Friday, June 26, 2009

Hey there - You with the stars in your eyes...

I often wonder what reasons people have for getting involved with theatre in general, and Grinder Productions in particular. There must be countless stories behind everyone's reason why they choose to get involved in a play. While I think it's rude to pry and outright ask people what has drove them to leave behind the TV, the computer, the comforts of home and the people they love in order to come to rehearsal I have managed to pick up a few comments and some general trends over the years: Responses can include the "I just need to get out of the house" to "I need to get the kids up off the couch and out of the house" to other, more cerebral meanings.

For some people, I'm afraid, the only reason they are coming out is because they have bought into the fantasy of fame and fortune that has somehow become attached to life in the entertainment industry. These are the people we commonly refer to as the ones with the stars in their eyes, who see getting onstage as a stepping stone to Hollywood, or something else.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with Hollywood, and I even brag from time to time about the success some of our members go on to have in the industry.

The problem arises the moment someone who's trying to get into the industry buys into the publicity machine's version of the industry. The images of glitz, glamour and high-society living that grace TV shows, magazines and websites are all components of carefully-constructed advertising campaigns, created by some of the best staffed, best funded marketing departments in the world. Those campaigns are designed to get fans interested in a given product, and they are astonishingly effective at producing results.

But if you want to make a career in "show biz" you can't let yourself be deluded by a slick marketing campaign! The reality of life in the entertainment industry, no matter what part of it you finally wind up in, is much, much different from the inside than it is from the outside. It could be good, it could be bad - like everything else your eventual success or failure will only be what you make of it, but it is NOT what Entertainment Tonight makes it out to be.

I'm sorry if I've went on too much about this. I know I've gone on at length about it before, and I probably will again. It's just so frustrating watching so many people doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons. Believe me, the joy and fulfillment that comes from the craft of entertaining (be it acting, writing, directing, or so forth) far outstrips any passing adoration in anyone's response to it.

Here are a couple of articles I wrote on this subject at Helium, that may explain my position far better than I can at 7am on a Monday morning.

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