On the surface, that seems like a purely good thing, right? It is a good thing, but it can also be terribly crippling. I've been there, when the desire to be great (and the fear that I wasn't) stopped me from trying. I didn't want to take new headshots, not until I lost those five extra pounds. I didn't want to go to workshops until I really felt like I was on top of my game. I didn't want to go to class because I felt rusty and I was worried I wouldn't be as good as I imagined I could be. I didn't want to throw my entire soul behind it just yet. Not until everything was perfect.
But the truth is... it's never perfect. And neither are you. And your best today may make you cringe five years from now. But if you constantly put it off because you're waiting for brilliance to just... happen... I think you might find yourself waiting a long time, and perhaps never truly going for it.
Three years ago, just before I started this blog, this truth settled in me and changed my career. It changed my life. I decided I had to do the very best I could right now and forget about needing it to be perfect. I would do the very best I could with the skills and resources I had right now, and if I did that every day, I would inevitably grow over time. I do look back on some of the stuff I was really proud of three years ago and chuckle. It's not amazing, but had I not done it, I wouldn't be looking back towards it from the place I'm in now.
I had one of the most difficult auditions I've ever had this week. It was a producer session for a top of show guest star on a major show. While a big credit like that doesn't necessarily come along every week for me, I have been there before. It wasn't the size of role or the money on the line that terrified me... it was one of the most complex characters I've ever had to create. Seven pages of dialog that consisted of mostly me talking, more emotional layers than I had ever worked on before, and less than twenty four hours in which to create them. And crying. Lots and lots of crying.
I actually broke down into tears in front of my roommate the morning of the audition because I was so terrified that I didn't have enough time to get it all together. I felt like I had a final exam in three hours and someone had just handed me a text book and said it would all be on the test. This role was no cream puff, just-be-your-charming-self-and-you'll-do-fine kind of role. Nailing that level of complexity in the audition (i.e. a single take) with two separate scenes back to back that required totally different emotional states is tough. (Understatement of the century.) I would have to be on my A game in order to book it. No, my AAAAAAA+++ game. It was that hard. It was fucking scary. In that situation, the temptation to just walk away and avoid the whole situation (and thus the hard work and potential heartbreak) is very, very real.
But this is what this hustle is all about. I found a way to swallow my fear and let go of having to make it perfect. It took so much out of me that I'm here, two days later and my energy is just finally returning. Not only because it was incredibly emotionally exhausting to go to the dark place in which the character lived, but also because I didn't get the job.
I know one of the show's producer's really well, so I got a lot of great feedback and honest insight into my audition. He was in the session and we chatted after the role went to someone else. We discussed some ways I could have given a stronger performance, but he was overall encouraging and thrilled that the casting team and producers were able to meet me. (He even told me the other producers discussed how strong some elements of my audition were... and how pretty I am. Huzzah! I'll take it. Every little bit counts.)
After everything, I'm proud of myself and giving it my all even in the face of real fear. Perhaps this one was just a little beyond my ability today, but three years ago, there's just no way. Maybe next week... next month... or next year, I will get better at delivering a character of that caliber in the audition room. Booking or not, I grew as a performer this week. If I do that after every audition, I'm on the right track.
As an added bonus, there was a little moment in my conversation with this producer that nearly made my heart burst. It was so small, he probably didn't even notice it happened. When chatting about auditions and the future, he said,
"When you're super famous, you won't even have to worry about that."
It wasn't tongue-in-cheek, the way people often say it, like, "Will you still remember me when you're super famous? Haha *wink, wink." He said it very casually and just matter of fact, as if it were inevitable. He didn't even say it as encouragement. It was just, "we're here now and eventually you won't have to deal with that because I know you will be big enough it won't touch you." Coming from a producer of multiple hit shows... that's a big deal.
So here's to giving everything we have today so that we can give even more tomorrow. Good luck out there, peeps.