Be All You Can Be!
Monday, 08.06.2018, 11:32 PM
Be All You Can Be!
By Lori S. Wyman, CSA
Be ALL you can be!
By Lori S. Wyman, CSA
Once upon a time there was an actor. He had just graduated from college with his degree in theater and after college he submersed himself in a one year apprenticeship program with a prestigious theater. He made a declaration that he was going to be a film and television actor.
This actor packed up his belongings and moved to New York City. He was a small town boy, from a southern state and he decided he was going to tackle New York City as an actor.
As luck would have it, this actor had to get a job to pay his bills and this made it much harder to obtain an agent and go on castings. He moved in with his girlfriend and paid the bills while she pursued her acting career. He was sad.
One day he heard about the biggest television series in the country, at that time, shooting in his home state. He wanted to be an actor on that show. He decided he would put an answering machine at his sister’s house so the local agents would think he lived in that city. Every time he received a call from an agent to go on an audition, he would get on an airplane and fly down to audition. And he worked on that television series as a union principal performer. And he became a television actor. Then this actor from NYC wanted more. He knew that in order to really pursue his acting career he’d have to give up his survival job and the cheating girlfriend. It was time to live the life he wanted. So he moved to the state where this television show was filming. He got an agent and started to go out on castings. His main objective in life was to be a working actor in television and film projects. Now THIS is where the point of this story is about to kick in. You see, this actor wanted to work in TV and movies more than anything, so he put his work above everything else. When he received a set of sides, he studied them for hours. It didn’t matter what his plans were. He would cancel them, postpone them, rearrange them just to give himself the time to memorize his sides 100%. There was none of this, “I kinda know them,” “I’m almost memorized,” “It’s only a couple of lines, so I don’t really need to work so hard.” OH NO, this actor learned every set of sides like it was the biggest audition of his life. You know why? BECAUSE IT WAS!!! He auditioned once for 2 lines in a major feature film. It was a small part, but you know the old saying by Stanislavski, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” This actor delved into those 2 lines like it was the biggest part of his life. When he read for the casting director, she asked him to read for a bigger role. That 2 line, 1 day part, turned into a co-starring role that worked for 3 months. And guess what? He did that on many feature films over the course of his acting career. He worked with some of the biggest Oscar winning actors out there. How did he turn this dream into a fulltime career? He treated every audition as if it was the biggest audition of his life.
As an actor, you must treat this career as the most important aspect of your world. I am a casting director and I’d like to share a few stories of actors who “claim” they want to be a working actor, but do not want to invest any time or effort into achieving their goal.
One day I was casting for a series regular in a television show. It was a really big audition with about 6 pages of dialog. The casting was on a Monday. An actor, and I use the term loosely, came into my office at 11:00 in the morning. We began his audition and he clearly did not know his dialog, but I could tell that he wasn’t a bad actor. I asked him why he didn’t know his dialog and he told me he had just received his sides. This angered me as I take great pride in making sure the actors have their sides far enough in advance so that they can do a good job on their audition. I was starting to get aggravated with his agent for not sending him the sides. I told him that I had specifically sent them to his agent on Friday so that he could have the whole weekend to work on them. He said, “I just got them. I just got them on Friday.” “W H A T?” I exclaimed!!! “You had all weekend to work on these sides for a series regular and you didn’t learn them.” I then added, “Well, I guess this audition isn’t that important to you.” He quickly answered by telling me that the audition was very important to him. Well, obviously, it wasn’t, since he didn’t make any time over the weekend to learn the lines for this all-important audition. I then told him to go work on the sides and he could come back as late as 4pm that afternoon and we could try it again. I gave him pretty much all day to work on the dialog and he never even came back later that day. Clearly, acting was not a priority for him.
Another day, I was casting a project and an agent called me to ask if her actor could come in earlier in the day since he got a booking for later that afternoon. I told her that I could see her actor before 12:45 or after 2pm. Between 1 and 2 was my lunch break and I needed that time for myself. Well, don’t ya know, the actor showed up at 1:30 and started yelling at me that I had better see him because he had a booking and he couldn’t wait. When I asked why he hadn’t come in during the times I had given him, he said he was busy and couldn’t get there any earlier. He “expected” me to give up my 1 hour lunch break, because he couldn’t get to my office during the timeframe I had given his agent. He never auditioned that day.
The audition process is THE most important aspect of the actor’s career. If you can’t get through the audition process, you will never book the role and thereby never work.
There is a certain professionalism that must be adhered to or the aspiring actor will not work. I cast a really big budget movie several years ago. The producers wanted a particular star for their lead, but there was one itty-bitty problem. This particular actor had a little heroin habit. In order for the producer to be able to hire this actor, they would be required to take out a multi-million dollar life insurance policy just in case the actor flaked out in the middle of production. Guess who DIDN’T get that role?
You see, it doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or if you are an established actor, you still must maintain a certain amount of professionalism or you will not work.
Do not blame anyone else if you don’t work! Don’t blame your agent, the casting director, the producer, or the director. I tell actors to look in the mirror and be honest with themselves. Are you the very best you can be? Are you devoting yourself to this career, or are you doing it half way and expecting to book more than you do? Are you constantly in a class? The working actors in LA are. They are ALWAYS studying out in LA. Do you hire a private coach when you have a really important audition? Even the biggest actors in LA invest in acting coaches to keep them up on their “A” game.
Becoming a working actor does not happen by accident. It takes work and effort and dedication and time. You much invest a lot in your career. It does not happen by accident. Watch how the working actors conduct their careers and follow in their footsteps. If you really want this career, it can be yours!
you are interested in adding to your resume, please look at www.theorganicactor.com
at the calendar page to see the upcoming classes that Lori Wyman offers.
Lori has been in casting in Florida since 1979. She has been nominated for 5 Artios Awards for projects including “Dexter,” “Pain and Gain,” and “Bloodline,” and has 1 Emmy nomination. She is an Artios Award winner for the acclaimed HBO movie, “Recount.”
Lori's office is located in North Miami Beach, Florida, but she travels all over the Southeast for casting projects. She can e reached at email@example.com
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