Monday, October 29, 2007

No-how man

I'm getting tired of saying no, but I find myself doing it more and more.

There was this quote I read from an actor who "made it," and her advice was to do everything you're asked, to take every role, to accept every opportunity -- on stage, on film, wherever. And that sounds right -- it definitely appeals to my work ethic -- and it's something I pretty much did for several years there.

But lately not as much, and it's starting to weigh on me. It seems all I talk about now is stuff I've turned down. Like today I got a last-minute call to go out on a commercial audition this afternoon at a studio near O'Hare. And again, I just couldn't take 3-4 hours out of my day for what I viewed as a pretty iffy opportunity vis-a-vis the client work I have on my plate.

And this afternoon I was asked to be in a show that I just ... well, I have reservations about. Basically, at this point I've got to have stricter criteria. Like on the artistic side, the script's gotta be excellent (which is not always easy to determine, even with published plays) and the role has to be challenging, taking me somewhere new. And on the commercial side, it helps to be working with a well-known company, one that has a good production track record,
has an audience following, gets its shows reviewed often, is Jeff-award eligible, etc.

Then there's other stuff. Are the people fun? Do I like them? Can I envision spending 20 hours a week with them over the next 12 weeks?

I used to accept roles that didn't meet some or many or even all of these criteria, just to keep busy, to be in a show, figuring it's better to do something, anything, than nothing. (Though of course, I'm never doing "nothing." And it's important to remember the words of one my acting teachers: "Just because you're in a show doesn't mean you're learning and advancing.")

Why don't I ever get offered the slam dunks? The easy decisions?

Time to consult the magic 8-ball ...

1 comment:

David Lawrence said...

Saying sometimes is a very good thing. Every project one takes means you'll be unavailible for something else. I know of one "veteran" who said that our only real power in this industry is our ability to deny our services, to say no.