Sunday, October 3, 2011
Here are three things I’ve been learning lately.
1. All of the glamour of Hollywood is done in post production. You know the magic of Hollywood? You know how people want to move here to be a part of the glamour of the entertainment industry? I don’t think it really exists. Certainly, I have a long ways to go before I make in into the upper echelons of Hollywood. However, I’ve been on set for Mad Men, and Community, and Letterman, and been by the swanky places, and seen celebrities out and about. I was struck with this thought while I was an extra on Mad Men. I was sitting in my booth playing my part and listening to the acting going on behind me. It just struck me, “Oh, there is a lot of to do with this, but it’s still just two people who memorized the lines written for them and now they say them to each other in front of the camera.” That is the exact same thing I could say for any acting I’ve done on camera, or anyone else who is making a movie with friends. Sure, there are a lot of crew members, and there is a lot of equipment, and a lot of money involved, but in the end it’s the same thing. Somehow we think that’s it’s different here. I think that’s because the final product looks so good, but that’s all done in post production. I find that both bubble bursting and inspiring.
2. I think the most important quality a person in Hollywood has to have is patience. As I know, there is patience required to try to make it. Then, when you do “make it” you have to have patience for the next thing. I heard an interview with Paul Rudd where he said, “What people don’t realize about being an actor is that you’re constantly looking for a job.” Even when you have a career, you still have to be striving and putting yourself out there, and that requires patience. Plus, things seem like a sure thing and turn out to be a bust all the time. The Mad Men scene I was in was not more than eight lines, yet they had so many people working on it, so much equipment, and took hours upon hours to film. Patience, more than anything else has to be an ingredient.
3. My last point relates to my first in that you have to enjoy the ordinary of it. Yes, Hollywood is the place of dreams, and people come out here to pursue their dreams, but at a certain point the dreaminess wears off, and you have to enjoy the process and the ordinary of it. I think that is true of any dream or adventure. I think it’s only worth pursuing the dreams you have if you think you would like it once the high passes. That’s the same for relationships and marriages I suppose.
We’ve all heard famous actors say something to the effect of, “My life is boring, I don’t know why people are so interested in it,” or “Being an actor is not that exciting, there isn’t much exciting about it.” When I hear that I always think, “Okay, but it’s still probably really exciting, right? Right?” or “That sounds boring, tell me more!”
I haven’t made it into being a big time actor yet, but I’ve been around it a little, and I know what ordinary is. Eventually, with certainty, all things you do become ordinary if you do them for long enough. Can you get joy out of the ordinary? That’s the question.