Saturday, July 02, 2011

Feeling Somewhat Stuck

I think I'm a pretty confident guy overall, and I consider my self-esteem to be pretty good. Lately though, I've been feeling less-than-adequate as far as my acting skills are concerned. This is somewhat ironic because I've had a very good year career-wise, and I quite frequently have people who have seen me act tell me what a good performer they think I am. And yet, sometimes inside I kind of feel like a hack.

This is not really true. I don't think I'm a bad actor by any means. I think I'm a good actor and that I have very good timing. People tell me I'm really good, and companies keep hiring me, so I must be at least above average; but I don't feel I'm a terrific or unbelievable actor, which I what I aspire to be.

Sometimes I will see a brilliant, engaging, moving actor, and think to myself, "Oh, I'd love to be like that." And perhaps I am and just don't know it.

I do think I'm a good actor, a decent singer (though not phenomenal), and dancing...? ...well, I think everybody can agree that I'm an okay mover, but I don't think Broadway or Ballet West will be calling me any time soon based on my dance skills.

I also feel a little stale lately. I felt this way, too, just before I made the decision to go back to graduate school to re-tool and hone my acting skills (which was a great decision). I'm actually in a great show right now with a really talented group of people, and it's been a lot of fun. But on some level it feels like I'm sort of coasting through my part, which I can't stand. I don't think anybody but me feels that way. In fact, I would guess that my fellow cast members, director, and the audience probably feel I am doing an excellent job and working very hard. But I don't personally feel very challenged, and I'm not sure why.

The rehearsal process has actually been an intense one, and physically I've really had to work quite hard (I discovered at the beginning of the rehearsal process that I am more out-of-shape than I had realized), and yet I feel like I'm kind of relying on a familiar bag of tricks and my usual shtick rather than exploring new ways of doing things and challenging myself. Part of it comes from the fact that there isn't a lot of nuance in this show. The particular style, I feel, is very "in-your-face" and blatant, almost like we're spoon-feeding the audience every moment, which I feel is doing a bit of injustice to both us and our audience. But that is what the particular style of this particular show calls for, and I accept that.

And I am (I truly am) having a good time and having fun. Audiences seem to enjoy what we're all doing, and they seem to enjoy my personal performance. The writer of the show recently told me he loves what I am doing with one of the characters I play. A fellow actor said he really thinks I'm great at what I do and admires my performance and choices a lot. It's not like I'm not putting any thought or effort into what I'm doing. But I've always been overcritical of myself (although less so now than when I was younger, if you can believe it), and if my personal performance is not measuring up to what I think it ought to be, I get a little frustrated with myself.

I'm hoping to do a drama next (my current show is a comedy). Something really dark and depressing. lol. Something with some levels and nuance. I feel like I need that.

Maybe I just need a vacation. Jonah and I have been married for nearly three years, and we have been away from each other more than we have been together during that time. I really feel like maybe I even need to take a little acting break and be with him for a while. We miss each other a lot. My career is very important to me (always has been), and I'm not sure what I'd do to support myself if I'm not acting, but I'd like some quality time with Jonah, too.

I recently auditioned for The Tempest by William Shakespeare, and I'd enjoy doing it (and it would certainly be different from what I am currently doing), but I'm almost hoping not to get cast (because I'll have a hard time saying no if I am) just because I'd like to go home for a while.

An old college friend also invited Jonah and me to go to Gay Days at Disneyland, which sounds like a lot of fun. I haven't taken a real vacation in some time, nor have I seen this friend in a while. But if I got cast in The Tempest I wouldn't be able to go.

Anyway, I guess I'm just feeling a bit stale and bored (not with my job, but with my acting) even though I shouldn't be. I think I just need to recharge my batteries somehow.

But please know that I am very grateful for my job and career and for the opportunities it has afforded me and continues to bless me with. I certainly don't want to sound ungrateful. I just feel in a bit of a rut today, and perhaps tomorrow I will feel differently. I'm probably just in a mood.

Anyway, blah, blah, blah. Sorry to invite you to this silly pity-party. It's really not as bad as I've probably made it sound. :-)


Miguel said...

Nice to see you posting. I can't claim to know what an actor's life is like, but if you love it and manage to keep involved in projects you must be doing something good, no? When do I get to meet you? :-)

Gail D said...

Do you have a mentor in the theatre that you could discuss these things with? Someone you trust, with a lot of acting experience behind them--someone who also knows you and your work?