In LA, You Get More Respect Saying You Work For MAC Cosmetics Than Saying You’re An Actor!

image - Flickr / Gregg Jaden
image – Flickr / Gregg Jaden

I am a full-time actor yet have no set schedule, most days it’s a struggle to be productive – the second I make plans with a friend or book a flight it’s inevitable that an important audition will magically appear. Or nothing happens for days, weeks and just when I’m about ready to purchase a 9mm and a sheet of plastic, I get an audition that night for early the next morning. The script ends up being pages & pages of dialogue, the character is awesome and I need to memorize, prepare and get ready to nail the audition, all within 12 hours. My life swings from 10 minutes on wanting to shoot myself out of boredom to freaking out that I will make an absolute asshole of myself in front of the directors.

I prepare for my role and drive to the casting office only to see a handful of identical looking women in the waiting area. I watch them talk to the walls rehearsing their lines yet I try to stay focused. I look exactly like everyone else in this room except for the 5’9” tall brunette who is sitting across from me, whom I’ve seen in several recurring roles. I tell myself to stay positive and my day will come. Finally my name gets called and even though I don’t sweat, my heart rate is through the roof. I walk into the room, the casting director looks worn out, annoyed and isn’t very engaging. The room is probably 20 square feet, jammed with a camera guy, the writer, the director, the casting director and his assistant.

The camera rolls, I deliver my lines to the forehead of the assistant who’s reading in a monotone voice & in 120 seconds it’s all over. Like bad sex! They politely say thank you and I thank them for the opportunity and leave. I get in my car still emotionally affected by my character and the role… and begin my drive back home.

When I get asked what I do, it always makes me cringe. I muster up as much dignity as I can, smile and reply, “I’m an actor.” Which is always followed by a look of dread or an, Oh, you’re one of those, looks because in LA, you get more respect saying you work for MAC cosmetics than saying you’re an actor! Sometimes the look is followed by a remark like “So what restaurant do you work at?” or “What movie have you been in?” “Are you on IMDB?”

I’ve sacrificed family, relationships, money, security and a whole host of other things the average 9-to-5’er takes for granted. It’s not because I’m self-centered or a narcissist. But because I don’t have the interest to divide my passion, time, dedication, love, loyalty with a man. (just yet) ;) I have a non-existent love life, by choice. Why do I do it? Because it’s in my blood, what I live for. And on the occasion when I do get to work, to be on set, that’s when the magic begins. I’m free to play and to explore the lives of others. Like a well-written book – playing a character is my escape. TC mark

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