149: johnny

you go through slumps. it’s not easy. it looks easy, sure, because what you see is the end result. you see the glitz, the glamour, all that lovely stuff. sometimes e or tmz or whatever the popular gossip outlet is now will show you the more seedier stuff, but the public eats that up too. they love it. but what you don’t see is the grueling hours of rehearsal, the constant waiting, the disappointment when you study an audition side for days and then head into a casting office and you look in their eyes and know immediately that you’re not getting the part. see, film, tv, that acting is all here, in the eyes, in micro expressions, because the camera is right there. you see brad pitt’s face up close and it’s fifty feet tall on a screen. you can see everything, and when you study film acting, you start to pick up on those nuances. you also, i mean, mr. watson talked about this briefly in high school–stanford-meisner technique is, a lot of it is just sitting in front of your acting partner and describing them. like, their face, their facial expressions, and reacting to what you perceive as their mood. i was always good at it because i spent a lot of time analyzing dad’s face, since he was always so deadpan all the time. so, you know, if i told a joke and he liked it, i’d see his eyebrow raise up a little bit and that’s when i’d know.

point is, you go into those casting calls and you can see immediately when the casting director doesn’t want you for the part. their face falls, not in a big way, just … you can see the creases in the corners of their mouth turn so slightly downward. you see their eyes narrow. “i’m wasting my time,” you imagine them saying, but you say your lines anyway because that’s the dumb social contact acting has built up over the past few centuries. and this happens all. the. time. especially in los angeles. acting, performance, creation, it’s all built on the fiery embers of failure. actors are failure personified, little whiskey-filled phoenixes who have to crawl out of the ashes of their own demise. we’re retarded. we’re insane! we’re foolish. at least you knew or had this sense of your path in life, teddy. sure it wasn’t great but it was solid and you maintained it, you knew your place and you kept at it, you knew your faults up front and didn’t fight against them. i think that takes a lot of guts. i really do. i spent a lot of my life hiding behind this acting persona so that i wouldn’t have to deal with this soul-crushing sense of constant defeat. i kept climbing out of the ashes again and again and again. you’re just loving the ashes. i gotta respect that.

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