Melanie Haynes went from being a working actress and voice-over talent in Houston, Texas for over 30 years, where she also raised her 3 grown sons, to leaving everything familiar, to try her luck in the Los Angeles market.
I interviewed Melanie to find out exactly what she did to step out of her comfort zone, create certainty in challenging circumstances, and book standout TV + Film work in Los Angeles.
Melanie generously shared with me many pearls of wisdom, including the advice she’d give her younger self (and all actors):
In Melanie’s words…
“Listening to the Spotlight meditations
each month helped me to feel more confident about my decisions.
And during a particularly difficult time with the living arrangements at the apartment,
they helped me realize that I might have been unconsciously holding back from
doing the things I thought I should do to succeed because if I booked it might
upset my friend who was not getting auditions or bookings.”
What had you been struggling with prior to joining Spotlight?
I’m not sure I would call it exactly a struggle – more of a challenge – but I have been a working actress and voice-over talent based in Houston for over 30 years and was transitioning into wanting to work in LA. I had an opportunity to stay with friends and share rent for the times that I was in LA – pilot and episodic seasons. My home and my husband, 3 grown sons and my mother are all in Texas.
Listening to the Spotlight meditations each month helped me to feel more confident about my decisions. And during a particularly difficult time with the living arrangements at the apartment, they helped me realize that I might have been unconsciously holding back from doing the things I thought I should do to succeed because if I booked it might upset my friend who was not getting auditions or bookings
What made you decide to join the Spotlight Club?
I loved the positive approach to acting and using meditation and visualization and things that I had studied and been interested in for many years, but especially gearing it towards the actor’s life. It always seems helpful to be involved in a group of people with like minds.
You’ve made great strides in the last year. Tell us about that.
I’ve spent more and more time in LA even though I still have my home and family in Houston, and I have taken many steps to help my career. I was fortunate to get a manager and agents right away.
I’m not surprised, since your body of work speaks for itself. What else did you do to get noticed?
I workshopped with casting directors, sent out lots of postcards and really did whatever I could do to help get myself in the room.
I had some really great auditions that first season I was here. I didn’t book, but the people that booked those jobs were named talent and Oscar-winning stars, so I felt that I was in good company!
I did end up booking The Middle last fall and that was really my first booking in LA.
The friend who had invited me to come out here ended up moving back to Houston and so I took over her half of the rent with our other roommate, so now I have a lease and I am committed to being in LA much of the time.
I still go back home when times are slower and for holidays to spend time with my family.
In addition to the booking for The Middle, when I came back out, two independent films that I had shot – one in Texas and one in Oklahoma had premieres at different film festivals and screenings. I was excited to have them showing in the LA area, and to get distribution! I was able to get footage which is always a great thing especially from indie films.
I worked on two other indie films in LA this Spring, and I am shooting a short film in Shreveport in early June.
How have the Spotlight tools helped you along the way?
The meditations always have something to offer in the way of encouragement, feeling grounded, opening up to new possibilities and just generally feeling good about the whole experience.
With what you know now, what would you tell your 20 year old self? Any advice to younger actors?
I personally would tell my 20-year-old self or 16-year-old self that I’m not fat! That has been something I’ve struggled with personally all my life and feeling that way when I really wasn’t I think was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Looking at yourself and believing in yourself in the best possible light can only help. Knowing that you are enough, trusting yourself and not comparing yourself to others is important.
What are three words that best describe you?
Persistent, genuine, positive.
Where have we seen you lately and where can we see you next?
I did The Middle and Salem. and the film, A Country Called Home, is now available on Amazon and iTunes.
Tell us which of Wendy’s audios are on “Melanie’s Favorites” playlist
Each month the new Spotlight audio seems to be exactly what I need to hear!
But one of my favorites is I Am Ready For A Quantum Leap! (So energizing and solidifies the possibilities!)
Where can we find you online?
Any parting words or a favorite quote?
Believe in yourself!
Thanks Melanie! I know your journey and victories will inspire many other actors to do just that. We’ll be looking out for you on the big + small screens!
Want empowering tools to help you turn challenges into certainty, confidence + bookings? Grab your free 30-day trial to Spotlight + get free instant access to the mindset tools Melanie used to take on Los Angeles + book work. Details here.