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Austin Actors
Step Rowe

A Strange Breed
by Step Rowe

August 2000

Does anyone else feel like an outsider around "non-actors"? I am actually a very well-adjusted, social person in most situations. I have many hobbies outside of the arts and highly enjoy people who live outside of our bubble. I find, however, that the more obsessed with this business I become, the less interested in non-motivated people's conversations I become. The more bored out of my mind I am at gossip. The more I can't stand ramblings on and on and on about issues that are out of my immediate control. The more I pretend to be listening to people who continuously say the same things every time I see them. This is really kind of scary. Does anyone else experience this? ...Don't answer that.

I've often heard it said, "You can always recognize an actor by the glaze over his eyes when the conversation turns away from him!" I don't want to be one of those actors. I don't want people to recognize my disinterest and think I'm self-centered. Don't think that because you are reading this that you have an advantage the next time we have a conversation. I really am listening. I am sincere when I give compliments. I am interested in others stories and experiences and ideas. It is only sometimes that I feel myself slipping away from society. Therefore, upon great contemplation, I think I've come up with a justification for my behavior.

When I decided to pursue this industry with all that I had (which is the only way you can, as far as I know), I made an irreversible decision. Everything I experienced, learned, observed, shared, etc. would become part of my pursuit. I can no longer relax without wondering what I could be doing to promote myself or improve my craft in this allotted time. I can no longer experience emotions fully without stopping to make note for future reference: "What does it feel like when I cry so hard that my throat is choking? How do I just release tears? How long does it take my heart to recover when I've been scared to death?" I heard a story about Kelsey Grammer ("Frazier") once that demonstrated his actor "sickness." He admitted that when his sister died, he was very grief stricken, but mentally started analyzing his emotion.

How sick is this? I don't know. Maybe it's not. I guess it could just be a "secret" between us all who are in the same boat. As long as we continue to make sure that those we love are aware that they matter to us (even if they are not a part of the industry), perhaps it is alright.


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