Wednesday, May 26, 2010

entertainment industry coach Question 448: I've spent my entire career being typecast. How do I get out?

This inspired by one of the comments on my Facebook wall, when I changed my FB picture from my split screen with my one true love Jack Bauer, to seeking out love with another spy...
My new split screen is with tough-guy spy John Casey from Chuck. My friend suggested that I come between Chuck and Sarah. My response was something along the lines of "why can't I be the nice spy who is secretly a double agent "playing" a bad spy, and finally gets to reveal she's a good spy and fall in love with John Casey. Why do I always have to play the bad girl who splits up the all-American couple?" to which he replied, "you should know better than anyone... sometimes people spend their whole careers being typecast."

True Seth, but as a coach, I also know that once you're typecast it's easier to break out than if you've never been typecast at all. First I encourage people who are fighting against their type, to just give in and get cast as you are seen. Which I finally did many years ago when I was flat out told to "stop telling people you're the 'girl next door!' You're the girl down the street who steals the girl next door's boyfriend." Of course that killed me inside because I would never do that in real life, but as an actress, I had to embrace my type.

Now that I've built up a reel of layered vixens, I can make the break... part of that is exactly what got your attention on Facebook. Writing quick blurbs of story lines I'd like to be "written into." Put outside of the box ideas into the minds of people who've cast me one way that they could cast me another. This character isn't too far off... it's not like I was trying to play Jeff's nerdy girlfriend or something. I would get to be the best of both worlds, hence making the transition without people noticing how.

So, what's close to your typecast that you can reframe people's opinions about? Are you known for shooting comedy but would love to shoot an action film, why not target action/comedy hybrids? Have you directed sitcoms and want to break into episodics? Why not target a dramedy?

Hybrid out of your type-cast- You can do it!

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