What MAKES Sammy Run? – ‘SO YOU WANT TO BE AN ACTOR OR FILMMAKER? DO THE BARE MINIMUM
(Caption: Award-Winning filmmaker and ForTalent Industry Insider, Sam Borowski (R) at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in April with talented actress and his next great success story, Samantha Tuffarelli.)
I once heard a homily from a Priest that I will never forget. Took place I believe on Ash Wednesday, which in Catholicism, signifies the beginning of Lent. The Priest was talking about doing “the bare minimum.” He was saying don’t worry so much about giving something up, going so far as to say, “God doesn’t care if you give up Broccoli.
“Just do the bare minimum of being a good person – being kind to one another – we have enough of a hard time as human beings just doing that. Do the bare minimum.”
I never forgot that. And, it’s funny, but that philosophy can be applied to the entertainment business, as well, to both filmmakers AND actors:
“Do the bare minimum.”
So, what does that mean? It means that I meet so many people who try to convince me this is what they want more than anything, yet they don’t back up their words. IE their words and actions don’t match up. Here are a few examples:
When a Director/Producer invites you to a premiere of his movie, or asks you to bring your significant other and friends to help support a film playing theatrically – and he has taken an interest in you – you go. You do.
When you are offered a role for a film shooting inCaliforniathat includes SAG pay and a free flight and hotel room – you take it.
When you get a callback – either for a Bradley Cooper movie or a William Cooper (a guy I went to HS with lol) movie – you go!
When you take an acting class – one that is taught by a real filmmaker, who makes his living Directing and Producing – you go to EVERY class. Not only the ones that fit into your social calendar. You give it your all – you sell out for the part. You don’t just do it to do.
When an A-list actor wants you to play a supporting role in their film, you accept the invitation, whether you are ready for that kind of role or not. You show how gutsy you are and you do it!
Now, I know what you are saying; that the above are all crazy scenarios. Well, guess what? The above are all real scenarios. The above all happened to people I know – or rather the people I know refused to do “the bare minimum,” in each of the above scenarios.
If you are not willing to invest money for a great acting class, to eventually get the right headshots and business cards, not willing to hone your craft, or even go to movies and watch brilliant acting, not willing to learn, what are you really doing in this business?
Apathy is one of the worst things I can spot in an actor … or another filmmaker. If you aren’t passionate enough to give your all, why would someone be passionate enough to give you a part … or fund your film?
If I had a dollar for every person I met who refused to do “the bare minimum,” I would be a rich man. And, guess what? It’s going in that direction.
The fact that every single week – every one – I am highlighting the same 4 or 5 names, shows you there aren’t many young thespians out there who are willing to do “the bare minimum.”
- Samantha Tuffarelli – what is it about her in addition to her amazing talent? Well, let’s see, she goes from audition to audition and is very diligent in attending my class. She even decided to stay Memorial Day Weekend in order to attend my class, rather than missing one. She goes to Lincoln Center to watch rare performances of Meryl Streep and other fine actors on stage, that you can view in their library. The girl is passionate about what she does. The second we prepare for scene work , her scenes are spread out on her desk, and she is concentrating.
- Anthony Pallino – Has yet to miss a class, and always sells out for the part, which includes sometimes dressing up as the character, other times adjusting his wardrobe and he even downed a cup of hot sauce once to get into character. Once he came on 2 hours of sleep, and somehow managed to have a good class, really pepping up after having some pizza and wings for lunch. LOL Seriously, folks, he is an actor. Anthony even wrote his own script, taking the better part of three years, and now it looks like it will be made. (Another column for another day).
Both of these students are “city dwellers” as I call them; running around NYC from the Bronx and Long Island, almost every day at a record pace. Going to auditions, viewing Indie films, checking out the Tribeca Film Festival one day, doing a showcase another. Auditioning for studio films, then working a low-budget indie the next. Tuffarelli has gotten quite a bit of TV work, as well as being featured in several music videos and commercials. An extremely talented dancer, as well as an actress, she uses her secondary skills to get as many gigs as she can. Pallino, meanwhile, comes on every class excursion he can, seeing Indie films, attending the Showbiz Expo (likely being one of the first people there) hanging out in watering holes that just happen to be notorious hangouts for casting directors. Both of them, coming to the class in New Jersey every month, and doing their best to impress me, knowing that each class is an audition.
And, yet, others quit the class after two years, throwing away a possible recommendation. Others don’t spend the money on correct headshots, don’t have an imdbpro account or imdb resume. (If you don’t know what these things are, I suggest you find out). And, yet others won’t even join ForTalent, foolishly ignoring the fact that in this business, you need every added advantage you can get. I mean, what have you got to lose? It’s free.
And some others burn bridges, actually challenge Directors and Producers, before they even have status as working actors. Complain about things on set like food, and bringing a general negative attitude to the rest of the positive and hard-working cast and crew, basically, failing to do just the bare minimum.
You want to make it in this business? I say now to you - Just do the bare minimum. Most young actors and filmmakers have enough of a hard time just doing that.
Do the bare minimum. Once you're able to do that much, then you can start to tell me that 'this is what you want more than anything.' Then, perhaps your words and your actions will match up. Then, perhaps, I will mention you alongside the Anthony Pallinos and Samantha Tuffarellis of the world.
Start off by doing the bare minimum.
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