Thursday, June 24, 2010


No matter what new projects I take on, either as a photographer or a writer, at heart I am still an actor. Every now and then I miss different aspects of acting. Toward the end of my career I loved auditioning. I loved the preparation. I loved the hunt for new projects. I loved the competitive aspect of the audition. And I loved landing a role.

I liked rehearsals, if I was working with good actors and directors.

I hated tech week.

And I came to dread performances.

I hated tech weeks in non-Equity theatre because I found that many designers did their designing during tech week. I hated standing around on stage while a sound designer bumped up the level of a cue half a notch...and then down a notch...then up a notch. It drove me insane while lighting designers hung lights and strung cable while flipping through a script trying to decide the placement and length of a fade.

But my biggest problem while acting in non-Equity theatre was the unreliability of other actors. And in my career I developed a sense for who would be be successful and who wouldn't simply by the level of preparation and commitment. I have yet to flip on a television and see an actor I've known and worked with and wonder how that person got where he or she was. They aren't always the most talented. They aren't always the nicest. But without exception they were the most reliable.

By reliable I mean more than just being able to count on them to show up knowing their lines. More than just their ability to take direction. I mean that they were consistent. They stuck to their agenda. They knew who they were, where they fit in the business, where they intended to go and they relentlessly worked on their careers. For them, it was a lifelong commitment, damn the results or consequences.

I don't know if it's still relevant, but when I was acting Michael Shurtleff's Audition was required reading. I first read it in high school and read it cover to cover twice in one week end. I practically memorized that book. In it he has a chapter that I can quote here. "Consistency is the death of good acting."

While I won't argue that statement as it pertains to a performance on stage, it is not a rule by which to build a career. A consistent professional -- actor, writer, or photographer -- is a working actor, writer, or photographer.