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On Choosing Projects

April 20, 2013

I spend a lot of time sifting through casting notices on Actors Access and other casting sites. On Actors Access, in particular, I have to just laugh at how many of the casting notices for women involve the terms “smokin’ hot,” “gorgeous,” “beautiful girl next door,” or “complete knock-out” while the casting notices for men are generally, “[Ethnicity], [Age Range], [Character description].” Rarely does a casting notice for men involve the term “Intelligent but…[smokin’ hot, gorgeous, beautiful girl next door, complete knock-out].” I have to just laugh, because otherwise I would cry.

The longer I sift through breakdowns, the more I have taken to choosing more carefully the projects for which I submit. After reading Paul Russell’s Acting: Make It Your Business and doing some soul-searching, I have begun to realize that I am not interested in acting gigs merely because they are acting gigs. There are any number of breakdowns for which I fit the bill, and that pay what I am willing to accept, which are projects that I simply not interested in. Now, that being said, there are also plenty of projects to which I submit that are not the most artistically fulfilling, but, hey, a girl’s gotta eat.

I have surprised myself on more than one occasion for bypassing an audition opportunity for reasons other than low-pay/no-pay. (Oh, that’s a whole other topic, that so many folks want actors to work for peanuts or, worse, to pay for the privilege of performing in their project.) At the end of the day, though, if I am going to leave my home, my family, to work on a project, it had better be something that engages me on a level beyond subsistence. There was a time when I would submit for anything-ANYTHING-in which my fellow actors and I kept our clothes on. But now, now not so much.

If you are going to spend some of the precious days of your life working on something, why not spend them working on something in which you believe, or at least that you aren’t embarrassed to admit to being a part of. It’s part of the reason I started writing in earnest. Not only do I enjoy it, but it also gives me an opportunity to create my own work, work really speaks to my interests because, well, because I wrote it!


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