Thursday, November 03, 2005

Picking Up a Bit

When it's slow, every little audition, gig, or other blip on your Actor Radar becomes a Big Deal, so I guess the fact that I've had three such Big Deals this week says more about how slow it's been than anything else. Still, worth noting in my diary here are:

1). I went to an orientation session for the Equity EMC program. I've actually already got 20 hours or so toward the requisite 25 for joining (for members of sister unions), but I remember how much I resented not having gotten an orientation when I joined my first 4A union 15 years ago, so I thought I should show up or else have only myself to blame for the next 15. Half the presentation was on "why unions are good" which, given my background, was like preaching to the choir, but the other half was new and informative. AEA is definitely different from SAG and AFTRA, and that's mostly a good thing.

2). I had an audition for a spokesperson type of thing for a national brand that really resonated with me on a number of levels. First, it was the sort of character that I used to get called in for quite a bit 'back in the day'. Not so much in the last five years. Second, it was one of those old-fashioned spokesperson searches that you just hardly see at all these days, complete with specs from the Breakdown Service and lavish talk about the "quintessential qualities" that will make this character stand out above all others (and which are of very little use to the actor when preparing for the audition). Lastly, fortunately or unfortunately, it reminded me of the time when I actually was a spokesperson for a national brand — lots of complex emotions over the experience, but a lasting impression of just how ephemeral recognition, fame, notoriety, etc. are (and why they're a ticket to a Bad Place mentally if they becomes one's goals rather than the work itself).

and,

3). Yesterday I had perhaps the quickest voiceover job I've ever had. I couldn't have been there more than 5 minutes. It took longer to fill out the paperwork after than to do the read. It was one of those spots where they cut together a dozen people saying the same speech, so they really only needed each voice to "not suck" for at least 3 seconds.

Being who I am, these events led (of course) to a certain amount of introspection, the result of which was my realizing something that I wish I'd adopted as a credo long ago:

"Keep sucking until you don't."

Seriously, it's a great formula for success, and it's more concise than all that blather I used to hear about being persistent, continuing to train and educate yourself, getting as much experience as possible, etc. No — just don't be afraid to suck, because (in all likelihood) you will. Then, rinse and repeat, making adjustments along the way of course, until things click and you're not so sucky.

Now if I could only convince those casting directors who saw me suck once-upon-a-time to forget their first impressions...

2 comments:

Playmaker said...

Hey, thanks for the link!

It's slow here too...I just got a call for an audition for a job I can't do, and it was the most exciting thing to happen in ages...

Here's to things picking up soon.

Anonymous said...

Who is your Chicago agent? Have you also worked in NY or Los Angeles? You may want to look at http://www.auditionsandcasting.com. The site has auditions for Chicago, NY and Los Angeles. And it is all free.