Writing helps me clear my head. I can't speak as fast as I think, and writing forces me to take my time. Since the issues that have been plaguing me recently are the same issues that have been making me shy away from blogging, I've decided to tackle them right now.
It's been awhile since I've written anything. I have several half written blog posts or random paragraphs here and there that I've jotted down. But every time I go to write I get overwhelmed with this sense of ego. I am constantly feeling like I have to keep my vanity in check. I mean, my resume is basically a huge picture of my face. I send people videos of myself acting on the daily and self-promotion is always some thin line between bragging and desperation. And the truth is, there hasn't been a lot of work out there for me as an actor. A few things here and there, but auditions? Hell, I've been on maybe three auditions in the past year. I've worked on a few projects through word of mouth which is awesome, but my online submissions are not getting a lot of responses.
Soooo what do I write about?! I find myself wanting to write about feminist issues or hot-button topics like Bill Cosby and his disguting life or Ferguson or other infuriating news stories. But why the hell would I want to contribute my voice to the caucophny of people who jump on trending stories as a means to draw in viewership or readers? I don't want to be someone who uses some national crisis or worldwide tragedy to propel my career forward. That feels icky. Besides, if my blog is going to be on my actor website, shouldn't what I write about be relevant to acting?
Back to the issue at hand – ego. Thanks to my ego bumping heads with my insecurities, I've been stiffling my voice by convincing myself that nothing I say really matters in the long run, which is actually totally legitmate and real. But if I'm going to convince myself that nothing I say matters, I should take that and use it with a sense of freedom. If nothing I say matters, I can say anything I feel like!
I'll be taking these next few posts to write about things I'm going to allow myself to stop feeling guilty about as a freelance/independent actor. I'm so over telling myself that by raising my expectations I am inflating my ego. So, this week's topics are:
UNPAID WORK & BEING A CRITIC
Unpaid Work - There is such a stigma around saying you won't accept unpaid work as an actor. I 90% disagree. I've gotta eat and pay rent in this city too, and even if you don't think the skill that I offer is worth your money, my time certainly is. Actors may be a dime a dozen, but so are the multitude of projects we get offered. If you're not courteous or serious enough to pay me for my time, I'll find someone who is by literally just surfing the internet. That's how vast this business is, and that's how quick jobs can come and go. I would also much rather accept less work and sift through projects to find the ones that are the most promising rather than get some fake artistic fullfilment out of projects that will never see the light of day. I'm not doing this just for fun. I'm doing this to make a living because there's not too many other ways I really enjoy spending my time. I'll pay my dues as a starving artist for now, but I won't let this phase go on forever, and that's more than okay for me to say out loud.
There are, of course, exceptions. Working with friends that you know and love to the point where it almost feels like socializing is one of the best reasons to work for free – definitely surround yourself in those moments. Those are some of the most creative moments you get.
If you're new to the city or haven't auditioned much, definitely take unpaid work! It's amazing how quickly you network in the most unlikely of places. If a certain amount of exposure is guaranteed, or if you're trying to play a particular type of character or you need new footage for a demo reel - These are all great reasons to accept unpaid work.
Being a Critic - I have very strong opinions about things, particularly when it comes to film and theater. I am also a very vocal person when it comes to things that I have strong opinions about. Sometimes I hear some bullshit about how I shouldn't be so harsh because we all know how hard this industry is and blah blah blah let's all be supportive. I 100% agree that a creative utopia sounds absolutely magical. If I was just sitting on my ass all day finding things to troll on that would be one thing, but I'm not. I'm carving out a career and I need to find the people I am meant to meet by being loud. No one is going to get black-listed forever by speaking their mind because there is no industry that exists where one list can speak for everyone's individual opinions. This is just as much a business as it is a creative channeling, and I plan on being an active part in my own career as I claw my way through figuring out this business. That means having an opinion and being vocal about the kinds of work I want to see and the kind of characters I want to represent. I say just as much about the things that I love as I do about the things that I don't love.
Look, just because I personally think Interstellar was a really shitty movie in lots of ways doesn't mean I think Christopher Nolan is a piece of shit human being who should retire right now. He has made some great films, and art is all subjective. And Mr. Nolan has every right to read this blog post and think “Lauren, A. Kennedy, who the hell is that little nobody?” Maybe we'll meet at a party one day and think “oh, he/she isn't half bad” and we'll make some movie magic together. I'll be sure to write another blog post when that happens.
Next Week's topics:
GETTING ALL THE DETAILS & AVOIDING COMPETITION