How to Not Work

Posted: November 17, 2010 in Actors

Howdy, movie pardners!

I wanted to talk to you today about how you can stretch one role in a movie into a lifetime of work.

Sure, you could do it the old fashioned way, by doing a great job and auditioning more and getting more roles in other movies, but that is so much effort! Why not do it the easy way?

All you have to do is get one semi-memorable role and then milk it for the rest of your life.

Science fiction is the most obvious way to do this. We all know about the kinds of nutjobs that go to Startrek conventions or dress up as Wookies. And by nutjobs, I mean the people who don’t understand the Next Generation was the best one. I will scream-fight you over that.

Farscape has its own convention. You haven’t heard of Farscape? It’s a sci fi series made in Australia that features puppets as characters.

You may notice from the wealth of knowledge that I have of all things nerdy, that I might be somewhat of a nerd myself. Or a connoisseur. I prefer connoisseur.

Actors go to these conventions, set up a little table, and charge people $15 for an autographed glossy. Actors who haven’t worked in decades, actors whose last role was “man in background,” squeeze a few more drops of blood out of some nostalgic fan.

So if you are an actor and you don’t want to work very hard, get on a science fiction television show. If you can’t manage that, get on a horror movie. Those horror fans have memories that you would not believe. Sci fi fans want to watch the same show over and over again, while horror fans like to remember every time they jumped in their seats.

The genres where this will not work: romance and comedy. There are more basic cable channels dedicated to showing low quality romance than there are for science fiction and horror combined, but good luck getting a part. You have to beat out all the washed up actors those producers prefer. Doing cheap romance is the death rattle of an actor’s career.

And romance fans have zero memory. Romance is just as escapist as science fiction or horror, but it is an escape that wants to go somewhere new (but familiar. Oh, so familiar) every time.

Fans of comedy memorize all the lines and repeat them ad infinitum. They don’t want to idolize their favorite stars, they want to be their favorite stars. Or at the very least, be friends with them.

So comedy and romance are out. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror are in. But you might be thinking there are only a few conventions for horror. How can I turn that into a full time job?

ComicCon now has panels for all kinds of movies and TV shows, even though it is supposed to be a comic book convention. DragonCon in Atlanta is supposed to be a  Dungeons and Dragons themed convention, but they bring in actors from the Stargate series. The only thing that these conventions have in common is that they give people a chance to dress up in costume. And they all have a place for has-beens to sell autographs.

So many actors have cobbled together a convention circuit they travel every year. It isn’t making anybody rich, but hey, at least they can pretend they are still famous.

  1. Ray of the hill-people says:

    What you don’t mention here is that making a decent science fiction, fantasy, or horror is pretty formulaic yet we still wind up with the Skylines outnumbering the District 9s 100-1.

    • That’s for a different post, entitled, “How can you manage to make a craptastic movie when you have all that money? Do you think movie goers are stupid? This isn’t that hard, you jackwagons,” or “Why I hate Michael Bay, and You Should, Too.”

  2. Ray of the hill-people says:

    Speaking of… Why do we find ourselves apologizing for movies that don’t suck to box office idiots? The Quiet Earth, The Moon, Sunshine, Solaris (Event Horizon even) none of these works owe any excuses to Independence Day. Stick that in your fat lady Roland Emmerich.

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