Advice From My Uncle Tom

Usually I'm not really that big on new years resolutions. The way I see it, why should I have to wait until the next fiscal year to make positive changes to my life. It's like what Thomas Jefferson said, "Never put off tomorrow what you can do today" and everyday I find myself trying more and more to apply this creed to my life. With that said, this year, I'm taking a completely different approach to my film career and I'm making it a point to being more proactive than reactive.

What do you mean, you may be wondering. Isn't that something you should have been doing anyway? Yes, however, as an actor, everything is a catch 22: it's hard to get an agent without a reel, you can't get a reel without being cast, and it's tougher to get cast without an agent/manager. So for someone like me with barely anything to make a decent reel and no representation, I'm pretty much swimming with sharks.

Of course, to improve your chances, there are only so many things you could do to be proactive. Among those things are taking classes, networking, attending workshops, doing shorts/indies, and pretty much doing any and everything you can to hone your craft and market yourself accordingly. But with all that said and done, at the end of the day, no matter how good or ready you are as an actor, your career is still ultimately in the hands of someone else to even get cast, which in turn puts in you a reactive position no matter how proactive you are.

So what do I mean about changing my approach? As much as I love performing, I love writing and directing. If any one of those three were to take off, I'd be completely satisfied and use it as a catapult and as foundation to gain success in the other two areas. Last year, I concentrated solely on the acting part and even though I had some pretty good experiences and resume builders, I was still left, as many actors are, in the state of, "Pick me! Please pick me!"

Which brings me to this year. I've decided to stop waiting to be cast, and instead take a page from the book of such writer/director/actors such as Adam Sandler and Kevin Smith and cast myself in my own projects. For the past three months, I've been in preproduction, preparing for a web series that I've been writing for the past couple years. It'll be a romantic comedy and it'll be based on my experiences in past relationships. Best way I could describe it is that it's like Sex and the City, but from the perspective of guys just getting ready to graduate college. I'm producing it, directing it, and I'll also be starring in it. The way I see it is, with technology these days, there is no excuse for aspiring filmmakers/actors to not make our own projects. Equipment these days are affordable and DSLR cameras are capable to produce some high quality footage. With the internet, it's never been easier to market and self distribute your product. As we stand, the script is ready, the equipment is just about set, the cast and crew is being finalized and the paperwork to make it SAG is pending. I'm currently scouting locations and working out the shooting schedule.

This series is only the beginning of me creating the foundation for many projects to come. This year will be about creating my opportunities, building my own reel, and shooting my own projects instead of sitting back hoping that someone will cast me. There are a number of film festivals that I have in mind to be a part of and so much more I have planned to accomplish by the time I'm 30. I've come so far and yet I have so far left to go. I know it will incredibly challenging and I'm looking forward to the journey just as much as I'm looking forward to the destination. I'm looking forward to creating doors where there aren't any.

I'll keep everyone updated in terms of the series and I'll probably be shooting a vlog and a number of behind the scene featurettes once I begin production.