There's a funny thing I have always been asked when the subject of my chosen profession is brought up. I can be at a party, in a grocery line or in a toilet stall, and it gets no more pleasant regardless of atmosphere. The topic of my employment comes up, and soon I'm forced to say "I'm an actor." To be clear, nothing I get to say, with the exception of introducing my wife, brings me more pride. For years after college, when I knew I WANTED to be an actor, but didn't ever get paid to do it, I told people whatever my job was at the time. No shame, no hesitation. "I sell running shoes." or "I sell guns." or "I drive around hookers and strippers." Well, there's shame in the last one, but none of the others. Now, when I utter that beautiful, hard earned title, which I REFUSED to use until attained, I might as well be admitting I was a guard at Auschwitz.
What causes this unexpected hesitancy to discuss my profession? It's the weird look. It's the slight hint of a demeaning smile. It's the narrowing of the eyebrows, or the lifting of them when I tell them I act. They don't know me from TV and film (I haven't done much), it seems they are thinking, "I haven't seen him on TV or in movies, how can he be an actor?" The next question further establishes their skepticism "What kind of actor are you?" If I was more comfortable with myself, I might be able to be the smart ass I am and respond with something preposterous. "Oh, well, I'm Shatnerian Actor specializing in Pantomime manifestations of universal understanding." Nope. I turn sheepish and tell them I'm any kind of actor that I can realistically play. Not very entertaining. They keep digging. "What have you done?" This where it should be easy right? Nope.
For those who watch "Sons", you know how awesome it is. How the writing, acting, art design and music come together to create a believable, breathtaking world that pulls you in and never lets go. Despite those facts and the show's complete awesomeness, most people don't watch. To most, it's a show about dickhead bikers and it is impossible to tell SAMCRO's story while standing in line for deviled eggs. Or while someone scans your yogurt. Or while you're hoping they don't put their foot in your stall and ask if you want to party..
So I tell them I'm on SOA. They don't watch but recognize it, figure maybe I've been on something cool, like CSI. I'm forced to rattle off my resume. When I sold guns and shoes, I didn't have to tell people about the Benelli's and Saucony's I sold earlier that year. But as an actor, I can't avoid it. People want to recognize me, want to find something deep in my work that they have seen and loved. They think I want it too. I guess it's easy to understand why. Watch the fucking VMAs. It's the most disgusting, nauseating display of "look at me" antics in the world. A woman can't really just show up in a nice outfit and sing. Unless her name is Adele. The others throw on costumes that would confuse Ziggy Stardust and put on meat dresses and orbital spheres. Because they want to be looked at. Next year, I'll bet Katy Perry wears a dress out of African Orphans. To bring awareness to them of course, and not to her. Right. The men jump up onstage and try to be badass. Maybe they disagree with an award, so they get up and yell who they think should of won. Beat your old girlfriend in a way that would put normal people in PRISON for a long goddamn time? You should fly, that way the pictures show the crowd reaching up to you like you're a fucking Mayan god, back to drop all your gold jewelry on us. Want a virgin? We'll kick the shit out of her for you, so you can save the energy for drinking champagne.
If you watch awards shows like this, it's easy to explain why people think every artist wants sweet, sticky attention juice splashed all over our eager faces.The fact is folks, not all people in entertainment want to be worshipped. I can't think of one on our show that does. We want to be respected. If you know our work, please tell us how good we were. We dig that. Everyone loves validation, especially us needy folks. We'll be incredibly nice to you after that, not unlike a Labrador who just got patted on the head and told he's a good boy.
But if you don't know us, that's totally fine. If you wish us good luck, talk about your life and where you come from, like you would to anyone else, man that would be cool. Then we can just go back to being people mowing down potato salad, returning our carts to it's reserved space in the lot or straining to get that last shit nugget free. Oh, and if I'm dry, pass me some TP. I'll even sign it.
My landlord is showing my house to applicants because we are moving. He just walked in, told them I was a movie star and was on CSI. Rattling off my credits while emphasizing the woodwork. Just after I wrote this.
I. Shit. You. Not.