I’m Not an Actor, I Just Play One on TV

Yes, I’m an actor. I even have a diploma to prove it. But that doesn’t automatically mean they let me act on TV, or anyplace else for that matter (you know how “they” are). In fact, I just auditioned for a role on Chicago PD, and there’s a good chance I won’t get it.

Why? I’m actually a pretty good actor. The problem is that what they’re looking for, what they’re always looking, for is a type. And I’m not a type.

Years ago, when I was making the rounds in Hollywood, a casting director took me aside, and said, “Listen, your audition was terrific. But I can’t cast you, because I’m looking for a leading man and a quirky best buddy. The leading man needs to be Wow! And you’re nice-ish-looking, but you’re not Wow! The best buddy needs to be goofy-looking, but you’re not that, either. You’re somewhere in between. I don’t need in-betweeners, I need types.

Still, one major agency offered me an audition. The catch? All three owners had to say yes. They loved the audition! But one of them said no. Why? Because (you guessed it) I wasn’t a definite type. “Don’t feel bad,” he told me, “a ways back I turned down another actor for the same reason. His name was Tim Allen. Now he’s a star, but then he was just an in-betweener like you.”

Ironically, a short time later I had an audition for “a Tim Allen type.” I didn’t get the part. Because I’m not a Tim Allen type.

They say there are five stages in an actor’s life:

  1. Who’s Mitch Teemley?
  2. I want that…what’s his name…Mitch Teemley guy.
  3. Get me Mitch Teemley!
  4. I’m looking for a Mitch Teemley type. (Only younger. And cheaper.)
  5. Who’s Mitch Teemley?

Am I bitter? Not a bit. I’m at peace with who I am. And amn’t. I mean, yes, I love acting, but first and foremost: I’m a storyteller. I was born to tell stories. So I write and direct. And sometimes I even write a part for a, you know,

Mitch Teemley type.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to I’m Not an Actor, I Just Play One on TV

  1. Humm… well their loss. I mean the creepy type does work for me.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. We are types and genres unto ourselves. The retroactive categorizations come into being after someone or something succeeds in being so good, so authentic, so coherent, so fetching that they/it can be imitated and described…and a type is born.

    In my opinion, you are plenty goofy enough to be a side-kick, and your bearded self could definitely be a vicar in a BBC drama :).

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Mark Johnson says:

    … and you’re a wonderful storyteller, Mitch. Here you can be any one you want to be and always know “you got the part.”

    Liked by 9 people

  4. “Amn’t”??? I can’t believe someone else uses that word! Of course, I used it when I was about five, and my family would laugh at me, tell me I was silly, and I’d retort, “NO I AMN’T!!!”
    Maybe we’re the same type. 😉

    Liked by 6 people

  5. I like the one where you’re hiding behind a wall….probably holding an axe 😂

    Liked by 6 people

  6. The Pensieve says:

    Well, I totally get this. After all… That’s what happens in our lives too, right? We get sidetracked and ostracized simply because ‘we are different’ or ‘we are not who they want us to be’. Or we can we both and yet are made to choose…

    I know it’s kinda ironical, but I still wish you all the very best for your career and may you find a ‘not so stereotype’ crew that gives you the big break that you deserve.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Mitch. Maybe a fifteen-minute one instead of only ten. That way you’ll still have time to wash down a sandwich with a bottle of Aquafina or something. It’s not right having to yell, “CUT!” with half a sandwich still in one’s mouth. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mitch, I thought I saw you on…….oh, never mind. Keep writing and auditioning cuz, who knows !

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Well, I only know you as smiley type, of course. But suave type should definitely be on the screen!! Meanwhile, story teller is more than fine with me.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. bostongirl13 says:

    Ha ha ha!!!! This made me smile. My best friend in high school, her dad worked at PBS in Boston from 1960-2001 in experimental TV then he branched out and became a director and producer. Heck you might even know him? Trust you are right where you need to be! God has a plan for you Mitch!!!

    Liked by 8 people

  10. atimetoshare.me says:

    I think you are a handsome devil, Mike. I wouldn’t feel bad about not getting a part in the movies or on TV. You rarely find anything worthwhile in either genres. You seem ethical and grounded in your faith. Draw on your acting skills to create rich characters in your stories. You can make a difference with your experiences😃

    Liked by 5 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Aw, thanks (all this time and I’m afraid I still don’t know your name). I don’t feel bad about it at it all; it’s just the way it is. Writing is my main thing. So a few acting roles here and there are fine.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. nancyehead says:

    Love this message, Mitch. Trust God. He’ll put each of us where we need to be. God bless!

    Liked by 5 people

  12. gpavants says:


    But you found your place of influence. That is the important thing.


    Liked by 4 people

  13. Such a great post about “the world of acting.” I hope it encourages actors and other people full of creativity to keep trying and not give up! Thanks!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Bill Sweeney says:

    Don’t give up, Mitch, at some point in your life you’ll fit the type they need. Hey, if you here there’s going to be a remake of “Weekend at Bernie’s,” I’m available to play Bernie 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Oh wow once I was going to say that you reminded me of an actor I’ve seen before. It’s that so amazing. Good for you. I think you are perfectly Mitch Teemley. That perfectly You 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Jeff Haberman says:

    “All the worlds a stage and all the men and women merely players.”
    Who said that? Who said that? Some “type” of Elizabethan I bet!
    Nice story Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. cricketmuse says:

    An excellent reflection on the Hollyweird—Hollywood game.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Now there’s some truth. I talk about stars from movies when I was a kid and my kids say “Who?”

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Jennie says:

    And you are a great storyteller. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Very revealing Mitch. You would be great acting in anything I would produce. Unfortunately, I am not planning any projects. Keep trying. The best to you.

    Liked by 5 people

  21. TEP336 says:

    Mitch, if I might ask, how do you find the balance between God and Hollywood? Both seem so much at odds these days, I wonder how it is you pull it off.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. People ask me what kind of a photographer I am. I am always tempted to tell them not to put me in a box until I die. ( and even then I won’t stay there. )

    Liked by 5 people

  23. Not to worry Mitch, someday they’ll make a remake of Tootsie. If Dustin Hoffman could play against type, so can you! Now, if only there were someone who could play the Bill Murry type because … “That’s one nutty hospital.” Wait a tick, my phone’s ringing. I’ll be right back. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Not that Bill Murry, the other Bill Murray. Yeah, that Bill Murray … the one with an A. Whoops. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Also, not tic with a K. That’s just wrong! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  26. But no one can take away the fact that you got double portions of God’s blessings in both acting and writing. You’re awesome.

    Liked by 5 people

  27. Garfield Hug says:

    I think you are or can be an actor anytime and anywhere! Ignore them. Try auditioning in Bollywood or China…Hollywood maybe overrated as India and China is a big film market!

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Glenn Hunt says:

    Next time wear an eye patch. Ask “them’ if they are looking for the pirate type. If they are leave it on, if not, take it off.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. CJ Hartwell says:

    Maybe you were born in the wrong era — you could have acted alongside Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda. 😉
    Seriously though, I love your headshots almost as much as I love your stories!

    Liked by 4 people

  30. The title of this wise and funny post reminds me of the Liar Paradox in philosophy of language.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. kirkhsmith says:

    Well told Mitch. I remember an acting school years back in LA that didn’t even really teach acting, but how to find your true self and how to market that self.

    Liked by 4 people

  32. Blake Handson says:

    Hey Mitch, great post! Wishing you all the very best in your endeavors. Keep the great stories coming. I’m sure you have already, and please link if you have, but I’d love to know your opinion on what it’s ‘really’ like to work in Hollywood? Has it changed over the years? Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  33. gwennonr says:

    I enjoyed your sense of humor here. You infuse your writings with great insight. Just what I needed to lighten my load on a day that had become miserably overburdened. Thank you, Mitch!

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Pretty funny. I like your sense of humor!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. ledrakenoir says:

    Good sense of humor type. 🙂
    – casting directors are types too, with probably less humor. 😀

    Liked by 4 people

  36. Mitch I think it is amazing how God moves our lives! I thought I was a business manager of people and he gave me granola! So I started selling granola! Opened a small store added a coffee bar to offset sales of granola while we developed a market! God then sent me these kids 23 years old who roasted coffee so God said help these children allow them to roast their coffee under our certified kitchen license! Oh and charge them 200 dollars a month! So I did! Those children grew their business because they worked hard with two little babies under the age of 3 and grew right out of our store to there own! So God made you an actor and so much more! God bless you Mitch the actor writer & inspirer

    Liked by 3 people

  37. Kim Smyth says:

    Thanks first off for visiting my blog, I hope you found something interesting or helpful in it. I’m glad you are at peace and know who and what you are. Blogging and writing take up so much time, I don’t know how you’d fit acting in, lol. I’m sure you do, and probably have help since your blog seems widely read and responded to. Good luck and nice to meet you!

    Liked by 4 people

  38. This is really interesting, Mitch! I love your writing – it’s like we’re in the same room. The mark of a good storyteller. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, and for finding my blog.


    Liked by 4 people

  39. In the US the film industry is too concerned with looks. I am betting there are a lot of talented actors who never get a chance because of that. In England they are not. Look at the TV show the Detectorists or Doc Martin and you will see what I mean. Maybe you should try to auditions in England.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Bhagyashree says:

    I love how you described the five stages of an actor’s life. I feel that’s true for every role we have to play throughout our lives. Through your posts I feel you have mastered the art of storytelling! Keep going!😊

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Pingback: Random Complaints | Mitch Teemley

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