If there’s one thing we know about Hollywood it’s that pretty much everyone
ends up acting in movies at some point in their career. Most people spend
most of their time in front of the camera acting in movies, whether it’s
on-screen or behind the scenes, so it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll
end up working with most of the people you grew up watching on television or
in the movies. You know the guys in the band? Well, you might end up playing
guitar with them in an indie movie one day.
That’s what happened to me. A few years back, I played a guitar solo in a
Hollywood movie with some pretty famous musicians. I’d been wanting to play in
a band with them for years, so finally, this happened.
“It was just a really cool experience, hanging out with musicians and
getting to play music for a living,” Rob said. “That was pretty much the
highlight of my whole summer.”
But it was more than that. Before the solo, I’d never really thought
about being an actor. I always assumed that I’d end up in the ‘real world’
doing something practical like engineering or architecture. But now that I’d
seen the light, I knew there was more to life than that.
“There’s always something more practical you can do, but at the same time,
you can be more creative, too. You can’t say no to an audition if you want to
be an actor. You have to just go with it,” I said. “You never know where
you’ll end up and sometimes it’s not what you’d planned. At the end of the day,
you can always do something useful, but you can always have some fun, too.”
I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t all fun. I spent about a year taking
lessons, going to auditions, and waiting for the phone to ring. But then
another year passed and I got a couple of callbacks. Finally, Hollywood
decided to give me a shot and I thought ‘this is it, this is my big break’. I
was going to be an actor! I’d found my true calling! But it wasn’t quite that
simple. When they told me ‘we’d like you to read for the part of Bob’, I almost
dropped the phone. I couldn’t believe it! I was about to become Bob
The auditioning process was weird. After a couple of months of training, I
got a call that there was somebody coming in to see me. So, I went to
Hollywood to meet this person and we talked about the script for about an hour.
Then they told me I wasn’t right for the part and that they’d gotten someone
better. Suddenly, it was over. I hadn’t even made it to the second audition.
The only difference between my situation and most other people’s is that I
didn’t get to hang out with the ‘person’ I was supposed to meet. Hollywood is a
very small town, so after a while, everyone knows everyone’s business. This was
very odd for me, because when I got there, they didn’t tell me who I was
supposed to meet. So, basically, I just showed up at the house and waited. I
had a couple of drinks, read a book, and waited. And waited. Then a truck
dropped me off at the house of someone who was also reading for the part of
Bob. After we’d talked for a while, they said ‘no, he’s not right either’. I
stupidly asked ‘who should I talk to then?’ and they told me to come back
another day. I was getting really frustrated, because I’d been waiting a long
time and they weren’t even gonna let me read for the part. Finally, they came
to their senses and they called me back. This time, when I got there, I didn’t
even need to ask who I was supposed to meet. They just told me and I thought
‘okay, this reads like a bad dream. I’m finally going to be able to act.’
But it wasn’t over yet. Since they’d changed their mind about the part a
few times already, I had to come back a third time. When I got there, they told
me the same thing. However, they did say that they’d like to give me a call
if the part ever opened up, so I didn’t completely give up hope.
It’s funny, because eventually, that call came and it was for a small
speaking part. But it was also in the same movie. So, I went and did it and
even got to play the guitar again. Which is exactly what I’d wanted to do all
along. When the movie was released, it did pretty well, especially since it was
the first time most of the viewers had seen anything like it. But it wasn’t my
big break. I’d actually been in the break room, getting a snack when they’d
decided to go in another direction with the character. And I hadn’t even been
in the running for the part, in the first place.
On the flip side, some of the people I’d met were amazing. Even though I’d
only worked with them for a short while, I’d gotten to know some of the
musicians really well. They were all such talented people and it was an honor
to hang out with them. Especially since it was always such an interesting
experience. There’d always be something creative going on, whether it was
writing a scene or coming up with a new arrangement for a song. It was just
such a cool atmosphere to be in.
“It was really fun. But it’s also really weird, because you never know how
things are going to turn out. You have no idea who’s going to show up and when
they show up, you have no idea how you’re going to work with them,” I said.
“But it’s all worth it, in the end. It was just a blast being a part of
something so creative. Even though it was super stressful most of the time,
you can’t help but smile when you think about what you were able to do
Well, maybe not all good. It wasn’t like I’d won the lottery or became
completely independent. A big part of the reason the whole process was so
stressful was because I was always looking for ways to make extra money. While I
had been lucky enough to land some small roles, auditions were pretty much
routinely scheduled over the summer and were followed by very long
nights/days, which meant lots of lonely hours for me. It wasn’t like I got to
meet people or enjoy myself, at all.
“It was a lot of work, but at the same time, it was also a lot of fun. I
mean, not meeting anyone new or going on any interesting adventures wasn’t
nearly as fun as playing music. But, all in all, it was worth it. Just
remember that Hollywood is a pretty small town and it can be kind of
stressful, trying to fit in and make connections. Once you do, though, the
rewards are amazing,” I said. “It’s like you’re finally able to be yourself
and be part of something that you really care about. Something that makes you
feel like you’ve accomplished something. It’s not that you’ve suddenly found
yourself famous or rich or anything, but it’s close. You’ve found your niche and
you can just sort of settle in and be happy.”
Besides getting to play music for a living, I also got to try new things.
There were moments where I’d be acting and the director would decide that we
should change chords or play a different riff. So, I’d have to stop acting,
stop playing, and switch gears. It was a completely new experience. Even
though I’d been in bands before and had played guitar, it was different
working with a director and a screenwriter and getting to utilize all my
newfound skills. It was a real eye opener.