HOLLYWOOD—A talented young actor has been unable to book a single part in over 3 years due to what he believes was an unfortunate casting decision very early on in his career.
Joel Watkins, a 24 year old thespian from Vancouver, has been turned down for more roles than he can count, and he believes it all stems from his first major role as a Christmas Tree in the 1994 Winter Concert Spectacular at Sunshine Hills Elementary School.
Like any good parents would, Watkins’ mother and father called in all of the city’s top talent agents to see their six year old in his first school play and despite no prior acting experience, he blew them all away.
“I actually believed he was a real tree for most of the performance” explained Gene Bower, Watkins’ first agent, “He was just so natural in that role, so tall and quiet, not to mention his incredibly coarse skin.”
Following that show, Watkins exploded onto the acting scene getting picked up by an agency who booked him gigs as a variety of tree characters on local commercials including the part of Young Money Tree on a popular spot for the Money Tree Payday Loans company.
In addition to his TV work, he continued to act on stage, reprising his role as the Christmas Tree in the Winter Concert for the remainder of his elementary school career, despite the show only being for students in the fourth grade and under.
Upon his arrival at high school though, Watkins had already grown tired of his "tree shtick" and was hoping to branch out into more complex roles. Unfortunately the head of his school's Drama department, Mr. Brenner, had other ideas.
“Joel was always very good no matter what part he tried out for, but I had been such a huge fan of the Winter Concert Spectacular that I couldn’t see him in any other role” explained Brenner, “still, he was too good to be left out of the plays entirely, so I always would write in special parts for him."
As his high school career advanced and he developed into a leading man calibre actor, it became almost impossible to write fully developed characters who also wore tree costumes, but nevertheless Watkins star shone bright.
After a breakout role in his senior year in the classic play Romeo and Juliet and the Mountain Hemlock, Watkins headed to Hollywood expecting to become a huge movie star but his dreams we’re crushed almost immediately.
“I can’t believe how many people in this town saw my first grade play” Watkins lamented “I just thought it would be a one-time thing, maybe an embarrassing home video; I had no idea it would be a career killer.”
Just this week, Watkins says he’s been turned down from over five casting calls with each saying although they thought he was perfect for the role, they just didn’t think audiences who had seen his early work would believe him as a human character.
" I wish I had just been one of the elves, I’m sure all those kids have steady acting careers now" announced Watkins, who has almost given up all hope of making it big in Hollywood, “I must be the first talented kid ever to fail as a professional actor."