What This Seinfeld Actor Can Teach You About Being Successful The difference between making it and failing in a creative field can be razor-thin

by Craig Playstead February 16, 2017

Coffee shops are littered with those who tried to make it as writers and hip L.A. bistros are filled with actors waiting tables with stars in their eyes. It’s been said a million times that making it in any creative field is tough — and not for the weak. Or sensitive.

It’s not exactly new info that to make it in any creative field you just keep going. The majority quit when things get hard, but you can’t. The best part of trudging on is that it eventually “creates,” luck. How do I know? Well, look at my career, and if that doesn’t butter your muffin, then take it from an actor who was on Seinfeld. This actor who drove George Costanza crazy told me this story when I was auditioning him a few years ago.

I was in Hollywood auditioning actors for a video game back in 2005  when I came across an actor that looked awfully familiar. I have a gift for not remembering any math or science, but can recall any random sitcom character in the 80’s or 90’s.  It’s a gift that allows me to dazzle on guys weekends, puzzle snobs, but never allowed me to even sniff the Dean’s List in college.

I knew the actor was a bit character in a sitcom, but it was driving me crazy because I couldn’t quite place it. 1. So as he was preparing his lines I asked him.

“Hey, where do I know you from?”

Without even looking up from his script he quipped, “I was the mechanic that fought over a Twix with George in an episode of Seinfeld a couple years ago.”

Bingo.

It was a great episode at a time when Seinfeld was fading and this guy had a great part. When the audition finished we talked for a while and he mentioned it was that role that finally allowed him to become a working actor without needing to wait tables or clean toilets. Huge deal.

How He Got the Gig That Basically Consisted of Pissing Off George Costanza

How he got that job was another story. It was a great example of how tough it is to make it in something you love, especially something as highly competitive as acting.

He mentioned that after moving from across the country to Hollywood he had a hell of a time finding acting work. He’d go on audition after audition and just couldn’t land a gig. He was going nowhere fast when he was invited to a party by a friend, a great place to network. He went, brought a few head shots and tried to make something happen.

He met a few industry people, but was largely ignored. But one guy he was introduced to ended up saving his career — one of the producers of Seinfeld. The producer liked him, but didn’t seem particularly interested. He took a head shot and passed it on to casting.

SeinfeldA few weeks went by and nothing happened. Then a Seinfeld casting assistant was looking to fill the role of the mechanic and came across his head shot. Nothing stood out, so she threw it in the garbage and continued her search. The head shot was sitting on the rim of the garbage can when the same producer who was at the party just happened to be walking by the casting desk.

He saw the head shot in the garbage and recognized the actor from the party.

“I like this guy, bring him in to read.”

So, she fished the picture out of the garbage … and the rest is history.

While that is the most amazing story of luck I have ever heard, it wouldn’t have happened without hustle, hard work, or if he just quit and went back to the South to run his dad’s furniture store. He busted his ass, stuck with it, and created his own luck.

And then really pissed off George by stealing his Twix bar … complete with the cookie crunch.

Photos by Ronaldo Lima Jr., and Wikicommons CC BY 2.0

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