In Backstage, the actor trade paper, next to the audition notices, there’s always an ad for egg donors. This isn’t very encouraging. It disparages the hope suggested by the listing of potential roles. It implies that harvesting a part of your body is part of being an actor. I don’t need the implications of this ad from the acting trade paper. I read Backstage to feel empowered and proud of my chosen career. At my internship, I pull out Backstage to subtly hint at my future dreams. If I read Backstage enough at work, they’ll see me in a whole new light and cast me in their next movie. At the moment, they don’t know that I’m actor.
No one wants to hire an actor, so I’ve kept mum. How do I get them to respect me and think of me as an actor? I barely respect actors. We are desperate creatures, struggling for recognition. They could promptly fire me because it would be assumed that I couldn’t be trusted. I’d be scheming to get a role, and in some ways they’d be right. I’ve contemplated adding my name to the list of actors they’re thinking of calling in for an audition. I’ve never done it because these lists always have the actor’s name and then their previous credits. What am I supposed to put, UC Santa Cruz Mainstage production? If I was really clever, I would trick them into thinking putting me in a movie was their idea.
There are actors who are way ahead of me in terms of mastering the psychological game of getting their name recognized. Anthony Figueroa adopted a highway, so that his name would be on one of those “Highway Adopted By” signs. His placard’s on a wall right around the Santa Monica exit on the 101 N. The sign reads, “Anthony Figueroa, Actor.” It’s brilliant when you think about it. Everyone gets stuck in traffic. There’s no telling who’s looking at his name every day. The next thing you know, his headshot comes across an important someone’s desk, and they go, “Where have I heard that name? It sounds so familiar.”
I looked Mr. Figueroa up online. His strategy doesn’t seem to be working. His last role was as an uncredited “Inmate.” At least he has a strategy. At least he knows that he’s doing something to further his acting career, while supporting California highways. I’m not even really comfortable with identifying as an actor, probably because actors adopt highways in order to promote themselves.