Friday, 31 August 2012

A Few Thoughts

For probably one of the least glamorous jobs in the world, it’s amazing how glamorous people think acting is. We grow up believing that being an actor means constant meetings with Hollywood directors, accepting gloriously interesting roles with daring and respected directors and choosing which dress we’re going to wear when picking up our fifteenth Oscar. And it’s hardly surprising that we’re lead to think this. Unless you’re unlucky to know an actor in person, the closest you probably get to the life of a thesp is in interviews where hugely successful actors will endlessly talk about the wonderful projects they have lined up. Oh, of course, they’ll also mention the quieter times to make them sound human and we’re informed that those leaner moments are known as ‘resting.’

The phrase ‘resting’ will conjure up an image of an actress with her feet up on a chaise lounge while some poor fool feeds her grapes. Maybe she’s glancing over a few scripts or she might be conducting a few telephone interviews. What she’s not doing is living the reality of most resters. Maybe my resting is more extreme than most but it often consists of crawling out of bed way after BBC Breakfast has finished, sloping around the house in your pyjamas wondering how to make a stale loaf of bread and a three year old tin of sweetcorn last you the rest of the week and then spending a few miserable hours trawling casting websites looking for work. If you’re lucky then you might find a job that would cover maybe a week’s rent however, more often than not, you’ll find jobs  that either don’t pay or are looking for everything that you are not.

The problem with acting is that it’s not a very nice friend. It’s the friend that calls you up when it’s run out of other options. When there’s absolutely no one else to turn to then acting will come knocking at your door and expect you to drop everything at a moment’s notice. And, of course, you let it get away with such behaviour. Others will ask why you put up with it but you just tell them that that’s how acting works. They’ll sigh and tell you you’d be better off with sometihng more reliable  but you’ll ignore them and gaze at your phone, waiting for your fair-weather friend to ring again. And then finally, they call. Suddenly, just when you’re thinking of giving up on them for good. And you think that this is it. This will be the time when acting finally makes your friendship public. You’ll get bracelets with each other’s names on and you’ll start emailing them photos telling them that it reminded you of them. But of course, it doesn’t happen that way. After maybe a couple of days, weeks or months (if you’re really lucky) in acting’s warm glow, they’ll drop you just as quickly as they found you. You’ll be ok for a couple of days. When people ask how you’re getting on, you’ll have something interesting to tell them. And you’ll hope that acting will start to remember you now. Maybe they’ll call on you a bit more frequently. But of course they don’t and in a matter of days you find yourself wandering around the house in your dressing gown convinced that you’ll never get an acting job ever again.

Yet we still find ourselves sticking at it. This happens mainly because we’re stubborn fools who, despite our occasional negativity, we’ve trained ourselves to believe that the glass is always half full (of wine, preferably) and that that terrifyingly big job is creepily lurking around the corner. And who knows, maybe it just is?


  1. Really well written piece. In the moments when you're not doing all the other things to stay sane in between jobs, you should definitely try writing something longer (like a book).

    1. Thanks very much! It's something I'd like to do, just need the right inspriration!

  2. The short notice you get like 6pm the evening before to be at auditions at 10am the very next day are beyond annoying and always when your offered that bit of 'normal work' you desperately need.