In an effort to get enough work by June 30th (to make my health insurance minimums before a strike deadline), a friend started to send me the daily breakdowns so I could see what roles were available for me. She said that it would double my auditions because as hard as they try, agents just miss stuff. The theory was that this would put me in many more rooms over the next 4 weeks improving my odds for the jobs I need. So, I'd scour the lists for appropriate roles and send in emails to my agent and manager.
Gosh I wish I hadn't.
I looked through and started seeing the names of friends. Casting, producing, directing. Good friends. Friends I had come to trust were looking out for me because we weren't just business friends we were social friends. They know that I'm in a tough spot with a looming strike and they'd surely include me in their project. Right?
Then, of course, my mind went to "This can't be the first week they've had a role for me…." Why haven't I been in? In 4 seasons of some shows, I haven't gone in once. Not once. For friends? There hasn't been one role for me in 4 seasons? So, naturally, I do what insecure actors do, I start to sort through my mind and think of how I burned the bridge or turned them off. I had to have done something right? It feels crappy. It feels like this fragile thing called a career can be over in a flash if you just don't do everything right. And not even "right" enough to get the job, you have to do everything right just to get back in to audition again! The pressure that puts on your every move when in the presence of those who hold the access to those who make the decisions is crazy making.
So I commenced with the strategy, emailing my agent and manager and asking about specific roles, with a reminder of the connections I had to the Exec, or Casting Dir or whatever the connection was.
First week, nothing changed. Second week, nothing changed.
So, I called the agent and asked the very simple question "Are you getting resistance? Are they telling you they don't want me in at all?" My paranoia is on high alert. I've been told for a while that there's not much going on for 40 year olds, and yet I'm seeing plenty of roles that have a 35-45 age range attached to them. How is it I'm not auditioning 3 times a week?
My agent calls me back and says she spoke to one Casting Director I emailed her about. An old friend who I have done many personal favors for in the past. The news was that they hadn't started casting that role yet and she does think I'm a good guy for that role and will bring me in when they start casting that role. No problem. Hmm.
My agent relays my fear of not making my insurance minimum before the strike. She says she'll help where she can, and then they get to talking about the state of casting. She reveals that now that casting is electronic and submissions are but a click of a mouse, she will pare down 2400 submissions to the 8-10 she will bring in to producers for the role I'm after. Uhh… what? 2400? Yes, 2400 actors for a one week guest star part. And one would guess that's every week.
Man now I really wish I didn't know.
Your team, doing their best to put you in for the right roles, are up against those odds. So suddenly thinking it was something I did doesn't feel so bad. The numbers game that I have no control over feels like a bigger problem.
My team is doing what they can, the biz does what it does, and it's my job to make good use of the opportunities that come my way. How do I combat the feeling of futility one might feel at those odds?
I believe in my ability. I know that I am better than 2400 other actors at being me. I have something to offer and I know I want to offer it. So on the days when I get the call, I go in with a understanding of what everyone has gone through to get me there and I make sure that the odds of my delivering what's inside of me are 100%. My magic can overcome the most lopsided odds, it's happened before. A lot.
Mr. Smarty pants got another lesson about trusting his team and doing the most he can with what he can control.