Reid Scott did not think he would be an actor.
Now based in LA, the 44-year-old has appeared in hit shows like "Veep," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." Most recently, a comedic film he both starred in and produced, "Who Invited Charlie?", premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival. "Charlie" follows a well-to-do family in the first months of the pandemic when an uninvited friend shows up at their Hamptons home.
But Scott studied film at Syracuse University hoping to be a screenwriter and director. He ultimately took some acting classes at the behest of a professor saying he should get a sense for their role on set as well. He enjoyed the craft, and after school was lucky enough to get an agent, thinking acting would be his way into the roles he really wanted to take on. And then he just kept booking acting gigs.
"It took me a while to kind of own it," he says about ultimately becoming a full-time actor. But, he adds, friends kept reminding him that, "you're doing what so many people would kill to be doing. You've got to find a way to enjoy the ride and just try to be where you are."
Here are a few other lessons Scott learned along the way of building his career as a creative.
Rejection is par for the course as a professional actor, he says.
"There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that you can't do anything about. It has nothing to do with your talent or your ability," he says about getting turned down for roles. "Sometimes you're not the box office draw that the picture needs."
When that happens, Scott himself might go through some stages of grief ― anger, resentment, questioning. Scott's wife is a writer in the business, so she's always a good listening and understanding ear when that happens. But then there's acceptance.
"What I've learned is that there's always a next," he says. A next opportunity, a next audition, or a next gig booked.
Whenever that next role does come along, Scott takes it as an opportunity to learn as much as he possibly can from the people around him.
"When I was young and coming up, I got in there, I asked everybody everything," he says. "I made a point to learn at least something about each department on set, so that I could understand what it was they were up against."
In part, of course, this meant he was getting pointers from other actors and learning how to improve his own craft. But getting a sense of what everyone else on set does helped him appreciate their tasks as well, and helped him build that sense of being part of a larger team.
It's an M.O. he's kept up even 20 years into the business.
"Keep your eyes and your heart open," he says. "Don't ever think you're a finished product."
Scott hasn't stopped looking for opportunities to write and direct, even as his acting career has taken off. He's written a script for a children's film about bullying, for example, that he hopes to get made, and is working on a horror comedy series with "Who Invited Charlie?" writer Nicholas Schutt.
"Maybe it's just, like, the artist's pitfall," he says of his urge to keep creating in various capacities. "You're always kind of yearning for something."