A Brief Tale About a Failed Actor

In my younger days, I was a pretty shy kid. I did, however, have a wild imagination, which I allowed to consume me when no one was around. I’d run around the house fighting imaginary monsters or go adventuring off in some fantastic land. I was extremely extroverted in my introverted-ness, if there is such a thing. Which is why it took me a bit to get into acting, even though it seemed like the natural thing to do. I started in my sophomore year of high school. My girlfriend convinced me to audition for a the annual Shakespeare play, which was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I can’t remember which principal role I tried out for, but I ended up getting a part as a guard. I might have had a line, even.

Anyway, as luck would have it, the guy playing Oberon: King of the Fairies had to drop out and the theater teacher needed to fill the role quickly. I stepped up and next thing I knew I was delivering five-minute long soliloquies. Like most people who discover theater, I fell in love with it immediately. It’s hard to describe how thrilling it is to have all eyes of an audience focused on you and all attention hanging on every word. There are two movies that capture theater perfectly. The first is Shakespeare in Love. The scene when Mr. Wabash steps out on stage to start the play is exactly how it feels to be up there performing for the first time. The second movie is Waiting for Guffman. Every theater actor worth their craft needs to see that movie.

I fancied myself to be quite good. I was a fast study. I even memorized my co-actors’ lines so I could feed them when they forgot their places. Moreover, I understood what I was saying and had a firm grasp of motivation. It was only natural that I thought I could pursue a career in professional acting. So, a couple of years after high school, in between jobs, I replied to an ad for a management firm looking for new talent. I drove out to Burbank and basically got taken for a ride. Last I checked, the firm was dealing with a class action law suit when it finally went under.

After that, I did a bit of theater now and again, but nothing serious and definitely nothing professional.

This is actually all just a long-winded preface to say that I was recently in a friend’s short film. The film is OK for what it is – actually, it’s kind of incomprehensible – but I’m particularly disappointed with my performance. Granted, the writing is sub-par and I only had 30 minutes or so to memorize a good chunk of some of the most unspeakable dialog, but just the same, I simply don’t think I was ever intended to be in front of the camera. The other thing is, I don’t like my voice. It’s actually kind of annoying. In my head, it sounds deep and manly, sometimes velvety. Recorded and played back to me, it sounds like an electric razor, buzzing incessantly.

I’ll ask the director for permission to post the short on my site, including the gag reel. It’s hilarious. The gag reel, that is.