UNDER THE BOLD TOP
By: Jess Canty
I will be paraphrasing here but I recently heard an interview with Josh Wakely, a creator who managed to get access to the entire Beatles catalogue for his project. The full podcast will be in the newsletter this week but something he said struck me...
That he has found that this town respects big ideas.
He also talked about how he took a bunch of meetings with people and pitched them on the idea of getting the Beatles music, and then was able to come back in 3 years later after having gotten the rights.
And those people were super surprised that he had done it - but were simultaneously excited to see that he had. Because he had a big idea and he executed on it.
I think the takeaway from this is that obviously you not only have to have big ideas but you have to be persistent.
I think as far as acting goes, the way the "Big Ideas" thing translates is that you need to go big or go home for every audition. You have to be bold. You have to be unique. You have to be as the kids say, extra.
And I am not talking about jumping up and down and yelling and screaming if the audition doesn't call for it. Sometimes silence is the bold choice. Sometimes stillness. Sometimes cutting out the punctuation and making the monologue your own. Sometimes playing the opposite of what the writer puts on the page for you in the stage direction.
But in general it is leaning into yourself. Bringing yourself to the role. Your perspective. Your emotional reactions. Your vulnerability. Your essence.
Alfonso Cuaron's latest film is something I haven't seen since I binged on Fellini movies after living in Italy. If you have the opportunity to see it in theaters before it comes on Netflix it is more than worth the trip (and a great way to prove to Netflix that they SHOULD release certain of their projects in theaters if you care about that sort of thing like I do).
I also recommend watching it for Yalitza Aparicio's performance is a perfect example of quiet boldness. Of a memorable performance whose "bigness" is defined by her willingness to be completely open to every emotion that Cuaron demands of her.
And for Cuaron himself I imagine that the making of this film is that perfect combination of boldness and perseverance. He started in his native Mexico and then after getting international notice he made some big studio movies.
He has garnered a level of respect and notoriety where he is able to make a feature film in black and white about his childhood (BOLD) and demand that Netflix release it in theaters prior to it coming on Netflix (BOLD) - which they have never done with one of their projects before. You get the feeling that he has been making this movie in his head for years (PERSISTENCE).
So it is about having BIG BOLD IDEAS and the patience and persistence to strike at the right time.
Back to Josh and his own Big Idea: getting the rights to the entire Beatles catalogue for a kids show. He now is working on a Motown Project AND a project based on Bob Dylan's catalogue.
Because the other thing that is true about this town is that you can't just do it once. It wants repeatable success. It wants more of what you got to give. So the other truth is that in order to have a career you have to continue to think big.
As an actor you will get to a place where you have to keep finding roles that push you to give those bold performances. You have to do The Crown and then take the risk of doing The Girl in the Spider's Web. You have to do The Light Between Oceans and then Lara Croft. You have to be known for being one of the best dramatic actors on the planet and then decide to do Analyze That and Meet the Fockers.
But it starts now. In that audition room. Or on that self-tape. Or reaching out to that friend who is a writer on a show that you've always wanted to be on. Or reaching out to a stranger with a crazy idea and pursuing it until they say yes.
This business is built on the "most" not the mediocre. The most creative. The biggest personalities. The prettiest, the handsomest, the most in shape, the tallest, the biggest, the shortest, the fattest, the most open, the scariest, the most menacing, the most vulnerable, the funniest, the silliest and on and on...
The reason why we want you to know who you are and what you do as an actor is so that you can then be the best at it. The most at it.
Of course this town runs on big ideas.
We are the circus. We are the big-top. So if you decide you want to perform trapeze and catch your sister by your feet instead of your hands go out there and do that. But of course in order to do that you have to be persistent. You have to fall a lot. You have to keep trying. Keep practicing. But never let go of that bold idea.