Friday, June 13, 2014


Acting is a lonely profession.

Wait a minute.  No, it's not.  Acting is one of the most social enterprises a person can undertake.  Your job is basically to talk to people.

Unfortunately, by "talk to people" I mean "ask people to help / support / believe / house / feed / represent / tolerate you," and a lot of those people say "no."  Auditions are an obvious example.  Actors, if they're worth their salt, spend a great deal of time standing in front of people they may not even respect, having the way they play pretend^ judged^^ and knowing that after they do so, they will probably be told "no."

Sometimes they don't even get that far.  Sometimes as an actor, people say "no" to even considering you as someone they might say "no" to.  Sometimes people won't even talk to you. When it's really going badly, even Santa's elves tell you to shove off.*

So when you get a "yes," it's truly a splendid turn of events.  Yesterday, I got a "yes" from Ambassador Talent--which means I now have someone who will connect me with hundreds of new people who will mainly say "no" to me.**  I love this job.

Susan and Ed, let's make history together.  Or at least some Empire Carpet commercials.

* Or literally shove you off.
^ Fun!
^^ Not fun!
** Literally, it means that I've signed with a commercial agent.  Two of them, actually.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Remy Bump-who?

Remy Bumppo:*

The theatre community is interested in having a conversation with you.


The Chicago theatre community is interested in having an in-depth conversation with you.


Oh, bother.  Sorry for all the false starts.  It's just . . . this is my performer half trying to write^, and he's more given to talking than writing.

The truth is, I'd like to talk to you, but I can't.  All you've given me is a mysterious phone number with instructions never to call it except for two hours out of the year (specifically, from 3 to 5 pm last Saturday).  This, as far as I understand, is the only way to reach you other than showing up at your doorstep.^^

The imagination runs wild.  Does the telephone number in your audition notices ring up a disposable cell phone?  Is somebody in a trench coat--a really temporary worker--standing by a pay phone for .02% of the year, filling audition slots with his back turned to the ignorant masses?  Or is it something even bigger and more magical?  Are you the very pinnacle of an itinerant theatre company, disappearing and reappearing at your fickle will like the FOR MADMEN ONLY space in Steppenwolf?**  (If that's the case, can I please sit in on one of your rehearsals?)

The madmen theory makes the most sense.  What is the defining characteristic of madness if not the inability to functionally adapt to the world at large?  People prone to anxiety, for example, devise irrationally specific rules for the way they'll allow others to interact with them.  Isn't this diagnosis accurate in regard to your audition policy, one which expects any interested party to make not you but the possibility of you the #1 priority for two hours of their weekend (or until they get an answer at your tardis)?  One which asks the actors of Chicago to subjugate our rationally-designed, well-balanced schedules to your narcissistic demands?  One which eliminates any working actors who have Saturday afternoon rehearsals from your audition pool?  (I can see why you'd want to exclude actors talented enough to be in shows currently.)

Maybe I sound a little dramatic.  (This is my actor half writing, after all.)  Let's be simpler about the issue:

Your policy, whether intended as such or not, qualifies as a power play.  It saves you the trouble of sorting through headshots and resumes, of replying to emails and mailings, of doing much other than sitting by the phone and waiting for us to genuflect before you.  In short, it makes an already difficult process harder, but not for you--for us.  Life as an actor (here comes the drama again) is hard enough with the adversity we face outside our industry.  So please drop the golden palace act.  You need the groundlings more than they need you.

I've heard nothing but nice things about you from the people who work with you.  But why is it so hard to work with you?

I'd love an answer to that question between 1 and 3 pm tomorrow.

Oh.  You'll be in the middle of auditions at that time?

Damn.  I guess we just missed each other.

* (if that is your real name)
^ You should see my writer half try to perform!
**Hey!  That would be a cool name for a theatre company.
^^ Also strictly forbidden.