Sunday, February 21, 2010

"You Oughta Be In Pictures"

I've worked with a lot of actors over the years....some extroardinary, some dreadful, and just about every level in between.  They were, at the time, all amateurs, most doing community theatre just for the love of acting.  And there were a few who had ambitions far beyond community theatre; they had dreams of being a professional, working actor, working on Broadway, or TV, or the best of all Hollywood!  To them the most magical phrase in all the world was "You oughta be in pictures!"

And for most of those professional wannabees that I knew, their ambitions remained dreams.  There have been few who were talented, committed, and lucky enough to have moved beyond their amateur days.  I know of three or four who have gone on to semi-pro, but none that have "made it" into the big time.  And then there are those who keep trying.

One such actor is also a friend, JZ.  I worked with JZ in two different shows.  She was just learning the craft back then, but she had potential as a character actor and even more importantly,  she loved it and wanted to make acting her life.  So she moved to Hollywood.

JZ was a large woman, not tall, you understand, just very, very....well....round.  As an actor, her size would be a detriment, but she chose not to attempt to turn herself into a thin, emaciated, starlet type just like hundreds of other wannabees.  She chose to be who she was and hope that her size would give her an edge for the odd or unusual roles that so frequently occur.  It is an interesting strategy and she hoped it would help her carve a niche all of her own.

I haven't seen her in a few years, but we are in touch via email and FB and she frequently sends photos of her current activities.  She has an agent and auditions for everything that she can....TV, ads, independent movies....anything she can get.  She's been cast in a some things, got some good reviews, but nothing major.  She hasn't yet had a "big break".  As we all know, a lot of Hollywood success stories only happen after a long period of no success.

JZ had sent out some photos and info a few months ago about a non-speaking role she got as the bearded lady in a circus for an episode of "Cold Case".  The photos were from the shoot and she looked great!! This is a first run network show (so I've been told....I don't watch TV).  Visibility in a show like this could lead to other things;  she was excited and her friends were all very pleased for her.  She never saw the final version of the episode, but was told it would be part of "Cold Case's" season.

She sent out a quick post this morning saying "Watch Cold Case tonight!"  So we did.  Realizing that for a non-speaking role her appearance might be very fast, so we watched closely.  As the final credits rolled, we had not seen her.  Her scene didn't make it to the final cut. 

This sort of thing happens all the time in film and TV.  A lot more film is shot that is actually needed and the director and film editor make the decision as to what is or isn't used.  Its a fact of life.  There aren't very many film actors that haven't experienced the disappointment of going through that.

Still, its a real shame.  We were so hopeful.  I wanted her to get her break, but this wasn't the show that will do it.  So often careers are made or broken by whether or not you manage to stay off the cutting room floor.  I haven't heard from her yet, but I'm pretty sure that JZ won't let it get her down, my guess is that she'll keep trying and giving her all for the career she wants.  Perseverence is essential in acting, somewhere out there is the role that will launch her into frequent, steady work in the industry!  You know??  'Cuz everybody tells her "you oughta be in pictures"!  And someday, she will!


  1. My mom used to be an extra in movies that were made in Tucson and more often than not her scene was cut. But it did give us an opportunity to meet a lot of stars - like Ricky Nelson when they filmed Rio Bravo. I was so totally in love with him back then and meeting him was awesome.

  2. Me too! I thought he was the cutest and best singer of all of them, more than Elvis, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, all those guys. I'm envious that you were able to meet him! I was so sad when he died!

  3. Persistence wins the race every time... I'm sure JZ will win with a better opportunity!


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