Out Now: The Inspirational ‘Dear Starving Artist, Get Something to Eat’ by Actor Ransford Doherty & Screenwriter Angie J. Sanders

by

Unless they go in totally delusional, most creatives know that their journey to success may not be the smoothest or easiest journey they’ve been on. Actors and writers are referred to as “starving artists” by those critical of working creatives for a reason. 

Rejection will come their way every once in a while. Maybe they won’t win that creative writing contest; maybe they’ll be the understudy instead of the lead; maybe they won’t get their book published by their dream house. Rejection is a vital part of the creative process, but that doesn’t change the fact that the rejections hurt. Rather, for some, the rejection will eventually be so overwhelming, and their bank accounts in such poor conditions, they’ll quit the industry altogether. 

Actor Ransford Doherty—who you may now know from roles on NCIS, The Closer, and Major Crimes, among many others—knew these concerns and fears all too well, and an image of a peer mocking him for wanting to be an actor, holding out a paper cup and begging for change, stayed with him decades after graduating from college. The difference is that Doherty continued his work, hustled, pushed, accepted his rejections as lessons to improve his craft, and sought out resources to live as a working actor, rather than a superstar, which led him to become a household name for many. Dear Starving Artist, Get Something to Eat: A Memoir About Making a Living as a Working Actor in Hollywood is that story.

Leaving his Virginian home with only $1,500 and a duffle bag of belongings to his name, Doherty set out on his journey to LA after graduating with a B.F.A. in Theatrical Performance. The actor would later describe going to LA as “sitting down at the table” and having a big appetite for success. Add onto that how quickly he spent the money he’d arrived with, due to not completely understanding just how expensive living costs would be, and that hunger understandably doubled in size. 

While this book is more of a creative nonfiction piece than strictly nonfiction, Doherty did not go on to land his first big-time role just two days into being on the LA scene like we always hope for in fiction novels and movies. Rather, Doherty survived by working a variety of temporary jobs and learned the importance of finding work that would still allow him the freedom to go out for auditions and performances when they became available. Writers who are still working 9-to-5 jobs while writing their first novel, artists who are burning the midnight oil on their next piece, and actors who are similarly working while trying to make it big-time will all identify with the balancing act that Doherty was trying to strike in those early days, but they’ll hopefully find inspiration in what Doherty discovered about that balancing act, as well. 

Because as nice as it might have been to “make it” with a film or a TV show and never have to work another day in his life off of the set, Doherty realized after years in the industry that this was an impractical vision and that it was much more worthwhile and enriching to live as a working actor. By continuing to work when not onstage or in front of a camera, Doherty was able to bring his variety of experiences to his roles that he wouldn’t have otherwise had, and he was also able to participate in his community in a way that he wouldn’t have otherwise been able. By continuing to participate in the world outside of entertainment, discovered his love for teaching and sharing stories that would not only help other aspiring creatives live a similar life to the one he had lived, but they would be able to thrive rather than simply survive while doing it. This book very much celebrates the concepts of diversifying your income and living with multiple income streams long before these were such trending ideas. 

As a writer myself, I knew just from the title and subtitle of this book that this was a story I was going to want to read, and I was in no way wrong. I sat back midway through the day a few days ago to start reading this book and wound up sitting there for a few hours as I devoured the entire book in one sitting. While I probably did, I don’t remember even taking a break to stretch or drink water! It was a consuming story that I saw a lot of myself in—the drive and hunger for the arts, the desire to continue taking classes and surrounding myself with fellow artists, the interest in diversifying my experiences and openness to different forms of work, my actual love of rejection as one of my greatest teachers, and then again, my urge to quit when yet another literary agent or publisher declines my work—and I was inspired to hear of another artist who looked at the industry so much like I did… and for lack of better terms, “made it.” Though I agree with Doherty that “making it” is a fantastical concept and each success is a part of the journey, I’m still inspired by how much further along in the journey he is than I am and the success he’s found that I’ve so far only dreamed of. 

There are truly so many more positive things that I could say about this book; I could go on for as many pages as the book is long, and probably more. Dear Starving Artist, Get Something to Eat is essentially a craft book, a business book, and a professional development book all in one, presented in the form of a story (creative nonfiction). Doherty and Sanders have done a wonderful job here of presenting Doherty’s story from college through now, and most importantly, sharing tips that fellow creatives can use in a digestible, friendly, and conversational way. The tone, excitement, and general enthusiasm that leap from the page, one page after the next—it’s no surprise to me that Doherty became a teacher, and surely a wonderful one at that.

 


 

 

Order Your Copy of Dear Starving Artist, Get Something to Eat Here

Dear Starving Artist, Get Something to Eat: A Memoir About Making a Living as a Working Actor in Hollywood

Written by Ransford Doherty with Angie J. Sanders

Independently published (August 1, 2023), 255 pages

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8854474245

$11.18

Why the arts? It’s a love that can’t be explained, nor should I be ashamed of loving. So instead of focusing on why I love the arts, I focus on what am I going to do about this love I have for it. We all have these awesome ideas in our head, and yes non-creatives, that means you too, and to have those ideas just rolling in your head and not do something about it? Who knows what positive impact your idea might have if you were to take action to make it come to fruition?”

Buy the Book

 


 

Ransford DohertyRANSFORD DOHERTY is an opportunity creator whose career is in a category by itself. Ransford uses his high energy, sense of humor, personal stories, and perspective to inspire and encourage audiences to make the impossible possible.

Ransford draws on his 20 years of experience of being a working actor in Hollywood, the many lessons he learned spending 9 seasons as C.I. Kendall on TNT’s top-rated cable series, THE CLOSER and MAJOR CRIMES while pursuing a Master’s Degree and working as a high school Special Education teacher in South LA, to deliver a message that has helped a plethora of creatives not so much focus on being a star on the stage and screen, but being a star at life.

He is also using his teaching and speaking skills to promote a program he co-founded alongside a curriculum he created called Winning at The Money Game that teaches elementary, middle, and high school students financial literacy through the game of basketball. In 2020, he launched an online masterclass for actors called Actforaliving.com, and is currently releasing an autobiography he co-wrote with Angie J. Sanders called Dear Starving Artist, Get Something to Eat.

Ransford lives in Los Angeles. You can also follow Ransford on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

 


 

Angie J. SandersANGIE J. SANDERS is a certified project manager and communicator with more than 15 years of experience in marketing communication strategy and messaging, content creation, and graphic design for organizations like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Porsche Cars North America, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. She holds an M.A. in professional writing from Kennesaw State University and a B.S. in media arts and design from James Madison University.

She lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with her husband Omari and daughter Nailah. You can also follow Angie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You will not be charged extra, but a portion of your purchase will help support Lit Shark’s causes in inclusive and accessible literature and writing resources, as well as our growing movement in conversation education, rescue, and revitalization.

Related Posts

Interrobang: An Interview with Jessica Piazza

Interrobang: An Interview with Jessica Piazza

  Jessica Piazza's first full-length collection, Interrobang, was published by Red Hen Press in September 2013 and was the recipient of the AROHO 2011 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize and the 2013 Balcones Poetry Prize. Poems in this collection appeared in such...

The Bottom: An Interview with Betsy Andrews

The Bottom: An Interview with Betsy Andrews

  Betsy Andrews' book-length poem, The Bottom, was published by 42 Miles Press in 2014 and received the 2013 42 Miles Poetry Prize. Sections of this poem appeared in such places as Kadar Koli, BoogCity, Stone Canoe, and The Laurel Review, as well as Poets for...

Written By McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan (she/her/hers) lives and writes in Europe with her family (originally from the Midwest). In addition to being the Editor-in-Chief of Lit Shark Magazine and the Banned Book Review, she is a novelist, poet, and book reviewer. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University and her BA in English/BS in Education from Indiana University South Bend, where she began her work in publishing. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, Young Ravens Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Encore Magazine, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, Memoir Mixtapes, The Life Collective, Her Journal, Motherly, and more. When not writing, she enjoys reading, appreciating nature, and spending time with her husband and three children.

Comments

0 Comments

0 Comments

Submit a Comment