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Secret Agent Man

The Truth About 5 Lies You’ve Probably Heard as an Actor

The Truth About 5 Lies You’ve Probably Heard as an Actor
Photo Source: Spencer Alexander

Actors believe the strangest things. And they’re always citing lies as truth. Reminds me of a certain someone in Washington.

Over the years, I’ve heard a never-ending stream of nonsense from the actors who have crossed my path. So let’s set the record straight on some of this baloney. What follows are five facts that you can take to the bank.

There are no small roles. Really? What about the role of Nurse No. 1? I’m talking about the character who only has one line and it’s something like, “The doctor will see you now.” I would argue that’s the very definition of a small role. The problem is there’s absolutely nothing a trained actor can bring to this character, because it’s a functional part with no meat. So, yes, there are small roles. Hell, there are tons of them. But booking a few can help put those first few credits on your résumé. After that, the trick is saying no to small roles so you can focus on larger parts that will show off your acting ability and help advance your career.

If I pass on an audition, the casting director will get mad and never see me again. This is only true if you’re a complete narcissist who believes the world revolves around you. The truth is, this sort of thing happens all the time. Sure, the casting director might get a wee bit upset, but that’s why you have an agent. We’re like the Secret Service: We’re trained to take the bullet. And ultimately, it doesn’t even matter. The casting director will forget you passed by the time her head hits the pillow, because she’s got more important things on her mind.

READ: 21 Thing to Make Casting Directors Happy in the Audition Room

I got the part. I beat all those other actors. No, you didn’t. Booking a job doesn’t mean you’re a better actor than the other people who auditioned. It just means you booked a job. It was your turn. And next time, one of them will get the part while you go home empty-handed. (Acting isn’t an MMA fight. Winning should never be based on someone else losing.)

It’s just an agency contract. It’s not like they can hold me to it. Oh, really? Try me. I get hives on hives when I hear this one. An agency contract is a contract like any other and it’s binding. So if you try to leave before the contract says it’s OK to do so, I will come for you. And you will lose. Want to know why? Because my lawyer is bigger than yours. And I have a signed contract!

I’m over 30. It’s too late to start acting. Oh, please. Starting a creative career later in life is difficult, but it’s not impossible. You just have to accept the fact that your competition is going to be more experienced. Can you handle that? Do you like tough odds? Are you determined to succeed? If your answer is yes to all three questions, then make like Rocky and go for it. Hell, I became an agent when I was over 30 and I started writing this column when I was over 40 and my business manager says I’m doing just fine.

So there you go—100 percent certified truth. From a man who hides his identity.

Hooray for Hollywood!

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