Work one-on-one with Ben Hopkin

Private Sessions

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Always Acting: Making Our Own Work

We all face it as actors.  We're completely dependent on others in order for us to be able to work.

Or are we?

We're not the director.  We're not the producer.  We're not the casting director.  Our working depends on a whole bunch of variables that are out of our control:  the amount of auditions we're getting (or not getting), whether or not we're "right" for the part, the tastes of the casting director, the needs of the script, the desires of the director and producer, etc., etc., yadda yadda yadda, ad naseum, ad infinitum.

But is that really true?

We've been conditioned to think of the industry in a certain way.  And, yes, working on a paying gig for a SAG film or television project does indeed depend on most of those vectors lining up (although even here I think we have more power than we think).  But what if we decided to think outside of that narrow box that we've been told is "the biz".

Let's start by redefining "work".  Work as I'm talking about it is simply the act of using our craft.  In other words, it's acting.  And we get to decide whether or not we're constantly acting.  We choose how much we are going to put ourselves out there.

We complain that there's not enough work.  You have to be a name already in order to get a guest starring role on TV these days, right?  Okay, but those names are coming from somewhere.  And there isn't an endless supply of them, no matter how it may seem.  "New" actors get "discovered" every season.  Forgive the excessive use of quotation marks, but the actors that come into the limelight have usually been hoofing it for years before they get their "break" (once again, my apologies).

So?  Let's make something happen.  Take classes.  Go to networking events to meet other artists.  Get involved with a group of actors that want to work on stuff together.  Find a bunch of writers and offer to workshop their material.  Find new and hungry filmmakers that need free or cheap talent.  In other words, MAKE IT HAPPEN!  Mutually beneficial things, you know?  I scratch your back; you scratch mine.

This topic is what I'm going to be talking about with Carolyn McCray (@writingnodrama) this Thursday at 8 pm Pacific Standard on my radio show.  Join us here (give me a follow & set a reminder while you're at it), and call in with your questions (or Skype--there's a feature on the show page while the show's live--"Skype Click to Talk").  The number's (424) 243-9619.  Or if you're too shy (come on, guys, you're ACTORS!), you can comment here, or shout out your questions on my Twitter stream by DMing or @ing me.

And, as always, if you're looking for good acting, diction, dialect or voice lessons, paired with the practical advice you see on my stream, sign up for classes or private instruction.  You can fill out the form at the top of the page, or email me at actingwithoutthedrama (at) gmail (dot) com.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more. There is no reason to sit around waiting for work. Create your own, or like you said, join a group of artists who are looking to start working on projects. Do a one person show. Anything. Now is the ideal time, too, since it's been slow and is now starting to slow down even more Holidays.