Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My botched audition with Marc Webb

Because I flippantly mentioned that I botched an audition with this director in a previous post and it would probably raise a question or two, here goes:

I had an audition for the pilot episode of the canceled-after-two-episodes-and-we-didn't-even-get-to-see-Andie-MacDowell show "Lone Star." It died an unceremonious death as many of the shows around here have this year (bye, CHASE. It was fun.). Anyyyyywaaaaaay, my audition was at 8:30 a.m. in Dallas, which is 3 hours away in good traffic. However, I had committed to teaching a free class the evening before.

Here's where I made the mistake: I ASKED PERMISSION to forgo the class, so that I could drive to Dallas with plenty of time to rest before my audition. I was denied and guilted into keeping the commitment. I blame my Catholic upbringing and sense of commitment (dammit) for being so gullible. So, I stayed for the duration of the class, left at 10 p.m., drove to Plano to stay with a friend, was in bed by 2 a.m., woke up at 6 a.m. to make my 8:30 a.m. audition time. Do we see any problems yet?

In addition to being absolutely useless on less than 7 hours of sleep, I had previously decided that I wanted a bit more background on the role I was reading for. I can feel you cringing now. Yes, I am, too. All I wanted to know was a) How is this person related to the leads? Family or friend? b) What is her role in helping tell their story? Not unreasonable. But, my sleep-deprived brain and sense of brevity came up with this gem: "What is her hierarchy in the show?" To which the casting director quickly piped up, "Oh there's going to be a spin off. It's going to be called name-of-role-I-read-for."

It was a quick save on her part, sort of, but it took me a delayed second to understand what my mouth had just vomited. They thought I was asking about the size of the role. Oh, freaking horrors of audition horrors. If there had ever been a time that I wanted the earth to open and swallow me up, this was it. Simultaneously, I could hear a voice inside my head scream, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! OH! MY! GOOOOOOODDD! GET! OUT! GETOUT! GETOUT! GETOUT!!"

I could have tried to save myself, back track and explain, but really, I probably would have made it worse. I'm good that way. I've mentioned before about my uncanny ability to sabotage myself, no? Well, I'm excellent at shooting my own foot. Moving on.....

So, after this introductory disaster, I auditioned and felt good about it leaving the room, but well what did that matter if the only impression I left them with was that I'm a freaking diva and possibly mentally unstable? Oh, for 3 more hours of sleep!

I alerted my agent immediately about my faux pas and she did what she could to smooth things over, but well, he'd already dismissed me by then. However, after all that, the character was completely cut from the script and Mr. Webb dropped the show to follow a little project called "The Amazing Spider-Man" or something to that effect.

Small consolation after this mess is that I did get to chat with the casting director during a workshop and she mentioned in retelling this cautionary tale that I was the best read. D'oh! Right in the heart! By the way, in case you're slow and don't know what the cautions are: get sleep, only ask questions pertaining to the scene(s) you have in hand. Oh, and don't ask permission. It's better to apologize for doing something than to be denied before trying.

Back to it

In the swing of rehearsal, prepping for the next live theatrical production. It should be something interesting. It'll be a mobile type of venture where the audience will walk around the outdoor grounds of a museum and watch a bunch of adults play children. Children trapped in a fantasy world. Against their will. It's not really a kid friendly thing, but I don't see why children wouldn't get something out of it. Just no crying, please.

I guess it's just me not having had the academic theater background as my contemporaries, so I still get a little freaked out by some of the warm ups and group work we're asked to do. I'll go along with it. I mean, what do I know, right? I do however, have those few minutes where my brain says, “Excuse me, what? I am to stand here and just wait for this group to synch brains?” Then I let it go. It's an exercise. Lord knows I could use the exercise in patience and listening. Awareness of others isn't a bad thing, either.

It's just good to be around folks who are willing to play and explore. It makes me feel all creative-like and willing to push a little farther out of my comfort zone. It really does make me feel like a kid again, and not just because I'm supposed to be a child. For three hours I can focus on this one thing and not be completely plagued by my worries and my other commitments.

Speaking of which, I guess I'm at the point where my commitments are going to collide. I've already been lectured once about commitment this week. I have to prioritize. And I am. I still don't have the steady day job thing, so I won't turn down freelance opportunities, or booked jobs, because of my non-paying commitments. And for the record, I don't consider $40 for 3 months of rehearsal and performance paid work. That's just reimbursement for gas. Sorry. It may be hard for those folks to hear, but I can't repeat my mistake from the summer.

Full disclosure (This is so painful. More painful than my botched audition for Marc Webb.): I was in a theater production this past summer and booked a NATIONAL commercial scheduled to film the opening weekend, so I then lost the booking. Gone. Like that. S-T-U-P-I-D. I still haven't let that go and it haunts me. A few months later, I had the pleasure of auditioning with the young lady who I handed that job to. Lovely. Not awkward for me AT ALL.

I had to make a quick decision and I feel I made the wrong one. The beauty of hindsight – I could have made it work, but I didn't entertain the thought. I'm just hoping for patience, a bit of luck and it won't have to come to something like that ever again. Art and money are mutually exclusive for actors in regional, non-Broadway theater. I'm an actor and I need to an income doing so. Rejecting paid work I've earned isn't smart business. Duh.

I realize this may be an unpopular opinion, especially among my theater friends, but that's my reality. Art is art, but business is money and I have a mortgage, a car payment and an over-worked husband. So far, I'm managing and I don't want to be unkind or difficult. I'll make as many accommodations as I can. I don't want to let people down, but it won't come at the expense of me losing work … I hope.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change....

It's becoming more difficult to write on a more regular basis. So much of what I'm going through isn't directly happening to me. It's happening to my husband and I'm helpless to change anything for him. It's very painful for me not to be able to just fix/change everything that's wrong right now. It's also not fair to him to air his privacy out in the open just because I need an outlet. It is MY freaking blog after all isn't it? So, yeah, it's about mememememememe.

My husband might argue that's not necessarily different from any other day. He's not being mean, just pointing out the obvious. What? I have FLAWS?! The hell you say?! I've caught myself lately talking more and asking less. Two ears, one mouth. Hello? Not and island! I'm working on that. I promise.

So, in trying to be fair and a good wife, I have to be vague. The details I suppose aren't necessarily relevant, I'm just trying to be there for my biggest supporter and fan at a time when he needs his wife the most. He's sacrificed more than I have; believed in me when I had doubts; and bears the biggest burdens and stresses, so that I could pursue my heart's desire. I hope he can say that I've been there for him. He's been there for me.

My focus can't be on me right now. That'll be a nice change. He's supported me for so long, it's my turn. I just want to be able to deliver when it comes time to. It may mean dropping the dream, whether temporarily or permanently. I don't know. I can't know what tomorrow brings. Trying to do both acting and paying a mortgage (when will I stop regretting this purchase?) on one steady income just isn't realistic. But you already knew that, didn't you? I just got excited too quickly and didn't think about the worst case scenarios. Oh, hubris....