Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Paranormal Activity" -- A Coin Flip from Stardom

Okay, maybe not "stardom". But these days, when the words "star" and "celebrity" have become so watered-down, let's run with it...

The point is, I had a 50-50 chance to be in a movie called "Paranormal Activity". This movie recently became a huge cult hit. And judging by the latest box office numbers, has now been elevated from "cult" to "mainstream" hit.

(Am I using too many "quotes"?)

Whether or not I'm using too many quotes, and whether or not it's cult or mainstream, and whether or not I should be using the word "stardom", here's how I fit-in to this story (as originally posted in response to a fellow actor's comment on Facebook)...

Trivia... I got a callback for the demonologist role in "Paranormal Activity". The director said it was down to me and one other guy. Basically... a coin flip. Heads, you're part of a surprise rag-to-riches cult hit story. Tails, you're posting a comment on Facebook.

So, that's the story in a nutshell. And because of that bit of behind-the-scenes movie trivia, for days now, I've been tripping out (he said, showing his age) on how close I came to having my IMDb STARmeter ranking move from 755,201 to 6,758 (the true sign of success in Hollywood these days).

Of course, I had no way of knowing at the time that the ultra low budget movie I auditioned for would become the runaway rags-to-riches hit movie that it's become. And that's part of what's tripping me out...

We never know.

That's nothing new.

We just never know.

Seemingly little things become huge. But we don't know which ones will launch, and which ones will languish. At this very moment, and at every moment, there are countless opportunities to be in ultra low budget films. Most will lead to nothing. A few will lead to other opportunities. And very few, like "Paranormal Activity", will explode beyond anybody's wildest dreams.

I'm both discouraged and encouraged by my "so close yet so far" relationship to this movie. Discouraged because I'm not currently part of this blockbuster hit. Encouraged because I am "in the game".

Like all other actors slugging and slogging away at this business, I'm always one audition away from something big. The difference this time is that I know how close I came. Many times, we have no way of knowing. When we submit to something, we have no way of knowing if the project will amount to anything. When we audition, and don't get the part, we don't know if we were runner-up, or at the bottom of the pile. And we don't know why we weren't selected. Sometimes, it's a "look". You don't look like the image the director had in his head, or you don't look like a person who's already been cast in another role as a family member. Sometimes, it's talent. Another actor auditioned better than you. Sometimes, it's the gut feeling of the people selecting for the part. Sometimes, it's totally random... like, eenie-meenie-mynie-mo. Literally. My acting teacher has a story about that.

There are so many factors involved.

And there are also times when we don't even know what happened to the projects we auditioned for. For instance, when I auditioned for this film, it was just another "UNTITLED FEATURE". It's just a fluke that I recently connected the dots, and realized that the callback I got was for the movie that eventually became "Paranormal Activity".

And the callback was in the same house (belonging to director Oren Peli) that was used as the sole location for shooting the film! When I first saw the trailer, I thought, "That place looks really familiar". I was in the house that's now a part of the folklore. Once again...

So close, yet so far.

So, as I search for an ending to this blog post, I'm choosing to focus on the "upside". I'm choosing to feed off of the fact that I'm "in the game". I'm leaning towards "encouraged".

And I'm also leaning towards continuing to use "quotes" whenever I damn well please.