Thursday, October 14, 2010

Driving a Nail Into the Wall With My Forehead

Professional rejection is becoming second-nature around here.

Let me put it this way; in the last 2 years, I've done 4 shows. I've probably been to thirty to forty auditions in the last twenty-four months, and I've landed only two roles via those auditions. The other two I was invited to be part of without real audition.

That's a shitty return on investment.

I'm not getting work, and there's less work to go around. Audition notices have been scant recently, it's extremely common to find absolutely nothing to submit for. Companies have folded. Companies where I felt I had a relationship have just stopped calling. Ensembles have "circled the wagons," in the face of financial strain....helping themselves before they help others. Which makes sense.

I feel very much left out in the cold.

The question starts to turn to if I want to keep putting myself through this or not. I'm not a person who thinks they should get what they want all the time, but I'm also very cognizant of the fact that I apparently lack the skill, or the proper look, or whatever, to land the roles I am most excited about. I guess I feel trapped by this profession, the place I've been set inside it, and it's not even my profession.

I mean, I rarely get paid to act, and when I do it's usually a token, but VERY appreciated, gesture, so, my reward is the artistic growth. The challenge is what most important to me. If I was making a living wadge, I'd probably feel differently, but I'm not.

I want to be challenged, but, if I can't win the role, I've already failed the challenge. I've been failing a lot.

I've always said my goal was to live a creative life. I've never wanted to get myself into a place where I wasn't creating...something. Thing is, I've come to realize that I also want to matter. I want the things I create to be of some consequence, and, I guess, brass tacks, that means I want to be noticed.

The last two years I have felt unnoticed. The fact that I've fallen off many people's radar just points to the fact that it's true. I feel like I've flung myself at the wall, and nothing stuck.

It is about ego, no doubt, I have never, ever, claimed to be ego-free, but it's also about feeling you've grown in your craft. I should be a better actor than I was 4 years ago, but I feel like I'm worse. I feel like I'm losing the connection to the place inside that allowed me to perform effectively.

I don't feel free anymore. I judge every role, instead of running into it with wild abandon. Mainly, that's because I'm sick of being who I am, I'm sick of the typecasting. I'm sick of being placed in that narrow box, and when I go up for a role who's defining element is "big guy," I almost immediately feel myself start to withdraw. I've already failed, because, "here I am, doing this same old shit." The roles, to be brutally honest, are rarely good enough to transcend that feeling.

I was reading a script for my company yesterday, and the entire time, I could hear the voices of the Ensemble talking about how I would be perfect for a particular role in this script. It hadn't happened, but it will. I know how I'm thought of within the group. I know what utility I serve. It was the same old thing, soldier, unbalanced, violent...a "big guy."

Totally skewed everything. I found myself just ticking off the character traits I can now play in my sleep, as they applied to this role. Ticking 'em off, one by one. I'm now very afraid that someone will bring it up when we discuss this play, and I'll rip their head off.

It comes down to this...apparently I don't matter anymore unless I'm comfortably within that little box that's been made for me. Even inside that box, I can't seem to make a difference.

So, here I am. Trapped within a typecasting that's increasingly uncomfortable for me, and without the skill to break out of it, or, apparently, even exploit it. I've been entertaining dreams and fantasies of having a headshot bonfire, and wiping the slate clean of all this.

Huh...this "bemoaning the state of my career" thing is becoming a weekly feature around here. Feel free to post "stop your bullshit whining" comments.

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