WWE & Hollywood: An Insight Into Parallelism

Recently, a friend of mine brought up an interesting topic in a Facebook wrestling fan group that we are all a part of. He asked if the WWE can be in any way compared to filmmaking.

With over 50 TV and Film credits to my name, I decided that perhaps I would further examine this very interesting topic.

Let us begin by briefly explaining the casting process in Hollywood to those who are not fully aware. It all begins with a casting director putting out a breakdown(s) on a certain website. This website is accessed by managers and agents. These said representatives submit their clients for these roles; 2500 clients on average to be exact. The casting director now has to narrow down the choices to about 12, maybe 15. These are the people who will be lucky enough to receive an audition. After that, a potential call back, sometimes not. It then gets narrowed down to three, and if you are in the mix…you are IN THE MIX. And then, they select you. Or they do not.

And that is the first way how wrestling is similar to the industry. Trainers will push for tryouts for their prospects; bookers will give a good word to a producer; talent will be scouted and given an opportunity to show what they are worth.

Same as us. Recently, I booked a co-star role on an upcoming episode of East New York. The IWC will be familiar with this since Rusev aka MIRO was in the pilot. I was submitted, along with a bunch of other people, and I just fit the mold perfectly.

Just like John Cena eventually filled his. Just like The Rock found his place. Just like Austin figured it out. Just like Roman Reigns.

What I am saying is that along the way to the TOP, they knew how to sell; how to put their opponents over. This is how I view acting, especially in a co-star role.

I once filmed a scene with Donnie Wahlberg for an episode of Blue Bloods. It is a scene where he is extremely angry. In the middle of the scene, I thought to myself…how can I sell his anger more? So when he slammed the door at the end of the scene, I made sure to act startled and jump in my chair. In this case, Donnie was opposite me, and I had to sell him; sell his anger.

When it comes to the production side of things, there was a recent episode of RAW that saw three storylines progress within one swooping segment. First, we had Sami call out Cody in Brooklyn on Feb 13th to get inspired for his match at the Elimination Chamber. We then had Cody enter the gorilla position where Baron Corbin was about to have his initially interrupted interview continue. A now irate Corbin decided to bash Cody and his family. And just as he was about to say something bad, Cody launched an attack on him. Continuing in the ring into an impromptu match.

What the producers of this segment achieved is what is known in our industry as block shooting. Essentially, several different cameras, follow several different characters, as the live on set and on camera while they perform their scripted dialogue and actions, all at once. So instead of breaking multiple scenes down into multiple smaller parts, you get to have characters stories intertwine not only in the script, but physically and visually as it is being filmed. 

Personally, I love what they did with that segment. They advanced Cody, Sami, and Baron along their respective paths. Bravo to the producers of that segment.

In conclusion, whether it is the performance or the production end of things, one thing is for certain. Both the WWE and Hollywood only showcase the cream of the crop. And there are hundreds upon thousands of actors and wrestlers, working hard every day to get noticed. Some will, some won’t. All depends how dedicated you stay to the dream.

Whether it is an unknown gaining traction, soon to be heard….or it is a born to be star catapulted to the main stage of WrestleMania, one thing is for certain, acting and wrestling are, obviously, not so different.

To check out some of my work, you can go to imdb.me/aribarkan.

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