“My mom definitely taught me how to hustle. … Why am I here? Sheer will and determination, dammit. And I hustled like crazy.”
– Jessica Alba
It’s always a strange experience being on set. Each set is like a completely different animal. Some are cuddly, fuzzy, and you never want to leave. Others you can’t wait to get out of. All of this comes down to the actor-actor and/or actor-crew chemistry. It’s something I’ve always struggled mastering. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a total people person! But in an industry that’s fuelled by egos and arrogance at its worst, it’s not always the easiest task. It can often times feel isolating. For myself anyway.
Since I mostly do indies, I’m just going to say I feel that I’m just not an artist’s actor. And what I mean by that is I’m not “cool” in the sense of being eclectic and obscure. I don’t have a naturally grunge-y, edgy look without the help of make up and leather jackets. But the thing is, I’m a total closet quirk. I’m just not the kind of person who wears it on my sleeve. I don’t walk around brooding or being weird in a “cool” way- it all just happens…IN MY HEAD and trust me when I say I can brood with the best of them.
But mostly I’m just me. I’m an actor. Sometimes I’m bubbly, sometimes I’m melancholy. Sometimes I say weird shit. But I’m more or less just a normal person. This does not appeal to the masses of hipsters and artists I meet on the indie film scene. I know, I know. I shouldn’t care. As long as I can do the work, right? But I’m just saying…it’s not fun feeling like the outsider on set.
On the a positive note, some of them LOVE me! Maybe it’s not so much an actor-crew thing but just a people thing. Not everybody gets along and you’re not exactly on set to make friends, are you? I should probably get my head out of the clouds on that one.
But enough of that. I also find it hard to connect with certain actors. On one hand, I have no problem speaking to a room of 300 people and make fast friends at parties. On the other hand, I clam up and lose the ability to come up with or say anything remotely interesting or witty when I feel intimidated.
Why I even feel intimidated beats me. It’s not like I work with celebrities or even half-recognizable people (oh god, I can’t even imagine what that day will be like if it ever happens). Without sounding arrogant, I would say I am on par with my peers talent-wise. So what is it about *certain* other actors that turns me into an awkward, bumbling twat? Hmmm. Their unwavering confidence.
I realize I’m still at a stage in my career where I haven’t gained enough confidence as an actor. Despite having worked on more indie projects than most of the actors I meet, getting endless compliments (grain of salt) and having roles written for me, I still feel like the new kid. The stuttering kid who is eager to please, eager to learn. I am STILL eager to learn but the former is such a far cry from who I really am as a person.
In my personal life I’m opinionated! I’m bold! I’m funny (sometimes…maybe unintentionally). So what is this phenomena that happens when I’m around other actors my age?! It’s frustrating! How can the difference be so vast!
I often wonder WHEN I’m ever going to get to a point where I can tell myself, “Okay. You officially have a voice that matters. You are no longer an amateur. You’re an equal. Who cares what these people think.”
I’ve never been the type of person to need approval from those around me. Not since middle school anyway.. but seriously. Is this the needy actor side of me that NEEDS the verbal reassurance??? No. Can’t be. That’s terrible. …ugh.
Maybe it’ll take getting onto a nationally televised show? A big budget movie production? Adding another 21 credits to my resume?! Going to a prestige film festival?? Signing onto a major agency???? Perhaps I’m just doomed to forever be an insecure actor. Not insecure in my work (no, no, no) but who I am as an actor, err, person. I mean the only time I feel consistently confident is when I’m actually ACTING and in character. Because..well it’s not me.
What I wonder is, how are all these people so confident? Where does it come from? Why can’t I be like that?
Maybe I needed to be hugged more as a child. Maybe people are more open and warm on big budget productions…I know, don’t laugh. A girl can dream. I’ll wait to have those dreams crushed another day.
To be honest, I’m probably making it sound a lot worse than it actually is. There are plenty of sets and plenty of days where I feel completely comfortable and part of a mini-family. It’s just the neurotic moments/days/nights/weeks that turn me into this neurotic mess. No wonder I stopped journalling.
God. I’m such an obnoxious actor, aren’t I? I apologize, guys. And thank you to anyone who put up with and read the entirety this silly neurotic actor rant. If no one ever reads this, then at least I got to get it off my chest. Maybe it’ll take some of the crazy with it. There’s nothing like a good vent after all.
Sigh. Just another thing for me to add to the list of things I need to work on I suppose: STOP being so neurotic.
WISH ME LUCK.
The Aspiring Actress.
Here’s a cute little comic strip to make up for it all: