Guest contributor: Vasilios Asimakos

Five Crappy Things an Emerging Actor Goes Through Way Too Often

categories: Cocktail Hour / Movies


5.  Sweating in front of your mirror.

    You know, there’s nothing like trying to ignore the beads of sweat forming where your hair meets your forehead.  Because if you realize that you’re sweating while performing the below activity, you may as well accept a full-on Wicked Witch dealy and melt down into nothing.  You see now, 35 minutes in, you have tried on your seventh clothing combination, and you can still find reasons for why the casting director will not like the turquoise shirt, black vest, khakis and glasses you’ve got on. You’re going to be late, and you’ve still got to print out your resume and CRAP!, your tank is on “E.”  All because you can’t for the life of you figure out what the hell they meant in the e-mail by “attire: hip/nerdy.”
4. Your wardrobe is four layers of clothing on a 90-degree degree, or one layer of clothing on a 40-degree day.  And you’re outside for hours, often with no respite.
Happens all the time.
“Oh don’t sweat it, because you’re just a grown up playing an expensive game of pretend.  There are real people in real places having real problems.”
“Oh, right, sorry about that.  Allow me to apolo…ohmyGodcatchmeI’mgoingtopassout.”
3. Background work.
Specifically waking up at 4AM for a 6AM call, then not being used until 2PM.  And sometimes you don’t know anyone on set.  And sometimes you can’t have your book, laptop, or phone with you.  So for hours on end, your job literally becomes trying to block out the 50-year old housewife trying to pass for 30 who’s talking about just how close she was to Jon Hamm in a scene two years ago.  “I literally could have reached out and touched him.”  Well I literally could do my best Van Gogh impression and slice my ears off.  No, I won’t “like” your Facebook Page.  (By the way, like mine: I have a career; why am I doing background work?  Oh yeah, I’m trying to avoid eating off the dollar menu again because I have $1.67 in my wallet right now.
2. Trying to find last-minute coverage at work so you can go on an audition.
This may actually be the worst stress I experience as an actor: I’ve been invited to an audition the day after tomorrow, anytime between 12PM-4PM.  Sure I can make it!  I’ll see you then!
Of course, it’s no matter that I’m scheduled to work at my “money job” from 10AM-6PM.  And that I have to scour the schedule to see who isn’t working that day, and who is working a day that I’m not, and ask them to switch.  And endure the ringing of their phone as they don’t pick up.  And wait hours for them to respond to the urgent text I sent.  And then, if they do respond, see if they’ll switch.  And if they will, to then text my manager and ask if it’s okay with him, even though he designs the schedule based on the talent level of the staff and this person is a much worse worker than I and it’s the fifth switch I’ve requested in 3 weeks.  All this, to drive an hour into the city for a three-minute audition, which is $500 dollars and great for the resume if I do book it, but it’s probably all for naught as they’re most likely searching for someone taller and more Nordic-looking anyway.

1. Chasing a bunch of slackery college kids around for footage from their film you starred in which probably won’t even be that good.
So you put up with their lack of preparedness and professionalism.  You show up, watch them fumble through a shoot, not give you the proper direction (not give you any direction), stay way past your expected wrap time, and even give them and their equipment a ride to their next location because you don’t have the heart to tell them to go screw, you’re not a chauffeur.  All in return for a copy of the film when it’s finished so you can build your acting reel, which is important, because a decent film reel will get you auditions (my reel: (Preview) ).  But unfortunately that footage is fermenting, unedited, in a grimy laptop somewhere, probably closed with a semi-cold Natty Ice sitting on top of it.  You e-mail– nothing.  You call– nothing.  You text– nothing.  You Facebook– nothing.  Then you get the e-mail response.: “Hey Vasilios, still have a bunch of editing to do.  Will get back to you when I have something to send.”  Sure, before shooting, you can make them sign something stating you’ll get the footage in a certain amount of time, but if they don’t abide by the guidelines of the document, what are you gunna do?  Sue a bunch of college kids?  And the kicker: you suck in the movie, because the movie sucks, because they suck.*  Downey couldn’t deliver a good performance in that situation.  But when you work for copy, you’ve gotta get that copy.  Or not.  You know, don’t let my career interrupt your partying.  *Dreamers Crew: I am NOT talking about you.  You guys are the bomb.  (Check out their Kickstarter Page here for all the info you need on this project that I recently starred in:

Honorable mentions:
Spending one day on set as the lead, and spending the next day sweeping, mopping, taking out the trash and cleaning out drains at your “money job.”  Sisyphus’s boulder has got nothing on this apron.
Shaving in a cafe bathroom after a shoot and before an audition, because you had to look 28 in the shoot but 17 in the audition.  All while thinking, “How long does it take for a normal person to poop, and can I play it off as just having pooped?”  Yes.  My life has come down to wanting people to think I’m pooping in there.

Still, you’ll never catch me in an office working 9-5.  I’ll take the Shawshank crapcrawl.  Just let me be a storyteller forever.

  1. Elke writes:

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  2. Jennifer A writes:

    Love the essay! Been there, every darn crappy point. Well, except maybe the shaving part. But there HAS been plucking! One other crappy point… Trying to get people to stop rolling their eyes when you tell them this is what you want to do for your “money job”. And explaining that spinning our wheels just to get by is ok… Really ok…because it IS work. It just happens to be a passion as well.

    • Bruce Goodchild writes:

      Oh yeah I totally get this. In my 23 years in this business I’ve seen it all I guess. Great writing man and welcome to LA!
      Bruce Goodchild