I just read your article entitled “Know Thyself (But Not TOO Well)” and wanted to share my thoughts on the subject, as it was something I struggled with coming to terms with myself. I had recent “a-ha” moment with this dilemma which has given me (relative) peace with the necessity of having to typecast ourselves in this industry. I believe it was your articles on type which have helped me to come to my “a-ha” moment, which is why I would like share this with you.
Here are my thoughts.
Lately, I’ve been feeling resistant to typecasting and marketing myself as a product in the entertainment industry. Trying to understand my resistance, I was reminded of my grad school days in which we were encouraged to step outside our comfort zones and were cast in roles that would stretch us artistically, but which we might not have been cast in a “real” world scenario. It was this challenge I came to love about acting — the process of constantly learning more about myself by stepping outside of my comfort zone and realizing the possibilities that lie within me.
It seemed to me that “type” was another word for “comfort zone,” and I didn’t want to stay encased in that cocoon. Sticking to my “type” seemed artificial and, quite honestly, boring. “What’s the fun of playing the same types of roles that I know I can do well over and over again?” I thought. I felt that by surrendering to my “type” I would become stagnate.
Furthermore, I felt that my “type” is constantly evolving, as I am an evolving, ever-changing person who thinks and feels differently about myself from day to day. How could I possibly be asked to type myself when I need to feel free to grow artistically?
Then it dawned on me: The business aspect of acting isn’t focused on my desire to grow or to be challenged as an artist, or has patience to help nurture me into a role I’m not the right type for but just might be with lots of coaching and training. So, finding your “type” is good from a business perspective, not an artistic one. Defining my type doesn’t mean I have to stop challenging myself as an artist, it’s just realizing the function of what defining my type means within the scope of my career. It’s a brief “shortcut” (as Bonnie Gillespie wrote in a previous article) for producers, casting directors, and agents to know where you will fit within a certain project. No more. No less.
Thanks as always for your contributions every week, Bonnie. Your thoughtful, honest articles help to foster true examination and honesty in my daily life as an actor. They are such a gift!
Thank YOU, Jennifer. I always love a “yes, and,” whenever I churn out a column, so I’m thrilled to know about your “a-ha moment” with regard to this industry’s incessant need to have actors define and market to their primary type category.
Absolutely, this industry is challenging even for those participants (non-actors) who don’t need to balance so completely the artistic side of things (building range, developing characters, exploring emotional depth) with the business side of things. So, for those who do need to access their emotional instrument and understand the industry’s need to know only whether you’re the right type for this one role right this instant, being able to really separate those “functions,” as you put it, is essential to making it in this town.
As always, I’m thrilled to hear from my readers. (And your kind words about how much you enjoy my column are greatly appreciated. I’m ecstatic that actors show up here every week, check out what I have to say, and also feel motivated to reach out and let me know how it’s going.) So, thanks. And keep up the great work!
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/000928.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.