"You don't know what it is to be an actress. If you're a writer--if you feel something you can write it. But I can't act unless they let me. I can't just walk up and down your room, being an actress!" --Terry Randall in Stage Door
I just watched Oprah's Master Class with Kevin Hart. I have always admired him and I think he is damn funny. He openly and candidly talks of his struggles to be taken seriously, combat massive defeat, to go beyond and work hard...and he repeatedly says that your fate in life is up to you.
I agree with this, but a comedian and an actor have very different journey's in the entertainment industry.
Comedians always have a place to perform. They have the comedy clubs, they always have stand up to go back to.
Just like that quote above says, "I can't act unless they let me". I can't act unless I am cast. Sure, I can act at home to no one but I don't have place that I can just go and get up and perform and get paid (or not) and act. I have a very small chance to create a following. Periodically I can sing at a club or restaurant, but to be able to stand and talk (not pay musicians to back you up) is such a gift. Unlike Kevin Hart, no one pays actors/singers/dancers to get on stage and just do pieces that they created? No one pays a unrecognizable actor to do monologues, or a singer or dancer to just get up and sing and dance routines they created? (Somewhere in the world, someone is getting to do that, but the norm is that it doesn't exist.) So the artist that I am can create all day, but it's not the same journey where you just work really hard and your fate is up to you. I hustle and create as much work that I can but it doesn't propel an actor as far as a comedian.
A comic is a unique type of performer in this industry. They ARE self generated. They have to be. They have to play the comedy clubs, and once they breakthrough in TV and Film then they get to call the shots. If you are a dancer, singer, actress like myself.....you don't have a club to go to and gain recognition in that same way. Even if you have starred on Broadway, you don't have the recognition. You go back to zero every time.
Does this make sense?
I also have the unique situation of having 2 young children (ages 5 and 2) so my momentum constantly gets challenged. I in NO WAY ever want to have my children believe that they have stopped me from living my dream. They have not. THEY ARE MY DREAM. It is possible to have many dreams at once. And how I wish my fate in he entertainment industry was up to me. That would be awesome.
What Kevin Hart did say that I totally identify with is that...Hollywood is fleeting and fake. The people aren't fake, but the opportunities and the stature is fake. It can be given to you and then immediately snatched away without explanation.
Which is why my friend (and now massive movie star) Chris Pine said to me, "Career's are fleeting and family is everything". He may not know how much that meant to me to hear at that time. He text me this when I was very low in my career. For someone who is very high and successful in his career to have that kind of perspective just goes to show you the kind of person Chris is. And that this community, the entertainment industry, can be true, close knit and authentic.
It is not the people that are fake, it is the opportunities that are fleeting.
Everyone knows there is an up and down, an ebb and flow, and you have to be ok with that. You have to be willing to ride that wave. I never thought that when I was young. I thought the harder you worked, the more focused you were, the more secure your career would be financially and otherwise.
But I have been at the top of my game and still had someone tell me I wasn't good enough. I wasn't talented enough. I wasn't pretty enough. I didn't do the exact right thing at the exact right time.
And what I learned, from Kevin Hart and my friend Chris Pine is, you need to be aware of what is real and what is fake. Work hard, be good at what you do, treat others how you want to be treated, don't take anyone's opinion as word, and never lose sight of your dreams.
These are confessions of my life as an actress working on Broadway, TV and Film for 20 years
Copyright 2017 M Patterson