Work the Craft Your Whole Life Long

November 7, 2013

last-vegas-aging-actors.jpgLook at the picture to your left. What is it? A handsome man convention? A casting call for the new Most Interesting Man Alive commercial? Is it an AARP advertisement? It’s none of the above. The picture is your future, if you so choose. Last Vegas, starring Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, and Michael Douglas opened recently to generally good reviews, and ranked number three behind Ender’s Game and Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa at the box office. Now, all these guys are, to a man, Academy Award winners, but they are also, clearly, old guys. Sure, they are tremendously gifted actors; sure, they’re Hollywood legends; and certainly they all pack a big box-office punch. But, again, they’re senior citizens, and they are gainfully employed in their senior years. Hollywood will always need grandfathers, business partners, criminal kingpins, professors, doctors, retired professionals, etc.–and for many of these roles, advanced age is a requirement. How many other fields share that requirement? Now, the news isn’t all rosy: agism does exist in Hollywood, as it does throughout our nation. But in Hollywood, there’s a special place for the elderly.

Clearly, these cinematic giants have enormous cache in the industry, which you may not have just yet. But, the bottom line is they’ve earned their stripes by working consistently over many years at perfecting the craft. You must do likewise. And even if you’re not starring in big movies or supporting in award-winning shows, you must continue to work the craft whether it be at a local, regional, national or international level–just keep it up. As these productions need an actor with experience and skill, you need to be prepared and prove that you’re ready.

Acting could be a life-long adventure. You never know when you’re going to get hot!

It’s Never Too Late to Start Auditioning for Commercials

December 7, 2012

How old is too old to get into acting? Maybe your first love of acting got derailed by a demanding job, or put on the back burner to embrace motherhood, or perhaps you just recently got bit by the bug after happily working as a public servant for decades. There are a variety of reasons why people find themselves gravitating towards acting in their later years. Of course, along with this awakening, adverse thoughts might creep into mind like, “Isn’t this unrealistic? Is it too late to start now?” After all, it doesn’t take an Einstein to notice the heavy emphasis placed on glorifying youth, beauty, health, and vigor in the entertainment industry. How is an older person expected to fit into this Hollywood youth-obsesssed culture? Well, it’s essential you don’t just give into these thoughts; you must challenge them!

First of all, today’s marketing has moved beyond the “Where’s the beef?!” and “Clap on! Clap off!” campaigns from bygone eras. Indeed, many of today’s commercials feature mature, active adults who are still capable of exercising, remain interested in romance and taking care of themselves, and who possess wisdom. Tom Brokaw calls the nearly 80 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 “the most influential generation.” Companies are more eager than ever to tap this market, to sell over-the-counter and prescription medications, cruise packages, health insurance–you name it. Somebody has got to be in these grown-up spots. Why not you? Many baby boomers have given into nagging thoughts that it’s too late to get in the acting game; but as one successful, mature commercial actor noted, “Yes, there might be fewer roles for elderly actors, but at least you have a lot less competition!” 

Now if you’ve never acted before and need to gain experience, a great place to start is in theater. Most towns have at least one community playhouse organization. Also, taking theater courses in a community college setting or with local theater gurus is a terrific road into the business. Get involved, and you’ll soon find yourself listening to all those encouraging thoughts inside your head: you know, the “I-really-can-do-this-and-I’m-excited-about-it” thoughts. These are your golden years. Here’s to seeing you in a big-time commercial soon enough!