It has now been four months in Los Angeles. People always would tell me that time goes much faster here, but I never really realized it until now. While four months doesn’t seem like a lot, I feel like I just arrived here yesterday. That means either one of two things: I haven’t been busy enough or I’ve been way too busy. I tend to think the latter.
A friend of mine posted an article on line the other day about why you should never become an actor. Specifically, 5 things that actors “don’t know” when they decide to attempt success in this crazy business. An interesting piece, sure, but all of the deterrents that they were talking about were pretty obvious from my position. I studied acting in college, trust me, I had four+ solid years of people telling me not to become an actor. I know how ridiculous this career path is, but yet I still find myself everyday trying to figure out a way to get cast, get seen, get even one opportunity to show everyone how much I truly want success. When I say success, I don’t even mean fame or fortune or anything petty like that, I mean just to be on set. To be working. To be doing what I studied, to essentially do what every other recent college graduate is trying to do: Get a job in their field.
One of the biggest lessons that I ever learned in college happened before I ever even took my first class. It was during freshman orientation at Columbia College Chicago, Sheldon Patinkin (a 2nd city legend and head of our theater department) was speaking to all of the incoming Freshman theater majors and he said this (I paraphrase):
“Everyone in here, take a look to the person to your left. Now take a look at the person to your right. The two people that you just looked at will never make a living as an actor.”
Yes, he said this to about 300 incoming students who all have just signed up for classes to become professional actors. And do I blame him? Absolutely not. But when I heard that I knew that he was wrong. I would make it, I will make it or I will die trying. I know that sounds dramatic (haha) but it’s true. This isn’t a job that you can just say, “well I’ll give it until I’m 30″ or “I’ll do it until I have kids” or anything like that. Perseverance is the only thing that matters, and this profession is designed to weed out the fakers, the posers and the wannabes…and sometimes it’s harsh when it does it.
Have there been bumps in the road? Sure, more than I’d like of course but every time I get a call-back but don’t land the part, every time I bomb an audition or every time someone I know gets the part I was going for it makes me hungrier. Am I bummed at times? Sure, but that’s the same as trying to get a job anywhere. There will always be someone more qualified than you or that has that specific thing that an employer is looking for, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t taking the right steps. That doesn’t mean that you should be deterred or get frustrated or throw in the towel. Yes, I have a day job. Yes, I make money to pay my bills. But I know where I want to be and I intend on getting there eventually.
About two weeks before I moved out here I had an eye-opening experience. In the same day, I ran into two college classmates within the span of a couple of hours. I ran into my old buddy B first, I had done many scenes with him and taken classes with him throughout college and knew him moderately well. I asked him how he was doing, how post life college was going and if he had any luck with getting gigs, etc. He told me essentially that he was “taking a break” from acting and that he had found a stable job and that acting was more of a hobby to him at that point. I was surprised, because I saw how hungry he was in school, but suddenly when there are no more classes and no more college productions the flame must have faded away…
The same day I ran into a classmate J, a young lady I worked with a lot and knew pretty well. I asked her the same questions, how’s life, any parts etc. She said (in other words) ”You know what Hunter, things are great. I’ve had three auditions this week, I’ve got a call back tomorrow, I’m a waiting tables to pay the rent but I feel like something is really gonna happen for me soon.” She was so excited, she was so thrilled to just have the opportunity to audition. She still had it in her, and she still does. This profession weeds people out, but goddamn it I’m going to prove that person to the left of me and to the right of me that I could do it. I will succeed work and work on set professionally, whether that happens tomorrow or when I’m 65, I don’t ever plan on giving up.
Let me get off my soap box and tell you a couple of things that are going on in my life. I had a meeting with Monica Monroe Productions (www.MonicaMonroe.com) last week and I will hopefully be an active contributor to their films. What position currently I am not sure, but I am hoping to get some more experience behind the camera in a AD or Producing stand point. They seem like a tight and motivated group and I can’t wait to work with them, more on that as things develop.
I received a “special thanks” credit in the latest www.Zoochosis.com film which I’m pretty hyped about. I did some work on the song that plays in the film, while they didn’t use the tracks I recorded I’m still very hyped that I got to network with them and I really hope that I can work with them in the future at any capacity. Their stuff is hilarious, check it out for sure. The video link is here:
Keep up the good work Hollywood, much love to you and everyone else. Also, in case I forget here’s my Superbowl prediction:
Giants 38 Patriots 27. Watch it folks.