This is a re-post of my Backstage Take 5 column from May 2008
May 1, 2008
by Nicole Kristal
In April our actors missed opportunities, assuaged their bitterness, and knocked down doors with their overwhelming talent.
‘Italian’ Inspiration: Last month I admitted to having a mild case of bitter actor syndrome. Fortunately, I have fully recovered from that minor setback, and April was a month of putting focus on my work and keeping my acting chops sharp.
I once read a story about Charlize Theron and how even during the filming of The Italian Job she still found time to do scene work with her acting coach. Well, if an Academy Award-winning actor can do it, then so can I. I realized that I spend a good amount of time and energy every day working for the opportunity to act — submissions, auditions, networking events, meeting casting directors, etc. — but very little time daily exercising my craft. So I decided to get back into scene study on a daily basis. I am currently working four scenes with different partners. They are all challenging scenes that are stretching and growing me as an artist. Man, that feels good.
It’s a Small World, After All
I had a number of small-world encounters this month, including one with a known TV actor whose mom I know from Virginia. Weird. With each one I was inspired that as big as Los Angeles is, it’s so much about the relationships we build each day. I was reminded to stay open to connecting with new people, because I never know who I might meet in line at Trader Joe’s or even in the bathroom at the movies.
Extra Drama, No Thank You
“You don’t have to be here.” That’s what I kept screaming to people over and over in my head while working on a pilot as an extra a couple weeks ago. I seriously don’t get it. Why would actors go through all the hassle of booking a job as an extra just to complain the entire time about being there? I know this may sound like a bit of hyperbole, but this one group complained the entire time (14 hours) about the food, the smoke (we were working on an explosion scene, something everyone knew before accepting the job), the makeup, the bathrooms — you name it. It really upset me. We have all chosen to be in an industry that is not always easy and not always fair. But we are here because we love what we do. I would love to see actors of all levels appreciative for the opportunity to work in whatever capacity they are hired (and give one of the nonunion folks your voucher if you don’t want it that bad).
To end on a positive note, here is what I was up to in the realm of auditions: a callback to producers for the leading role in an independent short, four generals with targeted casting directors, and my first reality-show audition (worthy of a column all its own). Next month I’ll have bookings to report. How’s that for putting out the positive intention?