Wednesday, February 25, 2009
My Preconceived Notions Are Wrong, Apprarently
As I think I've mentioned before, I recently cut back to a part-time schedule at work. The idea was that I would reduce work-related stress that was not only weighing on me, but Honey, and allow myself to re-evaluate my priorities and explore other activities and interests a little more. I've discovered that I really do like a part-time schedule. The last time I worked part time was about three years ago, and though I wasn't particularly thrilled with the actual work I was doing then (kind of as now), I found it worked well with my personality and temperament.
Despite the fact that I've not blogged as much as I should, I have been finding more opportunities to write - and about movies, no less; a personal favorite. And last week, on one of my days off, I decided on a whim to go to a casting call for a commercial. It was an open audition, the call for which crossed my inbox by way of a professional listerve I belong to. I hadn't been to a call like that in years. At least nine years - since before I moved to the east coast. I dressed the part, as well I could (outdoorsy early-30s mom) and just figured I'd go to get an idea of the experience. Not only had it been a long time since I'd done a casting call, I'd gone to precious few in the past, so I really did just want to get an idea of how these things ran. I got to the casting office, signed in, and was a little nervous; despite my attendance solely for the sake of curiosity, nerves still kicked in. Then I started looking at all the women there reading for the same part that I was there for. They were all at least 2" - 4" taller than me, and quite visibly leaner. I easily had 10 pounds on each of them. Their hair was better prepared and their make up more immaculate. Once I realized I was out of my league, I actually relaxed a lot more. They're not going to cast me. My resume is terribly thin, and most of it is related to Clinton-era college shows, and for as "outdoorsy momsy" as I may look in real life, I've worked in and around media enough to know you have to hire a hot mom, not a real mom. This isn't my primary career anyway, so I really have nothing to fear. I can just get this one under my belt and learn more for next time. When it was my turn to go into the room, I slated for the camera, did a few readings of the lines, adjusting them according to the director's requests, and was out in less than 3 or 4 minutes.
As per usual, I replayed the whole action in my head on the drive home, wondering if I could have done anything differently that would have made a better impression. Could've done this; could've done that. Oh well; these are definitely notes I'll remember for the next time, whenever the hell that may be. Also part of the mental meanderings on the ride home were: "Wow, that was fun! Do I want to get back into this? I know don't want to pursue a stage career, but what about commercials and the like? That's short; good for my interest span. But I hate hustling. But maybe I'm a better place in my life to do this now than when I was out of college. Hmm."
Then, the improbable happened. Yesterday afternoon, I was just plugging away at work when my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, but answered anyway. It was the casting agency. Oh, this is the "thanks, but no thanks," call. I wasn't expecting it, but I think many places do that sort of thing, so ... "I'm calling to let you know that they'd like to use you," the agent's assistant stated matter of factly. "Okay," I replied, not missing a beat or betraying the extraordinary surprise I was actually feeling. She gave me the information I needed and later I talked to the stylist a couple of times in the evening to get an idea of what kind of personal wardrobe to bring, in addition to what she was bringing.
I was in a tickly haze for about an hour after the call. I went to this audition, as a whim; as a shy toe to test the water. I wasn't expecting to be cast at all. I'm terribly excited - scared, since I'm normally before a live audience, not a camera - but excited. I'll be getting call time and more information later today. We'll be shooting outside, so I'm sure it'll be seriously cold, but as I'm positive I'll have a lot of nerves racing, I don't know that I'll be freezing. In retrospect, maybe they cast me because I really do look like I could be someone's mom, not an unattainable, idealized hot mom. Maybe I exude a playful nurturing? One of my best friends thinks it helps that I have a very corn-fed, middle-America look (think Jessica Lange or Jodie Foster) ie, prone to be outdoors. So my strawberry-amber mane, my stubborn jawline and my ample hips and bosom paid off for me this time. Who'd've thunk?
All I know is: I'm more comfortable with the idea of my being cast, now. And I've decided to approach this with a sense of fun. When I'm thrown into performance situations with new people with whom I've never performed, I find I'm braver in my performances, because I have no preconceptions. Well, this will be an all new bunch for me. Preconceptions are just speedbumps. This will also be a good learning experience. Hopefully, it'll help me decide if this is something I am interested in pursuing more regularly. I'm not competitve by nature, and when I was in college and immediately after, I felt like auditioning was competing and I hated it. But I'm older (hopefully wiser) now, and maybe I can change my attitude: it's not a competition, it's a chance to play and have fun. I perform - and audition - so much better when I have fun.
The shoot is a day away. Right now, I'm calm and eager. If I can just stay out of my head, it'll all be great. Deep breaths; load the iPod; no preconceived notions.
* photo courtesy of Penguin Feeding Time via Flickr Creative Commons