The facts about landing a part on a studio TV show or movie:
🎥 4K actors whose headshots get sent to the casting director
🎥 400 are requested to audition
🎥 40 get a 2nd audition or are sent onto the director
🎥 4 audition in front of the director
🎥 1 gets the part
Chime in over here, leave some thoughts about your career changes or ideas for an upcoming career change.
Also, check my IMDB page if you’d like to see more of my work!
Original rant from my comedy blog on January 11, 2015:
Today’s rant is none other than the illness I can’t seem to get rid of in my life…the acting bug. Oh, acting, why do you make me so crazy?
Why must I get pissed off at commercials? They’re only 30 seconds long for Christ’s sake!?
But I do. I see others’ success and can’t help but feel some jealousy when they suck but feel chills when they’re superb. I enjoy saying shit like, “Man, Wahlberg killed it in Boogie.” I really enjoy watching good acting. Not even great, just good works for me.
And as I enter my official 10th year of “trying to make it,” (pun included), I realize that I still can’t shake the sickness. I realize that I enjoy getting on set and making others laugh. I’m definitely in my comfort zone once I get rolling (pun intended). I doubt I’ll ever get into dramatic acting. Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t work enough to get to a comfortable place to deliver a dramatic monologue. I don’t “act” all day, every day. And to get good at this craft, you must keep it fresh. Train, train, train. The only way to find that comfy place is to practice and repeat, practice and repeat. Take an acting class. Take multiple acting classes. Take a class on individual acting categories: improv, commercial, VO, auditioning, on-screen, etc. Whatever. Just practice.
Sure, I could join the theater or make more shorts, but I don’t want to. I don’t wanna stretch myself thin anymore. I’m in my mid-thirties, trying to buy a house this year, have a kid, juggle 5 resume writing gigs and an outplacement firm, etc. And even though they say you can’t give up, I’m not. I’m refocusing. These past 5 years, I’ve really hit screenwriting harder than ever. This is my passion. Creation. Writing. Creating original works. I enjoy writing and I don’t have to rely on bitter and overly confused casting directors to let me do it. I don’t have objective or subjective people monitoring every mood in me on a 30×30 inch screen. I just write whatever I want on my 30×30 inch screen and even if no one ever reads it, I do it and enjoy it. And I know where I wanna be with my writing and have a decent idea of how to get there (although I’m still learning).
In this life, you have to pick a craft and get good at it. And frankly, I just don’t have time to make my destiny with acting. I’ve done it before and it’s tough. It’s tough to make a short video each week. It’s tough to send out marketing shit to get others to maybe take a chance on casting me. But shit everything’s tough. I’d rather just learn the art of storytelling, delivering effective comic sequences, and creating memorable characters. It’s more fun for me.
When I’m on set, I always leave thinking “this is fun too.” And when I’m on set I usually think I gave it my best, maybe they’ll call me back. Ha, yeah right! I’ve literally only been called back to the same production company a handful of times. Shit, I got family in the business and they don’t even hire me.
Maybe I’m too loud and annoying on set. Maybe I didn’t do as well as I thought. Maybe I’m a fuckin idiot for thinking that acting could actually be something I could do full-time…maybe it’s all a pipe dream. Boohoo. Fuck off. That’s something you can’t do—feel bad for yourself. No one cares. You just gotta keep auditioning. It’s a numbers game. Keep auditioning and sharpening your skills by doing shit and shit will happen.
A “working actor” is probably one of the hardest things in the world to achieve. But even harder? Getting into WGA. Sure, SAG status is an accomplishment for any actor, and for those who don’t know what that is, it means Screen Actor’s Guild. It means you got at least 1 line in a legitimate production. Not that the local shorts from friends aren’t just as legit, but if you land a national commercial or a day player spot on a studio film, that’s the life. That’s the holy grail shit in the acting business.
I did get fortunate enough to land 9 gigs in my 10 years that I’m proud of the most. But it’s not without the irony that is my life.
Gig #1 – Bose commercial in FY07. The first gig in LA I landed really. Some family friends said they saw me on an airplane with my one-worded line (when asked about the experience when using the headphones) – “Awesome.” Truth is, I never ever even used a Bose headphone until I got my payment in the mail — a pair of Bose headphones. Score! Funny and random for a first “national” gig. But that didn’t get me into SAG. That was a non-union gig.
Gig #2 – iCarly. This got me SAG eligible. Originally it was an AFTRA gig, which means SAG but for TV. Once they merged, I finally got into the union. You know what I did to get it? Burped. Yep, no lines. Just a burp. And to this day, I still get the most residuals from this gig than any other. Go figure, a belch helps pay my rent each month.
Gig #3 – Vampires Suck. First time on a movie set. This was a big deal for me. And after getting paid decently because I scored double and triple time since I didn’t work originally on Friday I was supposed to but the following Monday, stuck in Shreveport, LA for the weekend, I was pumped to finally get to see myself on the big screen! Right, right? Wrong. I got left on the editing floor. Didn’t make it in the movie. Didn’t even make it in the DVD extras. Nope, only made it into the BluRay extras. Sheesh? DVDs can’t hold all the footage? What the fuck?
Gig #4 – Arthur Newman. This gig was cool. I actually did make it into the theaters and on the big screen, but this was hardly a studio production. This was an independent film that was lucky enough to score Colin Firth and Emily Blunt so they gave it a limited release. But still, I got a chance to bark at Firth and saw myself on the screen with all 3 of my lines. Although I won’t go into the story on how I almost got arrested by a cop that was called in to remove me from the seats because I was taking pictures of myself on the screen, I will say he made me erase all my pictures on my phone AND didn’t let me finish the movie to see my name on the ending credit roll. I was lucky enough to have sent myself an Insti that got saved on my phone in cyberspace, so I got one photo at least. Not many residuals here.
Gig #5 – Parental Guidance. This was a big one for me because this was my chance to work with a comic icon, Billy Crystal. Even if it was literally Day 1 of shooting. Day 1 of shooting = chaos. But a cool experience gets kinda jaded by the fact that my 1 line barely made it on screen. I went to the theaters and saw myself, but might as well been a featured extra. My line literally starts the scene, done OS (off-screen) and you can barely hear it. It’s me saying “turn around.” I didn’t even ADR (replace the dialogue so your voice sounds clearer on-screen) the line so it was taken off the field mic. Ugh, so close. Good residuals still though.
Gig #6 – One Tree Hill. This one was cool because my 3 lines are clear, easily seen and it was on a local show so I got some nice congrats’ from local friends. Decent residuals on a teeny bopper show that I never watched. Needless to say, it was tough to get through the whole episode during the premiere on CW.
Gig #7 – Regional Sheetz Commercial. This was non-union, but it was still one of my biggies because I have family and friends in Sheetz areas that saw it. And even though I never did on TV, I was proud to land a regional commercial. No residuals…ever.
Gig #8 – The Nice Guys. This was by far the biggest experience I’ve ever had on someone else’s set. Unbelievable. Got to work with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe IMPROVISING. For my experience on this one, check out this blog:
And with Joel Silver locking in the maximum distribution already, I’m ready for the residuals to come through. I just hope I make it on the big screen. We’ll see you in June of FY16.
Gig #9 – Dale Archdale. This was by far the biggest experience I’ve ever had on my own set. A feature film I wrote, produced, and starred in. Nearly drove me crazy (and still does), but I made something to showcase my acting. We’ll see what happens. Even if it ends up being a $65K piece of crap, at least I gave it my all to try to “get in” this business. But with irony looming around me, who knows. You can check the site here for updates:
To finalize this rant, here are some things I’ve learned in the past 10 years:
1. Overcoming the fear anxiety of being on set in the most prestigious industry will get you farther than you think, even if it’s just in a honey wagon for 1 day.
2. You have to overcome the line memorization thing and getting out of your “acting” head. Be in the moment! Get the lines down so you can start to “play.” Your performance will dramatically improve.
3. Once you forget about where you’re at physically with all the random crew members, walkie-talkies, colored tape, and noisy actresses, then get into character and figure out who he or she is and why they’re acting the way they are. What’s their purpose in the scene that advances the hero’s story? Figure that out and deliver accordingly. That’s why commercial acting is different from feature film acting is different from commercial VO acting is different from theater acting is different from animated VO acting is different from…
4. Finally, feel it and do it. Execute your shit. Do the script its justice. Help the other countless people involved make them feel like they aren’t wasting their time. When you’re an actor, you’re affecting the lives of many people. From stuffy suits who think they know what the fuck’s going on with creation to the creative people who can’t figure out how to execute the creation without pulling in 100 other people to help, to the worker bees who try to execute the creative people’s vision. It’s a lot of work for everyone out there, so mind your time. Mind your delivery. Be effective. Take control. Deliver. And if you don’t, go back to class and figure it out…don’t waste their time. You owe them that.
And remember the rule of 3s rules everything.
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