I love acting,
When you act, it could be argued that what transpires on that stage, or in front of that camera, is actually “Realer” than real-life itself.
Think about it: you’ve got two people, at the very least, paying full attention to each other, looking each other dead in the eye, dancing a type of mental waltz; with lines, mannerisms, belief and disbelief in the words of one another — and all this culminates to become such a heightened experience for the senses that once you do it, you soon wonder how you ever could have lived without it! From your first magical scene, on forward throughout your life, you will NEVER be the same again. You become “ON”, and you never want to be “OFF” again.
That is — when you actually get to Act…
The truth of the matter is, that in this career you only perform your purported profession .000007% of the time — at best. (I did the math here BTW — don’t bother checking my numbers.) The rest of the time USED to be spent working at your craft; calling other actors for rehearsals, working in plays, coming up with unique material — but sadly that is not the case for me these days, and the same goes for many others. Today the money simply isn’t sufficient to live both the lives of the creator and performer (I am still trying though 😉 ). Today it’s all about social-media, connections, and more luck than I’d care to admit — quite a bit less to do with talent and dedication than you might think. These modern and proverbial rooms — ARE FULL TO THE BRIM — with people, all shouting, “Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!” at the top of their lungs, and, because that is the present nature of the beast, we all have no choice but to join on in the chorus.
So now rewind to the beginning of my career, at 21 years old.
After taking one of the leads in a short that was to become a pitch for a HBO pilot, and not getting paid for it because I wasn’t SAG (in the actors union), I’d done the Sopranos, and been placed in a position where I could join. With things going well for me like they were then, (I was auditioning like CRAZY, and getting called back more than 50% of the time, which is an amazing batting average — trust me) I figured, what the heck, lemme join, it can only lead to bigger and better things right!
Well, not exactly…
Not long after I’d joined, the writer’s strike began…
See before this, I’d done well because this was a business of personality. People called, I schmoozed, and, well, what can I say I’m a talker — I charmed my way into a lot of work. The strike made my once hot iron cold, as it took a LONG while, and during the interim it shifted the majority of our work from being a personable thing, on the phone or in person, to a cold, flat and one-dimensional internet submission. But being that I was now in SAG, and a good deal of work was moving Non-Union, I was, well — stuck.
So, I made “background work” my Day-Job, (It’s exactly what it sounds like, I stand, well… in the background — anonymous blur number 35 would like his paycheck Mr.Scorsazie) as it’s far more flexible than a watering/bartending gig (albeit paying far, far less), and keeps me working at my craft in teenie-tiny increments. It’s like a paid internship, where I meet the actors and directors that I hope to someday work hand-in-hand with. However, until then, it’s been a huge blessing for my life because it’s allowed me to call my own shots, especially as it pertains to my schedule, and by doing this I’ve be able to re-kindle my love of writing, which I’ve begun to pursue and explore as a new and exciting aspect of myself.
In the end — no matter what happens — being an actor has made me a student of the world, and for that I am exceedingly grateful. I have learned about every aspect of what it is to be alive in the modern world, and this interest and journey can be attributed to the craft alone. Again, for this I am VERY grateful.
I encourage anyone who is even the least bit interested in expanding their spirit to give it a go, either for the big-time, or on a local stage (where I started, and GOD do I miss it!). It is a decision I will never regret, as it’s made me a Man in more ways than construction work, Martial Arts, or Smoking Cigars ever could’ve hoped to.