (Nike is not kidding!) No really, just get out there. What have you go to lose? Devote a least one hour a day to what you truly want in life. We don’t have that much time on this planet! If you have another job that’s fine! Even just letting yourself have one hour for you a day, it makes such a difference in how you feel. Make time for yourself and your dreams. It’s your life! “