By Omoye Uzamere
Three of us sat together at lunch, actors from seemingly different generations. The oldest asked the most popular, “What are your Turkeys?”
“What are turkeys?”
“Those jobs that you’ve done, but you aren’t proud of and wish you could strike off your CV”
“Oh, everything I’ve done before 2016, except for A and B”.
Eyes pop out in surprise.
I realized then that people actually know it when they do crappy work. It’s the mirror effect. (If I can see you in the mirror, you can see me [but one wants to acknowledge the other]).
Turkeys exist for a reason though.
You see, actors have to take work where we find it… It’s our passion, but it is also a job. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, other dreams to finance and holes in many buckets.
The wheel goes round and round; you are either on it or not. We may want to pick and choose the work we do, but life doesn’t always work that way, or at least not at the beginning, or not for everyone. #RealityBites.
Sometimes you do work that you enjoy, a project that inspires you and does a lot for your career, self worth, sense of fulfillment, etc.
“Other times, you just take the cheque and move along swiftly.”
Other times, you just take the cheque and move along swiftly. Forget the numerous social media posts about your #ActorsLife #SetLife #NewRole #MeetNkechi the blind orange seller who falls in love with a prince… The sooner you finish the job, the sooner you can begin the process of forgetting the turkey. Or, post the heck out of it! Who even knows how bad it is? How many actors are working right now, in this economy? Mehn, sell that sh*t like its going out of fashion.
I have considered turning down offers for sentimental reasons, but luckily, I have a mentor who warned me not to try it. “You are not at that level yet. Do the work now, so you can choose later”… words I will never forget; words that were good for me.
The advantage of taking any work that comes along is that you have more opportunities to practice in real time. The more you do, the better you get. It is a scientific formula. Not to mention the fact that you can actually take care of yourself. It may not all be nice and exciting, but there is dignity in labour, my friend.
“You are not at that level yet. Do the work now, so you can choose later”
The more work you do, the more screen time. Fortunately (or unfortunately), our audience has the memory of a toad. Nobody will remember just how horrible your film was two years ago (still is, actually), but you did it. As my people will say, “Your face is out there”.
Eventually, when your followership grows from doing tons of crap work, the first good one comes along. If you do well – and you ought to from all that practice – more good work will follow and gradually, you find yourself in a position where you can afford to pick and choose the quality of work you do.
Alternatively, if you are like some people I know, you get involved in creating good work and you become more than just a contractor for hire. You can be the one creating opportunities for yourself and many others. You might actually make a difference once you figure out how to beat the system. Yeah, there’s no getting around the system. The wheel goes round and round; you are either on it or not.
Every journey has a route, right?
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