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9:35 pm - Sun 1.01.2012
The Most Successful Year EVER?

The Most Successful Year Ever? (aka "My Acting Year In Review - The 2011 Edition")

I start thinking about this entry in early December; the month is typically slow for auditions (This December being no exception - I had a callback from an audition in November, and only one more audition after that), and I'm tempted to say "Well, clearly nothing else is going to happen, so might as well get to it".

But part of me keeps hoping - for one more audition, one more booking - wanting to "squeeze one more win from the year" ( Particularly this past year, since I'd booked Budweiser in December the year before).

It's pathological (This "Just one more win" bullshit) - how much success is enough in a given year? - but what can I say? I'm a "pathological" kind-of-guy.


Based on what's happened this year, a number of people have asked, "Has this been your most successful year ever?".

And I've wondered about that myself...

"Success" - It's something I haven't had occasion to seriously ponder till now (At least not in the context of comparing one very successful year to another).

Anyway, here are the "stats":

1. 49 auditions (29 Theatrical, 20 commercial)
2. Booked Jon Benjamin Has A Van.
3. Booked Austin and Ally, which then became "recurring" (I've shot three episodes, with the possibility of more to come).
4. Was called back to shoot three episodes of Shameless - after shooting my first episode last year - for another "recurring".
5. Booked the Progressive commercial.

So..."Most Successful Year Ever"?

It's surprisingly hard to commit to a yes-or-no answer here...

The difficulty comes from my lack of a clear "operational definition" of "Most Successful""; does it mean, "the most money made", "the 'sexiest' gigs", "the most days spent on sets", "the most gigs booked", or what?

I think one good definition of "most successful" might be "Did you make the most progress toward your goal?"".

And the answer to that would clearly be "yes" - Prior to this year (And in March, I'll have been out here for 11 years), I had no "recurring roles" on my resume, and now I have two.

In one year.

That's pretty huge.

It's something I've wanted for years - it's hard to imagine yourself as a "Series Regular" when all you're doing are one-line costar roles...but it starts seeming just a little more possible when you start getting invited back to a set.

And as I've said before, it's nice just going back to a given set; it's stressful always being "The New Guy", not knowing anyone and feeling "on trial". It's very fun having people say "Hi Jim - Nice to have you back!", and starting to feel like you can relax a little, and just enjoy being where you are.

And another thing to put in the "Most Successful Year Ever" column is getting to work with Bill Macy; it was cool getting to work with John Cleese (On an infomercial back in 2008) and Nathan Fillion (On Castle, back in 2010), don't get me wrong.

But getting to act with Bill Macy?

That really made me think, "Now I'm getting somewhere...!".

Moving into somewhat murkier waters...

Auditions felt really hard to come by in 2011 - before checking my calendar, I thought I'd had way fewer auditions than the year before - but turns out, I had three more auditions than in 2010.

But in 2010, I booked six theatrical gigs, from 23 auditions, (including Shameless, which became "recurring" this year).

(In comparison, this past year, I had 29 theatrical auditions, but only booked two "new" gigs.)

On the other hand, I had fewer commercial auditions this past year - 19, compared to 23 in 2010 - but still booked one, for Progressive - Not quite as late as I'd booked Budweiser the year before...but late enough to make me sweat a bit, since commercial money is what really keeps me afloat out here.

So what, if any, conclusions can be drawn here?

I don't know.

2011 was a very good year - An exceptional year, really - but there was definitely "room for improvement".

But as I said a short time ago on Facebook, today while at the movies they ran a promo for the coming season of Shameless, and it was very cool to think to myself, "I'm actually a part of that show" (Ditto for Austin and Ally).

It's nice to feel like "a part of something".

And I hope I'll have that feeling even more in 2012.


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