I was kind of scared of failing at acting.
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When we were doing 'Freaks and Geeks', I didn't quite understand how movies and TV worked, and I would improvise even if the camera wasn't on me. I thought I was helping the other actors by keeping them on their toes, but nobody appreciated it when I would trip them up. So I was improvising a little bit back then, but not in a productive way.
The first piece of art that I ever bought-when I could afford it-was a Warhol sketch from the period when he was just getting out of doing commercial work and more into art. It's a sketch of a young guy's face. I guess the gallery that I bought it from thought I would like it because the young guy kind of looked like James Dean.
Because acting was my only professional outlet, I put a ton of pressure on the roles that I did. I overstepped my bounds, I tried to control things that were out of my purview as an actor and in some cases even tried to direct my scenes because I felt I knew how they should run rather than trust the director.
Of course there are some actors that are better than others and performances that are better than others, but they're always embedded in the greater film. They are mediated through the work of so many other people: the director directs, the lighter sets the scene, the editors edit, the music gets put to it.
There's a tacit belief that actors shouldn't write books, they're sort of allowed to direct movies but there will be a lot of skepticism, and they shouldn't do artwork or music. There are these invisible roadblocks to gain entree to these areas for actors, and you kind of have to crash through those invisible barriers.