After a number of years in this business (this sentence just made me feel really old), I came to a revelation. Stop competing, it takes away too much time. And please don’t compete against someone who is not your competition. Who is not your competition? Anybody who is not your type. Yes, the hated ‘typecast’ word that actors run away from is a reality, and you should understand what your type is.
When you understand your type, the number of roles you can go out for is more specific, and the dream of “making it” becomes more of a reality. You can then stop hating ‘Asian gays’, ‘girl next-door blondes’ when you are a ‘sexy brunette Latina’ because you will NEVER be considered for the same role. Repeat with me: Never. So, all that time you took evaluating how your competition is advancing and how you’re not, can instead be invested in acting, networking or learning.
As a writer, I came to understand how when you are writing, you start picturing those characters, physically and personality wise. And if, for the creators, ALYCIA is a thin short-haired blonde, they will have a tendency towards that LOOK. Yes, callbacks are about looks. If you make it to the call back, it means you already gave a good performance / impression (CONGRATULATIONS!) and unless you go cuckoo and do something really different than you did in the audition, it will basically be based on who they picture better for the role.
So you have 2 choices:
– Be every type: change your hair and head shots every time you go to an audition. TIP: wigs can be an option.
– Acknowledge your type/look and understand you will book when they are looking for you. Your chance will come. It sounds cheesy but it’s a fact.
Here comes the hated ‘You have to have patience’. I am the moooooost impatient person on earth, I want results right now. But I realized being impatient didn’t really help and made my frustration grow and my energy go towards comparing myself to any other industry related individual. It was quite comforting when I accepted that there were roles for ME, and I invested my time in those roles and not every role that came through my hands. Because all we want to do is act, right?
So, why not go a step further and, not compete, but help each other? If you find an audition for a type that’s not yours and a girlfriend you have on Facebook comes to your head, forward it to her. I assure you that some time after that she will return your gesture. Karma, my friend.
‘I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.’
– Mikhail Baryshnikov. (Yes, the french guy we all hated at the end of Sex and the City.)
Now, what about actors who are your same type? Hard work and being ready will set you apart from other fellow actors who look similar to you. How many hours a day do you spend thinking, speaking of, and analyzing how your acting career is stuck? And how many do you spend watching movies with characters of your type? Reading and analyzing scripts for your type? Being the most prepared actor when competing in your type is going to make the difference. The other option is becoming a Serial Killer.
Hope you enjoyed my FIRST Ms. in the Biz post! Thanks so much for checking it out!
PS. A little gift to think about: Social Media has given us access to know about each others lives, or better phrased, successes. So do not compete and think only about that person’s achievements, everyone posts their BOOKINGS but no one hashtags #booked1Under5RoleAfterDoing345Auditions. So don’t think you are the only one frustrated when not auditioning enough, not booking enough or not acting enough.