VO4TA: What "they" don't understand
Here's what "they" don't understand.
Your mom who wanted you to get “something to fall back on”. Your uncle who thought you needed to “find a real job”. Your older sister who has her salary with her “cost of living increase” (if she's really, really lucky).
It's a life unlike any other.
This business demands more. And you beat yourself against the rock every day. The rock of approval. The rock of anxiety. The rock of self doubt and depression. And it makes you tough. And it makes you smart.
You learn to live the hustle of the working actor running from a commercial audition to the gym to your nanny job to a reading then to an after hours cafe in Brooklyn to catch your best friend sing one new song in a six person line up to then get up and do something different the next day.
And you see how it's easy to get seduced by the life and forget the business. That there are showcases to find. And classes to take. Auditions to prep. Agents to meet and skills to develop. You learn how to market. How to meet and greet. How to charm. How to be emotionally available and honest and still protect yourself.
That there are opportunities no one can make except you. Dream projects to work on. Screenplays to draft. Money to spend well and to waste on mistakes. “I gave up an extra shift at the bar for this? This guy isn’t even looking at me, let alone listening to me read!”
You learn to write comedy by writing comedy and you learn that you’ll never know if the song that felt good in your bedroom will land unless you take the fifth spot in your best friend’s six person line up and hope to God you’ll stop shaking long enough to sing the chorus clearly into the microphone. “Can I get a little more level? Thanks!”
You learn there is time to take for yourself and an extra job to take (two maybe three nights a week twice a month) and that there is a constant quest to find someone else who “gets it” and when you find that someone, you hang on to them tight. ‘Cause it’s like gold.
Yeah, it’s a life unlike any other. But don’t ever let anyone ever tell you that you don’t work hard. And if “they” think that you don’t work hard, “they” don’t get it.
Hugh P. Klitzke blogs at voiceoverfortheactor.
Hugh P. Klitzke’s class Commercial Voice Over for the Actor starts September 8th. Four Mondays from 7 to 9pm.
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This is a personal weblog. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own and are not those of any of my employers.