acting · change · confidence · dreams

Hunger Games

I attended the Theater Bay Area General Auditions on Sunday
as a volunteer, which meant I got to see a lot of headshots, a lot of nervous
milling actors, and some of the auditions.
What I got to observe was that I probably fit somewhere in the
middle of that pack – I’m not worse than the worst person, and certainly not as
good as the best, so that means… I have a shot, right?
The General Auditions bring together all of the casting companies from around the Bay in one
room, like a cattle-call. There are about 5 auditions every 15 minutes, and it
goes on for 3 days. I can only imagine what that must be like for the auditors!
But, you never know – they can’t blink, because they might miss something, and
if you falter, you’ve just faltered in front of everyone you’ll ever audition for.
(all hail hyperbole!)
The other thing I got to see was how hungry all the actors were. It didn’t matter the age, or
experience, there was a rabid manic energy about the whole place. The guy
sitting in the lobby mouthing the words to his monologue, the slight look of
lamb at slaughter of a few, and the general awkwardness of the others standing
around their competition, sizing one another up, if even glancingly.
Because there isn’t enough. That’s the grand and great mantra
of things like this. It reminded me of the day laborers who stand outside of
Home Depot, waiting for someone to pick them. All they want to do is work. That’s
it – just give these people an opportunity to do what they know how to do best.
Just let them work. It’s a very different idea about the hungry artist, to me
at least. The idea that the hunger isn’t necessarily about pride, prestige,
fame, but just about getting the chance to do that which you’ve been trained to
do –
Let Me Work. That’s what these
actors are saying, in their fidgeting, their primping, their priming.
And this Saturday, I will do the same. I will say the same
thing: Dear CCSF Director, Please let me work.
It’s a strange interview process; so much more intense than
“regular” office interviews, where it’s a dialogue (hopefully). This is just
you, presenting what you have to offer, sans feedback. There’s no riffing, no
improv, no charming self-depreciation or affable witticism. There’s just what
you can give in 1 minute – what you can bottle and nutshell in one minute of
the macrocosm of who you are and what you can do.
It is a lot of
pressure!
But. I’m up for it. I have to be. I don’t really have the
option to shirk my dreams anymore, or shrink from that which enlivens me. I mean…
I do, but, “all things considered,” I don’t. Life is short, dearies.
I also am getting to observe my lovely monkey mind as it
compared my list of acting credits to those on the resumes I was handing to the
auditors. I don’t have an MFA in Acting.
I don’t have a BA in Theater
Arts. Hell, I don’t even have one legitimate credit at all. And, yet, (I’m
talking to you, monkey mind) So, the, fuck, what. ? So what?!
Do you not make a new recipe because it might fail, and
therefore never eat again? Do you not refuel your gastank because it’s empty
and futile to continue refilling it? Do you stop talking to people you’ve never
met before because your name hasn’t been in lights, on a program, on Buzzfeed?
Well, I hope not.
Essentially, Life would be pretty awful if it meant only
doing the things you knew how to do. Where is the joi de vivre in that?
So, I’ll own the joi. I’ll de vivre. I’ll feed my monkey
mind banana chips and positive affirmations. I’ll practice the shit out of my
monologue, and I’ll mouth words silently, and I’ll appraise my competition, and
I’ll remind myself there is enough and I am worthy, and I’ll believe it and I
won’t believe it, and I’ll try again next time.
Because, I woke up with Lose Yourself in my head this morning — Eminem wants me to work, too. 

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