A Month in the Life of an Actor – A Struggling Actor Reflects

“The Glass is Always Half Full”.  I keep reminding myself of that sentiment.  2012 has been less than kind to be me thus far, and yet, I still have a strong sense that this year will be the most interesting year and time of my life.  However so far it seems to be more in line with the Chinese Curse “May You Live in Interesting Times,” and I am certainly living or rather existing in line with that Curse.

The past month has been one of hope and severe disappointments.  I narrowly missed out on two days work on ‘Skyfall’ the New James Bond Movie, due to an interview I had to keep on one of those days for an ongoing film project.  As it turns out that interview was a waste of time and effort because even though I was told I was onboard that project, the reality was different – I was lied to but there you go.  Some bastard of a Cameroon film editor by the name of Peter.  His word was as useless and meaningless as his character but hey, this is the world of show business.  Filled with good people but populated with its fair share of bastards, bitches and assholes.

One high point is I will be making my Theatre Debut in London’s West End this week and while there is a certain amount of excitement, I am not on as great a high as I should be.  I have spent a great deal of my time promoting The Show (‘All About Poe and His Return to Bath’,) and while I have no problem with this, it has taken a great deal of my time doing it, but at the same time I am wondering, will all this hard work, promoting and networking the Show pay off in my favour?  I am not going to get rich by being in this Show but it is my first West End Show (which I am happy about,) but I have always been someone who has his eye on the bigger picture.

I have always known where I have wanted to be in life.  As a child, I wanted a navel career with the Royal Navy and that dream lasted virtually right throughout my childhood until a disability kicked in and changed everything.  Nothing was ever the same after that.  A career in Computing seemed more feasible and I pursued that for most of my adult life to no avail – Even though I did work in IT eventually.  Acting game caught my imagination and for the first time, I actually began to have a career.  It has been a mixed bag but I actually felt and still feel I am making progress.

The past month has brought all of the above to bear.  How does one measure success?   My list of credits show Daniel Jude Gennis to be a hard working Jobbing Actor, who is prepared to roll up his sleeves , get off his arse and turn up on time and do the work. Not to mention turning up to auditions and castings, even when he knows intuitively that he isn’t what the casting people want to see.  I have lost count of the number of castings my agents keep on sending me to, where I never get the job because when it comes to commercials and music videos, I cannot even get arrested on any of them.  My best work thus far has been in theatre, despite having a background in Film and Television, prior to working in Theatre.  A return to Film (which I love,) in The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence, has not led to further film work and while that has been a personal disappointment to me, it is what it is.  One moves on, which is why I never plan anything because when one does, it never works out.  I just do the work, do the job, and enjoy the experience as much as I can, then move on.  Nothing more nothing less.

And so all thoughts and focus has been on ‘All About Poe and His Return to Bath’ – A sequel to an earlier Play ‘A Certain Library in Bath’ of which I was an original cast member in every production of that Play except one since its premiere back in 2008.  I have been promoting the Play and networking across the social media websites I am a member of for what seems like an age now, nothing else has been happening in my life, apart from seeking out other work opportunities.  Personal time and recreation has been on hold for so long now, I feel I am not living at all, merely existing.

I come back to my original question: How does one measure success?  This question baffles me because the answer eludes me.  In one way, I have been successful at maintaining an acting career and that has come at a price.  I work long and hard but the financial rewards have been few and far and between.  There are huge gaps between those jobs that are paying (not much,) and those jobs that pay well enough (extremely rare).  Then there are the jobs in-between that don’t pay at all.  So on one hand I have been successful at maintaining an acting career but a total failure at making it pay a living wage.  I have been successful at marketing myself across the Web and social media outlets but a total failure at converting that marketing into being cast in higher profile productions in Film and Television over the past five years, which is when I began the online marketing of my career.  In fact thinking about it now, I signed up with Casting Call Pro in 2004 so we are actually looking at eight years rather than five but I actually began marketing my career in earnest in 2007.  The year I actually created a profile on Facebook but it would be a year before I actively began using it.

The past month has been one of procrastination even though I didn’t realise it.  I was so busy preparing for and promoting my West End Debut that I wasn’t really aware of the above until I began writing this entry.  It is all there in the back of my mind, questions, problems, issues all awaiting answers I cannot begin to answer because I don’t have the answers.  All I know is I am doing the best I can but it is almost as if my best is not good enough.  No amount of work, effort and perseverance seems to be reaping any kind of long-term success, certainly in financial terms.  It may be a sign of the times.  The jobs I have been doing would certainly have been extremely well-paid but now they are not.  I worked on a computer games project a few months ago and while it was interesting and I enjoyed what I was doing, it was a long day, which was not reflected in financial terms.  But you are a professional actor, work is work you say to yourself so you just get on with.  Always the case, always the way.

Not sure what keeps me going.  Maybe I am preparing for success when it comes and I am prepared to persevere and put up with any inconvenience while I am on that road to success.  It certainly doesn’t seem like it at times but when I embarked on an acting career it was to have a successful career doing good original work on Film (primarily,) as well as Television and Theatre.  I cannot afford to drown my sorrows in alcohol, addle my brains in narcotics (not that I ever would,) but if I were to, even wish to go down that road, then I would be well and truly fucked because the money just isn’t there to do that kind of shit.

I am a little tired of reading and watching the news about people who have died from a drug overdose or committed suicide, despite having all the money, wealth and fame anyone could possibly imagine.  I get rich and successful from what I do, my problems would be over in a New York Minute.  I would never look back, procrastinate or any of that negative shit.  I am on the road ever upwards.  I would take heart, take care of business and focus on my career and enhancing my life, with a lifestyle to match.

The above said, I have promoted ‘All About Poe’ as much I can so I will just focus on my performance and make the most of my debut in London’s West End and enjoy it as best as I can and let none of the above affect my performance.  I will come back to it all of the above after the show ends.



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