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What Do Commercial Actors Have in Common With Celebrities?


Recently I had the privilege of attending several FYC (For Your Consideration) screening events through the TV Academy. After each screening, there was a panel discussion where I found myself awe-struck being in the same room with many celebrity actors who are now enjoying acting in richly creative television shows. 

Remember when a celebrity would not touch a TV show because it was below their dignity?

Times certainly have changed, and celebrities now feel privileged to work in this venue. The result is ours to take, with many great roles created for working actors, and an array of exceptional shows for all of us to enjoy.

While attending the panel discussions, I was struck by how humble and grateful all the celebrities were. Through sharing their stories of delight, fears and insecurities, at some point, I had an “ah ha” moment. What they were saying was the same as what every actor I work with on an everyday basis goes through. 

If you think as an everyday working actor you have nothing in common with celebrities, think again. Here are some things that were mentioned that I’m sure you can relate to.

Self-taped First Auditions

In many discussions, self-taping was taken for granted, such as “in my first self-taped audition I made certain choices”, or “after I sent in my first self-taped audition, I knew I did something different than I usually do.” Every actor’s first audition is a self tape.

Acting Coaches

A celebrity does not go to an acting coach to learn how to act, but they do work with an acting coach in the process of figuring out what choices to make. The acting coach analyzes the story and then coaches the actor scene by scene. Every actor needs to have a support system and a coach they trust.

An Actor Never Rests on Their Laurels

Celebrities feel they are only as good as their last job and when the next role comes along they have to come through again in top form.

Celebrities Get Nervous, Too

Every celebrity who spoke at some point talked about being nervous at the beginning of an in-person Director’s meeting. This meeting is equivalent to any professional actor’s callback. All actors feel a little nervous and know how to channel their nerves into positive energy.

Waiting Anxiously for the Booking

There was also talk about insecurities such as “Will the director ultimately choose another actor over me whom they have worked with on past projects?” This is the same as all professional working actors knowing there are many other heavy bookers they are competing against.

Unknown Outcomes

Celebrities are sometimes very surprised at the influence the role they are playing has in the development of the story or the success of the TV series. How many times have all working actors had good surprises from a role they have played? The answer is many.

Appreciation of Working and Being On-set

All actors savor the details of the set, love working and appreciate their fellow actors who make up the ensemble they are working with.

Why am I writing this? I love the idea that an actor is an actor, is an actor, no matter what level they are at. All professional actors love to savor the times they are working on a project, have a lot of down time to do what they want creatively, feel the passion and know there is nothing else they can or would rather do. 

Those of us who are the audience, thank you all for giving us such great content.

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