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So Close and Yet So Far...

There is moment I wait for as an actor- when my manager sends me a frantic sounding text message “Check email! AUDITION!”, even though the email has been sent merely 10 minutes ago. I pull to the side of the road (yes, as usual, I am on the road heading somewhere or another in this LA traffic) and find the email on my phone with all the details to the audition. It dawns on me that this is not just any old audition. This is the kind of opportunity I have been waiting for, the one that might tell me that the best is just about to begin. I respond, “CONFIRMED!” and resume with my day.

Late at night, I stay up in bed reading the script. It is genius and the role is perfect! I can’t remember the last time I fell in love with a script and a specific role. There is so much of me in this character and I am excited at the chance of pulling from my reserve of life experiences to bring this character to life. I cancel everything else in my life for the next 48 hours including my emails and phone messages to do my work. After an incredible breakthrough rehearsal with my coach I begin to sink into the skin of the character loving him as I would myself.

The day arrives… I perform my daily rituals of mind, body and soul and step out of my apartment with a bounce of confidence to my walk, truly feeling grateful for the chance to even read for this project regardless of the outcome. There is a great vibe from the moment I step into the casting office. The reader is actually zoned into me like a real scene partner and the casting director is so warm and encouraging that I feel open to be my best. I cannot believe how ON I am nor the joy I feel just from being grounded. It’s the best read yet. For a moment I forget that I am me. I have truly become the role I have worked hard to study.

I step out into the sunshine to text my wife that all went well and begin my dialogue with the team I have been blessed to have behind me. This is where I have seriously scored big as an artist- with a coach who somehow manages to bring out my soul and the best parts of my skills into my work and who always leaves me feeling like I can indeeded reach out and touch the stars, an agent who actually works hard on my behalf, and my faithful manager who still believes in me and nurtures me even when I am secretly discouraged. My immediate callback for this project is a triumph I share with all of them.

Three days later, I enter the casting office for my callback with the same calm confidence, and the same warm energy with the casting director and the reader. The director is present this time and she on the other hand is somewhat distant and barely cracks a smile. I resolve to win her over with my honest read of the character. Throughout my audition, she and her assistant have their eyes glued to the back of my resume like it is the Bible. I think, “No good woman! NO! What you are looking for is not at the back of that headshot. It is right HERE pouring his heart out, being vulnerable for the sake of this character and the story. Look at ME! I’m your guy. Give me a chance!”

Somehow I make it though the scenes with the same focus and joy. The director then gives me an adjustment (which is opposite of the approach the casting director has asked me to take at the end of my first audition.), talking to me in a small timid voice. It is at this point, I realize that I had evolved… I am more confident of myself as an actor that she seems of herself as a director. I guess we all have our fears at the end of the day…

I throw out my best vibes without the affirmation of a role well read or the hope of another meeting. I’ve done my best and resolve to leaving it in the hands of providence. Over the years, I have learned how to simply do my best and then just forget about the audition. If I get the callback or better still the job, it is a bonus… Only every now and then I run into the one role I would kill to have, the role I can’t imagine how they could cast someone else… and then despite myself, I find myself completely crushed, and feeling ever so far from the dream.

Just a week ago, driving on Hollywood Blvd brought fresh feelings of hopes and possibilities. Today I am back to waiting… for my time to live the dream, or for a call that might still come just later than I expected. I must teach myself each morning to return to a place of gratitude for all that my career has already given me since I first began in a black box theater in East Tennessee. I remind myself that while the outcome keeps my dream alive, I am shaped, matured and prepared in the journey. To miss out on that would be in itself a missed opportunity…

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