In this industry, staying true to who you are can be a bit of a task when you are constantly auditioning (for the most of us) to be someone else. How conflicting and contradictory. But we do it…and with such pride and honor.
Well, being “vulnerable”, staying “grounded” and “fit” are just some of the coping mechanisms to “being true”.
A few weeks back, I was submitted for a film that was to be shot in another country. I cannot tell you…I was so excited when I got word I got the audition after being submitted for it…I actually said the words…”I WANT THIS” role when being submitted.
The Casting director, one whom I have met with in the past, obliged; I was invited to audition. GREAT! I was given the sides AND the script. EXCITING! For any actor, you know how exciting it is to get the sides (and have to learn them) and the script. Hello!?? This is just great! Its just provides a basis for allowing the actor to understand the character better. I think it can also ruin us, as we “know” more than we should about the character and the film and it destroys our sense of drawing from our own choices and experiences because we try to “Deliver” the character as portrayed in the script. IMO.
All text is ambiguous until YOU give it life.
How can I give this character my best “truths”? Staying available to vulnerability and emotion allows you to draw from your personal experiences and give this to the character. This is a truth. These are only places YOU have been and these are only stories you can portray.
Every week, I try to audition at least 1-2 a week- depending on the work here in NY. Sometimes, I work with others on their projects just to keep myself in a good place. A grounded place so I never “lose my step”, so to speak. Going to a screening, hanging out with likeminded individuals, taking yourself out every once in a while, going to art gallery openings, or live theatrical performances keep you away from the “hard” part about this industry. They keep you grounded. You keep the fire lit. The passion burning. This is being true.
In this concrete jungle, it might be nervewracking, especially for the actress of color…the roles are far few and in between, its hard as heck to create your own projects without the right funds, the classes are astronomically priced, we must keep up on whats casting, we sometimes do menial background work- just to stay connected to being “on set”, we send out postcards and updates about ourselves to stay current and relevant, we gotta eat right and sometimes, the money doesn’t buy us the “best” food, we have to “look” the part- so looking right…all the time is important, we must PAY to meet people to want to “book” us or manage/represent us, we must spend money we don’t have in order to make money we pray we can get…there is so much more to mention, but…if you’re an actor in NY…you know what I am talking about…through all of this…you have to stay “Fit”. Yes, EMOTIONALLY FIT! Strong enough to stay….well…strong. In every aspect of the word.
I did get a call back for the film. That audition went even better. I even had a private one on one lunch session with the director. It was pretty great. I was happy to connect on a “person to person” level rather than actor-director level.
The choice was not his, to be final for the role. Since it was being shot in another country, the role was going to be made by another stakeholder. I was really happy with my work and my ability to be true. It came down to myself and another actress. Sadly, I was not chosen for the role, but I was still happy with myself for sticking it out and being truthful. This was ALL I knew how to be and it showed. I was given great feedback, nothing negative and the choice ultimately came from someone who did not have the pleasure of getting to know “me” in a “one on one” setting, but my passion was true and it showed in my taped audition performances. Sometimes it does not matter how “True”, “grounded” or “fit” you are…not every role is yours to be had. But keeping those attributes in mind while auditioning, getting call backs and creating your own work are well worth the effort.
So get on out there…be true. True to you. No matter what your passion is…be true to it.
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