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10:36 pm - Tues 1/1/13
The Year In My Career (2012 Ed)

The Year In My Career (2012 Edition)

I've been thinking about writing this entry for awhile now, since as I've said in a previous entry, the year has felt "over" for a long time before it officially ended last night.

I'm guessing it's abundantly clear to anyone who's been following along - I was not happy about how things went in 2012, acting-wise.

I'd hoped I would continue to recur on my two shows - Shameless and Austin & Ally - getting at least the same number of episodes on each (Which was three, for the record).

In reality, I didn't go back to Austin & Ally at all, and only got two episodes of Shameless (Only one of which felt like an actual "scene").

And in a blow I'm still wrestling with, for the first time ever (At least going back to 2003, when I started compiling "stats"), I didn't book a commercial.

It's hard to over-state what a bad break that is; at my level, nothing eases the grinding financial uncertainty of an acting career like a commercial. It's really what allows me to get through any given year, when my other two "sources of income" are a very low-paying, barely full-time "service industry" job, and a handful of day-player gigs.

And of course, I'd hoped that, in addition to the recurring gigs (That didn't happen) and the commercial (That also didn't happen), I'd be booking a record number of new tv jobs.

And that didn't happen either.

So...a lot of disappointment there.

To say the least.

But a couple things happened to alter my view of things (Or at least my view of how I wanted to write about the past year).

1) In a conversation with Cary sometime back, he gently nudged me in the sensible direction I wanted to go, which was to basically realize that there wasn't much point in moaning over the past year, because - good, bad, or indifferent - it was over.

2) In an e-mail casting newsletter, I read an article about...well, basically about doing what I'm doing right now, and it suggested that, instead of obsessing over what didn't go the way I'd hoped in 2012, that I instead, while acknowledging those disappointments, turn the lion's share of my attention to what went right in the year, and what I might be able to learn going forward.

3) Earlier this evening, I got out my 2011 calendar, to remind myself what that year's stats were like.
And actually? There really wasn't the kind of "drop-off" I'd been imagining from 2011 to 2012; in ways, the two years had something of a "photo-finish", in some regards with 2012 coming out a little ahead.

So, here's the positive take on how 2012 went...

I actually had more auditions in 2012 than I'd had in 2011; 52 in 2012, to 50 in 2011.

The number of "new gigs" booked were pretty comparable; I booked 4 in 2012 (Though my first booking for American Horror Story was for a role that ended up being cut from the script), and 3 in 2011.

I had over twice as many callbacks in 2012 (13) as in 2011 (5).

(Callbacks now mostly involve commercial auditions; Most of the time, I'm "straight to producer" on the theatrical side, which means I go directly to the session with the decision makers, without having to be vetted by the casting director first.)

In three things I didn't book in 2012, I was "on avail", which basically means it was down to me and another guy; I didn't have any "avails" in 2011.

And while it was disappointing not to be more of a presence on Shameless this season, the same casting director - John Levey - brought me in for his other show, Southland, and his continued enthusiasm for me as an actor was very encouraging.

Ditto for my booking on American Horror Story - While I was disappointed in the size of the role (And disappointed the previous role had been cut altogether), it was something of a milestone; Nip/Tuck was only the second tv job I ever booked, back in 2006, and in spite of going in for both Glee and American Horror Story a couple times each in the following years, I hadn't booked anything since...until this past year.

And while I would like to have worked more, I appeared on my third season of Shameless, was on a mega-hit (NCIS) where I got to work with an actor I watched on tv as a child, and was on a cult phenomenon (American Horror Story), and a critical darling (Southland).

I want more and better, don't get me wrong - if I didn't have some ambition, after all, I wouldn't be here - and in practical terms, I need more to happen if I'm to keep the Good Ship Hoffmaster afloat.

But the year was not the total disaster I've been painting it as; on the contrary, there is much to be proud of, and much to feel hopeful about.

I'm ready for what 2013 has to offer...!


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