Appreciating the “Spencer Tracy” mantra!

Let’s examine this simple anecdote phrase which has become historical lexicon in Hollywood: “Come to work on time, know your lines and don’t bump into the other actors.” This is the source and purpose of this blog because it is such an important reality for our community when it again, comes down to working PROFESSIONALLY. I say that because a high percentage of actors today started when they were kids andit leaves us with a great experience but an extremely different perspective. You can also add to that the number of performers who then get into their teens or well into their 20’s and mostly do theater. The experience of stage and one of an artistic THRU-line, from the rehearsal process, to dressing rooms, to director note sessions and just the feeling of a “team” effort and experience. This is what we bring with us, commonly, to an entirely different experience in Film, TV, Commercials and Daytime television.

Now again, bear in mind that I’m NOT (and almost never) discussing being “the star” because 99.8% of the community isn’t around the world. I’m talking about working, auditions, booking jobs and being on set…from a day to a few days to a week or on and off for some time. So what happens is that we’re simply thrilled to get hired and be working and we show up on our first day at our call time and we have this “team” stage/class/theater mindset but it isn’t the case at all. When we arrive we are greeted by a 2nd AD, or a 2nd 2nd, and they check us in…maybe direct you to your trailer or holding place, you get called when they’re ready for you and then there is Spencer Tracy.

And that is this: great you got here, now know your lines, do your job, don’t bump into anyone…AND CUT. Thanks a lot for your services…now GO HOME. 🙂 I’m not being rude at all, and neither are they, because that is the business of show business. We’re on a schedule, everything matters, producers have to pay overtime, this is expensive so “don’t screw it up.” 🙂 Please know, this is what most everyone is thinking in some way, and yes you are there to be a professional and do your job and contribute and we’re done. No I don’t mean that people are rude and that they don’t care about you, but you have to NOT expect them to be hugging you, high 5-ing you and wanting to be your Facebook friend.

This is a profession, it is a job, and you yourself have to internally enjoy, appreciate and applaud yourself MORE than anyone else ever will while on set. This emotionally becomes very difficult for us until you’re worked enough to get used to it, understand it, and even in a way…embrace it. But once you do, and once you realize it isn’t personal and it isn’t about “how good” of a job you did…you’ll settle into what being a working actor truly means. Spencer Tracy was absolutely correct because while we tend to think that we have to be chatty, or stand around set all day, or talk to everyone …to be memorable, ironically it isn’t the case at all. You know what being a memorable actor is in the “real world?” The one who “Comes to work on time, knows their lines, DOES A GREAT JOB and doesn’t bump into the other actors.” THAT IS MEMORABLE for the producers and stars. 🙂

Always on your side. @theKevinE

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