You had a fire as a kid, you loved performing, you always wanted to act-but you went to school because you had a lot of work to do inside of you. You did that work, you matured and you are now ready to learn how to be an actor. But you find yourself in your mid 20s, what do you do?
Well first, if you don’t have many acting opportunities around you-move to somewhere that you do. Do as much work as you possibly humanly physically can. Because only then will you have even a baseline of understanding about how to act. Now you must learn. More. For me it was improv skits on a stage and then going to the streets to do short or student films. I learned a lot. I got to release myself. Got to live in my ego. It was fun. The people I got to work with were great and afterward the next morning I’d go act in something else. All small productions, pilots, indie films, student films, internals, testimonials. You name it. Because that’s what is available to you. Do as much as you possibly can. Because you learn. For me it was everything that I needed to do. For you, may find another way that works for you. Every actor is unique and every actor is different. Today the acting world is so different because the rules of it have been entirely rewritten now that sag and aftra merged. They loosened some rules and allowed their ranks to swell far past their ability to make sure work was there. But the union is not in existence to provide work. The union exists to protect us as actors. The union exists to make sure you get paid. The union exists to ensure that dedicated craftspeople only work with professional actors. That’s all the union is there to do. It’s protection. It’s family. And those who are members of it have paid their dues for a reason. The old world way an actor would break out would be to stay far away from background, but in this new world-background is a necessary evil for most young and old actors.
It used to be that productions would never look to background talent, but that rule isn’t true anymore as productions will still hire you for a principle role, if you give them a reason to. This is why Im disappointed when I hear young actors bad mouth union. The union isn’t the thing holding you back, it never is. Unless you joined without any experience at all. I do everything that I can because I will always do everything I can until I don’t have to anymore. The day I can say no to something isn’t really what I’m working toward, because I doubt I will ever say no to anyone who wants to work with me. Unless the role is just not something I could do. But on the main if a director wants to work with me-I want to work with them. It’s a privilege. Being in this business. I’ve worked my entire life. This is a blessing. I’m focused on proving to anyone that I have to, that I can take on anything they want me to take on. That’s the effect of moving to New York City and getting as much acting work as I got. You grow, you learn. Your objectives change, priorities. Everything in me right now is focused on taking leap to that next level. I’m focused on proving myself as worthy of a sustained principle acting career. That’s why I moved to NYC. That’s why I didn’t join union as soon as I could. That’s why I took the time I did to get the experience I got and to learn what I did. It takes time. Developing yourself as an actor. Everything was worth it. Every one of our choices matter, not only to us but to those that surround us, rely on us, look to us. Our choices matter. Our words matter. What we do with our lives matters, a lot. I could never live with myself if I didn’t act. I’d always know I didn’t live up to my potential. But choosing to be an actor and going there and doing all I did just made me a whole person. I’m happier now. I lost a manager because he didn’t agree with my unorthodox approach. I wish he trusted me instead. All of my energy is on proving myself. Proving that anyone can trust me with any project. That’s where my energy is focused. And on helping people. Always trying to help people. We all should be. The reality of the acting and film business now is polar opposite what those in 70s/80s/90s and early part of century were dealing with. Streaming has upended the business. The union merging created a whole lot of new noise we as actors had to navigate around, and in my case through. I didn’t join when I could. I didn’t have any experience, I couldn’t call myself an actor without going out there and acting. Doing what I’ve been doing. I feel better now. I always had bad angels yelling at me before I moved to NYC. They’re all gone now. I’m actually happy. I couldn’t be any happier when I’m on set. The one time I got a trailer. I was never happier. Because I was free. I could create. I could just be. When I’m in front of the lens is where I feel the absolute best. It’s where I am the calmest. I love being in front of the lens. And I’m very happy I chose to be. Even as an adult. You could too. If you had that same fire. It’s never too late.