Monday, May 13, 2013

Acting in 2013 so far

What's up?

So, it's been a couple months, and nothing's for sure. I think there's a lot to be said for imagining what the you of a year ago or two years ago or 10 years ago would think. From most of those perspectives, I'm doing just fine. I think the me of 10 years ago, would be satisfied. Maybe not thrilled, but satisfied. I'm spending my days rehearsing and writing and auditioning and acting (and bike riding and seeing movies and dancing and walking a puppy and loving my wife and reading books). I think I hoped that this is what I'd be doing now. I suppose I'd always imagined theatre more than anything, and probably would have hoped I'd be a part of a repertory company. There might be more political action and inspiring others in my life. But all-in-all, I'd be pleased to see myself getting regular work (played a juggling farmer in a commercial last Wednesday, and a homeless man in a short last weekend) and building a community.
I'm thrilled with the number of auditions I've been going out on. I added extra photos to the various casting websites about 2 months ago, and starting about a month ago, I've been going on 3 times as many auditions as I had been previously. The fact that the numbers don't line up exactly makes me wonder how related they the circumstances are, but in any case, I've made it up to 6 commercial auditions in a week (once) and regularly 2 or 3 per week.
At the beginning of that 6 audition week (which is also the week I auditioned for the juggling farmer commercial I mentioned), I kind of switched gears in my brain... So, last year, as you may know, I got my agent. And the very first call he sent me on I booked (as you may also know). I was going on ~1 audition/week for them. Some weeks none, some weeks many. And a few months later, I booked another commercial. (And a few months later I was offered an avail for another one that I had to turn down... and a few months later, I was put on avail for another, but nothing ever happened from that one)... The point being - last year, I booked a ton of work considering the number of auditions I went on. This year, I've been going on way more auditions, and have been booking way less. And I know there are always droughts, but I was trying to figure out if anything I was doing was different. Another thing that happened last year at auditions was I was getting the note a lot to "tone it down". That I was "theater acting" or just... I dunno, being to big. Presumably they that I was unreal. Now commercials are a strange beast, because, and I hope this doesn't sound unfair, but - they see you for many minutes and ask you to do a whole variety of things in the auditions and callbacks, and then you wind up doing something for a couple seconds that they probably could have hired an extra to do. Not all of them. But a lot of the auditions are like this. Really, they want to give the job to the person they like the most. I think I just realized this now.  Sure they want competence... but measuring competence is HARD. I'm super competent, but showing that in an audition is... I mean, there are lots of ways to show you're not competent, but so long as you avoid showing up late/drunk/angry (and even then...) you're off to as good a start as all those other people who aren't jerks. So likability is a factor. Back to the original point. Last year I got the "You're overacting" note from the session runners a lot. This year I haven't gotten it at all. I also haven't really booked much this year. I suspect (/decided) that that enthusiasm that makes people think you're overacting is actually key to booking. So I went into one audition as the character (didn't book, but got lots of great feedback) and this other with just the giantest smile you can imagine. And just said "* it". And it's feeling better. Hope I'll be back on track to buying a house in 2015 soon.

The me of 2 (or 3) years ago (just moved to LA) would be okay with things, too. Again, not thrilled. I'm not shooting every day nor making a living wage, but we're not destitute: we still have our buffer and Stina only has to work part time. I have an agent. I have friends who put me in things. I have things I'm proud of. I'm excited to make more things.

I guess the most disappointed would be the me of a year ago... but maybe not. A year ago, I had just gotten paid for the big commercial and I was imagining booking one of those every other month, and having plenty. But I knew my imaginings were a bit out there, and I hadn't shot Top Decking yet, nor knew what a big deal it would be. So I'd be pretty happy with how that was turning out.

So in conclusion - Hello, summer.