Actors Are the ‘Luckiest People in the World!’

January 26, 2014



Bryan Cranston doesn’t necessarily fit the paradigm of what you might think an A-list Hollywood star might look like; in fact, some might describe him as rather ordinary in his appearance and in his style. But this so-called ordinary-looking everyman just won the Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Drama award at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards last Saturday night for his portrayal of the Scarface-wannabe Walter White in AMC’s Breaking Bad. In a memorable, if not hilarious, acceptance speech which had Bryan singing operatically and fawning over the great Emma Thompson, Bryan credited much of his success to the resilience of his dream as well as to plain old ordinary luck: “That’s what happens when you’re so lucky–I’ve had so many crappy jobs in my life, I gotta tell ya! I loaded trucks downtown, cold, dust, dirt everywhere and in every orifice; people yelling at you, ‘Cranston, move faster, work harder!’ And the only thing that got me through was imaging, dreaming that one day I could actually one day make a living as an actor!” Sound familiar? Bryan continued, “That’s what got me through, thank God. We are the luckiest people in the world who can say ‘I am an actor.’”

So, when times get tough, when auditions are sparse and callbacks even sparser, just remember, the flourishing Bryan Cranston thinks you are among the luckiest people in the world. When the man is breathing down your neck for those work orders or a half a dozen cappuccinos, always keep in the forefront of your mind that you are far more than just your job at hand: your imagination, your aspirations, your passion to perform and live artistically can transport you through your travails. Indeed, Bryan Cranston thinks you’re the luckiest person in the world because you are an actor at heart. Okay, you need to be paid for your acting–granted, that needs to be worked out; but you are an actor with dreams, goals, desire, and an indomitable spirit. And if you keep working, good things will happen. You may not star in a legendary hit series and win a best actor award–but you just might! When Bryan was in the throws of his horrendous jobs, do you think he ever really imagined the level of success he now enjoys? Keep dreaming the dream!

Flipping the Script on Walter White

September 28, 2013

walter-white-breaking-bad.jpgAMC’s juggernaut series, Breaking Bad comes to its Homeric close on Sunday, September 29th, 9 p.m. ET/PT. In anticipation of this blockbuster event, AMC has been running a Breaking Bad marathon leading up to what could be the most watched episode in television history. The BB marathon chronicles the transmogrification of Walter White from sheepish high school chemistry teacher to the scarface-like murderous drug kingpin, Heisenberg. And what a transformation it is! The Walter White of early episodes is professional, reserved, undeniably square, and a little uptight to be sure; on the contrary, Heisenberg is a tough, street-smart, wild, violent sociopath willing to smoke anyone who dares get in his way, including women and children. Indeed, his business partner and whipping boy, Jesse, comes to describe him as “the Devil.”

But one of the things that becomes clear upon watching the five-day marathon is that Walt did not go from criminal rube to high-level iceman overnight. Rather, it was a series of fateful decisions that led him to a place of perdition in the south valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Every time Walter makes a decision based on pride, performs another cook, every time he lies to his loved ones, and every time he offs an annoying competitor, he inches closer to what looks to be a very ignoble end.

And the frightening thing is that you, player, are really not so different from Walter White in this respect. I don’t mean to insinuate you are a murderous thug. But I’m suggesting your future in this business is not determined by just one decision, one role, or one break. Rather, it is the decisions you make on a daily basis over the long run that will land you in the seat of the successful or at the davenport of the disenfranchised. What choices are you making that will ensure your success and nurture your spirit? Are you staying in class? Are you staying in shape? Do you update your profile regularly? Are you working consistently to have the necessary credits to update your profile? Are you scouring Public Submissions to audition for anything and everything you might be right for? Think of how mild-mannered Walter White went from a schlubo in tighty whities to straight gangsta Mac in tighty whities! He made a succession of decisions that kept him going in the wrong direction. All you need to do is flip the script.

Please share the choices you’ve been making to succeed in a highly competitive business. Or, if you’ve been struggling, let us know; maybe someone on this thread has advice that might be helpful. And last but not least, are you a Breaking Bad fan? If so, how do you think it will end? We’d love to know!