When I was younger I didn’t want to be type cast – no one does when you are starting – you are an actor and that means you can play anything and be anything and you can be anyone you want to be! Especially, if you start in the theater you learn right away you can play a 90 year old man in a high school play and a little makeup and wardrobe and a wig go a very long way. Time passes and you find yourself in Hollywood and you find yourself submitting for roles you will never be called in for because you are not the right type. It’s funny it took me a while to figure out what my type was, and to be honest I was a little confused when I realized I wasn’t an ingenue or a leading lady. I found out I was a quirky, busty, ditzy, smart, sassy, flirty, sarcastic… Character Actor.
Sigh… (that sigh is a sigh of relief, of bliss, of comfort)
Being a character actor is super awesome!
a) Nearly every audition I walk into is fun. I am very rarely ever reading for anything boring. I’m always a quirky character in some weird situation or have some super fun dialogue. I typically leave auditions in a great mood with a smile on my face because I got to go in the room and play.
b) 9 times out of 10 casting directors bring in all the other character actors or “quirky” actors – which means they don’t really know what they are looking for maybe the goofy guy, the asian girl, the old man, all the redheads, and the ethnically ambiguous girls which sounds difficult to compete against all those different people – but that’s the thing – most of us are used to this so it’s not really any kind of competition at all – because we are all so different we get to go in and have fun and be ourselves and it takes all the stress out of the equation. When you know it has nothing to do with your performance and all to do with what the casting director is feeling like they need on that day, it frees you to have more fun. Plus, when all the actors feel this way they tend to be nicer to each other, offering help, making meaningful friendships as you wait to be seen. It’s pretty awesome.
So, maybe I don’t have the super dramatic scenes where I cry and scream over sad moments and losing people in my arms. Maybe I don’t get romantic scenes where I get to make out with hot dudes that take their shirts off in the audition room. Maybe I don’t get to play the lead… I am super fine with that. Look at Judy Greer or Stephen Tobolowsky they both are super successful and have had very long careers being amazing character actors. Look at newcomers in the character actor world, Liza Lapira & Charlie Halford they are in like every new series that comes out playing major roles and killing it!
Just remember you don’t have to be “the” star to let your star rise. Being different is ok. Being different is awesome and fun. So, make sure you embrace what makes you special and use that to your advantage.