Those of us trying to make a living in this business are constantly in pursuit of that je ne sais quoi, that certain something that will set us apart from the rest of the competition (because there's a lot of it out there). I sat on the phone with my manager for at least 45 minutes yesterday hashing out a game plan on how to get me separated from the masses. (I can't believe I've been here 7 years and I'm still fighting this battle.) We're getting frustrated because every agency he pitches me to responds the same exact way. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I left my agent for a manager, so we're looking for new theatrical reps right now. Long story. Future post.)
They tell my manager they love my look, but they've already got ten girls who look like me and can't take on another one unless she has three guest stars already. Five years ago one network credit was good enough to land you a decent rep, the kind who could vouch for you and start opening doors. Nowadays, if you look like me, you need three to five guest star level credits to get any sort of respeck, yo, and even they have trouble getting auditions. And if you've been reading my blog at all, you know how fucking hard it is to get a single audition for that level of credit without a decent rep. Therein lies the problem: because without an audition, there is no way you can land a job. So you're stuck in this loop of needing help to get more auditions, but needing the credits to get the help. It's infuriating.
I've been in Los Angeles for 7 years and I've faced the same problem every day of it. During that time I've tried being on a smaller agency's roster as one of ten girls who looks like me, but the truth is... those small agencies have very little actual pull with casting directors. It's only logical, they're competing against bigger agencies with clients who look like me with 3-5 guest star credits. The casting director will call in the better resume-ed girl every time.
I've kept thinking that I just need to be patient, eventually there will be an opening at one of those bigger agencies for a girl who looks like me. Yesterday I finally realized that it's just wishful thinking. There will NEVER be a day when agents are short on my type. It just won't happen. Waiting for it is a loser's game.
The fact remains that every big accomplishment I have ever had in my career was a direct result of shit I did for myself. My own work. My own phone calls. My own hustle. I have never had the experience of a rep who was flooding me with opportunities. It's not entirely their fault, I am in the largest, most competitive category for women. If you ever hear some non-industry person back home in Ohio or Oklahoma who says being good looking is enough to make it in Hollywood, stomp on their toe for me, will ya? I've devoted seven years to it and it is harder than they could possibly imagine. (edit: I later realized this may read waaaaay differently than I intended... I'm wasn't trying to say, "poor me, I'm so good looking and that's all that matters but no one will hire me, wahh!" I meant that even if I were a 10 -- which I'm not -- it's not enough to be reasonably good looking, no matter what your type, because this town is full of good looking people. Thousands of them. They're literally everywhere.)
However, in true Anony fashion.... I WILL NOT GIVE UP! I will NOT let this industry beat me. Success is out there for me (and you too) and we have only to fearlessly reach for it. I have only to reach for it one more time than this stupid industry pushes me away. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I will be successful eventually. Maybe I'm just being stubborn but the challenges just make me even more determined to prove that it's possible.
So what's the new plan? Most girls who look like me don't write like me. If winning writing awards as a kid or my little secret blog and the attention it has received has taught me anything... it's that I am a damn good writer. I might as well try to use it to push me forward as an actor. My plan is to write my own star vehicle. Like a Good Will Hunting/Rocky/Juno plan. I mentioned it before, but I'm 40 pages in now. It's slow going and I've written and rewritten the first act, but it's well on the way to the finish line.
My goal is to have the first draft done by the end of the month... so pretty much I'll be glued to my laptop for the next two weeks. I'll try to take a break now and then to keep you updated on the progress.
Stay tuned, loyal readers! We will forge ahead fearlessly together.