This past weekend, I went to an annual ID party held in Hermosa Beach and ran into an old acquaintance, Garrett Wang, of "Star Trek: Voyager" fame. He seemed out of place there and confirmed it when he mentioned it was his first venture to the house.
I probably shouldn't talk about what we discussed but there's something I feel like addressing: If you had the opportunity to do a TV show for a minimum contract of 5 years, would you do it, knowing ahead of time that anything you do after, your name would forever be associated with that show? And, once that show ended, what if no one really considered you a so-called "star"?
When Garrett was going through the process of 4 producer/director meetings with the Star Trek corporation, I hung out with him occasionally, and even interviewed him for a magazine story. He said the whole process of getting the job was intense, and yet he expressed reservations about actually wanting the job. After all, he was a budding young actor with much promise as a dramatic film and TV actor. He "gave that all up" in order to be a contract player in the Star Trek enterprise. (Yeah, bad pun, but it's what I meant.)
What I'm saying, essentially, is that Garrett knew exactly what he was getting into and what to expect after it was all said and done. He knew he'd get financial security for life, but when it came to career security, he didn't know if he was committing career suicide or opening up future doors to superstardom.
If you look at Garrett's face, you can get a pretty good read on his conclusion. But I did give him one piece of advice, for all it's worth: Do a bunch of independent films and don't worry about making a living. I told him it's what I'd do; and well, I also said that if I didn't have to worry about money, I'd move to Palm Springs, work in a bar and write novels for the rest of my life.
It wasn't very enlightening advice that I had given him. But at this point in his life, "light" is kind of hard to come by. Anyway, it's what I'd do.