The title of this post comes from a conversation that I had with a friend of mine when I told him this story yesterday. I'll explain.
I got called in by a casting director that I really like, to audition for a Halloween episode of a show that has been on for a few seasons now. The role was a 1-line co-star role. I was (as usual) happy for the audition, but wished it was for a larger role. I was to play a mom taking her children out to Trick-or-Treat. Upon analyzing the scene, I thought " How can I spice this up and stay within the boundaries of what's acceptable on this show*? What is NOT on the page that I can use to create a unique character and have some fun with this one line? The scene takes place in a part of the country where it gets chilly in
autumn, and it was Halloween, so I decided to do Halloween-inspired makeup and costuming; not full-on clown regalia or anything like that, but I wanted to suggest that I had taken the time to get into the Halloween spirit by making the effort to costume myself - perhaps at the urging of my children.
I got to the audition all excited to do my thing. I walked into the room, and nobody else had any type of costume in. "Come on, people, it's Halloween!" I thought. I signed in, and waited. People stole glances at me, but wouldn't really look at me straight -on. It was funny. (It was at this point in the story that my friend said "Oh, you were THAT actress.")
I went into the room, and the CD thought it was funny, liked my attention to detail, and the audition went well. He did tell me that if I got a callback, that I should wear regular clothing because the producers might freak out if I showed up dressed like that. That was fine by me. Truth is, it wasn't about this one role anyway. It never is. It's about being creative, and bringing who you are to your work, and not merely "servicing" the line in order to book this role. I had fun, the CD & associate had fun, they've seen me before, so both already know that I can say the one line, so I took it a step further.
I left feeling empowered. Perhaps this is what has been missing from my work: my taking the reins of creative freedom. Maybe it's the reason why I do get the co-star roles over and over again. At the beginning of my career, I had to learn what it took to book consistently. After... 20-ish co-star roles, it's clear that I have a handle on that. In order to be considered for more, I will do more.
I've also found a VO coach, and I meet with her for the first time next week. I need to get a handle on the VO business, as marketing myself in the VO side of things seems to be different from the on-camera side of thing. I want to figure out how to position myself to get union auditions. Gotta help my new VO agent help me. That's how it goes.
I've signed up with the SAG-AFTRA Conservatory as well, but I haven't been able to get into any of their classes yet. Bummed. They require that you call them, starting at 10AM the week before the class that's you want to attend. By the time I get through, the class is full and I'm either put on the wait list or the wait list is full too.
Considering a really good theatrical coach too. She is expensive, but you know - no risk, no reward.
*This is why it's important to have at least a passing knowledge of the tone of TV shows. Nobody had time to watch EVERYTHING on TV, but it is useful to have access.