A working actor in my class told me that while there is no such thing as a big break, most of his work can be traced back to one original job. Hmmm, that is a very interesting thought. You do one job, and the DP likes what you did, or you caught the producers eye and he remembers you for a future project. I can see how this can be true. I can actually trace back my securing of a ultra-spacious rent stabilized one bedroom in Astoria Queens to an off-off Broadway production of "Merchant of Venice" in June 2005. That was 5 years ago, we moved into the aforementioned apartment last year. I am not shitting you. I am so not shitting you.
In June 2005, a mere 2 weeks after I graduated from Union College with a theater degree I saw in Backstage an audition notice for a non-union (but paying) production of Merchant. Great, I will audition for this I thought. I went to the audition on Manhattan's lower east side. It was held in a former middle school turned performance center on Suffolk Street. It was about 100 degrees outside and around 110 inside the waiting hall, and man oh man there were many many people there to audition. Merchant boasts many male roles and three EXCELLENT female roles, including the highly coveted role of Portia.
I came in with my "tennis balls" speech from "Henry V". I had a callback about a week later, and bombed on the cold read for Graziano. Either other people previously offered the role of Solanio turned it down, or Tim saw something in me. I was cast. I was elated. From the audition I met an excellent actor, Ben Curns. Turns out I saw Ben in a play the year before. I thought he was awesome then, and I still think that today.
Through Ben, I met his friend Mike Burdick. Mike is an excellent playwright. I did a bunch of shows with/for Mike. Through Ben I also met his girlfriend at the time Synge. Synge directed me in a show written by Mike. Then Mike put on a showcase of a few of his plays. One of the actors was a talented gent named Skid, he is Synge's sister.
The next year when I helped start up Fire Island Shakespeare company, we ended up firing our director and an actor quit due to this. We needed a third actor and a director. We brought in Mike Burdick and Mike recommended Skid. I saw Skid act, and thought he would be great. So the cast was myself, Rob Brown and Skid Maher for "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged". The three of us enjoyed about 50 performances together and the next year we continued the trend with "I Hate Hamlet!"
The next winter, Skid was in a show that an actor dropped out of. The show was to go up in less than 2 weeks and they needed someone who was a quick read and not a quitter. That's me. On that show I met Laura Jo Schuster and Dee Beider, two very talented comedic actresses.
The next summer I brought in Dee and LJ to act in "I Hate Hamlet". LJ, Dee and I needed to run lines, and we went to LJ's apartment, which was only 3+ blocks away from where I lived. I walked in the apartment and totally went apeshit. I loved the place, I needed to live there. It was HUGE.
I hounded the super and management company with phone calls until a one bedroom came available. It was a mirror image of LJ's place and just one floor higher. Our old apartment could fit in the living room of this place. It was also 200 less than our old place and with laundry in the building.
I hope that in 5 years, I can post something like this that traces back big money to Tuesday's Onion job. :-)