Tonight ABC made me a happy camper as I watched the episode of BODY OF PROOF that I was in. I made a post a few months ago here talking about 2011. In it, I mentioned how getting a part on this show was how my year ended. It also was the kickoff to 2012, when I got word I had been booked on the follow up episode as well. Dr. Miles Hart would be back in action! As exciting as it was to now have two episodes and a recurring role on the show, this week I found myself quite nervous. Because, in our world, we don't always, "make the cut."
It's crazy how the ego gets in the way, because aside from hoping that my scenes or lines made the episode, I was worried also about what it would look like if they HADN'T! Some people even judge the SIZE of the role because of their own expectations or judgements, so I would find myself thinking about that too. I was really hesitant early on to post anything about my episode, which if you know me, that says a lot. I'm always getting told, "you are the best self promoter I know." I do my best not to get crazy with it, but shit, if you don't back yourself first, who will right? Sometimes I wonder if it has a reverse affect, because lately, I have had people asking me for help on things or to work on a project and it is started with, "I know you are busy and may not have time..." or, "I almost didn't ask you..." LOL! I appreciate it, but I'll always FIND TIME. Anyway, because of how important these TV credits are at this stage for me, I was worried about not having anything to show for it. I didn't want to promote it and look like an ass if nothing made it.
I've talked previously, about how countless people I know had filmed huge parts in something, but when it came time to watch the finished product, they found themselves on the cutting room floor aka NOT IN THE FILM/TV SHOW. It's devastating. You still get paid (unless it is a commercial in which case--kiss residuals goodbye), but most of us, who are fighting/climbing that ladder, really just want to see that their part was not removed. Most people would do it for free!
I can remember getting the call from my agent that I was booked on LAW AND ORDER opposite Alfred Molina (who is one of my favorites and on my list of people I want to work with), and I flipped! They were giving me the details of the pay to see if it was ok and I was like, "I'd do it for FREE. YES, confirm me!" Good footage from a recognizable show or film, opposite known actors? Yes please. This is not to say this is the only time you are surrounded by good talent, but unfortunately, you need those experiences to continue that climb. Especially in TV!
Here is an example, I recently signed with a new Manager and he was setting up meetings with agencies. There was one agency (who I eventually signed with), that he was really excited about and stressed, "they submit for film!" This was important knowing my film goals, but it also caught me off guard, "don't they all??!!" I met with the agency and brought this up and they filled me in: not all agents do, because it is not as lucrative for them as TV can be. "This is a TV town." I've been realizing that more and more lately.
Just the other day, I was hanging out with a good friend and we were looking up some other actors, on IMDB. The first thing he was doing was scrolling down to see what TV credits they had. If someone only had like one or two TV shows or maybe no recent TV credits, he'd say, "they haven't worked a lot." However, some of those people had loads of indie film credits, or maybe even bit parts in bigger films, but it got no attention. Literally, he scrolled past. It wasn't anything mean, it's just the way of this business. I've noticed others do the same countless times, including casting people.
Unfortunately, I'm like one of those people he was referring to for the most part. I have been the star or, or a lead in a number of films, lots of features even, but it doesn't get the same kind of attention. I could have great footage on my demo reel from some of those films where I was the star, but if I play the plumber on LAW AND ORDER, or I'm opposite a known actor, that would be the first thing people would want to see on a reel.
I have a couple of friends who won't say much about their, "little victories." I never look at anything that way, the saying is simple, "There are no small parts, just small actors." Some of my friends won't promote anything for many reasons, who knows, maybe out of fear for what I mentioned above. But the other day, a friend was talking about how he was keeping silent about his recent booking. It was a complicated situation, but it dealt with things from the business side of things. Either way, I just could not wrap my head around it. To me, we don't have many victories, so I can't understand the position of not sharing. More than anything, everything to me deals with what you are putting out there to the world. I would never want to bet against myself in a way by keeping something quiet like that. It's not like he was intending to, thats just how I view it to some extent. To me it's sending out the wrong message to the ears and eyes of the universe. I also like to share because I feel like it reminds me of my attack. It is ownership...it forces me to continue to speak...with actions. After talking to him, things started to shift with my feelings of originally being concerned to promote my upcoming episodes. As innocent as my friends reasoning was, I felt there was a bigger disservice happening and I was starting to make sense of it enough to know it wasn't right.
Finally something hit me and it just made sense for me and I was happy I HAD shared. It was sort of a, "back to basics" thought process..."My FAMILY would be happy just to SEE me...even if I was just in the background." Often times, we let out own egos or expectations get in the way of some of the simplest forms of appreciation we can receive. This prevents others from enjoy things, even if they are, "simple" or "LITTLE" things for us personally. For me, that connected to my family and close friends. My mom, sister and my Dad from above...not to mention the rest of my watching relatives, would be thrilled just to SEE ME on TV. Hell, I'm thousands of miles away, it's just a way for them to see me PERIOD.
That presented me with a new position, but a familiar thought...a similar one to things I have previously written about in my blog, or discussed with my team on our films..."this climb up the ladder is the fun part!"
As stressful as it can be, this is where we have to get really creative and it's a more simplistic approach to our work in many ways. As we climb up, we'll achieve certain successes...but that doesn't ever mean its an easier path. However, when I've worked with veterans on projects and (this was shared with me by several people when I filmed BODY OF PROOF) I tell them that I've produced some indie projects...they ALL have commented that they wish they could be doing that. They remark that working on smaller projects really provided them with GREAT experiences, especially artistically. Interesting.
In a similar way, our climb up the ladder can be equally exciting for the viewer, right? At some point, things become routine. I fight against that, but still find myself in that position with certain things...it's natural. When I was learning to play sports, it was exciting to learn and I could tell my coaches were exited to teach me. Then you learn and the expectations kick in...the judgements on performances and such. It comes with the territory though. At that point, your climb is now focused hitting the next level and excelling in your position. You want to be the team leader, or captain, best hitter or three point shooter. Statistics start to come into play and the evolution continues as the professionalism grows. All of these accomplishments and successes are hugely rewarding, but you'll still never forget how much fun you had when your day was focused on getting out of school to suit up and go to practice, or PLAY a game.
Well...I found myself wondering today if Johnny Depps family or close friends REALLY, HONESTLY get excited when his latest project is announced or released. What is that like for them? Has it just become expected...his routine? Are they they ones tuning in for the first viewing? Are they telling their friends to watch and support? I hope so. But you have to wonder if that has changed. Like I said, as you climb that ladder everything progresses and there are newer accomplishments and things to keep it all fresh I'm sure...just as there are more challenges. But, what are the little things now that they have come to appreciate? Obviously there are millions of people who are supporting him daily throughout the world, but I'm just wondering about those close to him.
I just made me realize, I don't want to tune out or prevent anyone, MYSELF included, from the fun that is associated with growth...ESPECIALLY those who have supported me from my beginning. Every moment counts, even if it just brings a quick smile to someone's face. Hell, my mom last night was talking to me after she watched my first scene and She had no idea what I said because she said she was too busy clapping. For ME, just seeing my name spelled correctly in credits is a treat!
I'll take that Co-"STAR" proudly!!!
There are factors that come into play, some of which I described above...but thats a given. There is not much I could do to control what would have happened with anything in that episode tonight...everything that was in my power was done previously to that 10pm slot. I learned the script for the audition. I showed up. I kicked ass in the audition. I booked it and learned it even better. I showed up to film. I did battle on set when it was my time. I clocked out. I paid my union dues. I paid my commissions to my representation. I kept an eye out for when it would air. I made post cards and promoted it...now, it's time to just enjoy because I already had a hell of an experience before that episode even aired tonight. Not to mention, it's already benefitted me and others in many ways BEFORE any of my closest friends and family would have a chance to enjoy it.
If the worst was that I walked across the screen for a second and that was it...I'd still be in a pretty good position in the morning because I'd still have loads of people who were excited about it...and they will continue to be the people who would always be the biggest supporters and motivators to me. If they couldn't be happy now, they wouldn't be happy later. I'm grateful to be reminded of that because it helps take the edge off of things I find.
I'm so grateful for everyone that tuned in to watch, the people that shared the news, or those who set their DVR and will skim through the episode just to find all of the parts I was in lol (there are three haha). I'm thankful for the people that constantly show support, encouragement and LOVE.
I'm also thankful for the people who teach me so much through their unsupportive actions. In the most positive way, I learn the most from you because you remind me how lucky I am to have such great support and love from others.
Everyone has their own path and its important to allow for everyone to find it. Sometimes that path for them doesn't allow for support to others, but we mustn't take it personally. Letting go is often times a good thing. I was reminded of that this past week while grabbing lunch with a good friend.
If you didn't catch the show or missed some of it, check it out here:
Signed with my favorite gesture: