“Are you an actress?” People will ask me.
“No. In order to be an actress you must be narcissistic, self-obsessed and have an eating disorder. And I don’t have an eating disorder.”
I don’t like the audition process. If you have never personally identified with a cockroach, than you haven’t been on a casting call. “Why do you do it if you hate it?” Well, I will do any number of things I hate (i.e. plane travel, shitty hotels, mass mailings, LA theater, talking to ‘industry’) in order to accomplish the things I love (stand up and writing jokes).
When I’m nervous, I’m funny. It’s how I cope with feeling uneasy. I went to an audition for a drama on smaller network (that shall remain nameless). I did my part. The casting director cracked up. I had him doubled over, laughing. I FLOATED out of that casting office, I was so happy at the response. Until the thought occurred to me,”Uh Tina – that audition wasn’t for a COMEDY! The scene was about the character’s mother dying.” Oops.
Today I had an audition. Breakdown said that they wanted ‘funny, sexy, smart, likeable’. Does ‘dork that can’t walk in high heels’ fit the bill? Perhaps. I got to the casting office early, there was no one else there. I signed in. I sat down.
The audition was improv (code for: we hate paying writers). We were to be paired up. The girl that I was going to be partnered with, came in.
“Are you here for the *name omitted* thing?” She asked.
“Yep. I think they’re not back from lunch yet.”
She starts thumbing through the call sheet.
“They are seeing *name omitted* today too.” I said, stupidly trying to make conversation with an actress as a competing actress.
“She was on that show *name omitted too*.”
“Didn’t watch it.”
“Well there’s not too many stand up comics that look good in a short skirt, and they’re all on that list.” (if you had to read that again because it sounded awkward – it WAS) I could have said that in Russian. It would have gotten the same result.
“Uhm, okay.” She quietly walked to the other side of the empty room. Like whatever I had was catching.
I thought to myself. “I got the brush off. This is why no one that actually works with actors likes them…Posture. You have terrible posture. Make sure to sit up straight. Don’t say anything stupid. But if you do say something stupid – make sure it’s funny. Don’t act how you’re feeling. Yeah that. That feeling of dread and piercing contempt for yourself? Don’t act like you feel like that. Make sure to be funny. You don’t need this. You don’t NEED this. Try to act like a secure normal human being, people like that. Don’t be weird, Tina. Don’t be weird. AHH! I want to be anywhere but here.”
I go into the audition. I say some funny stuff and some other stuff that wasn’t. I leave the room. I say to the other girl. “I like the thing you said. That was cool.” I figured she was mean to me – I could get her back by being nice. I felt pretty good about what I did in there. It wasn’t a total disaster – I know because I have had those.
My friend called me and we went to Starbucks. You want to know whose out of work on any given day in LA? Go to any number of Starbucks. They are all there making deals and promises they can’t keep.
“How’d it go?” My friend asked.
“It was okay…”I said.
I told my friend a detailed account of the audition. What I said. What they asked. What I said to that. What I wished I had said. What I didn’t say. What I wish I DIDN’T say…
See none of this actually matters. What’s going to happen will happen regardless of if I worry about it. But I felt okay.
After a short hour of conversation and a small iced coffee, I suddenly felt like the biggest loser at Starbucks (and believe me there’s stiff competition).
There MUST be something in that French Roast…