A day in the life of author and actress, Dana L. Davis
"I’ve tackled Hollywood too. But I’m not so sure I’m having a “Legendary” experience."
This post was written by Dana L. Davis, author of Somebody That I Used to Know
Somebody That I Used to Know is screaming my name. Ok, that was just a shameless plug to mention the name of my new book right away. Truth is, somebody is screaming my name. But it’s somebody I know. And somebody I’d very much like to strangle. In my new book (yep, mentioning it again), I’m writing about a young guy named Legendary, who has tackled Hollywood in such a way, that he is now the most famous teenager in the world. I’ve tackled Hollywood too. But I’m not so sure I’m having a “Legendary” experience.
“Dana!” The somebody screeches. “Dana Davis!”
It sorta reminds me of a scene where Legendary is surrounded by his adoring fans screaming his name, as security leads him to his car. In my instance though, there is no security, no adoring fans, and the person screaming my name, is my neighbor, Martha.
I pop off the couch and rub my tired eyes. I look at the time on my phone. It’s 11:11am. Normally that time makes me think of divine alignment with the Universe. But there is nothing that feels divine about Martha screaming outside my gate at the top of her lungs. I’m still wearing my pajamas, because I got off work at 7am, and didn’t climb into couch until about 9am. I know what you’re thinking—climb into couch? You mean, climb into bed? No. I mean couch! Cuz’ after working a 12-hour night shift in downtown LA, surrounded by cockroaches the size of eggs, and dust so thick I wrote my name in it, making it to bed…is a maybe. This day, I didn’t make it to bed. I hit the couch and didn’t get back up until Martha.
Speaking of Martha. I yank open the door and glare at her.
“Dana!” She’s still screaming.
“Martha, why are you screaming my name?” I hope my stern glare says a thing or two about how I feel towards her right now.
“Your gate is locked.” She says. “And the repairman needs to get in.”
I look at the repairman as I stand in front of my house in makeshift pajamas—shorts my daughter has nicknamed “underwear pants,” a t-shirt with Waldo on it that I got from Target like 20 years ago, and a blue scarf with white polka dots covering my hair. Pretty sure I look a hot mess. But I can’t make Martha or the repairman unsee this, so I unlock the gate, and he skirts around me to tend to whatever he needs to tend to that could’ve waited until tomorrow.
“Martha, I was sleep.” I mumble.
She shrugs. “Well…go back to sleep then.”
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I heave the heaviest sigh. Also, I don’t strangle Martha. Mostly because she’s walking away and I’m still wearing underwear pants. I just move back inside the house and decide sleep is an exercise in futility, because there is work to do. I am on deadline for a new book after all. But I bet you’re wondering what work I’m doing surrounded by egg sized cockroaches in downtown LA. Well. I’m also an actress. So…I’m shooting a movie. Not the glamourous lifestyle of Legendary. He would never work in such conditions. Legendary is an international superstar R&B singer. Think…Justin Bieber and Stevie Wonder had a baby. Actually don’t think that. That’s weird. Anyway, Legendary’s insanely talented, he can sing like Stevie Wonder, and he has cool hair (cool hair is very important when you’re a teenager). He owns a private jet and a condo in one of those swanky New York City neighborhoods where 33 million dollars gets you 1500 square feet of tiny space on like…a 76th floor. He hobnobs with the stars. He’s planning a big world tour. His right shoe cost two thousand dollars and he doesn’t even wear a left shoe, cuz that’s just how cool he is (kidding about that last one). Anyway, Legendary has it all. At least that’s the way it seems. In fact, I think that’s why so many people wanna make it in Hollywood. Cuz maybe… we’re all chasing a “Legendary” lifestyle.
Maybe, in some ways, even I was chasing a Legendary lifestyle when I left home at 18 to pursue my Hollywood dreams. But as I flip on my coffeepot and wonder if the egg sized roaches will chase me again tonight, I’m thinking maybe the Hollywood dream is just that. A dream. My phone is ringing as I stare at my percolating coffee pot.
“Hello?” I say with a big yawn.
“Hi, Dana. Are you…on your way to RecordLA?”
It’s my Voiceover agent, and I have no idea what she’s talking about. “On my way to RecordLA?”
“Yes. You’re recording the video game today.”
“I thought that was tomorrow?!”
“It’s today. It’s…now. They’re waiting for you.”
Uggh. “My brain is fried because I’m working nights. Today is tomorrow. Tomorrow was today or…yesterday. I’m so confused. I’m on my way!”
I dial my cousin. The only family I have who lives in Los Angeles.
“Can you please take Cameron early cuz’ I’m late for a job!” I’m crying because in all my 26 years working as an actress, I’ve never been late to work before. Thankfully, my cousin is available.
“Dana, don’t even bother dropping her off at my place. I’ll meet you at RecordLA.”
Gosh, I love family. And also…I love Martha. If she hadn’t have been screaming outside my house like a crazed maniac, I would have absolutely let the creators of this video game down when their lead voice just…failed to show up. After I take the quickest shower known to womankind, and throw a bagel at my kid’s head for breakfast. We’re in the car and I’m flying down Laurel Canyon to get to the recording studio. My child is consoling me.
“It’s ok, Mom. People make mistakes.”
“Thanks hon.” I reply as I wipe my eyes.
“I hope your bosses understand that you just forgot to come to work.” She adds. I groan. Kids have a way with words.
When I make it to the studio, my cousin just waves at me, cuz’ she can see I’m a wreck. I toss my kid in her car and run to the studio.
“Hi, Hi. I’m here.”
The lady at the door smiles and proceeds to ask me if I’ve traveled to any places in the observable Universe where people maybe had Covid. I assure her that yes, obviously I have. But, I still don’t have Covid.
“Can you spell Covid? Do you think maybe you had Covid in a past life? Do you think you’ll get Covid again? Can you say Covid while walking backwards?” She continues reading from her list of questions.
“Nope. Nope. Nope. And nope.” Unless Los Angeles roaches get Covid, I’m good.
I finally get the all clear and enter into the studio. And in spite of forgetting what day it was, I’m only 35 minutes late. The record goes well. Actually it’s a blast. I love video games and voice overs. That should be the title of my memoir. I finish at 5pm and am back in LA traffic headed downtown to my movie shoot. I stop at Gelson’s Supermarket and get one of those purple energy drinks that I’m pretty sure are shaving years off my life. But whatever. I’m exhausted!
When I arrive to set and pull into the parking lot, the friendly Production Assistant waves at me.
“Hey Dana. Welcome back. Hope you got sleep.”
“I got two hours. You?”
He shrugs. “I got a solid three. So, I could go all night.”
We chat about this and that and just how annoying our children are and also how much we love them because they’re perfect. One of my co-stars show up and he’s pretty much the funniest person I know. I can’t stop laughing. And even though I’m deliriously tired and that purple energy drink just gave me the shakes, not energy, I’m so happy to be back at work. The director arrives and we discuss a scene that involves stunts and people (that aren’t me), falling off balconies. We also talk about the roaches. Why are they so big?!
Then my daughter texts me.
“How was the video game, Mom? Did they fire you?”
I text her back and let her know it’s all good.
“I love you.” She says. “Have fun at work.”
I smile. How would I describe my lifestyle? Maybe not what I had in mind when I left my small Midwest town 26 years ago. But it’s what I’ve got. It’s the dream I dreamed. It might not be exactly “Legendary,” but it sure feels legendary…to me.
*Names have been changed to protect the guilty—like Martha.
Get your copy of Somebody That I Used to Know by Dana L. Davis here.