Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Richard Dreyfuss Story

In class on Thursday night, my teacher relayed the (well-known, I guess) story about Richard Dreyfuss and his headshot. Or lack thereof. Apparently, young Mr. Dreyfuss didn't want to get caught up in all the 'busywork' business new actors are usually told is absolutely required: "get good (i.e. expensive) headshots," "market yourself," etc. etc.

So, after getting out of school, on his first audition, the producers said, "Okay, where's your headshot." Apparently, Dreyfuss told them something along the lines of, "I'm an actor. And I'm right here...So let's do this." As in, Why do you need a picture of me if you have me right in front of you. My picture can't act, but I can. Here I am, and this is what I can do. And he was good. And he got the job. And he's never had a headshot.

Now, times have changed, and who knows how much of that story is fact and how much is legend. But, it did make me think about how easy it is to get caught up in the minutiae of the business: getting new pictures, submissions, postcards, making contacts, more pictures, 'special skills,' writing letters, paying for workshops, etc., etc. How easy it is to get preoccupied with that stuff and to forget about the craft. And the craft is what's most important. And while it may be smart to at least consider all those other things, the bottom line is if you do good work, eventually people will notice. Worked for Richard.

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