We all have dreams of making it. And we all are pretty sure we’ll be the one that will make it. But there’s a dark side to all dreams. The reality of it all and when pursuing your dreams, how far are you willing to take it and are you actually prepared to embrace your dream when it comes calling? Will you be able to handle it?
These are a few issues that come to the surface in My Big Break. A documentary on a few select aspiring actors pursuing those very dreams. This documentary shows the reality of the struggle and success.
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My Big Break is a rather insightful look at the private lives of struggling actors looking to pursue their dream of becoming actors within the industry of fame and fortune. It’s a sobering start as five guys move into a house together, preparing to dig in for the long haul with buoyed spirits.
Our primary cast of characters in this documentary include”
Greg Fawcett: Totally believes he will make it acting.
Chad Lindberg: His howmtown local talent, he moved to So Cal and studied acting at USC.
Brad Rowe: Told he should pursue acting because he looked like Brad Pitt.
Wes Bentley: The Julliard dropout. He dropped out to pursue his dreams of a Hollywood career.
We talk to a man who talks about how tough it is to get a part. Not getting a job could come down to arms being too fat or a nose too long. And then again, landing that one gig where you connect with an audience or meeting people who want to work with you is the one moment many actors look for. That “big break!”
Brad got a break when a movie he was in went to the Sundance Film Festival and suddenly he was in his five minutes of fame that sparked his career beyond those five minutes. He was good looking enough that name-brand clothiers would give him things to wear for free if he was willing to wear them in public.
Chad lands a gig that also takes him beyond the confines of the shared home. He and Brad start getting scripts and stuff at the house for roles to pick from.
On one trip to a screening, Brad wears a camera around his neck to show the experience of walking a red carpet. He walks through a photo-call* op, and we hear the desperate paparazzi constantly calling out to him to look their way, put the glasses on, take the glasses off. Or my favorite, “Hey Brad, it’s me.”
*A photo-call is when an actor shows up at a per-determined time and spot that the press is allowed to hang out at and take pictures of the personalities.
We watched Wes get his big break landing a role on the movie, American Beauty. And from that incredible stroke of luck/timing, Wes’s road to his career became more of a highway with exits of choice.
Through it all while the other guys get going, we watch Greg struggle or as one producer interviewed said, he seemed to self-destruct at the wrong times.
Then there’s what I call the time. The time after they’ve hit it big, they start to see the real struggles within their careers and themselves.
It’s surprising, but even within the glitter of fame, the internal goals or strife or personal principals begin to clash. Like considering plastic surgery to look better so one will be considered to be cast in leading roles. Or that one of them wasn’t making enough money, as far as their casting agency was concerned.
There’s looks, age, money… an entire equation or set of factors that underline an acting career. It’s not just about delivering incredible characters. It’s many factors you don’t even think about that helps contribute to the process.
After watching My Big Break, I took a look at their IMDb resumes.
Wes Bentley has 6 films in different states of production. He’s been in 25 movies, and his last three movies included The Hunger Games as Seneca Crane; Gone as Peter Hood; Underworld: Awakening as an Antigen Scientist (uncredited).
Chad Lindberg has two films in production and has also had roles in 26 movies and 18 TV series, including NCIS, Criminal Minds and played Ash in Supernatural.
Brad Rowe has a similar IMDb portfolio, plus his good looks help with some modeling. He’s been in National Treasure: Book of Secrets and TV shows like General Hospital.
Gregory Fawcett has 2 movies in production and has had roles in 17 movies and 11 TV shows.
Yes, there was the fifth man in the house, the man behind this movie, Tony Zierra. His challenge to get this movie out was a monumental, uphill battle. His documentaries skirt around the daring truth of certain industry mindsets. He touches on his own challenges making this and other films.
Then there’s the personal hurdle or challenge when an actor is treated like gold for one movie or two. Then suddenly, between gigs, nothing is happening and they find themselves having to dig deep for the humility to handle it when all they’re doing is charity work. Or as it was said at one pint,
It’s humbling to give an autograph while bagging someone’s groceries.
There’s a great Kevin Spacey soundbite that says it best: It’s better to have a career with a slow burn than when some of the younger folks careers launch like a rocket.
In Hollywood, everyone is given their chance. But when their moment comes, they’re not always ready for it. And those moments can be very subtle or not. Some of the most incredible gems of insight all come from the Casting Director Michael Testa. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for his imparted bits of wisdom.
If you buy this movie, I’d suggest skipping all the moments of success and take the golden nuggets of info from the in-between interviews. Or take note when one of our aspiring actors hits it big, struggles and finds himself battling a drug problem.
We all focus on the good points that every one achieves, but you really need to study and look for how to get to those moments. There’s point A and point B. But it is that line between the points that is so very important. And this is literally the film that you need to read between the lines in.
And from some of the emails I’ve received about getting into acting, I think My Big Break is a great documentary to check out.
Another reference for you is my piece where I interviewed a few folks in the industry, asking their advice for new, aspiring actors. (Tips & Advice on Getting Into Acting)
On Amazon: My Big Break