The Business of Show Business: An Actor’s Life (Again)

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Oh no! You didn't book that role! Hell, you blew the audition... Might as well pack your bags...

What Do I Like About Being A Performer?

Just touched on some of this in my last blog. 

And now I have a few more thoughts.

I will never run out of thoughts on the actor’s life whether it’s my life…

…or more importantly…


This is your life and let me focus on just that part and ignore the “business of show business.” 


Let me share a thought about the actor’s craft. It’s called craft because for me it has a very architectural meaning.

I love analogies… especially when they have to do with construction!

It’s a craft because it is about the character parts — the words, thoughts, actions and feelings of someone and something fictional written (mostly) by someone else.

It is a form of escapism.

For a performer, you love to step into that imaginary world for many reasones… you like the challenge, the applause, or simply the overall entertainment for you and others!

For me, I’m not your acting arbiter. It doesn’t make any difference to me why it is that you choose to be a performer.


"How do other performers feel about the process?"

Yes, You Need To Consider This In Your Pursuit

Just be crystal clear on the reason why you do it!

Because it matters. It makes a difference.

My experience working with actors is that many times performers get lost thinking about the “bright, shiny” aspects of this career. 

I completely understand that.

As you know, I’m from a small town and I wanted something better for myself!

When it’s all said and done, being a performer is just that… being performative/active and doing it.  Everything else outside of that becomes the business. 

Maybe you chose to be an actor in your youth. It’s likely your beginnings were in the theatre — where many of us start before ever seeing a camera!

Now, the theatre audition process is very predictive. Typically, we go into a theatre, stand on stage and either recite a monologue and/or read for a part.

If a role, we might be reading with a fellow actor. 

And this offers us some dynamism.

Just like life…

We will get what is coming off of somebody else…

Pause for a moment because I bet you see the looming trap…

In theatre, there is an indescribable energy. A buzz that you feel in the beginning of the process all the way to the end.

Here in Los Angeles, with the number of available actors, casting has a lot of performers to work with and their “reading” energy might not be consistently strong for every audition.

Not a bad thing…

Remember that.

Casting, curiously enough, tones it down so they don’t give one performer an unfair advantage over another. 

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How Can I Better Manage My Audition Results?

It’s hard.

Aside from all the work we have to do to prepare and give 100% (or something close to it), you do realize over your time in this profession, that there are higher levels for every performer.

This is where you start getting into particular kinds of conversations about the craft that have to do with cold reading classes or audition technique.

Things become specialized…

As a performer this now might require learning a new set of skills from those with which we’re presently accustomed. 

It’s different. 

Keep in mind this real fact about you the performer in an audition room, because yes, this is still the first step to getting hired. 

We have to perform and we are now going to do it with some new techniques. 

The basics are still the same. Cozy room. Tripod. Camera. Session runner. Reader off-camera. The exception is that you have something else in your arsenal that wasn’t there before.

The audition process…? Naturally, some people are better at it than others, but for most actors, it takes some work.

And you’re working harder on it! 

I will tell you first hand, it takes real effort to get yourself fully comfortable in the environment I just described. 

It can be intimidating when first starting out, but over time, like everything else in life, you own it!

But now with COVID and the growth of available technology, the self-tape now challenge us on both sides of the camera — literally!

Yes, there are companies and services here in Los Angeles that can help you with your self-tape, but the DIY actor wants to do it all. At times, that can be good and at others, it can be challenging. 

Depending on how much technical savvy you have, you now add a whole other element that your mind has to work with and deal with while you’re supposed to be focused on an audition. 

Incredibly, there’s so much new (actor) business that now surrounds the performer part of this profession. 

What then do I need to consider?

Let’s get back to auditon basics!

You must make yourself as believable as possible. Think of the life of your audition performance should you get hired.

Think of the audience on the other side, not the casting office, but rather the paying public who are watching on screens huge, big and small.  

Now your performance requires a great deal of focus, talent and skill. They will be watching and critiquing… and you will need to move them!

You are a performer and you have to create the willing suspension of disbelief. As time goes by, and your skill opens more doors, realize that not all auditions are created equal.


I hand you a four page script and point to four doors. First door is a soap opera. Second door is a feature film. Third door is an hour long TV drama. The last door? Oh inside is Broadway and they want you in the next David Mamet play.

Each room inside each door presents you with audition challenges, little things that you will need to nuance to render a credible performance that matches the tone of each.

Nevertheless, when it’s all said and done and when you sit down and you really just discuss the performer, I really want to be really clear that we are just discussing your mind, your soul and your gut. How you put that together is your craft. At the end of the day, I want you to be very protective of that and realize that the performance part of you is unique and pure, and everything outside…?

Well, that is a part of the business. SHOW BUSINESS that requires your ACTOR BUSINESS!!