Learning the Biz

downtonWhen I came to visit L.A. over the summer, I stayed with some friends that had been out here for a while so I could get an idea of what life would be like. We spent some time looking around at apartments, I was able to sit it on a theatre workshop and I took a film acting class with a small group of aspiring actors.

Throughout my visit, everyone I encountered “in the biz” echoed the same sentiment when it came to being successful. Are you ready for this mind-blowing piece of advice?

Show up.

There is it, folks! The best piece of advice I think I have received so far. It means exactly what you think it means. Literally show up when you say you will. California is full of incredibly fun distractions and if you let it, this state of relaxation will overpower you like a time vortex. I’m not kidding. The weather is always the same and the days and months just fade right into each other until next thing you know you’ve been out here for a year and it’s Christmas again. Uhhhh…what?

From what I hear around the acting water cooler, actors tend to be seen as flakey and unreliable. I’ve had people tell me stories about being in the waiting room for an audition and seeing guys walk in, find out that the audition is running behind and bail to go surfing instead of waiting an extra 20 minutes. The craziest part is that they don’t even have the decency to say anything to the session director, casting director or anyone at all. They just get up and leave without a second thought before they can bother to be inconvenienced.

This goes for day jobs, too. Actors will fail to go to work because of a break-up or a “sickness” or a particularly sunny day. Employers start to add “no actors need apply” to their job postings after a string of actors have disappointed them. Actors are seen as inconsiderate, self-absorbed and immature.

How do we break this terrible cycle? By showing up. We must learn not to be lazy, people!

Now I know life happens and it is possible to get delayed three hours by an accident on the 405 (yes, that’s for real). It’s just that too many actors don’t bother to pick up the phone and notify whoever it is that they’re going to be late.

I’ve been told by so many people that I already have an edge because I’m willing to make a commitment and follow through. This means confirming the audition and actually going to it, being punctual, being prepared and never acting like you have a million better places to be. As an aspiring actor in L.A., I already have plenty of obstacles to overcome and more than enough things that are out of my control. The one thing I can control is myself and I’ll be damned if I’m not on time to my big break.

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