Huh? What? Kevin…what the hell are you talking about? Blinders? Yes, blinders for actors, because in so many ways we are our worst enemy. Why? Because again this profession has so little structure as it pertains to “direction, focus, choice and purpose.” The reality for us is a phrase I’ve used for years and it’s called, ACTOR NOISE. You see we have theidentity of being performers. Well, in OUR minds you can insert a performer, into multiple platforms of performance so why as an actor would you not SEE IT ALL. This is an absolutely valid viewpoint. If it weren’t then we wouldn’t have found one of the opening scenes in Tootsie (the movie) so brilliant. But it was brilliant and it is brilliant to this day. No wait, “I can be taller, I can be shorter, I can cross-dress, I can sing, I can move well, I can play golf, I can…I can…I can…” Blah blah blah blah blah. I totally get that as tough as this business is we can always argue that you need to “make yourself available” for every element, audition and opportunity there is out there.
Ok, hold on, take a breath and hear me out. I don’t agree. Wait, no wait, I don’t agree AT ALL. For over 20 years I’ve discussed the value of shooting with a rifle v. a shotgun. Now, clearly I’m speaking more to the performers in BIG cities, who have to deal with a lot of angles and types of projects happening all the time. In a smaller market it would be much easier to go after any films, television in town, commercials, industrials, videos, new media, print work, stage and even voice-over. But what I just listed above are like 10 professions and when you’re on an amateur or non-credited or “freshman” level…trying to SUCCEED at 10 professions at the same time is lunacy. Well, that is what many actors do, and it simply rarely rarely works.
I say it all the time: “How many commercials, small roles on TV, and small parts in films going to Festivals did you see Will Farrell in PRIOR to getting on SNL (Will Ferrell 1995–2002)? The answer is NONE. Why, because he had blinders on, solely focusing on his characters, his writing and becoming the most well-known and talented improv-funny man so as to reach his goal of SNL. And then, it still took a few years into being on SNL before the STUDIOS called him, and he was off to the races. This is where I’m coming from and this is what I mean. I get the hyphenate, I get the “triple threat”, I get the multi-talented etc. etc., but at the end of the day…success as a performer causes ALL other aspects of performing to fall into your lap…if you’re successful…at one.
So in the end, while I know it is difficult, I truly believe that if you can focus yourself down to 1 or 2 MAIN areas that you LOVE being a PAID performer…focus on it, focus on being the absolute best you can be, focus on the marketing of it, the players involved in it and do that for the next 5 years and keep the blinders on and avoid the other ACTOR NOISE. If you can do this, truly do this, not only do I believe you’ll be happier, and be more successful but I believe your day to day experience in life as an actor will be better.
Always on your side! @TheKevinE