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Atypical Acting Tips for Life #2 & 3

#2 Be graciously patient...OH MY GOODNESS!

It’s audition time here for all the professional theatres in town. It’s slightly nerve wracking each and every year, but also exciting in an adrenaline-rushing kind of way, and this year, I’m getting the joy of seeing people I know waiting to show their stuff alongside me. Friendly faces help. A lot.

All auditions - stage, tv, film, commercial, musical, vocal - and even interviews- involve waiting. Hurrying and then waiting.

HURRYING to find the opportunities,

hurrying to get yourself together the day of and get to the right address,

hurrying to park the car to be there on time,

hurrying to cram information or last-minute lines into your brain...

and then WAITING in the holding area.

Waiting while “on deck” with your little heart dancing frantically in your chest while you breathe slowly in and out.

Waiting to get a call.

Waiting to find out if they “liked you” or not, waiting for the several days or weeks to pass that will confirm you were not the one they wanted to go with.

Waiting for the next gig or email from the agent. Waiting for “your time” to shine.

As I could have expected (but still did not), there was a whole lotta waiting while auditioning and while on set for the Bon Voy commercial...

I'll just say, this particular audition process was NOT a very organized one.

From our view at the bottom of the totem pole, it was all too obvious that some instructions just weren’t trickling down from the head honchos. No one seemed to know who was in charge.

There was a LOT of extra waiting time,

a LOT of anxious shifting in seats and readjusting of clothing,

a LACK of available authorities to answer our questions, and

Too many busy auditioners waiting to catch flights or get to jobs that left disappointed and frustrated.

(We’ve all experienced something like that in life, right?)

At the costume fitting after getting the gig, the patience testing continued.

What I expected to be 30 minutes turned into 4.5 hours. During this time, there were moments where a breach in communication from one leading party to another set off a palpable pressure bomb into the air that even us idle 'talent' could feel.

Here’s an example for you... So and so gave such and such permission to leave the premises and now the whole kit and kaboodle, us included, has to wait 45 min - standing in place - until such and such has safely returned, gotten into costume, and joined the impromptu rehearsal.

As the minutes ticked away - and my dinner plans with TJ along with them - without ANY INFO from anyone on why or how much longer, I struggled to maintain composure.

But, when I took a step back to stop thinking about just myself, the bigger picture became more clear...

There are a TON of people working to make this project happen. (The Marriott Bonvoy team shot in at least 7 locations with new people on the team at each site.)

They all have different teams behind them they have to keep on task.

They've come from all around the country (and world) and many haven't slept since they got off the plane.

They all have to report to the deciding board and make sure every. little. detail. is just so in order to get that we get paid...

SO much work goes into one commercial. Into one movie, one book, one song, one fill in the blank. Naturally, with all that work can come a lot of stress and error and lack of consideration…

We therefore have ample opportunities to show empathy and grace.

Even when we're inconvenienced

and hangry

and know that things could be run much more efficiently than they are

(and maybe part of us wants to take over in order to prove that),

people need to be given grace,

and sometimes achieving that bigger goal is well worth a personal sacrifice.

Who needs your patience today?

“Grow in your patience” isn’t often a message I hear from the Casting Networks and Backstage blogs...We actors get a whole lot of “Hustle, hustle, hustle! Stay on top of things! Keep up with your agent! Do, Attend, Sign Up, Go to Class, etc, etc…” And all these things are good, right?

How do these messages (or ones like them in your field) affect you? Maybe they excite and energize you...I wish I could say that was the case for me. Most often, I notice that when these are in my head a lot, I can get this frantic feeling in my chest, alerting me that my mind is not at rest, and I start thinking I’m behind in life...but who’s telling me that? Myself?

My interpretation of what the world tells me makes for a successful actor?

Perhaps these messages tend to make me focus more on me, less on others, and more on some vague idea of what I should be. Patience usually doesn't factor in to the list of these thoughts.

But patience is the first quality of Paul’s list in his definition of love in 1 Cor. 13. "Love is PATIENT, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast..." My mom drilled this in to my head as a kid, because, suffice it to say, I was not quite patient with my two younger brothers. Thanks in part to her, I'm much more quick to be patient with others today, but with myself? Am I willing to accept God’s patience with me?

#3 Listen to people...they will love you!

I'll also say, we actors did manage to find a production assistant who wondered why we were still there and went to ask questions for us. The answers took a while to come...who knows how high up the chain he had to go...but they did come!

It meant a lot in that stressful couple hours to have someone not just walk by us as we waited, but actually look at us, make eye-contact, and take up a cause on our behalf.

So go be that stellar, patiently-loving production assistant for somebody today (and for yourself, too!) What are you rushing for? Breathe, pray, and reconnect with that first definition of what love is.

Till next time!


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