The ever-useful Backstage.com ran a great article on Monday called Fight for Your Career. An actor named JP Davis, tired of not getting anywhere, decided to write, produce and act in his own movie. In the Backstage article, he tells the story of how he did it.
Bravo, JP! I’m a strong advocate for taking things into your own hands, especially when it comes to acting and similar creative fields.
We all know that there are a select few who get noticed early on and are whisked away to fame and fortune.
And then there’s everybody else.
Typically, everyone else keeps plugging away, waiting for a similar big break, but rarely does anything significant happen. UNLESS they discover their niche, fine-tune it and then take things into their own hands to get exposure.
It disheartens me to see talented actors spinning their wheels, waiting for the phone to ring or for one of their mass-mailings to pay off, when their time would be much better spent, in my opinion, if they were to put together their own projects.
A group of comedians I know have done just that: They formed a sketch comedy troupe, and have worked together for years honing their writing and performing skills. They began attending sketch comedy festivals around the country, gaining some notoriety, and then started hosting a sketch fest of their own.
And now, their hard work is paying off: When I attended the Chicago SketchFest back in January, they were one of the headliners and everyone in town (including the Chicago casting directors I was working with) knew who they were. Now they’re heading to New York to perform at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre as part of the SketchFest NYC and audition for HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.
Moreover, because they have now established a reputation for themselves, they frequently get called in on commercial and film auditions that require comedic actors. They’re in high demand, because they have something unique to offer and they created it themselves.
Rarely have I met actors with such dedication. They’ve busted their butts for years to get where they are today. But they’re much farther along than any of them would have been, had they sat around waiting for something to happen–rather than making it happen.
And so is JP Davis, whose film “Fighting Tommy Riley” opened last Friday in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Hamptons. More power to him!