I've been running around a lot and not feeding or resting my body appropriately, so it has responded by breaking down. I guess that's the long way to say "I don't feel well."
I have had...about 4 auditions since the last time I wrote. Don't feel like looking it up in my ActorTrack database right now to figure out the exact number. I signed with my commercial agent at the end of March and I was SURE I'd have my national commercial by now. Even my agent (when signing me) said it was a "slam dunk". It's been 7 months, and it's a good sign that the CDs call me back time and time again, but I haven't booked a commercial yet. I did, however get to see myself in a completed (short) film project for the first time this past weekend and it was cool. My part was small (don't believe that adage about "no small parts") but I was grounded and it was real. Simple. I didn't invite anyone to come to the screening in case I sucked, but I didn't. The project, btw. is "The Declining Stock of John David". (When it shows up on IMDb, I will link to it.) Now I'm just waiting for the other 3 shorts and 3 features to be completed so I can put together a reel!! Not bad for someone who never did any film work until June of this year!!
What brought me to my computer, though, is the audition I had earlier this evening. I got the sides last night. It's for a dramatic short, and though I got the whole script, after reading my scene, I felt like I needed to focus in on bringing my character to life in that scene rather than spending my limited time reading the whole script. I worked on it for a total of about an hour and a half (btw. yesterday and today). I felt like I knew this character. A hard-working single mother of two who was so busy making a living for her children that she didn't have time to decide what type of life she wanted to build for herself. I knew this woman. I came home and took a nap for about an hour before I had to leave and drive back over the hill for my audition. I wasn't feeling well, and just decided to just "leave myself alone" emotionally and just allow myself to be. It was chilly, but I didn't turn the heat on in my car b/c I decided that as a single mother of two earning just over minimum wage, my car didn't have heat. I just pulled the jacket of my sweatsuit a little closer to ward off the cold. I had to park about a half-mile from the d@#) building which really irritated me. I got into the office, signed in & promptly developed a case of the sniffles. I'm surprised anyone sat near me. I observed people coming & going. I could tell who was auditioning for the role I was auditioning for. I saw a little boy who had the perfect look to play my son. Finally my name was called. I usually don't like to use props, but this time I took in a small pair of scissors and some sales papers from which to clip coupons, as was written into the scene. The best way to say it is that I inhabited the scene and I knew it. At the end, they kept the camera on me for longer than usual. Then the camera operator (so sorry, I've forgotten if she was the director or the producer) told me "I have to say you totally nailed that character. We've already auditioned a number of people for that role and that was exactly what we were looking for." I almost started crying. I told her "Thank you." She read my name from my headshot (the one that looks like I'm straight out of the state pen) "Nicole J. Butler" and asked my availability. I told her I am available. She said " You really know this character." I told her "She's my mother." I thanked them for allowing me to audition, the woman who read with me walked me out to the lobby, I told everybody there to "break a leg" then went to my car and cried for about 5 minutes. It was true. She was my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my sister, my friends... This is why I do it. To be able to give voice to those whose stories aren't told. To those who get overlooked. To those who have been silenced and told that their experiences don't matter. This is why I can't stop. Even though I could be getting PAID in corporate America right now--and believe me, sistuh could always use a new pair of shoes, not to mention my family could really use some financial assistance--not necessarily in that order. This is my charge. It's as much of a responsibility as it is a gift, and honestly, the more I use this gift, the more I respect it's power and realize that it really isn't mine to possess. I am just a vessel. I am humbled.
I took my vitamin c, my zinc, and my echinacea w/ goldenseal, and I really should go to bed now, but I think I'm going to go write. Or paint or something. Creativity is double-edged sword. lol At the risk of sounding morbid, it will probably be the death of me. But what a life it is allowing me to live! I think it's a fair trade. :o)
P.S.--Oh yeah! I'm working as a stand-in (for the first time) on BET 25. Interesting. Kinda cool... I need to get my butt in the unions!!