Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Up and Down

I've always said that one of the primary characteristics about Life as a Professional Actor is that "the highs are really really high, but the lows are really REALLY low". I'm kind of having both right now, along with a general milieu of dissatisfaction. (I usually try to have my milieu on the side as a sauce, but sometimes it just comes with the salad, know what I mean?)

On the upside, I've had a couple of voiceover jobs in the last couple of weeks. One was a demo that turned into two demos during the session — it went okay, but I'm not sure I caught on early enough that the client wanted two rather different attacks on the different scripts (and maybe they didn't know themselves either until they got deeper into the session). The other was a job for a bank in a major metropolitan area, but the bank is only in that one city (meaning little-to-no residuals). Still, it was a fun job calling for an extremely character-y read, so I'm not complaining.

On the downside, NOTHING has been happening in the on-camera department, so of course at times like this I'm inclined to wonder what I'm doing wrong. I'm pretty sure the truth of the matter is just that nothing really is happening — commercials are not being made, because advertisers are putting more of their spend into non-broadcast advertising (e.g., Internet, product placements, etc.).

Still, I have an on-camera audition later today that's kind of ticking me off. I don't know what it is about this particular casting director, but I always feel like they put me at a disadvantage before I even walk in the door. I'm usually scheduled late in the casting session, which usually puts me at the end of the tape/DVD the client receives, and the fact of the matter is that a certain percentage of auditions are just never seen at all because the client is overwhelmed after seeing the first 20-30 auditions. Secondly, I don't know whether this betrays an underlying contempt for actors or what, but I almost always feel as though the person running the session feels as though the talent is incapable of coming up with ideas on their own, so they try to "direct" the talent in a rather constrictive manner that stifles creativity (surely that must result in cookie-cutter auditions on the final tape, making THEM look bad, so why do they do it?) And lastly, I think they just don't know what my "type" is, so I fairly often end up being called in for something that's a stretch at best.

All of this has resulted in my having NEVER booked anything through this particular casting director's office in the 10 years or so I've been at this. Which, I'm sure only enforces their opinion of me as a non-starter. But, of course, hope springs eternal, so I never turn down an audition from them unless I have a product conflict or some other good reason. (Note to casting director: "Hello?! I have product conflicts! Doesn't that tell you something?!")

There... I got that off my chest. Time to put that back in my Shoebox of Bitterness and concentrate on just being brilliant in my audition.

Or, failing brilliance, "good enough" to land the job.

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