Friday, April 18, 2014

"That Guy... Who Was in That Thing." (Documentary Film Recommendation)

If you are aspiring to be a working actor—regardless if you are just starting out or have been at it for decades—then I highly recommend that you watch the documentary "That Guy... Who Was in That Thing."

A lot of us get into the business with dreams of super-stardom. The possibility—albeit remote—of lucrative roles, name recognition and, of course, having the luxury of passing on a job because it doesn't appeal to our artistic ideals... then we actually start trying to get work and the role doesn't matter to us as much as whether or not it comes with a paycheck.

I've had the opportunity to talk with young actors in high school and college and I like to ask them the following question: "What's the best kind of actor to be?"

And it's so cute when they say things like, "A theatre actor," "A film actor" or "A method actor." Then I smile and say to them, "There's only one correct answer to that question: The best kind of actor to be is a WORKING actor."

Yes, we do get into the business because of our passion as artists but we can't lose site of the fact that it is a BUSINESS and if we want to make a LIVING at it, we need to be willing to say "Yes" more often than no.

Admit it, if you're agent called you up and said, "A casting director saw your reel and they want you for a part in a film, they're offering to pay you a SAG-equivalent day-rate for a week of work," you'd say yes without even knowing what the movie's about. At least, if you want to call yourself a professional, working actor, you will.

Of course everyone is going to draw a line somewhere. I remember when most of the acting gigs on Craigslist were for non-paying student films and not porn. But let's be honest... I couldn't get hired as an "adult performer" even if I wanted to be.

All that being said, "That Guy... Who Was in That Thing" profiles the type of actor that I would LOVE to become. Somebody that people recognize on the street because they've seen me in a whole lot of commercials, TV shows and movies but they can never quite remember my name because I'm not the leading man, I'm usually in a supporting or character role. I'm on screen just long enough to make an impression and be recognized and working enough in the industry to at least not have to work at a "day job" that I would hate. And that should be the dream for most actors. To be able to do what you love and make a living at it. To be a working actor.

I used to tell people that if I could be like any actor, I'd want to be like Terry O'Quinn... Because he was always working. Then he got that gig on "Lost" and everybody knew who he was so I had to look for another woking actor to aspire to be like... so I chose Anthony Zerbe. I met him once when I was in college. You've probably never heard of him. But I bet you've seen him. He's so obscure he wasn't even asked to be in "That Guy... Who Was in That Thing." But at least he's working. :-)

I do have some higher aspirations than that, of course... when I allow myself to really dream big: I want to be the Paul Giamatti of the Intermountain West film community. ;-)

"That Guy... Who Was in That Thing"
"That Guy... Who Was in That Thing"

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