What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

How to Not Be THAT Actor February 8, 2014

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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There is a curse that all actors are subject to: the curse of the next job. Actors spend a huge quantity of time and money searching for the next gig. Theatre may seem glamorous, but really we are like migrant field hands or plumbers. We stay until the job is over and then move on to the next job… if there is a next job. The only difference is that we wear sequins and are required to smile.

Different actors handle this chronic problem in different ways. There are those who have the privilege and the ability to reach out to contacts to book another gig. There are those who audition endlessly, those who give up and go home, and those who endlessly hound everyone they think might have a lead on a gig. This is the sort of actor you never want to be.

Asking around to see if anyone has heard about an audition is fine. If you have a friend who has worked for a theatre company, asking to reference them in your cover letter is fine. It is risky, however. If, for instance, your friend broke into the producer’s pool while drunk and naked, they may not be the sort of reference you want.

But some actors go too far, eavesdropping on conversations, asking on a daily basis if you have booked anything yet and if the gig which you do not yet have might need more people, incessantly stalking fellow actors to beg them for work even though the poor stalked actor has never given them any indication that they can get you a job at their theatre company, without any consideration for the fact that actors generally have no say in the casting process. And most of these things are done either while laughing as though they don’t really mean it, or interrupting you while you are trying to do something, like make it onstage for your cue.

So please consider that all of us are trying to find work. All of our livelihoods are riding on signing the next contract. And please take your foot off my face as you try to climb the proverbial theatre ladder. It won’t help you to stand up there anyway. My face doesn’t give out contracts.


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