What If A Parent Doesn’t Celebrate Your Acting Career? by Robin Riker

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Film Courage: I think this might be part of your new book [A SURVIVOR’S GUIDE TO HOLLYWOOD: How To Play The Game Without Losing Your Soul] but this is something that you talked about in terms of getting self-absorbed in Hollywood? What is it? What does it look like, so we can define it?

Robin Riker: Well I think being self-absorbed looks pretty much the same in every town and country across the globe. I see it in other people when they just don’t…you know, sometimes you’re walking down the street and someone goes “Hi!” And you are absent-minded or thinking about something else and you respond “Just fine!” No. That isn’t what they said! But you didn’t hear that. You were in your own mind. And there are lot of people in this town, in everywhere, that are in there own heads and they don’t ever ask about you, and they are not good ball players. In conversations, you pass the ball. And if you don’t pass the ball then you are having a monologue. It’s not really that interesting to people. And that’s what it looks like to me.

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There is this one actress who I encounter all the time. She absolutely knows who I am but every time she meets me it’s the first time. And we have gone up against each other for roles and I’ve gotten some of them and she’s gotten some of them. I think that a lot of the people who are the most self-absorbed are also those who are the most threatened, who feel that if they are not focused on themselves and what it is they need and what it is they want and what it is that perhaps you can deliver to them, then they are not taking care of business. They have to be…it’s all about the next thing. And that sort of reminds me of this man. When I got my first television show, I was going to celebrate and I took myself out to this place called Joe Allen’s (it’s called something else now and it’s quite a popular place but I don’t remember). My father was an actor and my parents divorced when I was very young and he was a fantastic actor and even though I’ve written and acted since I could write or speak, I think I pursued acting in a way to kind of bring my father closer to me (at least metaphysically, psychologically). And so he was the first one I called. My mother had supported me my whole life, but my father was the one I wanted to call and say that I got my first job in TV. So I went to this bar and called him from a pay phone (do you remember what those are, any of you out there?). And I told him about it and he wasn’t that excited for me because he was a little jealous himself because he was self-absorbed. And instead of being joyful for his daughter, even though he was my father and we wouldn’t ever go up for the same parts, I had landed something that was really good. And he couldn’t really support me in that. And my spirit really felt a wound, I played it off because that’s how I roll, but it hurt me…(Watch the video and read the rest here on FilmCourage.com).