I online-dated Rebecca and then we made sweet movie magic together.
In the most recent Seattle Intensive (Actorswork) workshop, we were asked to name a fear we hold about acting. Instantly, I thought of some of the risks within film work, such as:
- Lack of control when your performance is chopped up in the editing room
- Fear of others’ perceptions of you as a person, (sometimes because of how a performance is edited)
- Fear that the film will be badly finished, impacting your career marketability
- Fear that your Grandma will see that one love scene
All valid. I battle all of these. But this time, my greatest fear wasn’t “bad” characters or villains or challenging roles or editors I don’t trust… My biggest fear was “acting as commerce.”
My greatest fear may baffle most actors: acting for money. Specifically, I mean having to take a job I’d otherwise pass on, just for the paycheck.
I recently read about an actor who takes his roles based on whether or not healthcare is provided. He may have been a tad tongue-in-cheek but there’s still truth at the core. This discussion isn’t the merits healthcare, it’s why we act.
Acting for me is completely different from a “job.” When I sign on, I want it to be with a mixture of joy and terror, the inward tug of knowing I’m beginning an adventure. And I want it to pay, don’t misunderstand me! But I don’t want a paying gig first, and a compelling gig second. As Amy Poehler hinted during the Golden Globes …
The journey has highs and lows. You’ll be swamped with work one month, and then you’ll realize a certain casting director hasn’t asked for you in a year (gulp – true story). Sometimes you have to take jobs that aren’t exactly winning material – that dry teleprompter-laden training video, for example. Or heck, a national commercial (!) for fast food that you loathe, but it pays your rent for a year.
I just know that I’m an actor because I’m a compassionate, emotional individual who loves to connect deeply. I want that to always be the driving force behind why I take (or don’t take) an acting gig. Most importantly, I need to trust that as long as I am true to myself, the right gigs will continue to find me.
This weekend I galivanted, played, cried, explored, failed, joyed, thrilled, danced, derobed, and foolished in Gary Austin‘s ever-amazing improv workshop.
In the rare moments I wasn’t on my feet, I had the opportunity to furiously tap out a few notes onto my phone, to share with you today.
I’m thankful for everything that’s happened to me this year. I’m thankful for The Collectibles, The Summer Home, This Is Ours, I’m thankful for the auditions I went on, and the parts I didn’t get.
Too many times, we get out of an audition and spend the time on the drive home raking ourselves over the coals. Does this sound familiar? We agonize over what we could have done better, why we won’t get the part, that one line we should have delivered like this, our laugh was too shrill, we didn’t laugh enough …