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I don’t want your life [said like James Van Der Beek in VARSITY BLUES]

By Ched Rickman · May 25, 2010

“So, what do you do out here?”
“Oh, I’m trying to be an actor…”
“No no, you’re not
trying, you are an actor.”

Yeah, fuckwit, I know that. I’m the one doing it. I don’t need what you perceive to be a rally the troop pep talk because I chose to be particularly honest about my life’s intentions. Yes, I am an actor [I let you, the reader, know that at the end of every single one of these things], but you don’t see me on billboards and in trailers and joshing around with Stewart and Letterman. That’s where I want to be. That’s not where I am. I’m trying to get there. So I’m trying to be a legitimate actor. I’m not yet, so don’t act like you’re some inspirational older sibling or parent character and try to hype me up by telling me things that are patently untrue. I’m not an actor, straight up, just yet. I still work my menial day job and I still audition for my roles, no one is dropping screenplays into my lap while Kendra is blowing me in Malibu (that’s what actors do, right?), so I’m not an actor yet, but thanks for telling me precise details about my own life after meeting me six point six seconds ago.

“Oh, I bet you’re doing all right then, huh? Huh?”

Yeah, another gem the uninformed douchenozzle likes to drop on me like they know the acting game when they find out I’m currently in a National commercial. First of all, outside of anecdotal evidence and presupposed reputations, these fucks don’t have a God damn clue as to how the acting world functions. No, not every actor makes a fucking mint after 8 seconds of wordless airtime (even if it is on during the series finales of LOST and 24 [wink]). I was in a National commercial last year and y’know how much money I made? About 25% of my entire income that year. And considering I was homeless through April of 2009, that’s not a lot. You know how much money I’ve made this time around? With all of the humongous residual checks coming in and all of the anonymous half friends from high school texting and calling me when it’s on during the Kentucky Derby [wink]? Not a fucking dime. So stop expecting me to get your next round.

Everyone in this town imagines they’re a player and they know what the score is. They want to tell you things about the necessity to get a manager (not much of a necessity if your agent is half competent), of joining the union as soon as possible (put it off as long as possible) or of putting your reel (better be good) and headshot (get new ones) and resume (probably fucking worthless unless you’ve spoken in movies before) up on every God forsaken casting website in the world. These people might work in entertainment; if they did, they probably at one point or another tricked themselves into thinking they would be an actor. It’s fucking contagious out here, and not in a good way. The deluded, talentless losers who migrate to this city with the intent of acting I can at least give some credit to for pursuing dreams, etc. etc. But the strictly talentless who delude themselves upon arrival that they’re destined for glory, who then auditioned for a brief spell of six months however many facelifts ago and now want to talk to me like they know the ins and outs of a business they literally fucking failed in are not reliable sources for acting advice. Which, by the way, I didn’t fucking ask for in the first place. Even worse is when this input comes from some knob who doesn’t even work in the entertainment industry, but they live in L.A. and saw The Dark Knight, so of course they’re fucking on the inside.

Going home and putting up with some good-natured ribbing at my Dad’s old man bar (“Hey, you’re like Kramer! Did you write any,…what are they called,…screenplays?”) is one thing. It’s nice to get the Midwestern heckling version of “we’re proud of you kid, keep it up,” and having to explain things to aloof uncles and cousins is cool because it’s people taking an interest in my life and, yeah, it makes me look like I’m a big shot Hollywood player. But when I’m sidling up to the bar at a comedy club or restaurant and you start talking to me with the intent of either unloading a business card or an orgasm somewhere on my blazer, don’t fucking big time me and assume you possess some otherworldly knowledge about how this town, industry and “game” work, because you don’t. I’m a struggling actor making no money off of it and desperately trying for my big score on a daily basis. How much did your awesome new suit cost, you rich cock? Money and clout don’t equate to knowledge in this town. Roughing it, praying desperately, singing for your supper and getting lucky once in a while get you life experience beyond whatever being connected and pretending you’re important get you. Be humble, be proud, and when you do make it somewhere down the line, don’t offer any advice, because no one gives a shit about what you have to say, you old bastard.

But what the fuck would I know, I’m just an actor.