Yes, that's kind of a blanket statement. I should say I hate *most* actors. There's a certain kind of actor that I hate. That "always on, always funny, always performing" type of actor. We all know people like that, don't we? Loud. Constantly needs to be the center of attention; the life of the party. Being a showbiz guy, I'm around people like this *all the time.*
Ok, it's no secret that *all* actors are needy for attention and approval. That's why we do it. Hell, that's why bloggers blog. But there is quiet, put-yourself-out-there-and-hope-people-like-you narcissism (me) and in-your-face!, look-at-me!, I'm-a-star! narcissism (them).
Example? Of course. You knew it was coming.
I go to my voice-over agent, ICM, just about every morning. If you're in The Industry (or watch Entourage), you know that this agency is the real deal. As such, there are lots of talented, successful actor-types in every day. The typical morning goes like this:
2. Immediately run into their kitchen for FREE and DELICIOUS coffee.
3. Sit in the green room until an agent notices you.
4. Receive your scripts for the day. (1, 5, 10 scripts... random)
5. Read scripts.
6. Wait to be called and directed into one of four voice booths to read your copy.
7. Voice the bitch.
8. Ditch the script and sit back down, reading and waiting to be called to do the next script.
9. Go back to Step 6 until you have no more copy left.
10. Refill your cup of FREE and DELICIOUS coffee.
11. Laugh at the hand-written sign in the kitchen that says, "Refreshments are not to be taken home!"
12. Go home.
Ahhh... if it were only that simple.
Twixt the above steps wages a raging battle of mindless chatter and witless banter. An ebb and flow of comic one-upsmanship that is relentless to the point of maddening.
Example: There are some voice-over people who can only speak in their “voice-over voice.” Thus, there are several men who rather than say, “Good morning, AJ”, greet you with a deep and resonant: “In a world on the edge of time... One man, alone in a bustling metropolis... An epic battle of good versus evil. It’s AJ.”
Example: Lots of comedians (and former comics) in there as well. “Look at these walls. How blue are these walls? If anal sex with a priest were a color, it would be this blue right here. And what about this tray of cookies? Who baked these? Alton Brown’s arch-nemesis from the Food Network’s bizarro alternative universe? Nice sandals, Walter. Who are you? Jesus? The last time I saw feet like those there was a tag on the toe.”
For the most part, all of these people are very nice, very intelligent and very talented people. Really, they are. But they don’t know how to TURN IT OFF.
I was chatting with Josh, my manager’s *superhuman* assistant. Josh told me that one of the things they like about me is that I’m not ALWAYS ON. That’s not a skill, people. That’s good manners.
Recently (I won’t say when, lest she be reading), I was trapped in a voice booth with an actress. We had finished reading our copy and were exiting when she began “riffing” on the director. Fine. Make with your funny, let’s get outta here, I got 7 more scripts to get to.
But she went on and on… funny voices… witty observations… clever anecdotes… none of which were funny or witty or remotely clever.
But what can I do?
I have to stand there with this big fat smile on my face. I’m not going to just walk out. I’m not an asshole like that. I can’t really laugh because, frankly, I'm not that good of an actor.
She went on and on. And I can see that the director is wearing the same Bozo-esque smile that I’m wearing. She's dying to get this lady out of the booth so she can get readings from the 30 actors behind us and get the tape off to the client and then go pee or get coffee or call her boyfriend or whatever: LET'S GO.
people realize this? When I go off on a tangent or tell a story that’s a tad
too long (like this one), I can start to read the faces of my audience. I’ll
suddenly say, “I’m rambling on and on, I’m sorry.” Yeah, you do that, too! Of course you do! You're normal!
But people who are always on can’t do that. They can’t see it. They just have to perform their shtick.
Everyone knows that old comedy saying: “Leave them wanting more.”
Every conversation I have with an actor leaves me wanting less.*