The Game of Tetris
A casting director reached out asking me to audition for a fantastic play. The stars just seemed to align. I have a great working relationship with her, the play is wonderful, at least one well-known actor has already been cast, and I fit the specs perfectly. So what’s the issue? A good friend of mine is getting married in the fall, opening weekend, and I am in the wedding. God, I hate when people have lives that interfere with mine. Ok, not really, but tell me you haven’t felt that way at least once in your life!
This is such a common challenge for artists, isn’t it? I often feel at least 75% of my job is getting the job. It’s like playing Tetris, but less fun. I gotta make sure everything lines up perfectly with little to no empty spaces. But what happens when life gets in the way?
I wish I had a Tetris cheat mode for life, where everything fit perfectly without me having to work at it (Yeeeeah, I’m gonna have to move your wedding to a Monday afternoon, mk?) . . .
. . . but that just isn’t the case.
And honestly, this is one of those situations where the more I work at it, the worse I feel. I don’t do well with that equation, but it just kinda is what it is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so very excited for my friend’s wedding, but I just can’t have it all. Doesn’t that suck?
So now what? Where can we go from here? I’m not sure this is the best advice, but in the case of my friend’s wedding, AKA My Career Vs. Life, I had a glass of wine, maybe two, bitched about it for about an hour, sulked for about 3 more, then made a conscious decision to choose my friend’s wedding over this theatrical opportunity. The reality is there’s not much more I can do.
After pondering this challenge a bit more, I realized this is just Life, and that Life is a good thing. Have you ever talked to an actor, teacher, lawyer, or anyone, really, who had nothing to talk about outside of their work? I do promotional events on the side, and as a result, have befriended several bartenders. I was at the grocery store one day when I ran into one of the bartenders, and I noticed he had absolutely nothing to talk about other than bar-tending.
How boring! At least he makes a good drink, though, right? Unfortunately, actors don’t have it so easy. What sort of an actor has nothing to talk about outside of acting? A bad one. As actors, we are storytellers, and what stories do we have to tell if we leave no time to experience life?
So the next time your career gets in the way of the rest of your life, cry about it if you please (no, seriously, I cry all the time, and it’s wonderful), but then go with your gut. Is this career opportunity too good to pass up? Or do you need to experience life in other ways? Do you owe it to someone in your life to be there for him or her? Do you just need a freaking break? Then you know what to do! Just remember, everything you do as a human improves your career as an actor.