• Ray Watters

Keep On Keeping On!

“Keep on keeping on.” We can thank Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for that phrase he uttered in a 1964 speech…a phrase many consider redundant and perhaps hackneyed several decades later, and yet still has a lot of meaning for the struggling actor. I have heard many actors talk about giving up because they feel their training and the ton of auditions have led to little or no recognition from Casting Directors, let alone bookings. I also know many actors who have persevered and have been successful.

My experience has shown that even at my advanced age, good things happen if you persevere. However, it wasn’t always that way. When I put away my work clothes sixteen years ago and moved to Texas, I found that I needed to be active to feel alive and useful. I thought about going back to my first love, which was acting, but thought that age 60 was way too old to start again. However, to quote another hackneyed phrase, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I continued training and joined others much younger than me in workshops and classes. There were times that nothing seemed to be going my way and I was ready to just give up on my love of acting, but I loved the craft so much that I decided to keep going.

The first few years brought little success, however, I continued training and managed to land an agent in Austin. During the past ten years, I have booked small parts in five network series, supporting roles in a couple of indies and a few short films, a co-star role in an NBC pilot, and, after moving to Florida two years ago, a major role in a Hallmark film. Sixteen years ago, I found it difficult to get an agent. Today I am represented by agents in Orlando, Austin, and Honolulu.

I have had the pleasure of working with a young actor who is starting out in the business. He has a lot of experience in commercials, and a little experience in acting, although he has been trained in the craft. I have coached him in self-tape auditions which had not led to any bookings. He felt the way many actors do in starting out…he was frustrated, and I thought he was ready to just give up. But, as requests for self-tape auditions came in, I continued to work with him, and he continued to persevere. Recently, he auditioned for a supporting role in a major film and was acknowledged by the Casting Director as being excellent for the role. As happens many times in this business, he came close, but the part went to another actor. Nevertheless, the CD now knows who he is and knows his talent. I believe the future is very bright for this young fellow and it is a pleasure to continue working with him.

I am 76 years-old and have no thoughts of leaving the business that I love so much. I will continue to audition, and I will continue to be rejected until that next booking finally happens.

I will keep on keeping on.

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