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

4. I reeeeealllllly like X-Weighted

I’ll admit it. I watch “X-Weighted”. Every day. Sometimes 2 episodes a day. And sometimes, I’ll even re-watch an episode I’ve already seen. I know, I know; that seems crazy. But I have realized that I just really like watching people transform their lives and getting to see parts of the journey it takes for them to do so, is really interesting to me. And I like that each episode of this show encapsulates a person’s entire story. I don’t want to be beholden to a show like “The Biggest Loser” and have to tune in week after week to monitor the progress of people I barely care about. Nope. I want a quick-fix when it comes to my weight loss programming. (NOTE: The fact that there is an entire genre of television devoted to weight loss is insane to me. Think about it… "Bulging Brides”, “Heavy”, “Too Fat for 15”, “Ruby”, “Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp”, “I Used to be Fat”, the list goes on and on. But alas, I digress…)

Sure I know that the situations on this show are manipulated for entertainment purposes but at the end of the day you can’t argue when someone has shed 50 or 60 pounds. That’s real. It’s the same reason I’ve always been fascinated with Heidi Montag. As fake as “The Hills” may have been, that girl PERMANENTLY, SURGICALLY altered her body. That is as real as her boobs are fake. There’s something voyeuristically satisfying about seeing something REAL like that caught on film. We’re getting to see private details about people we would never normally meet. I guess this is why I also can’t get enough of “Intervention” (US or Canadian version…)

I met a group of emergency room doctors once and asked one of them what was the most appealing thing about that job for him. His answer? “Getting to hear the things that people don’t tell anyone else.” He then proceeded to share a very detailed list of the things that he had personally seen stuck in people’s rectums. I’m not kidding. You'd be surprised what people think can fit in there. Personally, I think I’m happy to stick with fulfilling my voyeuristic needs by watching Paul Plakas bully overweight Edmontonites into losing weight. It's as personal as I need to get.

3. There's this thing called "online shopping"...

Unfortunately the nature of my foot injury involves a lot of pain and a long recovery period. It is difficult for me to stand for very long so I can’t even really putter around my apartment. Hence why I’ve been spending a lot of time on my computer reading, writing and discovering the joys (and dangers) of online shopping. Of course I knew that this phenomenon existed; I guess I just never really took the time to browse online before. Any time I have ordered things on the internet in the past, it was items that I was seeking out. Things that were hard to find. This week I’ve found lots of things that are easy to find in stores but from the comfort of my chaise lounge. (For the record, instead of a couch I have 2 giant chaises that I have pushed together to literally make a “bed couch”. It’s a dream come true especially when convalescing since you can sit with your feet up next to your partner who can do the same. Or “partners” if you have more than one cat.)

My purchases so far? A tshirt with a skull on it that, when you look closely, is actually a collage of cat faces, a pair of RayBans and a Michael Kors dress. The tshirt just couldn’t be more “me”. The perfect mix of cute and badass. It was a purchase that had to happen and at a price of only $10, how could I resist? The RayBans are the same style as another pair I own, just in a different colour. Did I need them? Arguable. But the fact that I got them for literally half of what they would cost in the store somehow made the purchase not only seem worthwhile to me but also imperative to my success as a human. The Michael Kors dress was only $60 and seems like it will look cute on me. I’m usually a good judge of what styles look best on my body, though of course there is the risk that I could be way off the mark with this one. I’ll be honest though, I think that’s part of the rush. It’s a gamble. It’s the same feeling that you get watching a roulette wheel spin or waiting for the pee on a pregnancy test to fill the little viewing window.

My biggest fear is that the dress is perfect. Don’t they say that when you gamble you only need to win once to get hooked? If this dress looks as killer as I think it will…well...I weep for my bank account.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2. Dogs. Hate. Crutches.

I guess from their level my crutches resemble steel robot legs. Skinny, cold, terrifying, robot legs. This is the only explanation for the choruses of barking I have been met with when I’ve been out in the world this past week. As we know, there is little that truly terrifies dogs more than the idea of a robot-led apocalypse. I think it’s because the pooches know that their adorable faces will have no affect on their new robot masters. Their plaintiff whines and slobbery kisses will do nothing to ingratiate them to the T-1000s, who will rule our streets literally with iron fists. If anything, the machine overlords won’t stand for their high-pitched doggy voices or their rust-creating doggy slobber. When you really think about it, the dogs potentially have more to fear about robots taking over then humans do. So all things considered, I have to respect the dogs for standing their ground with me. Fight the power you brave little canines…fight it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

1. People Aren't Inherently Kind.

This isn’t some kind of grand revelation. The world is full of insensitivity and hurt. People can be mean and unkind for a multitude of reasons. But anytime I witness it with my own eyes, I am taken aback. There’s something unnerving about watching people treat other people poorly. Even on a small scale. The stories of pregnant women riding transit alone paint a pretty grim picture of humanity. One anecdote I read on Facebook this week involved a dude telling a pregnant woman “Why should I give you my seat? I didn’t get you pregnant.” Ugh. Gross.

This brings me to my recent experience on crutches. After being told it could be months before my foot is back to normal, I realized that even though it is annoying and difficult to get around, I have to at least get to every voiceover audition I can. Lady’s gotta eat! I got to an audition the other day, hobbled into the room, and schlepped back down to street level. At this point, I was a sweaty mess. I had only been on crutches for a couple of days and my arms were getting a wicked workout. I stood on the sidewalk and made eye contact with a cabbie parked across the street. He turned on his engine and began to pull into a U turn to come get me. At this moment, a dude in his thirties stopped him, said something to him through his window, looked at me, then hopped in the cab and they drove off. “Did that really just happen?” I thought. That totally able-bodied man just saw me waiting for that cab and he took it anyway? “He couldn’t have seen me.” I reasoned with myself. But he had seen me. He saw the whole thing. He saw me hailing the cab, the cabbie turning on the engine, the cabbie pulling into the beginning of a U turn; for God’s sake the dude LOOKED ME IN THE EYE before getting into the cab.

I want to ask that guy, what if I was your sister? Or your mother? Or girlfriend? Would you want a woman in your life treated that way? Especially in a time of need? I guess you could argue that maybe he was in a real rush for an important reason but I just don’t buy that. He wasn’t running, he wasn’t panicked, he didn’t appear to be frazzled. He just calmly walked up, and calmly stole my cab.

I tweeted about this saying that “I hope karma is just” with this guy. What I actually wanted to say was “I hope this guy's balls fall off in some sort of painful gangrene-leprosy incident”. But that’s not really very “WWJD” of me, is it? (Though I think even Jesus would wish ill on this d-bag.)