Since you have so many fairy godmothers sprinkling pixie dust on you, I will be the cruel voice of harsh cold reality for yet another week. You have had several days to get the first four monkeys off your back. I Hope that was enough because here are yet four more addictions you need to kick...and they just keep getting better!
Auditions. Even after people have gone through hours of acting-addiction detox on my website, the thing they keep repeating in their delirium are chants of "How do I get more auditions?" In the myopic world of the addicted actor, auditions are how one measures oneself. Auditions are an illusion; a temptation you must resist until you know how to control them. You don't need auditions. Auditions are a dime a dozen. Fight that urge or it will consume you. You need to work—any kind of work in this business you say you want to work in. Work leads to experience and knowledge, and inner peace—not to mention food. Go get a job reading scripts, making coffee, typing, answering phones. Get off the street with your hand out and try to help out. An audition scratches that itch for a little while, but unless you have people who are on your side because they care about you, and know you and trust you, what makes you think they are going to hire you for their multi-million dollar project? "Hey stranger with no professional credits. Come on in and screw up my movie!" Sounds logical, doesn't it? Only to the actor addict.
Showcases. Fresh out of acting school? Ready to rock the world but no one seems to care? Showcases seem like a likely source of representation or dare I say...an audition? Nothing shows the needle-marks of a zippy actor like a showcase. They usually come just before the fall. "Down to your last few hundred bucks, kid? I can multiply that for you. It's a sure thing. Industry people will be there." Newsflash. Do you know that a lot of the money you pay to the showcase organizer might have actually gone towards paying the industry folks to show up and of course for the booze and cheese they will consume? There is no bigger ego trip for a low level agent or casting director than to be fawned over by a bunch of recent acting grads. I should know. I have done plenty of fawning myself. So put your scrunched up bills back in your pocket and go home. There will be no paperwork produced from these other than the eviction notice when you don't pay your rent. How to kick 'em? Steer clear of anyone offering to do anything for your career for money.
Postcards. Postcards? How can you say anything bad about something I send my friends and family on vacation? I mean actors are barred from setting foot anywhere near a casting office or agency, right? You have to reach out to them somehow and they already have 20,000 Twitter followers and Facebook fans. We all learned that in our "Social Media for Actors" course, right? The only way to make them aware you exist is to send them some marketing materials. Think you're buying a little face and mind time? Think again. I know where postcards go, so save the postage and throw them out yourself. Despite what you may have heard at the local crack house (I mean workshop), they go in the trash. How can I say such a thing? Because I threw them out. Sound cold? Do the math. Hundreds of postcards arrive from strangers announcing their participation in unheard of projects on top of the thousands of submissions already streaming in on a daily basis, and what would you do with them? Even if you booked the lead in the next “Star Wars” movie no one would ever notice because you are up against the latest Malibu Community College production of the Jerry Springer musical on a 5x7 and your is only 4x6. Get it?
Workshops. This is the big leagues. Big money to play and big money for the participants. Can you say conflict of interest? This is a beautiful meeting of two addictions; actor addiction meet industry addiction. Love at first sight. They love your money! The high is clearly skewed towards the industry here. Workshops don't sell dope. They sell hope. Can't get an audition? There's a workshop for that. Can't find an agent? Workshop it!
Now here's where the balloon goes, "Pop!" You realize that the hosts of these things are paid, right? You understand that if you pay someone they will tell you whatever you want to hear, right? If you have to pay, it means one of two things; either you aren't good enough or you aren't really trying. I'd be happy to tell you which for $10. The more of them you do, the less power you and all actors have.
Despite the fact you may be feeling that you may have been doing the wrong things at the wrong time in the wrong order, all hope is not lost. The simple realization that there is another way is the key to your salvation. As with anything, knowing you have a problem is the first step in solving it. Actors get hooked onto these fixes because they don’t stop to think for themselves. They turn themselves over to industry “experts,” who for the most part are not experts at all. Most people in Hollywood who sell these services have never done or even thought about what it really takes to become a professional actor. This information is passed along like so many urban myths and folklore.
Don’t feel bad. Feel glad you are now in a position to reconsider everything and get started on the right foot. So take a little time to detox, hit the gym, go meditate on what you really want to do with your life and create a plan to get there. The secret? Use your common sense and trust your instincts. Acting is a long and arduous, yet rewarding journey. Treat it like you would any other advanced career and follow the same steps. Success will take care of itself.
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