It Takes Work To Become Special – Bette Davis Was Right!
HELLO AMERICA!—I have been receiving questions from young actors who are having difficulty in finding the “center” of the character they are to create. Believe me this is something quite normal for any performer, whether it is as an actor, musician or even as a painter. The bottom line is it is paramount to discover center of who and what YOU are and the experiences you are able to bring truth to whomever you are challenged to bring to life before the camera or the stage.
I remember discussing this with Bette Davis and she noted that she too had to find a way to bring truth and believability to a character she had no idea about. It was the film “Of Human Bondage” written by Somerset Maugham. The character of “Mildred” was a vicious, relentlessly unsympathetic prostitute completely alien to Davis. However, being the tough, determiner that she is, there was no stone she wouldn’t turn to discover the soul of the character of this woman. So, Bette went to the slummiest section of London and studied women of that sort a few times and nailed it when on camera. It won her critical acclaim as well as industry respect. If it had not been for the likes of Hedda Hopper who was one of the queens of entertainment news during the 40s, 50s, and 60s, I would not have had the guts to try and enter the game of fan magazine writer and newspaper entertainment reporter.
I simply, one day, decided to go up to Hedda’s Hollywood Boulevard office and let her know that I was interested in doing what she does. She simply stopped what she was doing for a moment, reset her hat on her head to one side and simply laughed! Since she knew I was a singer and when I was appearing in Otto Preminger’s film “Carmen Jones” she came to the set to watch Harry Belefonte and Dorothy Dandridge shoot a scene. While she was there, I made darnn sure she would meet me as well. This is why she didn’t insist that I leave her Hollywood office when I showed up uninvited. However, it worked. We made a deal that I would work with her for a time and get to know more people of the industry and see where it might lead. Well, it worked!
I ended up being signed to write an entertainment column for Worldwide News, eventually being syndicated in 86 news outlets. When I had gained enough respect in the entertainment news area, my byline was seen in fan magazines and later signed as Editor-in-Chief for various national entertainment publications. It all boils down to being prepared and eager to learn from those who are proven professionals. This is why I am so eager to give a helping hand to those who have a genuine desire to be a part of any creative force that demands simply the best. It’s really about WORK and more WORK and willing to go the extra mile in order to reach a level of being considered SPECIAL.