Doing the Work
Yesterday I had an audition. Whenever I first start preparing for an audition, I have a feeling of "I've got it" or "I don't have it". There's usually something about the character that I understand and empathize with immediately. But sometimes, I read through a script and I just don't understand the character or what they want. This means my job gets way harder. But I still have to do my job.
So, yesterday I had an audition. In my experience, for the first round of auditions, it's the casting associate reading with me and recording the audition. Well, yesterday, the director was in the audition room.
It was one of those characters and one of those scenes in which I felt a little lost. I got in my head. I thought the character was too smart for me to play, too beautiful, too smooth. It made me start doubting myself as an actress very quickly. But, I pushed those feelings aside and tried to find similarities between us. I figured out who she was--what she wanted--and most importantly, what she was hiding. I prepared the scene from there. I did what I usually do, I talked out my lines while searching in my closet for the right outfit. What would she wear? Why? Which glasses? Is her hair messy or well tended to? By the time my audition came around, I was still doubting my ability a little bit, but I felt confident in the choices I had made for the character. And I felt like I knew her. I felt for her. I wanted to speak for her. At that point I knew I was ready.
I walk into the casting studio, surrounded by women who totally "look" the part. More so than me, I think. But hold fast! That's where you can really get into your head. At that moment, I knew it was time for me to reconnect with my character, remind myself what she wanted and what SECRET she was holding. I felt grounded again. I was soon called in to the room.
They asked how my French dialect was. I laughed and said that I sometimes slips into German, but let's do it (I had prepared the scene in both an American dialect, and French)! We read through the first scene. He asked me what was happening in the scene and why my character says a certain line. I had thought about this extensively and was ready with my answer.
"Well, I really go off on him about his car and how it's anti-environmental of people to own this gas guzzling SUV. But then I see that I've made him feel a bit stupid. So I throw him a bone and compliment him to ease the harshness of my previous words...I want him to like me. And coming off the authoritative and smart has lost my dates in the past".
I was met with an impressed, stunned silence. The director finally said "Yes, that's exactly what's going on. Really great observation." He gave me a note based on my answer, and I read through the scene again.
What followed was one of the best moments of my acting career. "You really seem to understand the material. I mean, you've nailed this character." Mind you, I had two more scene to read through. He said this after the first scene. I thanked him and then we began an in-depth conversation about the character and her motivations.
If I had let my insecurities about how I wasn't "right" for the role get in my way, I wouldn't have been prepared to talk about the character. I wouldn't have made such strong choices. And I wouldn't have booked that room.
Maybe I'm not "right" for the part. Maybe I don't get a callback. Maybe I'm too short, my hair's too long, I'm too young, etc. Maybe there is someone better for this role than me.
But I 100% booked that room. I did my best work. And I was respected and commended because of it. It was a great reminder that it's all about the work. And the commitment. Everything after that is out of my control. My job is to bring a real person into the room.
Keep Working, Friends!