Friday, July 17, 2009

If you just don't seem to fit...

should you quit?

While lately I have been attempting to embrace my quirk, well...quirks, I have come to realize that much of my talent lies in being able to do lots of stuff - maybe none of it GREAT (that is for others to decide) but between the looks I have: give me a mustache and I can play a Greek; give me a beard and my decent Persian accent and I am from the Middle East. I can play drunk convincingly well, do decent accents, sing from upper bass to tenor and so on. And yet all of this seems to make me almost unmarketable because I fall between two many lines. I am not "enough" of one type or one "strength" to land anything.

All of this comes from a great many auditions in the past two months where the feedback has been remarkable, to the point where I am often in the room for over 15 or 20 minutes doing everything under the sun, and being told how great I am at ALL of it but then never getting a call to do ANY of it. And I can only assume it is because people come in who can only do one of the things I do but they do it REALLY WELL and probably a bit better than me. Or they don't do it any better, but their type is closer to what that character would be - fatter, taller, younger, older, hotter, more Latin looking, less ethnic looking - you get the idea.

It's not like a lot of this stuff is new to me. I remember in college someone came from The Barn Theatre to audition the juniors and seniors for possible summer stock work. I sang from EVITA and nailed it, did Doolittle's monologue from MY FAIR LADY and nailed it and then did something else too. At the evaluation they said I blew them away with my voice and had them rolling with the monologue but that I gave them "mixed images." They said they wouldn't know what track to put me in because I fell "in the cracks." Those were their words, not mine. I remember feeling completely confused because I had assumed my versatility would be needed in stock where you might be asked to play a host of roles and ensemble parts in a varied season. I still think that I am right on that as a general rule, and maybe they were just blowing smoke up my ass cause they thought I was crap, I suppose I will never know. But it is interesting to me at this stage in my career that I feel like I am getting SO close and giving the auditions of my life (especially vocally) and yet I just can't get anything to land.

I have also been told by managers and agents that knowing your type and doing everything you can to fit into a specific "mold" or "track" is imperative to knowing where you fit in the business. Trouble is, I feel I could fit all over the place. Does that mean I don't fit anywhere? And if I don't fit, then what is the point?

I am on the verge of being forced out of the business of acting for the first time in my life. Now I have left before...twice before...but I made the decision to leave each time for different reasons. This time I don't WANT to leave, but debt and bill collectors and to be honest, a way of life is demanding that something come thru or I need to get a real job again and leave the biz behind. And when people say "just wait tables." or "take temp work," I want to scream! I DID THAT 20 years ago (well not wait tables but you already know that story) and to be honest, I can't afford to do that. I created a life for myself that I am TOTALLY willing to give up if I can be a working actor. But if I CAN'T be a working actor, then no, to be honest...I won't give up dinners out and vacations and cruises. I realize you can't have it all which is why I gave it all up two years ago.

A former student and friend (who also cast me in a couple projects which I am FOREVER grateful for) said to me that maybe I don't want it bad enough. I don't want to believe that, but maybe his is right.

I am sure that some of this seems to be free-flow thought with no rhyme or reason and I am certain that some of it is tied to earlier posts and may seem redundant. For that I apologize. All part of the actor's lifetime I guess...

What is in store???

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