It's amazing how much of a difference the passion makes in a project. So much of the time, at this level, it feels like most projects are just part of "paying the dues." Really? Your film is about a girl's transition from one race to another? You want me to play a robot?? The love interest of a "higher-functioning zombie" in a post-apocalyptic world??? Really?
Hey, we're all trying to do something interesting to break into this business... but sometimes I read the breakdowns, and I just laugh. You seriously want me to accept $100 (if I'm lucky) or deferred pay (if I'm starved for a few minutes in front of a camera) to run around in a teddy and act as if I'm the uber-sexy madame of a brothel of nymphomaniac drug addicts in the old west?!?! WTF?? Because THAT is a crummy,
low no-budget scene I would definitely want on my reel. (I swear on my future success that I was called in to audition for that... I got the script and quickly passed.)
I'll be honest... sometimes I dread going to those auditions. The ones for projects that are just weird stories I'm not into with characters who, even if filmed perfectly, will not help me market myself to the bigger levels of the business. And let's be honest... they are never filmed perfectly. Often not even acceptably.
But sometimes, roles come along that are actually amazing and it's intoxicating to get to play them. It sends shock waves of excitement and enthusiasm through your body. I was just telling a non-industry friend how excited I am to produce this play and the crazy memorization of 60 pages of script... but that I'm already up to page 27 because it's just that much fun to play with. He couldn't understand "How [I] do it." During our first table read, my co-star and I discussed the play while running through it twice, and before we knew it... five hours had gone by. While at my side job, I'm just counting the minutes until I can leave and pick up that script again and race to rehearsals. I'm making mental notes of all the people I need to study and places I need to go to research to build my character. All while daydreaming about when the curtain will finally rise...
And I guarantee that any agent/manager/casting director who's looking for new talent would much rather see that kind of passion in a stage production than limp-fish acting in a low-budget, poorly-written robot film clip in your reel. So get out there and make something you're passionate about!
(And then get those people to come see it... which is the next step. But I'm not there yet... I have 34 more pages of script to lock down plus blocking and renting out a theater space. One step at a time, Anony, one step at a time.)