Friday, November 15, 2013

Call and Response

Sometimes you call out but get no response except the echo of a vacant room. Other times, the universe hears you and sings back, loud and clear.

The day after that little tantrum, I had a full on sob session in my car on the way home from a screening/talk-back at which the innocent star mumbled something about "falling" into acting. Casually shrugged off his start in the business as something he did for fun when he was young that just "grew on him" as he went along. The poor actor meant nothing by it, but in that moment, sitting in the audience... I absolutely hated him. Now, I'm not a hater. But I am human, so in that moment, all the anger and frustration I was feeling and keeping tightly sealed just below the surface came up in my face and I projected on to him. How unfair is it for me to be working so hard to even get an audition and this guy was handed a career as if it were free-role Friday??

First of all, I highly doubt the road was as smooth as this actor made it seem. We all tend to gloss over the hardships once we're on the other side of them and he did mention something about eating gas-station pizza every night during the hard times, so I know the man faced his fair share of struggle. And don't worry, I didn't make a scene. I doubt even the person sitting next to me even knew that those words had hit a nerve in me. But I did cry like a freaking banchee in the car on the way home. I mean full on, snotty nose, hiccup inducing waterworks. The people in the cars next to me must have thought I was losing it. For real.

If you're new to this grind, be prepared for times like these. They happen to all of us. It's just the nature of this beast we decided to tame. Sometimes you just have to muscle through and keep pressing forward in the face of little to comfort you. Other times you're lucky and salvation comes just at the very moment you need it.

For a day or two I was a bit of a mess, falling into traps of doubt and fear, wondering if I was really any good at this. Somehow, the universe/god/buddha/whateveryoubelievein heard me and responded with a few big reassuring hugs.

It was in the email from the big-time producer who somehow knew I had gone after this film, thought for sure I was going to get it, told me I had a lot of talent and that someday things would happen for me in a big way.

It was in the amazing two theater auditions I had... and the two callbacks that are already scheduled for next week.

It was in the audition that felt like the best of my life, when the Emmy-nominated director said, "Who did you coach with on this? You didn't? This is all your own work? You should be very proud."

It was even in the silly game show I taped (at the request of a CD who nearly cast me in a national commercial two years ago) and won more than three grand.

It's less that I needed those affirmations -- because we actors have to get used to not needing validation -- but more that I just really appreciated them. They came at a time when I was vulnerable and they felt particularly special.

So if you're struggling, remember that it's just a down swing. I have them, you'll have them, everyone does. Even the big big celebs have rough patches. There's only one thing that will follow a down swing... that's the up swing.

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