Advice and Tips for Actors Helpful thoughts on acting from someone who wasn't the least successful actor of all time.

July 31, 2007

Are You a Bad Actor?

Everyone actor wants to know if they’re any good. And unless you’ve got an Oscar on your shelf there’s never any conclusive proof you’re a good actor. Over the years I’ve figured out a few flags that indicate if you’re a bad actor and really should be looking for another job.

  • No-Repeat Customers – Sometimes you get lucky and book a part. You might be right for something once. But if the people who audition/work with you figure out you stink they’re not likely to bring you in again. If one job never seems to lead to another, you might want to think about why.
  • No Redirection – Sometimes you’re just not right for a part. So you go in, audition, get the old “thank you” and are shown the door. But if this is happening to you time after time, maybe the auditioners just don’t see much of a reason to re-direct you. Because no matter how much work they put in, you’ll never be able to pull the part off.
  • Career Going Nowhere – This one often happens because of bad business sense. If you never learn how to promote your own work and never learn how to market yourself you’ll probably never go anywhere with your career. This is just as bad for your career as being a bad actor but at least you can learn to promote yourself well. Acting can’t really be learned (don’t worry, there will be future posts on self-promotion as well as my whole “acting can’t be learned” thing). But if you’re been promoting yourself and find that you just can’t get that SAG card, can’t get that first commercial and can’t attract any sort of representation, maybe it’s because you’re just not that good. Unfortunately there’s no good time frame to give yourself to accomplish these goals. Some people take years to get their SAG card, but go on to have real careers. But you have to give your career an honest look and see if it’s moved forward in the last year. If it hasn’t at least moved towards these goals, maybe it’s not just bad luck.
  • “You were in a play!” – Yes, that’s a line from Friends. It’s what the crew tells Joey after his play (which was awful). If you never seem to be in a quality project, maybe it’s because the only people who think you’re good have no idea what they’re doing. Everyone’s allowed to do some bad projects. But if that’s all you seem to do, it might be because the people who do good work know better.

You’ll notice almost everything on this list is subjective. What constitutes a “bad play” or “no progress?” It’s going to be truly impossible to know if you’re any good. Sometimes people work for years before these symptoms start to rear their heads. And it’s tough to walk away from a career, especially if it’s something you feel you “need to do.” But it’s easier to leave now than 10 years from now when you’ve still made no progress/money at it. So it may be worth a thought.

There’s no shame in not being good enough to be a professional actor. I feel only a minor twinge that I’m not athletic enough to be a professional baseball player. I have no bad feelings about not being musical enough to be a rock star. There’s a long list of cool jobs that I’ll never have. But this isn’t a problem, because I’m doing something I know I’m good at which is ultimately more satisfying.

February 22, 2007

Saturn Aura Commercial, Cool Director

Filed under: bookings,commercial — Biographer @ 10:21 pm

Fine, Eitan finally did it. He finally impressed his biographer just a little bit. A very little bit. Eitan has just shot another commercial. This time for Saturn cars. Eitan’s done commercials before, why should his biographer be impressed this time? Because this commercial was directed by Jake Scott. Who’s that you ask? Maybe you’ve heard of his father Ridley or his uncle Tony. Word on the street is that Jake’s supposed to start blowing up soon, just like Eitan. Ha! Just kidding. Eitan sucks.

Look for Eitan in front of the giant 25 foot tall inflatable gorilla overcompensating for not being a Saturn dealer. He waves good morning to the Saturn dealer as he drives by on the way to work. Think about how amazing actor Eitan must be to pretend to overcompensate. He’d never overcompensate for a shortcoming. Eitan, for example, would never have a 30 page long biography that he writes in third person to make himself seem more important than he really is. Never.

December 15, 2006

Cingular Commercial, Vegas is Here

Filed under: bookings,commercial — Biographer @ 10:19 pm

Oh boy, actual news.  Eitan has beat the odds once again and for about 8 hours on a Thursday was employed!  This time Eitan shot a national Cingular commercial.  In it Eitan plays a young man using his computer in a coffee shop.  Close your eyes very tight and try to imagine Eitan using a computer, it’s hard.  Look for him when the camera flies over the shoulder of a newscaster and into the cafe.   The name of the commercial is “Seamless.”  It’s quite high tech.

During shooting a robotic camera moved in from the street into the cafe at a good clip.  Take after take it flew at Eitan’s head.  The biographer regrets to inform the readers of this website that it missed his head every single time.  It did almost shatter a glass door and lacerate Eitan’s face a couple times, but almost doesn’t count.

If you haven’t noticed by now Eitan’s Las Vegas commercial hasn’t aired.  It is available to view on this website but apparently that’s it.  Eitan cried like a girl when he realized his spot wouldn’t be running.  Like a little girl.  Unless you hear otherwise assume it’s been shelved and won’t be coming to your TV.  It happens to the best actors (and apparently to Eitan too).

June 29, 2006

Alive and Well

Filed under: bookings,film — Biographer @ 10:18 pm

Eitan has just wrapped shooting the short film “Alive and Well” with Neil Flynn (he’s the Janitor on Scrubs and was also in Mean Girls, stuff Eitan would never be caught dead doing).  Eitan played a nerdy know-it-all badminton player named Steve.  It’s very difficult to imagine Eitan as a nerdy know-it-all, but somehow he managed to pull the part off admirably.  The film takes place when a badminton team’s charter jet crashes into a California field.  The crazed pilot wants to immediately start eating people to survive.  Then the nerdy Steve saves the day.  Or so Eitan would have us believe. 

Eitan spent two days in a smoke filled airplane set in North Hollywood shooting this film.  And no, he did not get any frequent flier miles for the shoot.

January 11, 2006

What Happens in Vegas Commercial, Eitan is Famous

Filed under: bookings,commercial — Biographer @ 10:15 pm

“What happens in Eitan stays in Eitan.”  Catchy?  No it’s not.  It works much better for Las Vegas.  Eitan is not known for his debauchery, crazy parties and all night drink-fests (yet).  That being said, Eitan has just shot one of those nifty commercials.  Yes, Eitan actually was flown out to Vegas (on the glory of Southwest Airlines) for two nights at the exotic Hilton (no, not the one with the casino and the Star Trek experience although Eitan certainly is nerdy enough to get excited about something like that).

Eitan will be seen at a psychic getting a reading against his will.  He will use whatever mental powers he can muster to block her out of his head so that she may not see the fun he will have in Vegas and tell his girlfriend.  The tag line, “What happens here, stays here.”  But anyone who’s ever watched TV in the past few years already knew that. 

When will this commercial air?  When will Eitan be known as “That guy from the thing, with that girl in it!  Look Martha, take his photo.  Quick, before he gets away!”?  No one knows.  Probably soon, possibly later.  How’s that for helpful information?

June 26, 2005

Ray Charles loves Eitan, Ankling the Agent and a New Class

Filed under: agents/managers,bookings,classes,TV — Biographer @ 10:13 pm

Live, from the brand new Eitantheactor.com offices in glorious West LA… here’s Eitan! *sarcastic slow clapping*. Yes, after months of silence Eitan has finally contacted his biographer with an update of his life. Exciting? Not especially.

All of Eitantheactor.com’s Japanese readers are in for a treat. Eitan has acted as the narrator for two episodes of the show “Memoirs.” He can be heard on the Willie Nelson and Ray Charles episodes. It’s seriously an hour and a half of Eitan talking, so this is only for the most extreme Eitantheactor.com fans.

“I’m not representing Eitan anymore, I quit!” This may or may not have been the parting words of Barbara Divisek as she left Conan Carroll and Associates (probably not actually). But either way, Eitan is no longer repped by her commercially. Eitan is fielding various offers from other offices (or trying to get offers from other offices) before he makes any decisions.

Eitan thinks he’s funny. So he’s taking the third class at the Groundlings (writing lab). On July 17th some poor fools will have to watch Eitan and his classmates perform a sketch show of their own writing directed by Roy Jenkins. If by some accident Eitan is funny, please laugh. It’s good for his self esteem.

October 19, 2004

Commercial Braggart, Two Plays and Another Eitan Switch

Filed under: agents/managers,bookings,commercial,theater — Biographer @ 10:05 pm

The world has been enraptured by Eitan’s mug somewhere far in the background of the Hertz commercial for months now (yet still considered a principal actor since technically he’s recognizable (like anyone could mistake Eitan for anyone else (one more set of parentheses can’t hurt))). His sister was heard to comment, “A monkey could have done that job.” Still, Eitan refuses to give up his residual checks and excuse to brag to everyone he knows that he’s, “Currently in a national commercial.” This works especially well at bars.

Currently and for a very limited time Eitan is appearing in a showcase of two original one acts (at the posting of this bio entry there are only two shows left, go to www.sassyhour.com for info) at the Odyssey Theater. The first is an insane murder mystery which makes so little sense it’s automatically hilarious. Exactly Eitan’s cup of tea. Eitan plays a member of the audience (a beer loving frat boy, to be exact) who’s called up on stage by the stand up comic introducing the show. The comic flips out and attacks Eitan who cries out like a little girl. The comic is murdered and everyone is a suspect. Somehow a cracker is also witness to this crime. Really, it’s insane. Since it involves the audience thinking the comedian is actually attacking Eitan the director would hate for you to have read that before the show, but the biographer cares not. Actually the biographer assumes no one’s going to read this far into the bio before they’ve seen the show. If the biographer’s wrong, he’s ready to duel with Matt to settle the score.

Then there are a few variety acts in the show. Since you’re here to read about Eitan, here’s what he does: In lieu of intermission Eitan leads the audience in chair aerobics but he does it as a psychotic type gym instructor. There are other variety acts but the biographer doesn’t go in for free advertising. If the other actors want to talk about their variety acts, let them do it on their own websites (or they could write the biographer a hefty check for a mention in this biography).

The second one-act was directed by Lesley Robin (see The Open Road at UCSB above to learn who she is). Lesley had talked to Eitan about possibly being in another one of her shows and he, of course, said he’d do it. In this play Eitan is a rather traditional father of two children and husband to a wife (go figure). With his children going off to college his wife is unhappy in her overly restrictive and boring role of “stay at home mom.” When Eitan’s character starts giving in to his wife’s wishes he sees his world cave in around him. It’s a meaningful discourse on traditional family values. Oh, and Eitan tap dances, that should have been mentioned earlier. Don’t worry, it’s a comedy. Eitan still delivers the funny as he’s totally insane (on and off stage).

On the way out of his house for the opening night of his showcase Eitan learned that Stella Archer had left Conan Carroll and Associates. Barbara Divisek has come in to take over the department. So at this moment Eitan has a new agent. Luckily, Pamela Newlands www.pamelanewlands.com (who gets a shout out, and a plug for the following reason) gave Eitan a heads up so he wasn’t too shocked. Juiciy details won’t be posted here, but there will no doubt be another posting upon Eitan’s meeting with Barbara. That is all for now.

March 7, 2004

Bad Sketch Comedy, Bad Short Films (to be done soon) and Bad Commercial News

Filed under: bookings,commercial,film,theater — Biographer @ 10:07 pm

After shaving off all his hair and getting several facial tattoos/piercing Eitan had new headshots taken.  Ok, that’s a blatant lie.  It’s not the biographer’s fault Eitan is boring.  After discussing it with his “people” Eitan decided to get new photos.  So off he headed to Arizona to be photographed by Ed Sohn (glossing over SEVERAL details there).  Now the photos are online and will soon be in general circulation around the Los Angeles area (most likely they’ll be seen on the walls of the United States Post Office). 

Eitan’s last show went so well he decided to do another.  When his friend Amy Harber announced she was putting together a sketch comedy show at the Next Stage Theater up in Hollywood Eitan jumped at the opportunity to have his ego stroked further.  Eitan not only performed in several sketches but also got to premier two original works, “Meet the Parents” (original title, but Eitan’s unlikely to get sued) and “The Lord’s Deli.”  Both got a tremendous response from people (including but not limited to Eitan’s mother).  At the writing of this bio there is but one show left.

Speaking of hack writers… Sorry, the biographer meant to write, “Speaking of Eitan writing.”  Ok, take two.  Speaking of Eitan writing, he’s also in the process of putting together a short film called “Through the Front Door.”  It was written by Eitan, will be directed by Eitan and it will be starring Eitan.  Eitan loves Eitan. 

In sadder news (if that’s possible considering who’s site you’re reading) Eitan’s Hertz commercial is no more.  It’s been pulled from the airwaves after millions of complaints about “that cretin on the phone behind the talking guy.”  That’s not true.  But it was pulled.  Poor poor Eitan. 

February 27, 2004

It Hertz to be Eitan

Filed under: bookings,commercial — Biographer @ 10:04 pm

Eitan has learned a valuable lesson in the past few weeks.  Just a week after shooting the Barclays commercial Eitan has another audition, this time for a national Hertz commercial.  The audition:  Eitan is a customer who rented from a crappy car company and instead of providing an on-board navigation system, they provide a Sherpa.  Eitan manages to get called back and does the same thing at the callback.  A few days later Eitan gets a call from his agent telling him he is booked on that commercial.  So naturally Eitan goes around telling everyone to look for him in the car with the Sherpa.  A few days later Eitan shows up at the fitting and he’s being fit for a different commercial.  Now it seems Eitan is a customer waiting in line at another crappy car company that hands out stress balls to it’s customers rather than providing adequate customer service.  So for the next two days Eitan corrects himself, telling everyone he’s going to be a customer in line instead.  Eitan is fit in his “customer outfit” and shows up on set a few days later.  He is blocked in as a customer when someone notices the background guy they have working behind the desk will have to be upgraded if he stays there, so now Eitan is an employee at the crappy car rental place talking on the phone and pretty much ignoring a huge line of people in front of him.  He’ll be towards the back while the main guy is talking about his car company.  So again, Eitan was wrong.  The lesson learned:  Eitan shouldn’t be allowed to talk to people.

February 9, 2004

Eitan’s First Commercial, Barclays Bank

Filed under: bookings,commercial — Biographer @ 10:02 pm

Eitan has sold out.  Apparently little things like “money ,”a “SAG card” and his “career” are more important to Eitan than being an artiste!  Acting is supposed to be a pure endeavor, untainted by the commercialism of the world.  But Eitan seems not to care.  He gladly accepted and filmed a part in a commercial strutting his stuff on the small screen to promote Barclays Bank.  It should start running on business cable channels (MSNBC, CNBC and those other stations that Eitan doesn’t get) beginning around March 10th.  Eitan will be seen playing the part of a Wall Street suit. 

Here’s how it all goes down:  We see some financial people hard at work.  They’re all plugging away at whatever it is they do when closing credits start coming down the screen.  Yes, like at the end of a movie.  They all take note of this weird occurrence.  We then see other areas around the the New York financial community where people stop to watch these credits rolling.  Finally over the city we see the words “THE END.”  We see two business men on the street looking at these words as they disappear.  One of these men (using the term quite loosely, obviously) is Eitan.  Then either Eitan or Tracy (the other guy on the street) give some reaction to the incident.  No one has any idea which reaction they’ll use as they filmed about 20 different ones, everyone will just have to wait and see. 

The biographer has been asked to note that he also has “sold out” to write Eitan’s biography.  In light of this development, the biographer would like to offer kudos and his congratulations to Eitan on his part in this commercial.  Go Eitan!

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