I wanted to go to LA in the hope of being spotted and getting into the movies. Don’t go there, they said, it’s a cattle market there. You’ll end up walking the streets, picking through the trash for a crumb to eat.
I’m sure they had my best interests at heart, but they are so, so stupid; so very stupid. They know nothing about show business. A working actor, according to everything I read on the internet (and if it’s on Facebook it has to be right, right?); everything I’ve read says to go to LA, it’s where Hollywood lives. And who doesn’t want to get picked up by Hollywood talent scouts? I’ve even had emails from famous directors telling me that fame and fortune could be mine. All I had to do was send them $100 and give them some information about my bank accounts and they’d set it all up. I was wise to their tricks, though. They can’t all make me famous, can they? I knew I could only sign contracts with one studio at a time, so I wrote to them all saying I’d give them the money and the information when I see a contract. I never saw a contract.
I gave in to my so-called friends in the end, and much good it did me. Five years I’ve been pounding the pavements in Florida. I could count the number of major films made in Florida since I arrived, and I can only count to fifteen; or is it fourteen. Which comes first? Whatever. Do you know how many acting jobs I’ve had since I came here? You don’t? Shall I tell you how many acting jobs I’ve had since I came here? One. That’s how many. And that was for a half-minute TV ad for margarine. Me. Classically trained thespian. Reduced to doing short silly adverts.
Oh, I’ve had other jobs, too. Walk-on extra parts; enough to keep me from starving, which is something. The best things I’ve done have been wildlife documentaries, and a few feature films where the directors wanted to have some control over the wildlife in the backdrop. Eight or nine of us got together and developed a set of routines that directors seemed to like. We swoop in as a group and land together in perfect formation. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that real wild ones do that; and so they do. But we do it to order. And we’ll do it again and again if need be; and it does happen. You don’t want to know how often there are multiple takes because the lead actors, the ones who get the big bucks, screw up; or because there’s a sudden noise that doesn’t fit the story, or something.
But even that work has dried up lately. Some people blame it on the recession, but I reckon CGI has a lot to answer for. Why use actors who need feeding, paying and looking after, when you can get the same effect in a computer?
So here’s where I am today. Five years into my dream of making it big, and I’m tramping the sidewalks, looking for any work I can get. Today’s job had me dressing up as a duck, walking around this rotten car park advertising a Chinese restaurant.
Is that the sort of work a thespian of my experience and standing should be doing?
No, it isn’t.
Am I depressed?
You bet I am!
I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 38, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.