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December 08, 2012

How To Act Like An Actor, By Nick Searcy

International Film and Television Star Nick Searcy from Justified now has his own WebZone, including "Acting School," in which he explains how you too could become an International Film and Television Star, or at least behave like one.

Part 1: The Importance of You, Your Relaxation, Your Nutrition, Your Needs, and Your Career.

Part 2: How to Avoid Your Family.

Incidentally: Showtime is currently (or was recently, at least) running a documentary called That Guy... Who Was In That Thing, consisting of interviews with character actors. Guys you totally, totally recognize from six thousand things (but you often can't say specifically what).

I thought it was extremely interesting and fun. Some things I didn't know: Nick Searcy talks about working 30-40 days per year in his Acting School clip. This is not much of an exaggeration. The average working actor actually does work about that much. He only works more when he lands a series or has a very productive spell as a guest star in tv shows and movies. They often work less.

One of the guys in this documentary, I think the guy who played "Bellick" in Prison Break, talked about how he tried to at least work just enough to qualify for unemployment insurance for the rest of the year. What's very surprising is that working actors, not the Major Motion Picture Stars but the rest of working actors, are actually... middle class, or even lower middle class. Most do not have expensive homes and often have cars 10 or 12 years old. They can't really spend a lot of money because their salaries are so extremely variable. They might make $15,000 for a five day shoot, but then might not work again for six or nine months. They really have absolutely no idea.

While the Major Motion Picture Stars often go on TV to talk about the "richest 1% profiting while the rest of the country loses ground," in fact that's exactly what they, the Major Motion Picture Stars, have done. The fee for the absolute top stars has gone up astronomically, but the fees for the other actors have plunged.

Whereas before, in say the 70s or 80s, you could get somewhat wealthy(ish) if you were a busy guest star actor, now they've cut the fees of everyone (except those at the tippy-top) so that even busy guest-star type actors you know are making about as much as, say, a teacher with 15 years on the job.

At least that's the sense I got -- unless these guys were bullshitting and pretending they had less money than they really did. But I don't think they were bullshitting. They had too many details. Paul Guilfoyle (the head detective on CSI) talked about how he would get the utility guys to skip reading his meter by telling them the meter was in the crawlspace under the house, and how there were "a lot of vermin down there." He noted that that word -- "vermin" -- was the most effective for deterring the utility guy.

It's just an interesting documentary.

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posted by Ace at 09:49 AM

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