One of the most frustrating things as an Asian male is looking at the castings that are out there. If I’m lucky, I see one once a week. I see a lot of ‘all ethnicities’ castings, but who knows what they’re actually looking for.
As an actor, you’re all the way at the end of the line. Someone has already written, edited, put a project into production, and there are dozens, if not hundreds of people all scrambling for the same part. If you’re a minority, those roles are even more scarce.
And then you get the audition sides. Sometimes you read them, you try to keep a straight face but I think every actor has seen sides and thought, “I could write better than this.” Other times you read sides and know immediately that this is role that you would kill for. When that happens you pull out all the stops, but odds are, you’ll get rejected.
That’s the mythical big break. You have a talent that is matched with a role to showcase it. It’s the dream, it’s what we all long for.
Obviously, only a few ever get it.
I’ve always believed that there are more talented actors then there are roles available. When you’re a minority I think you double down on that statement. Because I’m impatient with no regard for sense, I decided that I was going to start writing.
Now, my experience with writing professionally was limited to research reports. So, I was coming into this with no experience. I write this blog, but this is more the barely coherent stream of consciousness ramblings of a madman. So, we’re starting at a blank slate.
We as people innately know bad acting. You don’t have to be a trained actor in order to see something on stage or screen and think “Wow, that sucked.” I think it’s the same way for screenwriting. We know when dialogue is bad, we know when a scene doesn’t work. What’s much harder is knowing how to fix it.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard was this: If you want to have a career in the arts, you have to practice the art, as much as you can, as well as you can.
I was always a horrible student. I learned what I wanted to learn at my own pace, much to the frustration of my parents. When it came to acting and writing though, I turned on my inner Asian and deep dove on the craft. Ripping apart your own work is hard. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in front of the computer with a blinking cursor deciding whether to keep or cut a scene.
I think every person has a voice, and with that voice, we want to be heard, to be understood. To write well, to give your voice a way to reach other people is nothing short of the human experience. It’s frustrating when you literally can’t find the words, but when inspiration and craft strike a balance and you put down something that can reach people it’s a high that I can’t quite describe. When someone who you trust to tear apart your work gives it approval, it’s everything. When another actor reads it and gives it life, raises your work to a new level, that’s when you know that you’ve made at least a little progress.
Which takes us to the biggest bet of my 2019…