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11:37 AM - Sun 4.12.15
Getting Old Ahead Of Schedule

Getting Old Ahead of Schedule

The last time I wrote, I was excited because, after turning down an audition, for a shitty movie I wouldn't have wanted to do for any amount of money, I was on the brink of a "top-of-show" guest-star audition on tv (For a show I've wanted to work on for years - For various reasons, but mostly because I've been in that casting office a number of times, but never gotten the job).

Then I got the message that the audition wasn't going to happen, because they "made a direct offer" to a name actor from 80s movies and television.

I found that hugely depressing. And, truth-be-told, I'm still kind of "wrestling with it".

My manager told me "that's gonna happen", and was why getting top-of-show (Or as I often refer to it, "a real guest-star role") would be a tough nut to crack.

(And yes, ten years down the road - since I first started booking tv work - it feels like I "get" it.)

He went on to say that if Kermit - my role on Shameless - had been listed in the Breakdowns as a "five season recurring role", I wouldn't even have been brought in for it, that it basically only happened because it was a nothing role that, for whatever reason, I "popped" in.

(For the record, my first appearance as Kermit on the show was not "a nothing role" - It was a small role, yes, but there was definitely a character there, "something to work with", as I like to say. And it was maybe my third or fourth time in for the show, so clearly, casting liked me.)

Anyway, I found that last bit more than a little self-serving on his part - telling me I'm only going to "get in" if a small thing blows-up, kind of absolves him from having to fight to get me "the bigger, better thing" - but it's also just depressing because 1) it feels like my career-plan is "wait for lightning to strike...again"...which isn't really a "plan", and 2) ten years down-the-road, in my 50s, it seems like I should have built more for myself than that. More of a rep, more good-will, more...something.

The other thing he told me awhile back that was somewhat-less-than-uplifting, was that the lull-in-auditions I was experiencing was not that casting people were not responding to his submissions, but that he wasn't submitting me...because there wasn't anything to submit me for.

For awhile now, I've worried about getting "old" - of course, it's always been sometime in an ill-defined "future" - and having auditions dry up as a result (Yes, I know it's a bigger issue for women than men...but there aren't a boatload of meaningful roles out there for elderly actors, period).

Well, that "ill-defined future", where I turn the corner from "middle-aged" to "old", might have already happened; seems there's a pretty substantial drop-off from "40-something" to "50-something" roles listed on Breakdowns.

And I'm guessing it doesn't get better moving forward...

So...what to do?

I'm not gonna get any younger, after all.

And I'm pretty sure my thoughts on the matter don't constitute a "plan" - They just involve "making more friends that matter", on the one hand, so I get a little more consideration for the relative handful of roles out there, and "making the auditions I do get count" on the other.

I just can't give up.

There's no place to give up to, for one thing - If I quit acting tomorrow, I'd still be a 54-year-old man with no meaningful job skills, having to earn a living (And for some perspective on the matter, even if acting isn't happening for me the way I want it to, I grossed more from the eight days I worked on Shameless in 2014 than in my entire year at WW).

And there's nothing to give this up for; beyond the pragmatic considerations, I really don't want to "give up" - This is what I want to do, and the only thing I've ever really tried to do. If I give up on that, what's left for me?

While the opportunities - which have, frankly, always been disappointing - might be narrowing (and way ahead of my personal time-table), there are still opportunities.

(I've had nine so far this year.)

As long as I'm able to press on, I think I'm obligated to do so. As long as there are still opportunities, I have to believe I can grab them.

If there's still any chance that things can get better, I have to try.

There may come a day when there's really no hope left.

But I'm not there yet.


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