What is my type? My wife would say to me, “Why do you even have to ask that? I’m your type!”. That’s why I usually don’t let her proofread my blogs. But it is indeed a big question for actors. We grow up hearing our moms say, “You can be anything you want to be if you work hard at it.” So of course, I wanted to be an astronaut from an early age to the point where I was sponsored by a state senator to the Air Force Academy until I found out my eyes were less than a percentage point away from requirements to be a pilot. So you can be almost anything you want to be with hard work. Just don’t get me started with today’s kids thinking they can be anything they identify as…you are not a cat!!!!!!
Typing in acting can be really fun and really frustrating. We love it when we hear things like, “You could totally play that part” or “You remind me of that Oscar winning performance in that movie” but other times it’s not so fun to hear that you remind people of a really bad actor or a really ugly actor. But those things are not important in the long scheme of life of an actor. The point to me is that whatever type I am seen as has to be believable. Mobster, Dad, politician, space alien? They all have to be believable if I am to succeed as an actor. Last week was eye opening to many in the class, I’m sure. Like I said, we all want to hear the complementary types alongside actors who made that type shine. And I am sure there were types that were left on the cutting room floor last week as they may have felt offensive. But again, that’s not the point. How many times have we heard about the actor who always plays the bad guy and in real life he’s the most awesome, nicest guy verses the beloved female protagonist who in real life is the epitome of, well, a description that polite company refrains from putting into print. The type is just a type and not the real person and if it is believable and books roles, then it can be a great career. But as like many actors, I can tend to get stuck in my type and exclude myself from roles simply because I have blinded myself to the possibility of the role. Last week woke me up to that again.
I seem to have pigeon-holed myself into the roles that I have been asked to audition for by my agents. And being that Texas is primarily a commercial producing state in the industry, I get send out all the time for the Dad/Husband, Detective/Cop, Friendly Neighbor and Coach. When I started hearing roles like Father Flynn in Doubt and Professor Keating in Dead Poets Society or even Frasier Crane (Cheers version), I realized that I had forgotten that there was much more for me out there than just what my agents think. And with that, it is up to me to convince my agents to submit me for such roles. That’s the tough part.
So with each class I am realizing things about myself that I either did not know or had simply forgotten. I look forward to seeing more than will spur me to be a better actor and hopefully usher me in to a new era of my acting career.