“Actor For Hire” is avant-garde writer-director-producer Marcus Mizelle’s new comically candid narrative of the everyday life and struggles of an actor’s search for work in Hollywood. In “Actor For Hire”, which started out as a web series several years ago, the plot is simple. How can an actor possessing ordinary looks, being of average height and weight, with a shy voice, land a job as a working actor in Hollywood? While most actors rely on their looks, voice, dramatic or comic flare, using some aspect in which they excel differently, Jesse, our youngish actor from Warwick, New York, ( played to sad-sackish comic perfection by: Jesse O’Neill), is bald. We know we are in good hands when Jesse, who seemingly can not get arrested by a casting director, is told , “we’re looking for someone with hair”, goes out and buys a very bad wig.
As we watch Jesse’s journey towards his hopeful “pot of gold”, we see the age old obstacles that befall most single professionals; especially in the field of entertainment. While learning who and who not to trust, and by trying to do what one thinks is the “right way” to please others, a searcher either gives up, changes directions, or finds his own way through. The cast is an excellent ensemble. Each brings his own unique brand of comedy on the subject, showing the struggle across all diversities, representing a full spectrum of classes within the entertainment and management community; all while making us laugh out loud. Like the brilliant jazz score, (written by: Jeremy Nathan Tisser), which perfectly underscores “Actor For Hire”, Jesse navigates his way towards his life’s dream by finding the calm waters that lay between the waves.
When asked in an interview about how he came up with this story, Marcus Mizelle, a vibrant and passionate film maker, basically wanted audiences to know that whatever it is you think is holding you back, most likely isn’t. He wants artist to know what he himself finds to be true; you have to know who you are, respect who you are and what talent you have, then get it done. No matter how long it takes. Because of this knowledge, Marcus is becoming a successful film maker.
He has made films for fun since age 12. In his19th year his mother suggested he go to film school. Even though Marcus always thought that film school was for nerds and chasing girls was more fun, he took his moms advice and went to study at Cape Fear in Wilmington, NC. However his time there lasted only several months. Marcus is one of those students who has a ‘self-start’ nature. He moves and navigates better without being restricted to a group pace. So, thinking he could better learn on the job while making films, he set out to do just that. His first job was as a PA ( production assistant). He worked 20 hours straight his first day and made 200 bucks. He learned more in that 20 hours than he had in 6 months of film school. Knowing immediately he didn’t want to remain a PA, he looked around and got interested in what the grips were doing. He learned, became a grip, and worked as a grip for 20 bucks an hour. After the first two years on this job, he remembers getting calls from former recently graduated classmates who were looking for work. His on-the-job film making education continued for the next 7 years as he landed jobs from NC to NYC, New Orleans and finally LA.
While Marcus worked as a grip, he read books out of necessity. The books that fed him most were: David Mamet’s, “On Directing”; John Trudy’s, “Anatomy of a Story”; Martin Sohn-Rethel’s, “Reel To Reel”; and a popular favorite, “Save The Cat”, by Blake Snyder.
As desire and need vs lack of funds cause friends to help friends create new projects, the idea of profit sharing is an ever-growing concept in the independent film community. “Actor For Hire” was made for about 14K, quite an accomplishment.
Today Marcus’ advice to young film makers is, ” ..write an shoot as much as possible and read any book you can get your hands on… in fact man..I’m reading one right now while promoting “Actor For Hire”; planning my next film”. Self starters are a rare breed who do not like the slow pace of a group setting. They somehow instinctually know where to go and set out finding the way from point A to point B — what they don’t know they find out on their own. In his own words, ” I am not telling anyone not to go to school. It just isn’t my path. I don’t have the patience. I like to go at my own pace.”
And so it is with “Actor For Hire”. For all its fun, it’s inspired message is: creating art, being an artist of any kind, is a personal avant-garde Journey. Remember, you are enough, keep going, and do it.
Director: Marcus Mizelle
Writers: Marcus Mizelle (story), Marcus Mizelle
Stars: Najee De-Tiege, Hollie Shay, and Jesse C. Boyd, Jesse O’Niel, Joel Hogan, Jandres Burgos, Greg Perrow, JT Alexander, Beth Lepley