I'm in the process of meeting potential new roommates, but that's not really the topic I want to speak on right now. It's more about focus.
One guy I spoke with tonight, I was under the impression that he was an actor as that's what he studied and what I was told he did. He is currently assisting a manager, interviewing to assist a producer and basically working in all areas of the film industry. He's been on about one commercial audition a month and when he said he assumes his agent will drop him he seemed unconcerned. When I asked about his acting goals he said that he could go either way, as in if one of the other pathways opened up he'd go that way instead.
This hit me. Where I am caught is that I've devoted nearly half of my life to acting and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I've PA'd on sets and I write/direct/edit but only to facilitate my acting. I am an actor and I would like the world to see me as such (though there's a-whole-nother story there*) and I can't imagine entertaining other ideas when I know what I am.
This made me realize the reason so many people in the entertainment industry used to be actors. They never really wanted to be actors in the first place. They wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry and thought acting was the easiest way in. In all honesty for some it was, but only the super gorgeous can get away with that. Acting is rough and you have to be super dedicated to it. You have to face rejection daily and smile about it. Some people only see the huge paychecks for a few days of work and notoriety, but neglect to notice the months and years of not working, networking and not getting paid that are required to add value to your name in the first place. That's the same problem with grocery stores. We see all the fruits and vegetables and we expect them to be there and we don't see the thousands of hours of work and effort and lives that go into creating that food and bringing it to the store. We just see the finished project, fruit and film alike [in more ways than one?].
When I hear someone talk about acting as an "if" I know they are not serious about it. I don't even think "if" when it comes to acting for me. I view it as a certainty. Maybe an eventuality, but always a definite. As long as I am persistent, it will happen. The industry has no choice but to eventually accept me, because I'm here and I'm not going elsewhere. I'm setting up my tent on Hollywood's front lawn ** and not budging until I'm invited in. It's not quite war, but it's not quite not war either. It's just the industry. I've seen people with money and connections jump the queue and they will continue to do so. That's what money and connections do. I may not have money *** and I am working on connections, just being me - Vinnie - a nice guy with talent and drive.
I just had a mild revelation tonight that not every actor is an actor at heart. Picasso had drive, Van Gogh needed to get his images in paint, other artists...well we aren't saying their names now. They just didn't want it that much. Maybe that's it. I need it. I can't fully live without acting. Now that's much more vulnerable of a position than I want to be in. That's how it goes, I guess. I'm in a kind of freefall, trusting the ground will greet me with a smile and not a splat, but I'd rather be living toward my dreams than dying from their stagnation.
I should end on a positive note. Well...maybe some of the appendices below will do the trick.****
*I met a producer friend of mine yesterday who's been helping me out and she said there was a project I might be good for that some other people I know are putting together. I was excited and I'm always up for acting, then she said she immediately thought I would be great doing 2nd2nd AD work on that project. i.e. not acting. That made my heart sink for a moment that her first thought of me was not as an actor. Actually, it pissed me the fuc& off since I've told her I'm an actor first, everything else second. I've told her several times. She'll learn.
**If you're not aware I once literally set up a tent on WETA Workshop's front lawn in New Zealand with the goal of getting a job. I've apparently always been tenacious.
***I'm actually in debt, but since I graduated from a 4 year private liberal arts university with only $10,000 of debt, I'm counting these first years in Hollywood as my real education and it's costing me less than a doctorate and getting me farther ahead in the process.
****In all honesty I am very blessed to be able to follow my passion and I'm glad I can share some of these moments with people I care about. The days where I question my sanity right next to the ones where I know I'm truly and completely alive and loved.