Thursday, December 8, 2011


Guest Blog by Christopher Tillman

While I’m furiously writing my pilot for CBS, my friend and colleague Christopher has offered to write a few guest blog posts for me. In this installment, he tells one of my favorite stories about taking the reins of your own career. In the wise words of Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

After finishing Misusing Irony with Teresa, one of the directors we had considered asked me how the production went and was I able to show her the finished product. After watching my short film, she brought me in to audition for one of the supporting roles in an independent feature she was producing called The Kitchen. I auditioned and got the part.

One day while hanging out on set, Catherine Reitman walked in. (I’m normally not a name dropper, but I love Catherine so much.)

"Can I borrow someone's computer?" Catherine asked.

Someone handed over their laptop. "What do you need it for?"

"My web show is posting today and I gotta tweet about it.”

“Web show?”

“I do a movie review show called Breaking it Down." (Plug intended.)

Another actress, Jillian Clare, chimed in with her experience about doing a serialized web show called Miss Behave.

The film we were shooting took place at a party and they needed a crowd of background actors to play partygoers. While hanging out and talking with the background, I heard a lot of "I got an idea for something like this" and "we should do that."

And just like that, it became clear to me – the principal cast had projects they were actively putting out, while the background were just talking about doing it. It was just that simple.

I have a good friend who will always listen to any idea I have, but I realized over time he was giving me less and less of his attention. He would always end every idea pitch by saying, "Great. Go write it." And the more times I came back without doing that, the less excited he was to listen to my ideas. The lesson he was trying to teach me is simple. An idea without a script is nothing, a script without a production is nothing, a production without a portal is nothing.

The days of being just one anything are over. You need to dive head first into something else, even if it is just to support your primary focus. Don't want to be a producer, fine, but you are probably going to have to grit your teeth and bear it for at least one project if you want a showcase piece for you as an actor. Might as well be now.

You can follow Christopher Tillman on Twitter at @christophertill

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