Jenna Fischer (you know her from The Office) is one of the “Good Guys”. She struggled with working survival jobs and auditioning and finding an agent, and all the other crap actors who don’t have famous or rich parents have to deal with. She wrote an extremely good blog on her myspace page about breaking into acting.
Go here for the whole post, but I’ll copy some of the best parts below. There’s this story that I can think we can all relate to. There’s so many people out there with absurd ideas about what being an actor or an artist means. There’s some that even take it so far as to manipulate young actors.
It was my first year in town and I was part of a theater group. At a party for a new play opening the playwright came up to me and asked me if I was an actress. I said yes. He asked if I was interested in doing a part in his new movie. I was kind of floored. How did he know I was any good? I said, “What is it about?” And he said, “Well, you’d have to do a raunchy sex scene with nudity. Would that bother you?” I laughed and said, “I wouldn’t do anything I wouldn’t be proud to show my parents.” He then said, “That was a test. You aren’t a real actress. A real actress would never say that. A real actress would piss herself onstage if the part called for it. You aren’t going to make it in this town. You should just go home.” And then he walked away. I went back to my apartment and cried. Why was Shem Bitterman (that is his real name) such a dick? I have no idea. Stuff like that will happen to you if you decide to become an actor. People will roll their eyes when you tell them what you do. You have to develop a thick skin – without becoming jaded, guarded or cynical. That’s a tall order. I’ll say now what I wish I had said then, “Shem, sir, with all due respect, you are a fuckface and you can kiss my ass.”
Then there’s this great bit about the milestones in our careers:
It will be hard to explain your first milestones to friends and family back home. They are waiting to see you on TV or on the big screen. It is hard to explain how a 2nd callback for a job you didn’t land was the highlight of your month and a very valid reason to celebrate. I remember one year my proudest moment was at an audition for a really slutty bar maid on a new TV show. It was written for a Pam Anderson type. I thought, “I can never pull this off. I just don’t have the sex appeal. I feel stupid. No one is going to take me seriously.” But, I committed to the role and gave the best audition I could. I didn’t get the job. I didn’t get a callback. But I conquered my rambling, fear-driven brain and went balls out on the audition anyway. That was a huge milestone for me – but hard to explain at Christmas.