Monday, January 30, 2012

5. I'm not going to let people put down my career choice

After reading this article:

I felt compelled to write a response. Here it is:

Dear Mr. Bowie,

Wow. This article sure sounds like it’s written by someone who hasn’t been able to reach his goal to be an actor. Or, more likely, someone who wants to make himself feel better about never really “trying” to be an actor by making those who choose to follow their dreams feel shitty about their choice. Let me tell you, friend, you are way off the mark on basically every glib point you have made.

Firstly, did you ever stop to consider that not every person who aspires to be an actor aspires to be a famous actor? In your opening paragraph you talked about how rare it is for someone to be famous. You’re right. It’s extremely rare. But there are thousands of actors who are able to make a living performing, often in artistically fulfilling ways and don’t feel cheated that they never made the cover of People magazine. I am one of those actors. Feel free to Google me.

#5 You aren’t building a real skill set.

Wow. What an offensive thing to say. Most actors who have had even an ounce of success have trained and studied and paid their dues performing for free in order to hone a skill set that will allow them to be cast in better roles as their careers progress. Sure, Hollywood likes to make superstars out of some young upstarts who have no experience but for every one of these talentless “actors” there are literally thousands of experienced, talented performers. Performers who could act circles around half of the actors in Hollywood.

And for the record, I never had a “back up plan” and I built a skill set that has allowed me to be gainfully employed solely as an actor for over a decade. And while I would rather not get into a pissing contest about who is in a better tax bracket, I’d love to know how someone who makes his living as a writer is in a position to comment about another career in the arts in such a judgmental, smug, negative way. Do you have a day job? Just curious.

#4 Most Roles have nothing to do with acting

Sure, commercial acting isn’t necessarily fulfilling. But many actors view this as their day job. The money you will make doing commercial work can supplement when you’re working for less money on an independent film or low budget theatre project (NOTE: there are lots of very well paying theatre projects out there as well). I must stress once again that I have made the majority of my living for the past 6 years from television work. Roles that require acting. On television shows. Prior to that, I performed live on stage 6 nights a week for 4 years. Believe it or not, this job required a high level of acting. I got these jobs because of my skill set. And I want to take a moment right now to say that I am not an anomaly. I know many other actors who also have made a good living for many, many years solely from performing. Just wanted to address that before you went jumping to conclusions.

#3 You will never be considered for roles that require acting

Who are you? Seriously! How do you think you can make this kind of a statement?

For the record, you actually don’t have to have a primary role in a SAG production in order to become a SAG member. You just need to have any role in one. So you can book a small role in a SAG production, become a SAG member, that opens you up to getting better auditions and then you can audition for better, bigger roles in bigger, better SAG productions. This falls under the skill set thing. You pay your dues and get more experience as an actor to continue to build a career.

#2 Your faith will be exploited

Again, this is absurd. Your points are just getting laughable. It really reads like you are trying to convince yourself about why your choice to not pursue an acting career was the right one. Honestly.

Also, your comment about actors being shitty people is beyond offensive. I have worked on countless movie and TV sets where the crew and actors all became a big family. In fact, I’d love to ask any crew people I’ve worked with over the years to comment on this. Sure, there are asshole actors out there. Just like there’s asshole teachers, doctors, writers, camera ops, gardners, astronauts, hairdressers, etc etc etc.

#1 You won’t make enough money to live on.

If you like, I’d be happy to supply you with copies of my tax returns for the last 10 years.


Lauren Ash


  1. I love Lauren Ash's Tax returns!!

    Signed, a working actor

  2. You understand that you are mad at an article from Cracked, right? That website is where the term "trolling" most likely came from. Besides, one guys opinion, etc.

    (As a guy trying to break into Photography, I totally understand WHY you're mad... Just sayin... :)

  3. Had the article been at all funny or satirical I wouldn't have felt the need to respond. Frankly I thought had a mandate to be funny. Apparently not.

  4. I thought this article WAS funny, Lauren. I've been a working Union actor for forty years, since the age of ten. I've had a few good tax years in between. I respect acting. But, I do think we tend to take ourselves a little too seriously, and we downplay the truly absurd aspects of our vacation. Also, this article actually does highlight some of the truly demanding and potentially demeaning aspects of the biz in "show biz" - things that many people don't respect about how hard we work to get work, invisibly, every day. For me, your rebuttal comes precariously close to evincing the same air of smugness which you lambaste the Cracked editors for. That said, I really admire that you spoke up for yourself and our profession when you saw the need to. Hope to see you on set one day!

    1. This is the article I've been sharing lately in reference to this whole thing. To me, this is a funny way of looking at this profession that isn't as glib or unfunny.

      PS Comedy is subjective. You're allowed to find the Cracked article funny, I personally just did not. As someone who has made most of their living as a comedic actor and writer, I feel like there is an intelligent, satirical way to write about actors and that Bowie missed the mark completely.