Let me introduce myself, I’m Sam and I’m an actress. THE Actress of my family. Please enjoy my midwestern Christmas photo circa 2004…can you guess which one was destined for LA?[/caption]
I don’t mean that in a bragging way (trust me). I mean that, just like in a lot of families, I am the only career-actor. Kinda like how some families have one tax account or one doctor. But with these titles, come great responsibilities.
However, there’s a good chance you don’t really know what your next of kin actor does in their day to day life…totally understandable as it changes A LOT! And your families’ actor probably lives in a big city farther away, like LA, NYC, ATL, or Chicago. This often adds to the mystery and allure of their job.
So let me give you a small fact sheet of things you may have never know about, a few things that may come up in conversation!
- There is a GOOD chance your actor has lots of jobs outside of acting. This is totally normal. And it also has no baring on their status in Hollywood as most non-famous actors are in a similar situation: we are great at what we do but a lot of the “getting parts” part of the job is wildly out of our control. Great actors can go months without an acting job. Seriously! Which leads me to…
- Please try very hard not to ask WHY your actor hasn’t done anything you’ve seen. Trust me, we’re trying. The amount of work it takes to get an audition for any main-stream TV show or in-theaters movie is epic and most of us only get those auditions every so often. If you take a moment and think of how you pick out movies to go to or tv shows to DVR, you probably pick “Sandra Bullock’s new movie” or “Kaley Cuoco’s show,” which is totally fine (we all do it!) but audiences like actors they know already, therefore it makes the process of a “big break” about 10-15 years long. So have patience with us 😉 Maybe instead ask what classes or workshops we’re involved in! That is a compassionate and kindly curious question about the work that is under our control. And while we’re at it…
- Also avoid suggesting shows the family actor should “try to be on” etc. Yes, we too would love to be on the next season of Stranger Things, but that is considered an ensemble cast (meaning it follows a bunch of lead characters and doesn’t leave a lot of room for small parts) and the chances of getting seen for these parts is small. If you can think of it, there is a good chance we’d like to be on it. But the comment can often feel like a suggestion that we’re not trying hard enough, even when meant with best intentions!
- I’ve given you a lot of no no’s so let me give you some good topics: like I said above, the classes we’re in, what we do for our day jobs (some of us really like our money side-hustles!), our pets, our projects (lots of creatives have a lot going on, I for example have this blog and podcast, maybe your family actor has a YouTube channel or is writing a script!), our city family (I have close friends in LA I consider my LA Family and I love talking about them), etc. If we want to talk about acting jobs we most definitely will, I promise you that!
- And finally, just because your family actor is a performer by trade, it does not mean they necessarily want to be preforming in their off-time. There are a ton of outgoing actors who don’t follow this to a T, but in an ideal world you’d never ask your marketing exec uncle to pitch you a new product over the mashed potatoes, so please don’t ask the family actor to perform an audition piece, monologue, dialect, cry on cue, etc. for your enjoyment. We love you….and we love mashed potatoes and who wants tears mixed in with that? Not I.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. You are so lucky to have a relation courageous enough to be pursuing their dreams, and I know they thank you for being a part of their support system. Cheers!
For a more specific ((and sarcastic)) version of things to stop saying to actors, feel freer to check this out too 😉