career advice

Dear Dallas Travers, Creative Career Coach and award winning author of The Tao of Show Business,
I turned down a job today. Was that stupid of me? They wanted me to understudy. Nobody likes to understudy. As an anonymous friend told me:
I've only had one understudy experience and it was like I had to watch someone have sex with my wife and do it all wrong.
As delicious as that sounds, I said no. Just thinking about doing it made me feel sad.
Will anyone ever hire me again?
Yours in art,

Dear Lacy, amateur hack actor,
No. Don't you remember what your doctor said last spring? YOU'RE LUCKY TO GET ANY WORK. Even your French doctor knew it.
Lose some weight and get a haircut,
Dallas Travers, Creative Career Coach and award winning author of The Tao of Show Business

ps, you owe me $10 for telling you to lose weight and get a haircut.


Mike S. said...

I understudied three times at the Goodman Theater(Yay, me!), and I went on twice: both times for "Griller" by Eric Bogosian, and one of those times, I went on for Mark Ruffalo(nice guy, funny, down to earth, a time before he was a movie actor and whatnot).

It was great to go on. Terrifying and odd and at very first, an out of body experience. But satisfying once i got going, getting the taste of performing in a 700 seat theater and thinking,"Fuck yeah. This is what I am built for. I love this."

But the other two times I never went on. I always felt insecure, not the top choice(that hurts), and never getting the satisfaction of performing the role. Feeling second best. Yeah? Yeah.

One of the Goodman gigs, we performed with costumes, lights, sound, but no audience, except for the stage manager and my WIFE! Which was pretty cool.

I understudied once for touring Chicago Shakespeare thing. Sucked. Never went on.

But I liked the experience. I got an agent out of doing one show, just because of the friend I made in a fellow understudy. He recommended me to his agent. His agent came to see him, and I talked with her. She started sending me out. Crazy.

I have good stories from understudying.

AND? I made such crap money. But, hey, that is show business unless one is supremely lucky, connected, etc, etc.

I have turned down work. But I have regretted it every time. Even if the gig is no pay.

The most successful I ever got in one year(I made about $8,800 in one year with some commercial work, theater, etc.), and I accepted every job that came my way, regardless of pay or not. And it worked.

I'm now older, tired of the industry, and I do not audition etc. I write. And make films. And write novels, screenplays, etc.

Lots of etc. Lots of blahblahblah.

I like your blog.

I found it via Arnie's blog.

Keep on keepin' on, and my best to you.

Mike S. in Brooklyn, NY

P.S. Sorry for such a frickin' long comment.

Mike S. said...

P.P.S. If just thinking about it made you feel sad, I would say EXCELLENT choice in not taking the job

Lacy said...

Mike, thanks so much for the thoughtful comment. I wish there were a hard and fast rule about when understudying is worth it (trust me, for this theater for this pay, it absolutely wasn't) but I think - FEAR - you're on to something in terms of taking all the work you can get, whenever you can get it.
I just haven't decided if I am 'telling the universe,' for want of a better term, that I'm unwilling to work, or that I am honoring the commitments I'd made to myself and others - as this gig would have made me cancel on a lot of people and things. In the past I would have tossed them all out the window for a job; now I don't think that's who I want to be.

This is probably just as long as your comment, and, you will surely never read this. Happy writing and thanks so much for reading!

Mike S. from Brooklyn said...

That's awesome.

I think that artists need to have a life. Not just work/play. I need life experience or the well runs dry.

I really think your blog is gutsy. Brave. You put it out there, all of it, honestly. And it is brave. Not many people do that. Most people put on a show of being cool, composed, with it, whatever. I think the truth is that we are all really fucking weird. Inside and out, and life is odd and horrible and joyful and crazy and wonderful and stupid and exciting and boring and everything.

Keep blogging, please.

Mike S.