Pilot Season is upon us, and this is the first time I’ll be experiencing it with a Theatrical Agent. I am fully aware I won’t be landing a lead role on a primetime show anytime soon, BUT, there are other acting possibilities for me. In an effort to increase my odds, below is an open letter for decision-makers out there to consider:
Dear Writer/Show-Runner/Executive/Casting Director:
Wow, that’s a mighty fine-lookin’ script you’ve got there. Mmm-hmmm, mighty fine. But, a little short, wouldn’t you say? Yep, I’d say short by a character or two…Why don’t you take another glance at it, and see whether it could be enhanced by adding one of these very necessary and beloved stock characters, played by a theatrically-trained actress who can also improv and play elementary-level flute?
Does your script have a scene in an office setting? Well, of course it does, because what successful, in-syndication show doesn’t? Now you just need to add in a harried receptionist who, no matter how many phone lines are ringing, or how many orders are being barked at her by her coworkers, always finds time to offer incoming clients a smile and a cup of coffee, and LET ME POUR THAT COFFEE!
Does your script include a medical situation, whether emergency or routine? Perhaps a birth? Hospital scenes add tension and drama; you really should consider it. And no medical scene would be complete without a warm, caring nurse, who always finds time in her busy schedule to come out to the waiting room and see if the patients’ family can be comforted by a warm, freshly-brewed cup of coffee, and LET ME POUR THAT COFFEE!
Does your script include a scene with a meal? If no, why not? Everyone loves food. Your characters need to eat. And when you’re adding in that scene, don’t set it in the family’s house, no, no, no! Set it in a DINER, where a sassy waitress has the opportunity to roll her eyes at your male lead’s brazen attitude, then offer the special of the day, which, by golly, includes free refills of coffee, and LET ME POUR THAT COFFEE!
Quirky But Dependable Best Friend:
Does your script include any kind of relationship dilemma for your female lead? If it doesn’t, I’m pretty sure it should, so why don’t you mull that over one more time? Add in a nurturing best friend with no life of her own, who cares enough about others to answer her door in the middle of the night; she’ll offer your female lead some much-needed life truths, puns, self-deprecating humor, and a stimulating caffeinated drink to keep her awake to hear all of it…say, ohhh, something distilled from a certain Columbian coffee bean? And LET ME POUR THAT COFFEE!
Sure, you can argue that “nobody will ever remember that character.” Maybe it “doesn’t help the storyline.” And, okay, maybe it “unnecessarily adds to the budget and shooting schedule and is a financial burden on the studio and I don’t care if you’re my niece, I can’t convince Sorkin to add in characters that he doesn’t like.” But I’ve got dollar signs in my eyes, baby- every $2.80 residual check I receive from said coffee-pouring will help me pay off my SAG-AFTRA dues which, God help me, I’m currently paying for no reason. These characters are necessary, I PROMISE. Would I lie to you?
…Wow, have I mentioned how great you look lately? I don’t know how you Writer/Show-Runner/Executive/Casting Directors find the time to look so friggin’ AMAZING.
So read your script again, won’t you, and see just where some coffee pouring is needed. Because I guarantee you, EVERY script needs coffee pouring in it, and NOBODY asks, “Decaf or regular?,” better than a theater school graduate named Kelly, who is a mezzo-soprano on a good day and who took a 1-hour African dance class when she was 15 and still totally has it on her resume.
-Flute playing, improvising, mezzo-soprano singing, African dancing, elementary-level French-speaking, superior-coffee-pouring, Theater School-gradding, snow-skiing (there’s no way to disprove that, until after I get the job, right?), dues-paying SAG-AFTRA Member.
P.S. Full list of Special Skills available upon request.