I went to the Equity new member orientation last night. Personally, I thought I was oriented already, but that's another story.
Here in LA Equity has an office with attending audition space. As I'm new to the union, a lot of doors in that building were yet unexplored.
It struck me as I was introducing myself to other new members that this is the best of all possible imaginings. Here we are, theater actors (well, most of us are also film actors) in the film capital of the world doing our best "I'm doing fine" impression at a meeting of theater actors! Oh, to be young and in love.
"Seasoned" members walked us through the vagaries of contracts, audition processes, notices, health insurance, et al. But, what we all wanted to know was, how do I get a job?
They spoke in dulcimer tones of signing contracts, talking to your business rep, coming home after a tour, "if" you need housing. All pretty cool sounding stuff. But, none of it happens actually booked.
Which brings me to the obvious answer: nobody knows. Nobody knows how to get a job. Nobody knows why one gets a job. Nobody knows anything about anything from this side of the table. Which is really no different than life, I suppose. How many times have you, or I, come out of an "interview" (because an audition is just that) thinking we nailed it? Only to find I was too tall, or too short, or not tall enough...you get the picture.
I was talking with an industry friend yesterday, a guy who had a lot of auditions and commercials when he was a kid, who said one particular casting director called him in two or three times a week but he never got booked. Finally, he asked why. The casting director said, "I think you're great, but it's not up to me." There it is. In a nutshell. It's not up to me.
Here's the kicker, everyone is in the same boat. I can't tell you how many times I've been on set listening, or overhearing, someone trying to talk themselves up, embellishing their fractious experience to make themselves sound somehow important. It never works. Because we all have that experience. I'm not casting aspersions. To each their own. And, we usually do.
Working as an actor is great fun. Unbelievable fun. Getting work as an actor is a slog. The meeting last night was the hopeful side of fun. I like the hopeful side of fun. But. boy, it would be nice to have a clue how to "win" once in a while.