Friday, January 6, 2012

Musicals or bust...

I've always thought of myself as the big musical theatre character actor. Indeed, for much of my early career I did NOT consider myself an actor at all, but rather a singer and mover who could do great accents, understood timing and could "make em laugh!" I was Mr. Vaudeville (when they wanted that) and knew how to repeat my show just like Merman did! In recent years I have come to understand that actually, first and foremost, I am an actor. I just happen to have some other skills that lend themselves well to musical theatre.

And as I look back at my work in 2011, not only did none of my creative work involve musicals but NONE was even on the stage! All of my acting work was in film and TV projects. Honestly, I never aspired to film and TV work and then a few years ago I got an amazing little role on a Fox TV show called THE JURY. Suffice it to say, my big scene ended up on the cutting room floor and my recurring role was unable to recur because the show was cancelled! Wah, wah!

BUT...that experience allowed me to realize that I had been wrong about my ideas of the medium. I thought I would miss a live audience or the spontaneity of having to get it right the first time. I thought all that waiting around to hit your mark and say a few lines would be devoid of acting; devoid of creating character. I was wrong. In 2011, I had the great opportunity to work on several Indie films and a thesis film project that gave me the chance to sink my teeth into a starring role based on a Stephen King short story. It was an amazing experience and allowed me to take risks, develop a character and be spontaneous. All of the film work I did taught me a great deal about myself and certainly about acting.

And as I prepare to head out to LA...the big film and TV town, I feel that it's the right time somehow...I feel like the stage will always be a part of my soul and I will always love doing theatre (indeed I hope to do some in LA) but I am looking forward to possibilities of working in a medium I never thought I would FIT into. Why? Because I was too big...I was too "broad." I was larger than life and didn't know how to be anything else.

I am reminded of words spoken by two Casting Directors to me that have been so beneficial and inspiring to me. I have been able to blend both of these statements from two very talented and kind men and so I share them with you now:

"It bothers me when people accuse actors of being "larger than life." How can one be larger than life? That would not be possible. As long as what you are doing is coming from a place of truth than I can believe it. Dennis Franz is larger than life in REAL life and his character on NYPD Blue was a pretty big character but we believed him because it was all coming from a place of truth. It was all honest and true." Ross Meyerson (Emmy Winning Casting Director whose credits include Nurse Jackie, The Big C, Damages and Rescue Me)

"Patrick...I know the training and experience you grew up with. So did I. You are "louder, faster, funnier" and great at it. And you will always get SOME work continuing with that approach. But most of the industry doesn't want that right now. They want truthful and intimate. Even in the theatre you have pin mics and smaller stages. And you are a good enough actor to give them what they want if YOU want to do it." Eric Woodall (Broadway Casting Director of Mama Mia, Mary Poppins and Billy Elliot to name a few)

I look forward to what LA has to offer...I am coming in with my arms outstretched and have my toolbox with some great experience, fantastic knowledge and wonderful contacts. I am grateful for it all!


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