When I worked in Hollywood, I met an actor who could, literally, play any part. He also had the “looks” to be a star. He spent his time as a character actor in supporting parts. He did get offers to go higher, but always refused the opportunity.
Why? He played his own game. As a character actor (and voice actor), he had more opportunities to explore his talents and sharpen his craft. Being a star, he felt, would close those doors.
When it came to becoming a character, few could touch him. I watched him develop a character for a cartoon project and was amazed at how quickly he got connected with the voice and personality of the character. His transformation was almost instantaneous.
Being a character actor was a game he could play and play very well. Being a “star” meant dealing with a completely different level of Hollywood politics and expectations.
We all do this. Sometimes we adopt a personality to go along with the expectations of others. In private we are completely different. Its rare to create a business where who we are is expressed, almost without restriction, through what we do to make a living.
It’s a matter of finding our personal comfort zone and finding a way to stay within its protective bubble.
There was a local Seattle DJ who discovered that he could make a lot more money voicing commercials. He could often sight read the copy and do two or three versions in less that fifteen minutes. His fees and royalties provided a very comfortable living and on a healthier, more comfortable schedule.
What is your game? How well do you play it?
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