Day 245. Confidence and Hollywood

Monday, October 24, 2011

Here is something I’ve been mulling about this whole experience lately. If you want to move to Hollywood and try to make it as an actor, your confidence has to come from somewhere other than your acting. This is true for a few reasons.

Many of us who move out here are here because we were successful in the place we were before, as nearly every place is smaller than LA, and every place surely has fewer actors. As you grew in success in acting, or improv, or comedy, you became known as the guy who is the actor, or improviser, or comedian. This was great because it nurtured you and gave you the confidence you needed to get here, but it proves difficult because, as it turns out, when you cross into Hollywood, the very thing that distinguished you where you previously lived is the thing that makes you undistinguishable here. It flips your understanding of yourself upside down.

I remember previously how much I liked it when I would meet people and they asked what I did, I would say that I work at a blood center, and often the person I was with would chime in with the fact that I was also an actor. The people would be intrigued by that because there aren’t that many actors back there. Now, if I mention that I’m an actor, people will shrug their shoulders, and I think roll their eyes, but they do it really quickly, so I can’t tell. It went from, “This is Jeff, guess what, he’s a comedian,” to “This is Jeff, guess what, he’s from a land called Iowa, or Ohio, or something.”

Your confidence has to come from somewhere else.

The extent to which your feeling of uniqueness is as a good actor, is the extent to which you will have difficulty confidence-wise in moving here. I don’t mean this in a judgmental way, I would put myself in there as well. It’s strange, and I want to run back to that feeling of certainty of my uniqueness sometimes, but, overall, I think it is a really good thing to wrestle with.

It’s not that you are constantly beat up here by any means, it’s the deafening noise of the lack of encouragement that is hard. After awhile, you learn to not get your hopes up too much for different auditions or connections. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s a realistic thing. It would be really strange if someone got cast for most of the things they auditioned for. I used to get positive feedback about my comedic acting abilities in doing improv shows twice a week for six years. Now, I maybe get some laughs once a week in improv class, that’s it. No one tells you if you did well in an audition if you don’t get the role, and no one tells you that you did horrible, they just don’t tell you anything at all. Also, you see other people who are acting in film and television, or improvising, or doing stand up, and you wonder what sets them apart that you lack.

Your confidence has to come from somewhere else.

I think the roller coaster of confidence here is the most difficult part of doing this whole thing. The more your confidence and assurance is derived from somewhere else, the more you can succeed and sustain here. I think this is why I’ve seen people value friendship so much here, because it provides people with an encouragement system. Find friends, find God, find work.

My brother, Jon’s, in-laws make a special dip. They call it Nikcevich dip after their last name. It’s a special recipe that they made. Our family gets excited because Jon’s wife, Annie, will make it sometimes when we’re together. I don’t know what to compare it to, it’s unique. I imagine the Nikcevich family gets asked to make it a lot. I imagine when there is a potluck that they always get requests to make it and bring it. People know them for it, and tell them how much they love it.

Moving to Hollywood is like confidently arriving to another potluck to present your famous Nikcevich dip, only to realize that everyone brought their own Nikcevich dip as well. They all vary a little bit here and there, but yours doesn’t stand out anymore. This doesn’t mean that yours is any less amazing, but it feels like it does because no one is telling you how amazing it is.

Your confidence has to come from somewhere else.



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2 responses to “Day 245. Confidence and Hollywood

  1. I nice big fat helping of luck doesn’t hurt either. Just keep being persistent. You have the talent. You can wear them down eventually if you just keep trying. Stalking never hurts either… It’s worked well for me 🙂

  2. Cari

    Good job of incorporating Nikcevich dip… and spelling it correctly even!

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