Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Guys are not going to want to f**k her

My heart always goes out to actors during pilot season (which this is). Here’s how hard it is to become a cast member of a hit series:

When a writer/producer gets the good/bad news that his pilot has been greenlighted the first thing he does is hire a casting director and together they prepare a list of possible worthy candidates for each part. They then meet with the network casting person. She responds to your list. “No, no, hate him, uch, no, no, no, uch, no.” If one of those “uchs” is you you’re dead.

The network casting person will then present her list. One name sticks out. The writer/producer tells her he won’t cast this guy because he killed his grandmother. The network casting maven says, “Well, he didn’t kill a member of your immediate family. Read him anyway.” Basically writer/producers are expected to pursue the names on her list. If you haven’t already been eliminated you’re now at a huge disadvantage if you’re going up against one of these golden names. (By the way, it is very easy to go from this list one year to "uch" the next. Beware.)

Now comes the reading process. Out of all the pilots there may only be a few roles you’re right for. There are also a few more you’re not right for but you apply anyway. You can play Asian if you have to, no sweat.

Your agent submits your name. The casting director may not think you’re right or not be a fan and you’re dead. Assuming you’re over that hurdle you’re invited in to read. There usually are a hundred or more actors reading for every role. Great odds, huh? In these initial sessions you’re usually reading for a committee – the writer/producers, the pod producers, a couple of studio representatives. All you need is one of them to not like you and you’re toast. And by “not like” that could mean “too tall”, “good but we’ve seen him in things”, “he was my waiter last week at the Daily Grill and was terrible”, and “guys are not going to want to fuck her”.

Now there’s a new wrinkle. Networks insist the auditions be recorded and sent to them for perusal. Let’s say you’re reading for a part you’re not right for. Or you just didn’t do well. Not only are you dead but now the network gets to see your bad audition and you’re now on the “no, uch” list for other projects. So for the seven pilots you’re going up for, that one audition just cost you four of them.

Ready to go back to Michigan and teach 5th grade yet?

You make the cut. You get a call-back. By that time you’re not sure what you did that they liked so much? Can you do it again, whatever it is?

You’re on a roll. You kill at the call-back. You’re now a finalist. Your agent makes a deal contingent on studio and network approval.

You read for the studio. Another committee, mostly made up of non-creative types. All it takes is one to hate you.

They don’t hate you. You move on to the network test. You and four other candidates are led into a screening room one at a time where you audition for the network president (and a committee but when the network prez is there their opinions mean nothing).

Talk about pressure. Let’s say you were up for the role of “Rachel” in this pilot called FRIENDS. How different would your life be depending on whether or not you got that part?

You can hit it out of the park and still not get the part. The network president may be partial to a name on his golden list. He may have no ability to judge talent. He may not want to fuck you.

By some miracle he likes you. But there’s a hang-up. He still wants a bigger name. So you hold your breath while the producers make an eleventh hour plea to Paula Marshall. She passes. They settle for … I mean “cast” you.

You’re in, right? Not so fast.

During the week of production there are network table readings and runthroughs. You could get fired at any one of them. And it’s not necessarily your fault. The material could be awful, the director gave you bad direction, they never really wanted you in the first place.

But you survive the week of production and film the pilot. Now comes research and test screenings. I’ve observed these focus groups. One woman says she hates you. Why? She can’t believe you wore those shoes. (That’s a true story.) The network says if the show goes forward you’re to be replaced.

That’s IF she show goes forward. You could give the performance of a lifetime but if the show doesn’t get picked up you’re dead. And again, there are sooooo many factors that go into that decision that have nothing to do with you... although your life depends on it.

There is a God. The show gets picked up. You’ve tested okay. You’re home free now.

Uh, no.

There may be an actor from a pilot that didn’t get picked up that the network really loves. They want to make a place for him. That could well be your role. Again, you’re dead.

But that doesn’t happen. Not in this case. You get on the air. I’ve seen actors replaced after three or four episodes (although it’s fairly rare) but chances are you’re safe…

IF the show becomes a hit. How many shows get canceled? About 90%.

You can understand why my heart goes out to actors. I just can’t imagine facing that level of constant rejection. So congratulations to all the actors who do make it. Savor each and every moment. Go to the parties. Be in the parades. Do the photo shoots. Fly in the company jet. You’ve won the lottery. Also, print this out and read it in three years when you start wondering if the show is holding you back.

Good luck this pilot season, thesps!

I see I've got a lot of first time visitors reading this. Welcome. Please bookmark and come back. Occasionally by accident I post something mildly worthwhile. Thanks.

125 comments:

Steve said...

"Not Like" = Too Tall

Ain't THAT the truth! Had locked up a nice juicy recurring role on "HUNTER". First day on the set, first HOUR on the set, sent home. Why? I was 4 inches taller than Fred Dryer.

Yes, they paid out the 8 episode contract.

StevieLaNorth said...

Man, I now feel really scared about pursuing an acting career. People have said I'm good, but I can't really handle being rejected a lot. I might just become a plumber instead. :\

Lan Bui (of The Bui Brothers) said...

Great read... Makes me glad I don't act... Also makes me want to hug all my actor friends and say "it's goingto be ok..." knowing it probably will not be ok.

North McCormick said...

I still am trying to pursue this. I'm starting with writing my own content. Acting it out, acting with friends, community plays, school, and if I do good there then I'm going on with my career. Don't give up. I'm only 14 and I plan on going far.

Krista Canton said...

FIrstly, thank you for curing me of this ridiculous fleeting notion that I should try acting.

I guess people who do make it are those who can relax enough to accept the things they can't change, and who get lucky. Well good luck to all you actors out there!

Ward Nightstone said...

As a graphic artist i can epathise with alot of this good lu...i mena break a leg

John said...

I'm not so sure this was meant to discourage as much as to sympathize with the plight of the actor. I've known a lot of writers that have little to no sympathy for actors, so this is nice to see!

I also take the last paragraph as being one of the main points. I think the cautious actor is the good actor. I always think it's funny when a relatively unknown actor lands a role on a tv series and then leaves because they "think it's holding them back" or don't want to commit. If you get it...hold on to it and build from there. I admire people who do that.

Great article...nice to have someone write a realistic view of the whole process. It's important for people to be aware.

Anonymous said...

Good read. I laughed when reading the comments though. People who have said "Guess I'm not going to be an actor then". You can't face these one in a million odds and come out successful if you don't even try to begin with.

Sarah said...

LOVE. I'm a former professional stage manager, and many actors I've worked with always said "As soon as I get to California..." or "As soon as I get to NY..." They honestly believed things would just work out as soon as they got to their ideal city. There really just needs to be a "Professor Dreamkiller" at each theatre college to just teach a class about the kind of things you wrote about.

I'm now getting a second degree so I can be a drama teacher, and I will be teaching things like what you have in here. Thanks again!

P.S. Be warned--Felicia Day has posted a link to this blog on Twitter! It's how I found you, and I'd wager many more will be on their way! :-)

Anonymous said...

There are a thousand broken hearts for every car on the Hollywood freeway -- do the math!

Lauren--NY said...

Here from Felicia Day. Very interesting read! Thanks!

Sageman said...

I did some work ages ago and I always realized how lucky I was to have gotten the parts I did. It sometimes seems like it was just a fluke that I was able to act at all other than on the stage. I remember the casting director telling me I had an interesting face.

This is a good piece and I hope if anything it shows aspiring actors the level of dedication they need to achieve their goals. That and a little luck never hurts either.

"Annie" said...

Just had a pilot audition today. Pre-read for casting. Not on tape. Totally up to those two guys to decide if I move on to producers. I think about how many people would kill for that audition, and how even though the odds are stacked against me, I love comedy- I love what I do, so fingers crossed I guess.
Great read, thanks Ken.

Cei said...

I know so many actors who would nod knowingly while reading this. And that's just in the tiny Australian film and television industry.

May this season yield us interesting new shows and talented new (and old) faces.

AmbitiousB said...

Found this via twitter- excellent read! I'm still new to this town but my friends back in college think I should be starring in my own show by now- I will have to post this on my facebook profile to give them all some perspective. Thanks!

matt said...

I just did this entire blog entry last year. Great. Now I have heartburn.

Kevin M. Costello said...

Oh man, happy to see some real-life perspective on this.

That having been said, the idea of that much work makes me kinda hard, so I think I'm game for this.

D. McEwan said...

"Steve said...
'Not Like' = Too Tall
Ain't THAT the truth! Had locked up a nice juicy recurring role on 'HUNTER.' First day on the set, first HOUR on the set, sent home. Why? I was 4 inches taller than Fred Dryer."


Steve, take comfort in this: 60 years ago, British actor Christopher Lee couldn't get cast in anything. One studio dropped his contract, and film after film turned him down. Why? He was 6'5" "Too tall for movies" he was told over and over and over and over. "You'll never work in movies" he was told again and again and again.

Them, in 1957, Hammer films needed someone very tall to play the Frankenstein monster in CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Lee was cast solely for his height.

Today he is Sir Christopher Lee, and he has more film credits than any other star-level actor alive, and more than most all of the dead ones too. Over 260 movies. And with all 3 LORD OF THE RINGS movies, 2 STAR WARS movies, and CHARLIE & THE CHOCLATE FACTORY, and his other titles, his films have a combined total gross of over $4.4 BILLION dollars, the highest career movie gross of any actor at all, even exceeding Harrison Ford at 3 billion, and Samuel L. Jackson at 3.0 billion.

Of course, he admits, he has shrunk down to a mere 6'4" now, so maybe he's no longer "too tall."

So remember, whoever told you "too tall" is a moron.

D. McEwan said...

That should be "Samuel L. Jackson at 3.8 billion."

Simon H. said...

Christ, that is one of the most depressing/funny things I've read from here in awhile. How anything of quality gets done in your industry is a minor miracle of happenstance and tenacity.

Miss Kitten said...

Great blog, I shelved my teenage acting dream years ago, but this blog makes me even more confident of my decision. It's a tough world to enter, and then if you are among the few that do make it, then you have to deal with the media. People who manage to be successful as actors and at the same time manage to avoid losing their minds in the media frenzy, that's simply admirable in my book :)

First time reader of your blog (followed Felicia Day's tweet), but do you have any blog where you take up the process writers go through?

That Neil Guy said...

Miss Kitten, if you hang around I think you'll find that many of Ken's posts cover the writing life. He does a great job covering a lot of aspects of the industry.

carol said...

I really, really enjoyed this post. I was a theatre major, and when I graduated, I decided that I didn't think I was a good enough actor that standing in a cattle call for 9 hours for a dog food commercial would be worth it, so I didn't pursue it. Sometimes I'm sorry, since 'theatre major' doesn't translate to 'high paying corporate executive' in the real world, so reading something like this reinforces my faith in my decision.

(Now I act with a local theatre company. We do Shakespeare. It is very fufilling, and I get to 'use' my major. Many of the young folks in the group still have dreams of making it big. I'd print this out for them, but that would probably be cruel.)

angel in Indy said...

It's posts like this, and blogs/tweets from people like Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton that help us "ordinary" people realize that actors are also "ordinary" people but with much more insecure jobs. It's interesting to see how the system works. thanks

Charles H. Bryan said...

You mean Larry David could never get away with casting his ex-wife in a Seinfeld reunion show? That was all just made up? Sigh.

And, unfortunately, there aren't any gigs remaining for 5th grade teachers here in Michigan.

Anonymous said...

Who the heck is Felicia Day?
Guess I'll have to Google it.
wv: garcula- the vampire who actually can eat garlic

Rachel said...

An interesting piece, and I laughed at much of it. I'm an actor in NY, and I've decided that going to LA to pursue 'pilot season' seems like the biggest waste of my time and money possible. I'm not an 'LA' type - too short, not 90lbs, I have short hair and an English accent - so I'm going the independent route and finding projects I love here in NYC. It's unlikely to make me rich, but I'm more interested in having a fulfilling career as an actor, musician and writer. I think actors need to see that there are more ways to be an actor than falling into the Hollywood stereotype.

Thanks for the read!

tomihawk said...

Makes me glad I have a regular 9-5 job and just an interview every few years if I want to change it!

And Anonymous, if you don't know who Felicia Day is then get off the internet!

Famin said...

I would never pursue acting as a career, but even so, thank you for making me appreciate the lowly, stable job I have, even on days like today when I'm hating it. At least when I applied I only had to go through two interviews! Plus, I get health insurance and a 401(k)!

By the way, Almost Perfect was one of my can't-miss shows when it was on; watched every single episode aired. Thanks for that too!

J.Howard Christ said...

Of course I suspected all of the traps that lie between me and a life changing gig were there, but I found some comfort in my willful ignorance.
Thanks, Ken! :)

Michael Muhney said...

I have starred in 4 series over the last 10 years, starred in a dozen pilots that weren't picked up, been fired from a pilot before it went to series (and is still currently one of the top 3 series on the air) and I've tested (unsuccessfully) for about 60 pilots in (one of which I was the second choice to play JD on Scrubs) and I've probably auditioned for over 600 pilots and as I sit here reading this today in my dressing room I have to COMPLETELY agree with this article. This business smothers you with a kind of rejection unparalleled to anything else I know. I am thankful for every day I'm on set and as a very famous, very wise actor (who is currently on the hit series I was "let go" from) said: "Take 60 seconds each day you're on the set to just look around and soak in the fact that you are working. Be thankful, you never know what day might be your last." And that's if you were lucky enough to get the job in the first place!

Courtney Suzanne said...

This post needs to be read by every high school and college drama student.

I did a lot of theater from childhood through my late teens. When I realized that getting cast was less about overall talent and more about if you looked right, were tall enough/short enough to stand next to the lead, knew the director, etc. I realized that I'd rather work behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Ken a mention in a very funny article...
Me, I'm waiting to see if my show get's a 3rd season,
we get paid to wait, isn't that what they say....

Paula Marshall

John said...

Given my current state of mind I never thought I would say this, but reading your post makes me glad that I decided to go to grad school. I thought the job prospects were bad in my occupational field. My heart goes out to all the struggling actors.

Chip said...

And by "Occasionally by accident" Ken really means "Frequently".

(Though possibly still by accident - I don't know.)

Mr. Peel said...

I was hoping that Paula Marshall would show up in these parts sooner or later.

JanieJones said...

Ken-longtime lurker and lover of this blog, including some of your other wonderful projects.
I read this piece and thought of my friend's in the business who have had gone through this laborious, sometimes humiliating process. I do feel for actors. The business can be such a trying and exhausting experience.

I once thought that I might like to be involved in the casting process. Then I was struck with the realization that I would not succeed because I would not be able to constantly reject people and play politics 24/7.

I do appreciate how hard many people work to succeed in this trade.
There are a voluminous amount of people who are so talented that do not receive the recognition that is deserved. And vice versa too ;)
Good luck to all who are doing what they love!

meredith scott lynn said...

oh my God Ken... Now I see it; my life in this town for the last decade! At some point in 2000 or 2001 I think I popped up on the "uch" list at at least one of the major networks; likely a case of "mild fuckability but with maternal overtones"... A Jewish exec. at CBS thinks I'm too Jewy, or so I've heard, and someone at FOX hates my hair (which incidentally earned me roles in the 90's.) But at least I get to say I've worked for you, tested for you, got the laughs for you! I may need to start blogging...the stories of the day-to-day life of the wanna-be working again actor are truly twisted.
THIS BLOG WAS BRILLIANT!

YEKIMI said...

Well, maybe there's hope for me after all. If they ever do any more "Lord Of The Ring" movies, I could be the real life Gollum...or just a very ugly hobbit.

Patrick said...

Always love it when you blog on the brutal truths of life in the entertainment industry, Ken. I've trained and performed with several actors who are on the many leveled incline/decline of "success" in L.A., and in NYC. They have gotten far enough (much further than I did) because they have the look, and most importantly the talent to match their look. They also have the tenacity and self-confidence to keep at it. Yet I always wonder why I don't see them on the tube more often. Sometimes I even see them out-performing the principals and secondaries in whatever prime-time show they managed to eek their way onto. The tangibles go so far beyond just look and luck, but these are obviously a huge part of the equation. Thank you for the honest and humerous exploration. As always, you put so many things into a possitive perspective for me.

And so I went and googled Felicia Day. Ironicaly, if it wasn't for the internet (and this blog), I would have never known who she was. It would appear to be ironic to me anyway, because I just found out that those that don't know who she is shouldn't even be ON the internet. Fortunately though, a certain dude who chimed in earlier doesn't really have the authority to ban me from using this device that has apparently made Felicia Day such a sensation. [I say, as I brush my sweaty brow in mock relief] She seems like a very industrious and talented individual. Good for her. And good for all of those who appreciate her daily wares so much. But I think I'll probably just continue on my way without her name in my rollidex of names to know.

And on further thought, both of these paragraphs relate to the over-all concept of "making it" - of being "successful", in the entertainment industry, of plowing through the rejection. Because what one person (or the masses, or the exec, or the casting director, or the show runner that would appear to represent the masses) thinks is true talent, a success and worthy of the attention of everyone on the internet, is to another person, just another name that they never heard of.

As much as I enjoy almost every read that you lay out there, Ken, this subject always seems to really get to me. For obvious reasons, I'm sure. But anyway, thanks for the chance to sound off a little.

Peace ...

Terryb said...

You don't read too much about the realities of the business. All my life I heard how tough it was. Now it's even tougher. With runaway production, all the reality shows, slashed budgets and cutting smaller roles, they can do away with that pesky (expensive)talent (writers and actors). So now there are even fewer jobs, and more actors than ever competing for them. Everyone thinks they are going to be the next Brad or Angelina. There used to be a middle ground, between loser wannabe, and mega star. If you get there, that is a fine place to be. That seems to be diminishing. Scale plus 10 take it or leave it, and there are hundreds in line behind you that will take it. You can never earn more than that anymore. You used to be able to make a living. But now they have to pay the mega stars even more. Then there are all the ancillary businesses that want a piece of your scale +10Agents, managers, casting sites, calling services, acting classes, photographers, video reels, coaches, trainers, etc. all must be paid. Acting is a hobby now, except for the few. A friend who changed careers, said being in this business is like being in an abusive relationship! My only advice for survival is to have other revenue streams, and other interests that fulfill you.

Brian Scully said...

Perfect description of the process, Ken. The only thing I would add is that if the show becomes a hit, in season 3 you now know more than the writer/creator of the show and you have him fired. YOU are now in charge of the show for what will become its last season.

Hillary Wright said...

Great post, found it via Backstage's Twitter. Oh, for the day when testing for pilots becomes my reality. I especially like the part about when the show might be holding you back. The grass is always greener in Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty brutal, I didn't realize it was this bad to get work like this, plus on top of it aren't these people only getting paid the equivalent of about $25 an hour due to the fact that they are typically working 14 hours a day, and around anywhere from 6-7 days per week?
I had no idea it was that bad.

Lauren Dobbins Webb said...

Great post. I'm laughing at myself because I'm clamoring to be in the position of having my talent (f-ability?) judged...

Invisalign lady said...

Now I remember why I got rid of my acting agent...

Michael in Vancouver said...

Here's my Friday question: (Can I put it in any comment section, or do I have to exclusively use the Friday posting? Anyway...)

Woody Harrelson has just received his second Oscar nomination. It's funny, a few nights ago I was watching Harrelson in Paul Schrader's The Walker, and it occurred to me that I've seen him in so many other good indie films and he's worked with most of the top directors of our generation -- Stone, Schrader, the Coens, Altman, Malick, Winterbottom (just scanning IMDB).

I guess this isn't a question, but just sort of a sense of amazement that the dork from Cheers went on to such a rich career in cinema. Well, to turn this into a question -- when you worked on Cheers, was his potential as a dramatic actor apparent? And how close does someone like that come to fading into obscurity? Is it the choices of scripts they take? Is it all about talent, or is some luck involved?

D. McEwan said...

"YEKIMI said...
I could be the real life Gollum...or just a very ugly hobbit."


Ah, that's exactly what Gollum was, a hobbit after 500 years of owning the ring had corrupted his mind and eaaten his body. He was always intended as the fate that awaited Frodo if he hung onto the ring. (Oh my God, my geek side just flashed out!)

My high school drama teacher, 45 years ago (with whom I've exchanged three emails just today. we're still close all these years later) always said, one should only seriously pursue an acting carrer, if you HAVE to. I don't mean forced by circumstances, but because you have no other choice emotionally. You must be driven to the exclusion of all else. Only if you can not live without being an actor, should you be an actor.

Which is why the occasional "I'll give it a shot and see if it works out or not" performer who accidentally does do well always annoys me.

Watching AMERICAN IDOL last night (AFTER Lost of course), and seeing the parade of rejectees have anger fits or bouts of crying I thought, kids, if you can't deal maturely with rejection, you can NOT be in show business. There's a hundred rejections for every success, and that's if you're LUCKY! it can be a thousand to one. Or you can never have any success at all.

But that "enjoy and be thankful for every day you're working," which is wise, extrapolates out to Life. Because every day you're alive is a gift too.

Beth Ciotta said...

Brutal. Brilliant. Wow.

Brian Doan said...

Great post-- very funny and very sad, all at once. And Michael Muhney, I loved you on VERONICA MARS, a show I desperately wish was still on the air.

gottacook said...

Michael in Vancouver: Given that some of this discussion has been about height working for or against actors, I should note that Woody Harrelson is one of the few well-known actors I've ever seen up close - and he was surprisingly short. Of course it would be a surprise, to anyone who had seen him only on Cheers to that point.

A friend and I were leaving a performance of The Heidi Chronicles in New York and saw him outside with a companion, dressed incognito - this was 1989-90 and Christine Lahti was great as Heidi, although I heard likewise about the other two who played her during the run, Joan Allen and Brooke Adams. (One "David Pierce" was also in the cast, as was Tony Shalhoub - got the program right here!)

WV: "bunmen" - no comment.

Kate @ Manhattan Actress said...

Great post. I live in NY and haven't gotten to the point where I'm heading out to LA for pilot season yet, but this was a very amusing way to describe it. A similar story could be written about musical theatre open calls here in the city...don't get me started ;)

Anonymous said...

After reading, I had the thought of a similar article being written for sperm about their chances to fertilize an egg.

PJ Edwards said...

I'll have you know that "moving back to Michigan" might actually be a good idea for a struggling LA actor. Big fish, little pond.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Or you could become a moderately successful standup comedian, and some network will build a sitcom around you. You can even use your own name. They'll hire real actors like Peter Boyle and John Goodman and Jason Alexander to carry the show while you learn to read lines, even though the show is based on your stage routines. And you can treat everybody like shit.

Acting school? Auditions? Why?

Marylou said...

o dear lord i hope a newcomer isn't reading this...

Maggie

Jillian Mummey said...

"Ready to move back to Michigan and teach 5th grade"

Guess some people think teaching is easy.......HA! It's a hard job. You are under constant criticism. Your day does not end when the last bell of the day rings ( papers to grade, lessons to plan- so you will work till about 10 at night to get ready for your day to start at 8am the next morning). The students can be disrespectful and motivating them is ALWAYS a challenge. –Any of this sound familiar yet…..- Oh and the pay SUCKS. When I become a first year teacher in the fall I will be making between $24,000 and $28, 000 a year- that’s if I can find a job…I will be certified to teach early childhood (pre-kindergarten and third grade) and EC majors are 2 out of every 3 education majors in college. One last thing, all of the ‘stuff’ in a teacher’s classroom is paid for by the teacher. Most teachers get $200 at the beginning of the year to buy supplies for the ENTIRE school year.

So, in a nutshell; next time you go to trash items that you think a teacher could use in their classroom ….toys and games in good condition….donate them to a teacher. Also, let those teachers know how much you respect them for dedicating their lives to teaching your child.


What do you make?
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.

One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

To stress his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?"

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began...)

"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.

I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.

You want to know what I make?" (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.)

I make kids wonder.

I make them question.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn't everything.

I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God, because we live in the United States of America.

Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.
(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

"Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant.... You want to know what I make?

I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make Mr. CEO?"

His jaw dropped…he went silent.

Anonymous said...

And then he responded with, $2.5 million a year plus stock options.

Tara said...

Good grief! I had no idea it was this hard to get on a show!

Nancy said...

Awesome post! Not in the industry but I've always been fascinated by the process. I've realized someone has to really LOVE acting to stay in a profession that is so full of rejection.

willam said...

I love it. Did you see Every Little Step? the one girl got a callback months after her initial audition and admitted she totally forgot what she did previous

Dana Kaminski said...

I see that actors are commenting that this is too discouraging. That is why an acting career is not for the faint-hearted.

And, truthfully, this is only a tip of the very cold and slippery iceberg.

YET!~~~ I say to those that really love what they do, and are ready to take on the very big challenge of becoming an acting professional: it is far better to educate yourself as to the way it really is; than to come out here to LA or to NY, and have unreasonable expectations--as most novice actors do.

And of course, it's important to be "good at acting", as one of the commenters said that people have told him. After that, it is essential to have years of acting training, in order to use that innate talent in a professional, accessible, and very high level, way.

Additionally, you need to be ready for some very difficult hurdles; and for a career that is, at every level, a seriously difficult challenge.

Remember, some do make it through to success. A small percentage. Best to prep yourself in advance, so that you can make sure that you at least break through, to some level, at some point.

Ignorance is far from bliss, in this profession. As is laziness, and unrealistic expectation. That's not being harsh, it's just being real about it. It's actually helpful for you all to know.

I have a website for actors, and I am going to put this post there. When novice actors aren't prepared with what they are bound to encounter, they not only don't "make it" as an actor, but it can be crushing to their spirit.

Dana Kaminski said...

My website for actors was not correctly posted, the web address is corrected here.

Thank you.

http://www.HollywoodActorPrep.com

Justin said...

In response to comment #1. You were really sent home from Hunter for being 4 inches taller than Fred Dryer? He was 6'6". I can do the math. Are you sure you are not Richard Moll?

Brian Phillips said...

To Ken Levine: Great post. Sad and sobering. I remember hearing an interview with Tony Randall, who (blessedly) always found work. He said that the acting profession was indeed hard and that it was an industry that left 90% of it's workforce unemployed.

To Jillian: I enjoyed the Teacher-CEO story, but I felt it only right that on a blog by a writer, that attribution be given to this oft-quoted piece. It seems to be derived from a poem by one Taylor Mali.

VW: sparids - Exhibition attack on conscience.

Mary Stella said...

Great post, Ken. I thought it was tough in publishing. At least editors don't care if we look like Jabba the Hutt as long as we write well and tell stories.

Forever more when I see someone in a show whose acting is horrible I'm going to wonder about all the people that read for the role and didn't get it. Were they that much worse or simply too tall and unf*ckable?

wv=filedan, what Jack Lord said after "Book 'em, Dan-o."

Anonymous said...

Huh. This makes me shake my head even more at some of the bizarre casting decisions that have been made for teevee.

Like the main gal on "The Mentalist," whatever her name is who starred in the witch movie eons ago? Terrible choice. Actually, come to think of it, that show is replete with seemingly weird casting choices. (Other than the main actor, of course. He's just charming as hell.)

Or the actor who plays the husband on "Ghost Whisperer." Jesus. You could replace him with a stick of wood.

Other shows have incredible casts. Like "The Office" or "30 Rock." "Buffy" had a great cast, mostly, although I would never have guessed that David Boreanaz would go on to more success. He seemed like the worst of the original bunch. So .. there ya go. I apparently know nothing about casting actors.

Never mind, then.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this article. I am the parent of a male actor who has been at it for 7 years and has been through all of this crap over and over again. Reading this process helps me to understand the roller coaster of emotions and the numerous rejections he gets.

Andrea said...

ha! I loved this. From the actor, "she looks too much like... (insert any blue-eyed brunette actress here)."
I'd like to print this out and carry around for family member or non-actors who reply, "acting, that's fun. I did a play in third grade."

Sageman said...

I would have to say to some of the responses that a lot casting is done because the casting director is looking for some sort of symbiotic relationship between the characters. It comes down to whether you and the other character relate.

Like the person who pondered the Mentalist, the actors there could seem like an odd choice but they complement each other. If they don't think you're going to complement the other actors, then odds are you'll be passed over no matter how good your reading is. Sometimes that could be simply how you look or your specific mannerism's. There's more to it than just the buddy system, and often the viewer will often say, "why choose them?"

Well the fact is they had what the casting director was looking for. Sadly that might not have been you. Sure it helps if they like what you've done before, or even if they like you but sometimes that's not enough. You have to provide something to the cast that compliments the rest of the cast. A pretty face and being a good actor sometimes isn't enough. So in many cases you just have to wait for that spot you fit into. The key to it is being patient and loving what you do, because if you let rejection get you down that will show in every reading you do. Keep a stiff upper lip and deliver the best that you can and that can often be enough but again, it's up to how you are perceived by those making the choices. Remember, when the final decision is made it comes down to the all mighty dollar and a safe bet is often the best bet.

Don in Vancouver said...

Great blog! I live in Vancouver and go through this process annually. I'm too big, too tall, too small, not ripped enough, too fat, not fat enough (I know!), not old enough (it was for a part that the character was 70 years old), not black enough (I'm as white as can be) but they keep bringing me back. I guess I'm not on the ugh list- just haven't found the one part for me yet.

Every year I see the hopeful pilots and you can pretty much tell right away if they're gonna fly or not. There was a super hero show last year with Freddie Prinze Jr. that was a British remake of a pretty big hit over the pond. On set it just felt awkward. You see, the show in England is all about gay innuendo and sex jokes. The pilot here was being made by Disney. The premise was similar in setting and characters but they missed the "X factor" of what made the show a success. Then there is "Human Target"... seen it yet? That show runs like a hot knife through butter. I hope it makes it out of season one as it's like a weekly fix of James Bond with Chi and Rorschach mixed into it. On set, things feel like it's working- you just know it's a good show.

I'm one of those "has to" be in the film business I guess. Maybe I'll be that unknown actor soon.

Grace said...

I just would like to know how that red-headed lead actor in CSI MIAMI got that job. Anyone?

I'd also like to see more of GERALD MCRANEY.

¡El Literato Loco! said...

First job was as a PA on some low-budg dreck-fest. The Producer/director sent out the word that they were casting, and every morning for several days, I had to muscle open the front door, shoving aside an alpine pile of headshots that had been slipped through the mail slot.

I remember being stunned, not by the thought of "who's going to clean this up?" (I knew that instinctively), but by the realization of just how hard actors have it. Hundreds of actors chasing 3 or 4 roles in arguably the worst movie ever made.

Worse, the producer wasn't even interested. All he wanted the PAs to do was sift out the 20 prettiest girls and throw out the rest. To our credit, we tossed them all and sucked up getting yelled at. Sadly, we weren't being particularly noble--we just really effing hated our boss.

Now, whenever I drive down some LA side street and see a dozen actors milling outside some small office with cigarettes and sides in their hands, my heart goes out to them.

Hang in there.

MLEstyle said...

What a great post! Thank you! I'm being casted in a reality show in DC coming up...my first show, so this post gives me a lot of great perspective! Thanks so much!

Roger said...

I got a theater degree after the Army and the civil service. I worked in the scene shop at an Equity theater for four years while in college.

Now I'm in grad school for an M.Ed. I consider theater "drills for life" and wish to add value by giving young people a maturing educational experience.

I plan on frankly describing what the reality is for actors, and encourage people to appreciate and use theater for its merits as a creative outlet.

People have become so enamored with fame, that many are settling for infamy. Theater may redirect some of the negative forces on young people; that's what I'm aiming for.

Thankfully I can use an article like this (with a little edit for a high school audience) in teaching. Thanks Ken.

Kristen said...

Any creative endeavour requires the following: You need it like oxygen, you can handle random, completely unfair rejection, you've got an ego strong enough to cope with those two things, plus believe in yourself and your abilities enough to overcome them and at the same time not be such a complete dick that no one wants to work with you. Then, you've got to accept that you may never be a superstar. Working actors are numerous and make the industry possible.

sara said...

That was a great way to show how things work and the real way things happen! I'm writing a film script, I understand that you have to take the good with the bad but I'm going to try!!

hope123 said...

Ummm...can we say jaded? If you don't get the job, you're not 'dead,' you just didn't get the job! And when you don't get the job it's not cuz they 'hate' you! They could really like you, but the other is just perfect for it. You're giving all the negative scenarios that could happen. Where's the hope and positive belief? This article is not 'the way' it always is! It's one sided. Remember, you could be on the other side of this article and make it big!!

Maya said...

GENIUS! so true. Thank you!

Nikki Nav said...

Just though you should know that Bethany Joy Galeotti (Haley from One Tree Hill) and Alison Munn (Also from one tree hill) liked your article! Good for you :)

Niveeik said...

First time visitor through @allisonmunn:
"This is a great article about how incredibly hard actors have to work to get a television role. http://tinyurl.com/ycmhwn6"

Good read!

porterkelly said...

So...by this logic, any lawyer who isn't appointed to the Supreme Court should quit practicing law? It's hard to get to the top. Sometimes it isn't fair. If any of you think this is unique to Hollywood, you are TRULY deluded. I make my living as an actor. I've auditioned for series regulars and someday I may get one. But in the meantime, I'm proud of my success and that of my friends who are working actors...as well as my friends who are regular Joe non-Supreme-Court-sitting lawyers. ;)

gelaanne said...

I just wanted to say thank you. As a TV casting director you nailed the process - a pretty intense road in which we travel along with the actor every step of the way. I'm sending this to my parents so they will finally know what I do (and why they don't see me from January to April.)

Unknown said...

Been an actor professionally for 34 years. have seen it all. Once sat in an audition for a huge mini series for abc in the late eighties. They were casting for a pivotal lawyers role. every single person on the final callback was wonderful and the producers could not make up their minds. Finally one producer asked his wife which one she liked. "I like the one with the yellow tie. It's a great tie" He got hired

Scyllaya said...

Aww. Now I want to hug all my favourite TV actors who are not in anything at the moment.
I kinda knew it was something like this, but thanks for the clear picture.

Bug said...

This was great. For twenty years, when people ask about my job, I've explained it like this "Remember that time you lost your job, and were stressed for a week because you had to go on that job interview?" THAT'S what I do for living.

EditorGuy said...

and then you get the role, but you would be shocked what the post production aholes say about you in the edit bay. But of course, this is Los Angeles, so everyone is completely nice to you... at least to your face.

Caroline Dunford said...

As a novelist and playwright, I now think I have it easy by comparison

Caroline Dunford

Michael D said...

My first pilot of a show I created in 1988-89 at NBC, there was an actor I was begging to use. They wouldnt let me. Said they'd been through it too many times with him. It was George Clooney. Whatever happened to him?

Jim Beaver said...

I've been an actor for nearly 40 years. Couldn't get arrested for the first 17, then the tumblers fell accidentally into place and I've worked ever since. Every pilot I've ever done save one was picked up. I've had about 7 series and 40-something movies. I've never been fired (though my role has on occasion been cut in rewrites). I'm the luckiest actor ever born, I think, because no matter how prepared, how ready, how congenial, how talented I might be, there are a thousand other actors as much or more talented, ready, congenial, and prepared, and there's little reason it should be me rather than them who gets the job. All of this is to say that this piece by Ken Levine is absolutely, utterly, and undeniably accurate about the lottery-within-a-lottery-within-a-lottery that is an acting career in film and TV. My late wife Cecily Adams was both an actor and a casting director (she only hired me twice in 20 years, by the way!), and through her I saw so much of the reality of the casting process. Though I remind my fellow actors that the casting people have you there because they WANT you to be the one who succeeds--no one gets past a pre-read without a casting person wanting them to do well--it is a deadly business, and the higher up the food chain in television, the more likely the person is to contribute to that deadliness. Network execs who choose hotties over the next Lucille Ball for a sitcom despite the latter's talent, saying "Leave talent out of the equation"--true story. The dreaded "NPE" next to your name (Not Pretty Enough). Losing parts because you have a mustache (happened to me several times, despite the fact that I own a razor). Losing parts because you look like the development exec's ex-husband. The only way to win at this game is to be prepared, be ready, be talented, be congenial, be lucky, and never, ever believe you could ever do anything else. If you can't guarantee those things, you're in the wrong game. If you can guarantee those things, the odds are still a zillion to one. But you'll have nearly a zillion colleagues to commiserate with, and you might--MIGHT--be the one. Someone will be.

Jim Beaver
http://www.lifesthatway.com

Jasen Salvatore said...

i like this...Im an actor and for once i would like to see decisions based on talent....not who knew who or who is reped by what agency or child of someone ......there is always 2 sides to the game....having been in the biz for almost 14 years....having worked through a pilot season at a casting office...talk about a kill joy to your dreams....it's a battle because i know there are some really bad actors out in hollywood that THINK they know the craft of acting....and are really BAD so the casting people have to filter them out....but they go to extreme because they become "NAME" hounds, they have their list of actors that they like, they find hansom or pretty, that have a A level agent.....they gladly take our money at casting workshops and blow smoke up out ass telling us to move forward, keep wasting money and sending out submissions that they have no intention on looking at, they end up in the trash....the other hand it's power, i have meet some AMAZING great casting people who LOVE what they do and love the craft of acting, they casting based on the ability and talents of the actor....they actually know talent when they SEE it, they are trained actors them selves who decided on going in other direction and working on the other side. Then there are the bitter casting people who have a hang up obsession with Hollywood famous people...bitter that they never made it them selves so they have to surround them selves with people that make them look good. I KNOW I SOUND ANGRY AND BITTER.....I KNOW, but most of it come out of frustration of they way things have become.i remember sitting in a casting session and the CD's made the comment after a severally good looking male model left the room saying, "brilliant audition, great actor" and i was like shut the front door...seriously....knuckle heads. The lack of creativity when it come to networks and TV, from casting offices and Agents....(don't get me started on agents) You can walk around town and do your day job, lets say parking cars...you meet say a person in the biz of importance, say a casting person or an agent, you say "hey i know who you are and your work, im an actor can i pass my stuff onto you" only to get the response, " we don't except unsolicited submissions and this one"we only take people by referral" WTF....just say NO to me or not in a million years. i'm just saying Look out side the BOX...there are so many talented actors that don't get a chance because the way the game is played. flipping on the TV again this year i hope to see some amazing talented new actors...not the actor that can't speak and has no talent....if i have to see that old fucking face again.....i know a long winded rant.

Steve D said...

wow. deeply deeply depressing. suicide hotlines better hire more people this winter.

Steve D said...

Actually Ken there are other aspects to the reality. Yes the first time writer is slave to the network and casting but once you're an mildly established writer/producer your list will hold more weight and you might have more say in the finished product. The flip side is someone who was an ugh one year might be a "must see" five years later. Not to mention that many of the casting people and network people may be in new jobs next year themselves. The ones who last probably do so by staying open minded about any and all talent (or at least realize that it's all a gamble). It's a miracle a show gets on the air and is a hit but most are often successes because there is (usually) one person who can lead it (a James Burrows but not necessarily that powerful and talented) and take responsibility. Everyone who has talent might not win the lottery but that's no reason to stop pursuing the dream of being creative, trying to keep a sense of humor and seeing where it takes you.

MichBel said...

Wonderful post. Look forward to reading more of your stuff.

Anthony said...

Great read. It's basically why I decided to make my own movies since most of the people we have to deal with around here are a bunch of power freaks who will trash you if you do anything they disapprove of.

I've been in this hoola hoop for 7 years now and it isn't easy at all.

Amir talai said...

"When a writer/producer gets the good/bad news that his pilot has been greenlighted..."

BAD news? Am I missing something?

Glorinda said...

Thanks for sharing this extremely insightful article Ken Levine!

Speaking as one who is in the acting trenches in LA, it certainly is true enough how tough it is to pursue an acting career. People who think it is all glamourous and they will get rich should stop and think again. This career is only for determined people who can think of doing nothing else but acting. It is almost like 'winning the lotto', only you need to have talent plus know the right people and be at the right place at the right time.

But, opportunity only dances with those who are already on the dance floor - so if being an actor is your dream ~ go for it! Do everything in your control to make it happen. Stay in class to hone your skills, showcase your talents, be seen and noticed, be persistent, believe in yourself and never, ever give up.

There are NO guarantees - but if you really, really love acting, you will at the very least enjoy your journey! After all, it is about the journey, not the destination.

keep creating!

with much joy in my heart,
Glorinda

Glorinda Marie
imdb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1483648/
Actors Access: http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/glorinda
LA Casting: http://www.LAcasting.com/Glorinda

Aly said...

The part about focus groups is why I take my role in one so seriously. On the one hand, it's nice to give feedback, but on the other, I hope everything is taken with many grains of salt...especially when I listen to some of my fellow commentators. It's a wonder good television ever ends up on the air at all.

I'm particularly careful when addressing questions about characters & actors since I don't want to cost someone their job, especially when their performance isn't the problem.

Also @ the rabid Felicia Day fan, I don't think she would like people being told to leave the internet rather than say looking her up. Not only because she's nice but also because it's in large part how she makes her livelihood.

Hopefully the internet allows continued opportunity for writers and actors to put their work out there without interference by network execs and limited focus groups and all the rest of it.

Molly Hagan said...

Old blogs like this never die, their truth keeps amusing, enlightening, sometimes disheartening
for years and years. Yea Internet and yea Ken Levine!

Anonymous said...

I have read this and passed it along to other actor friends ever since you wrote it. It is such a great read and is so accurate.

I honestly lost count of how many jobs I didn't get through the years because no one thought anyone would ever wanna fuck me. Let's just say, for argument sake, it was EVERY job.

I hope what an actor takes when reading this is; so much is out of our hands. And to focus ONLY on the things that ARE in our control: The prep we put in, the read we give, the time we respect, and the courtesy we show each other.

It was 12 years before I got the job I have now. I know some have gotten breaks in a shorter time and I know very talented actors who have yet to get their break. Whatever the case, if the passion is there, keep up the fight. I am proof it can happen.

And I have taken your advice Ken. I go to the parties, do the photo shoots, do the parades, and fly on the company jet.(once) I'm enjoying the ride because I know one day it will all be over and then no one will wanna fuck me again.

Best,
Eric Stonestreet

Anonymous said...

I have read this and passed it along to other actor friends ever since you wrote it. It is such a great read and is so accurate.

I honestly lost count of how many jobs I didn't get through the years because no one thought anyone would ever wanna fuck me. Let's just say, for argument sake, it was EVERY job.

I hope what an actor takes when reading this is; so much is out of our hands. And to focus ONLY on the things that ARE in our control: The prep we put in, the read we give, the time we respect, and the courtesy we show each other.

It was 12 years before I got the job I have now. I know some have gotten breaks in a shorter time and I know very talented actors who have yet to get their break. Whatever the case, if the passion is there, keep up the fight. I am proof it can happen.

And I have taken your advice Ken. I go to the parties, do the photo shoots, do the parades, and fly on the company jet.(once) I'm enjoying the ride because I know one day it will all be over and then no one will wanna fuck me again.

Best,
Eric Stonestreet

Anonymous said...

Ken, it's Paula....I probably won't pass this year!!

paula marshall

Kazuya Wright said...

Great read! As an Actor in Australia there's even fewer opportunities to land a lead/recurring role on a TV series due to us importing most show from OS. I've landed the guest star role a couple times but so far that leading male role eludes me.

Kathleen said...

Wow... I studied acting for a couple of years and really thought I might give it a go, but my director told me, I was awesome, until I opened my mouth. (thick Aussie accent)

So very glad he did that, cause there is no way I would have been strong enough to go through all of this.

This gives me knew respect for the actors trying to be actors... They are courageous people.

Anna Maganini said...

Fun.
Then again, you can see the glass as half empty - or half full. If I got to any of those stages, I wouldn't consider myself dead. I'd consider myself darn lucky to get that far! And very alive!

CC said...

Mr. Eric Stonestreet, you are an inspiration to us all. Very fine work you do every week. Keep up the good work!

Retromodgirl said...

Charlie Sheen should read this post.

Paul Duca said...

Ken...what EXACTLY is the difference between a "no" and a "uch"

Paula Marshall's Imprint on the Casting Couch said...

Sad reality of the golden ring of network casting, show creation, etc.

I love Paula Marshall's name in the article. I always wondered how the heck she got cast in so many shows when she's the Ted McGinley of actresses (no show can survive them).

Love,
Paula Marshall's Imprint on the Casting Couch

Glorinda said...

Thanks Eric!
You really are an inspiration to us all. Thanks for your candor. It is so, so important that we focus only on what is in our control.

Thanks also for the enjoyment we get each week from watching your amazing talent on TV. Congrats on your well deserved success!!!
with joy,
Glorinda

Loosehead said...

Meredith my dear, I would not have said "mild"...

Melissa said...

Ok. While there is a LOT of reality stated here. As a former Casting Director I would not just like to congratulate those actors that DO make it.... I would also like to applaud those actors who are committed enough to experience this time & time again. And while there is a TON of negativity thrown at you through this process, there are also a lot of people who root for you, push for you & ultimately believe in you. I know, I was often that person in your corner.

Glorinda said...

Thank YOU, Melissa!
I know there are some wonderful people in casting (just like you were) and am so grateful for positive support. We may not have control over Network Exec. decisions but it is imperative that we stay positive, enjoy the process and stay passionate about what we do.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is the business of acting; and in this business, the actor is the product. It's a tough business. But there's also the art, and if you love it, you love it.

I think that if you're in this business to succeed, and your definition of success is making it big, then you're probably setting yourself up for failure. In fact, do you want to act or do you want to be famous, if that is your definition? But if you're in this business because you love doing it and success is living a happy life in which you act, I think it's totally possible. There are lots of actors who lead happy lives, own houses, and do their craft regularly, who don't "make it big". People don't recognize their names or faces, they don't go to red carpet events. But they're acting regularly, so they're still successful to me.

carter said...

Good post. Fortunately I find that most women would want to fuck me, however I have not done any acting, so it is pretty moot. With that said, I'm a professional gambler so I'll use my #onetime now.

James Raven said...

On top of Felicia Day on Twitter, James Van Der Beek just posted this on Facebook so expect another swell of readers as his 15,000 fans flock to read this.

Emily Rayner said...

It was all a go for me on an MTV series as the nerdy assistant with a crush....the call was made to start filming on Monday but then I didn't get the call sheet. Friday at four pm my agent and I finally got in touch with casting. They had to recast for more diversity. Makes sense, but it broke my heart!!
It's good to hear how lucky we are when we book

Tim Minear said...

God, it's all so spot on. Having been through this on the producing end many a time, one thing you left out in the network pres section -- you're not the only one coming in for the network test -- they've brought in two other actors. You might be the first choice, but more than likely you ain't.

Michael Lanning said...

A great, very well written article!!! I've been in the entertainment business (read: oil and water, because that's how well they mix...nothing like sittin' around a campfire and singing together) for over 50 years now and have seen EVERY facet of it (i'm a singer, actor, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist) i'm not going to list my resume` here, but as guilelessly as possible, i will say it's impressive. i have accomplished a lot in those 50 years. i have just been through the worst 8-9 weeks of my career with a bone crushing blow....after several demo sessions (spread out over 10 years), 4 readings, 2 out-of-town try outs, i was finally on Broadway again after 12 years with "Bonnie And Clyde" which, after all that work, closed in a month! A couple of influential critics who love to hate the composer (Frank Wildhorn) vilified it (or him more precisely....did i mention they LOVE to HATE him?)......and it was Frank's best score so far with an amazing cast, great book, terrific cinematic direction and scenery/costume design, etc....to no avail...to make matters worse, i was sick with bronchitis 3 TIMES in 7 weeks during the production (previews, opening and after)....to make a long story hopefully a little shorter, I WILL NOT GO QUIETLY! To paraphrase Dylan Thomas..."Do not go gentle into that good night....rage, rage against the dying of the light"....either that or i'm just too stupid to give up! :o) Please check out my blog here..."So How Do You Really Feel?"....thanks so much for the incisive, well written piece, Ken.....

Paul O'Callaghan said...

Awesome insight into the life of a TV series actor. For someone like me who has had almost no experience in the TV industry, it SEEMS (not IS!) impossible, like winning the lotto! But there is 1 thing guaranteed & that is that SOMEONE HAS TO WIN! Keep it always in your heart that the "someone" can be you!! With the posts on this blog, it seems that it scares many people away from choosing this line of work as a career. Fear will stop you from doing many things. Never let fear stop you! Many also say that they are scared of rejection. Unfortunately, rejection is the "down" side. Even if you pass all the tests from casting directors, producers, TV exec's, and your series gets picked up, there is 1 rejection you still may face, & that is rejection form the TV audience! Poor ratings that lead to a show being axed would be the ultimate rejection! Like any line of work, acting is also a job, so never take rejection personally! Learn from your mistakes and move on to the next project. If you haven't read it before, read the post about Hollywood legend Sir Christopher Lee. He was rejected for the smallest of reasons, but he still went on to be one of the highest grossing film actors of our time!! NEVER GIVE UP!!

Glorinda said...

Eric -
Congrats on your SAG award nomination last night! Congrats to the cast of Modern Family for the win! Hope you had a glorious time last night!!! You are truly inspirational.
Glorinda

Anonymous said...

what if your mom is OPrah or your dad is Obama..do i get a pass for sucking at acting but still want the main role?

P.Brown said...

I can hear Frankie singing "That's Life...."

James Harris said...

Hi, what a mind blowing read, it is even worse here in Australia as we have such a small number of casting people, A lot of producers here and in America think we have a small talent base but it is just for the same reasons as written here that they only see 2% of the actors that are here and honestly there are a lot of great actors that run rings around some of the ones that get regular work.

Thanks
James Harris

Sandy Montgomery said...

Makes me super duper glad I chose to be a script supervisor ... all I have to please is the director. :)