If you're in this business long enough, once in a while, an audition comes along that reminds you why you started. And believe me when I say that- in this line of work- you definitely need reminders.
I take every audition seriously because my name and livelihood are on the line, and I want to represent myself in the best way possible. I also don't want to waste anyone's time (mine, casting's, my reps', producers, etc.), plus, if I'm going to half-ass it, why even bother? Considering the many head and heartaches that come along with this career, it would be infinitely easier to take a more traditional route.
But artists aren't built that way. We create because it's like breathing from the spirit. And, because my debtors don't accept "spirit breaths" as a form of payment, we have to figure out how to monetize our art. That's where show business comes in, because all show and no business will leave you with all-concrete floors and no ceiling.
This means that I
sometimes often audition for things that don't make my heart sing.* Like people who work in other fields, and don't LOVE every report that they have to run, or every phone call they have to make... I do what needs to be done and I do it to the best of my ability:
- I spend money on the headshots
- I take the classes and workshops
- I memorize the lines
- I create the characters
- I live the stories
- I dress up and do my hair/ makeup
- I drive for 45 minutes, look for parking for 10 minutes, spend 5 minutes walking to the casting office, 15 minutes in the waiting room, spend 45 seconds in front of casting, walk BACK to my car hoping I didn't get a ticket, then drive the 45 minutes back home (if it isn't rush-hour - then it's 90 minutes)
- I audition, I audition, I audition, I book, I don't book, I rinse and repeat. As thrilling as a HOLLYWOOD ACTING CAREER (writ large) sounds, MOST of it isn't glamourous.
You really have to love the craft or acting, or it's NOT worth it. You really have to find a way to make peace with the business side of things, or it's NOT worth it. Even with all of that... some days/ months/ years you will find yourself asking "Is this worth it?"
And, if you're on the right path, the universe will answer you by sending you an opportunity that makes you say "Yes." I just had an audition like that. I received the scene, saw it was about 4 times longer than the scripts that I usually receive, and that half of that was my character speaking uninterrupted. "Wait, what??" Was literally my first reaction. My agent told me that she believed in me. Then I read it. "Jesus." Heavy, heavy stuff. My character was an imprisoned woman with a history of being sexually and emotionally abused. I was grateful to have 4 days to prepare the scene, and this blog post has already gotten long, so I'll spare you the details of my preparation, but I will say that, emotionally, I lived with this character, in that prison for that 3 and a half days, taking sanity breaks here and there.
The audition went very well, I walked to my car feeling good... then when I got into my car, I cried for about 5 minutes straight. The story was fictional, but there are REAL people who are in that very situation, and in order to do justice to those people, I had to "whole-ass" it and feel what this character went through with my REAL feelings. And now it was time to say goodbye to her. And after all of that, I don't know if I'll book the job or not. I'd love to - and not because of the money (though I would, of course, expect to be paid), but because I started acting in order to tell the stories of women who often go unheard, and this is one of those women.
It's a strange thing that we do. We artists. We birth babies and give them away, over and over and over again. Some are homely, some are beautiful, but each one requires that we sacrifice a part of us in order to survive, and we are forever changed by the experience. We birth these babies and send them flying to live in the world, hoping against all hopes that they will be blessed and that they'll touch the hearts that need them most.❤️
*While some of the characters go through things that are emotionally uncomfortable or painful for me, I do not audition for things that I hate or make me feel bad as a person.