An Actor’s Survival
Forever, actors have been keeping track of the bad times. They spend years lamenting over the return of the good old days. When, and if, those days really took place, is another story unto itself.
What we know for sure is one simple fact: whatever the recorded time period happened to be, the actor—as well as the rest of this big human club we all belong to—is and will, without reservation, always be subject to constant change. Or does change ever really occur? All a person needs to do is take a minute to think about it.
The town criers,
the court jesters,
the stage actors,
the silent film producers,
the radio producers,
the talking picture producers,
all in step heralded an end to
the burlesque (show)
and the vaudeville (show) producers
COMES NOW THE NEW (they think)
And dare I forget… the producers?
And their latest hybrid, the soon-to-be-extinct cable.
In our little world of voiceover, we exemplify change, but not entirely. In truth, we haven’t begun to experience more than a smattering of what our inventors have in store for us. In the old days, our voices were sampled on reel-to-reel tape—the improvement was a calling card presented on cassette. Then came the compact disk, and now, cyberspace. Those of us who work within the world of commercials must recognize that our industry, timewise, isn’t much past its infancy. Commercials, as we know them today, began making a substantive entrance in the late nineteen-thirties.
What hasn’t changed is the heart of the actor. Producers and creatives still opt for the personal touch. Without a doubt, our population has increased. The more folks we have out there, the more folks there will be that decide to become actors. And so the good old days are still with us. Actors are frequently overheard saying that too many of them are competing for the same roles. That statement happens to be true. But that problem, although of great significance, has little to do with the advances in technology.
So, what is the solution? There is none. A Broadway show producer announces a casting call. The next day, they’re lined up three deep around the theatre. One little girl is chosen for the role of “Annie”. I wonder how many young girls read for the part? And the beat goes on. The only remedy is peace of mind. Have the mindset of a warrior, not that of an industrial planner. Enjoy today, with the knowledge that you will be able to celebrate it at another time. You might even look back tomorrow, and refer to it as “the good old days.”
Again, the facts are simple. If a person is able to make a living in this business, then that person must consider himself or herself blessed. I can’t imagine doing any other form of work. I can’t imagine anyone having to face each day, dreading what they have before them. Ours is not a thing to endure, but rather our joy remains before and after those vastly relished good old days of yesteryear, revisited for us to grab hold of and embrace as our present life to enjoy.
When an actor is being called to audition on a regular basis, their mindset must be one of success and accomplishment. Auditioning for a voiceover is your work; it’s an opportunity. When you win and go out to do the job, or actually record it at home within your own in-house studio, the event from beginning to end should be considered one of the great advantages enjoyed by today’s actors—especially not having to battle a freeway. Most sessions (the actual recording) are extremely pleasurable. On average, a single radio spot will require about thirty minutes of an actor’s time. That, of course, doesn’t include travel time to and from the recording studio. In Los Angeles, it might take you up to two hours plus to get to the client’s chosen recording studio. In our town, traveling from point A to point B is always a contest.
Enjoy the present
Fortune and creativity favoring the bold
From yesterday’s memories
This new road appears
A well-seasoned today
Being an attribute for tomorrow’s success
And despite the vulgarity thrown your way
Bumpy roads slowing your direction
Relentlessly you trod forward
With goals established
Driving persistence gaining strength
With each step more and more vigor
Your roads have smoothened
This far gentler path revealed
Are these to become your destiny for tomorrow
Or will your satisfactions be lived
Within the forbearance
Of yesterday’s good old days