Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Niche over type." Does an Actor need to have a niche market? Oh, also a Dr. Phil impression.

A comment in the last post asked for a Dr. Phil montage.  (hey Jamie!)  But while I will certainly do this, it made me think about what I was actually going to type and how I could relate it to the actor content of my blog.  PhillyRay, can you do that?!?!!?!??!

I totally can! 

I have heard from people that I am "limited by my type", or have "a specific type".  While I personally say to them "Hooey!" and bookend that with a raspberry, it made me think.....can an actor be so specifically a type that he invents his own niche? 

After all, wouldn't my loyal reader(s) say that Danny DeVito could be considered a type?  I say that he transcends "type".  I say that he is himself, he is the best Danny DeVito anyone could possibly be.  He is so fucking charming.  He is short, yes and not the most handsome man in the world, but he just oozes charisma, and I love him and his impressive career.  In other words, think "approachable blue collar type", and now think about the niche market that Kevin James has carved out for himself.  I know that Mr. James had a substantial stand-up career before becoming an actor, but my point is - he wouldn't have achieved such success without a tireless work ethic and strategic planning.  DeVito and James are two success stories that I crudely categorize as "niche over type". 

I am at a crossroads of sorts.  While I am totally cool with being a large man with a certain comedic genius, I am not sure that I am totally comfortable with attacking the acting world with said genius and creating my own sub-type, a nice if you will. 

Then again, niches can become extremely fruitful.  Take Dr. Phil, for example.  The man is a savant.  With his mustache and tan suits and down-home attitude, people immediately trust him.  And, of course, an Oprah endorsement can never hurt.  To me, the guy is just cashing in on common sense.  Is it the accent that sets him apart?  I really don't know.  Anyway, he'll have the worst people in the world on his show.  The worst, the absolute worst.  It'll be a meth addicted mother of a toddler, who only started doing meth when her child was a newborn.  Because he has earned money by putting others down, he will offer some sage advice such as this, and the crowd goes completely batshit with applause...

This got me thinking.....could I reinvent myself as a cheap knockoff of Dr. Phil?  I think I could.  I think that day-time TV viewers are so stupid that they would not realize they were watching sarcasm.  I could be the Andy Kaufman of Astoria Queens.  I think that there is a niche needing to be filled with someone who takes heinous people and tells them what they need to stop doing and what they need to start doing.  Heck, the "stop" and "start" issues don't even have to be related.  Besides, it's more fun that way.  Well, here could be a preview of the sage advice that could indeed, rocket-launch me to success. 

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