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On The Rise: Industry Gems | Durrell Lyons

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

- Everyone in the industry will tell you that you have to prepare to take a lot of rejection, but nobody ever tells you why. I have a friend that worked in the casting office of a well known studio in the past, and he told me about a situation where they were casting for a specific role. There was a general agreement among all in the room of who had the best audition, but the highest ranking personnel denied the idea of casting this specific actor simply because, and I quote, "they didn't like the slope of the actors forehead on camera." Imagine paying thousands of dollars attending a university to study theater/film, getting an opportunity to audition for a role on a big budget project that will be televised for the world to see, nail the audition and everyone loves your performance, but you still get denied because 1 person in the room didn't like the look of your forehead on camera. That's brutal. I've also been booked on projects where I auditioned along side a female counterpart, and we simply looked good together on camera, even though we both thought we bombed the audition. In that sense somebody else got turned down, and I was the beneficiary. That's part of the business.

2) This is a business:

- I once watched an interview with Dave Chappelle, and I remember him saying, "When art and corporate interest meet, prepare to have your heart broken". As much as I love the craft of acting, this is still an "Industry", and producers need to do what has to be done to sell tickets. I know of projects where certain performers are casted simply based on their social media following, which ultimately results in free marketing. In my younger years it frustrated me, but when I started producing my own projects I began to understand more. I've seen amazing performers have no following, and I've seen mediocre performers bring a massive audience. It's just two different skill sets, and producers are going to do what they have to do in order to:  a) cut overhead cost

b) generate revenue

Opinions may fly in from every direction, but at days end, business is business.

3) If you're not looking to act full time, you're wasting time:

- I am not saying you can't have a full time job while pursuing your acting career. You will more than likely need to in the beginning. What I am emphasizing is the time and dedication that will be sucked out of you. I use to think me having a Master's in IT provided some sort of security. That I had the power to say yes or no to whatever project presented because I wouldn't be desperate for money. I was an engineer, I worked for a living. I later attended a workshop where I heard a producer say to all 40 - 50 of us in the room, "Nobody wants to cast a weekend actor. The actor that works on his/her craft once every Saturday morning". Then and there I learned being an actor is being a professional athlete. Not necessarily in the sense of playing a sport, but more so in the dedication. Every professional athlete I know of has been playing that sport of choice since they were kids, and did so almost everyday of their lives. That's not to say if you didn't start acting as  a kid it's to late to start as an adult, but it is to say an actor needs to find ways to improve in some shape form or fashion EVERYDAY. Be it working out in the gym to better your physical appearance, reading books on different techniques, reading plays, investing in setting up your home audition space, networking events, etc. It requires so much time and dedication, that if you're not planning to do this full time at some point in your life, you might as well not do it at all. I've been in classes and watched various performances. The difference between the dedicated actor and the weekend actor stands out, and once it is noticed, you become aware of what YOU may look like, and then you have to make a decision.

Shows You Can Find Durrell...

All Eyes On Me Doom Patrol Fatal Attraction Love Under New Management Murder Chose Me The Haves and the Haves Not Zoe Ever After

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