This was also posted today on Break A Leg.
As a beginning actor years ago in San Francisco, I would scour several trade magazines, and eventually had memberships with a few websites once those became fashionable. I would mail, MAIL, headshots and resumes by the handful on a weekly basis, just trying to book a part in a student film or independent production.
This was before YouTube mind you, before digital video, before HD. Students shot on film or basically nothing, and independent filmmaking, while relatively inexpensive, still had a minimum buy-in of a couple thousand dollars for film stock and processing alone, not to mention renting an editing bay at some production house once the film was in the can.
I eventually stopped doing this, all of this running around like a maniac and trying to get work. First of all, it got very very exhausting to be constantly seeking the next job. You also never had any idea who you would be working with and whether or not they would have any idea what they were doing or could contribute anything of value to your career, such as it was.
The point where I was consistenly more knowledgeable about not just my role on set but everybody else’s was the point where I finally decided enough was enough, and just stopped blindly submitting to every amateur and student film I came across. At some point in your career, even if nobody has heard of you yet, you have to decide to value yourself or no one else will decide it for you. I just don’t have time anymore for student productions or random independent filmmakers off the street.
It sounds snooty and egotistical, but this is the truth: I know I’m the right guy for every job I audition for, but you as a filmmaker are auditioning for me more so than the other way around. Sorry bro.
So fast forward to today. I still do independent stuff (and of course paid professional stuff too), but I don’t go onto sets blindly. I do plays that are written and directed by friends and colleagues that I’ve worked with before or come reccommended by someone whom I’ve worked with. I do independent projects with the same criteria. I met Yuri through another acquaintance while working on a feature film, and our love knows no bounds today.
Break A Leg is a great project to be involved in, not just because it’s well-written and well-produced and has a great cast and crew. It’s fun to do not just because we have a rabid fanbase, figuratively and literally, that treat us like gods walking amongst mortals. No, Break A Leg is one of the greatest things to happen to me as an actor because in a weird, non-paying, still working full-time, and bagel-dog eating sort of way, it offers me job security.
Fuck trade publications and websites. It’s like I’m doing a real TV show we shoot so damn much, and I wouldn’t even have time to do anything else even if I was motivated to do so. So I keep acting, the world is watching, and I don’t have to mail (or email these days) one damn headshot. Ever.
I’d still love to do a film though. Yuri, go write something.