As previously mentioned, I am an actor. In Los Angeles. Yes, hoooooow cliche. It's true that I have chosen the most cliche profession in the most cliche town, but not a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that I'm in the City of Angels, doing what I love. Except when I wish I was a doctor...sometimes that happens.
You know things are bad when you think, "Man, life would have been much easier if I just chose to go to med school!"
I feel like I'm allowed to say something this thick-headed because I come from a medical family. But that's neither here nor there.
I'm not going to drag on and on right now about life as an actor in LA because, well, that's a very cliche actor thing to do. Instead, I will hope that this blog (through time and entries) will be able to do the job. Aaaaaaand, I don't feel like doing it right now. So there's that.
The main thing I can say is that every year, thousands of actor hopefuls move out to LA, and every year, thousands of ex-actors move out of LA. The town can be merciless in that it doesn't reward talent. That was the biggest lesson. You can be the best in the room, and not get the job. In fact, most of the time, the best in the room doesn't get the job. If you can deal with that level of unfairness and injustice, then you just might be able to not go crazy.
I teach acting, and I always tell my students that when things get crappy, hate the business, don't hate your art. It's a play on that horrible line men use, "Hate the game, but don't hate the player." For the record, you can (and should) hate the player and the game. Do it. It's fun.
Back to the subject, Alex, back to the subject. Hate the business, and love your art because your art will always lead you to the truth. Your art will never let you down. Your art will stand by your side. There is always work to do.
Then, one day, I stumbled across this Humans of New York post; Obama was one of their stories, and I thought, "Whaaaaaaaat?? Obama! That's what I always say!" And then I gave myself a pat on the back and felt very validated.
Here is the story:
“When is the time you felt most broken?”“I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat. I just got whooped. I had been in the state legislature for a long time, I was in the minority party, I wasn’t getting a lot done, and I was away from my family and putting a lot of strain on Michelle. Then for me to run and lose that bad, I was thinking maybe this isn’t what I was cut out to do. I was forty years old, and I’d invested a lot of time and effort into something that didn’t seem to be working. But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ – then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.”
If I had to give one piece of advice for someone moving to Los Angeles, it would be this: Focus on the work. Don't focus on fame. Focusing on fame is like focusing on winning the lottery. Fame is not an indicator of talent or worth or creative genius or ingenuity. Focus on being an actor's actor, meaning focus on being someone that other actors look up to. Focus on what it means to you to be an actor--not what it means to your parents, or your Aunt Sally, or even your agent. What is your voice? What do you want to say? How can you make an impact? Focus on that.
Tools and Resources
You are probably wondering this blog is about. Well, it's about anything that everything that I find inspiring, helpful, and curiosity building.
Curiosity is my favorite state of being, and I've become a treasure hunter and a trash hoarder, collecting all sorts of articles, artwork, and accessories that fuel my inspiration and creativity.
This will also be a place for me to document my life as an actor and coach in Los Angeles. If performing is your passion, I hope that this blog becomes a place for you to learn from my mistakes, grow from my accomplishments, laugh at my witless choices, and share in this crazy, unpredictable, beautiful, life in the arts.