Spoke last night with a student who had finished an audition exercise. He sat down and said, with a vaguely pissed off tone, “Yeah, went in for this last week. From The Forgotten. Pretty much did what I did here. Didn’t book it. So.” Now, the fact of the matter was his reading was very good – I can’t tell you why he didn’t book it – I don’t think such ruminations are useful at all. I suspect he read better for me last night than he did in the audition, but it’s not as if I can prove it.
What I did think would be useful was for this actor to realize he’s one of the top guys at our school. In the city. Funny as shit, angry as hell, can play blue collar, white collar, father, priest, crook, anything… He has created one of the funniest characters I’ve seen for a one-person show – so let’s add in “writer” to the actor part. He also happens to be a fantastic carpenter. Earlier in the year, when I directed The Real Thing, the BHP’s now ex-set designer showed up with my set a whopping 45 minutes before our first curtain, sticky from new paint, and looking like total crap. I called this actor, and over three days the following week, he worked nonstop to rebuild my set from scratch to make it look the way I wanted. Have I mentioned he’s a drummer as well? Yeah. So he’s a certified hyphenate.
And yet this rather kickass individual was moody broody about a fucking TV audition he didn’t get, and his view of life was colored negatively by not having booked this job. So I railed at him, lauding his many talents, his give, his responsibility level, the way the guy can hang a new door, making the point that all of those talents come from one person. One person. It’s not one person who is a brilliant carpenter, but some untalented idiot variant who goes in for a TV role. It’s the same guy. (Remember Harrison Ford’s now famous trip from carpenter to huge star……?) But because we are programmed by money, by the adage that “you are what you’re paid to do” – which, if you will note, has never been said in an effort to encourage someone – the actor will denigrate his or her entire life for not booking a particular job or set of auditions.
This actor emailed me a better sum-up than I could manage: “I realize I was looking at the different aspects of my life (carpentry, acting, drumming, writing) as each in their own box. Seeing that one are was going well while another was not. What you said made me look at it in a different way, that all these aspects are being generated by the same source and are all connected by talent. I also got the importance of enthusiasm, which I need to sustain whether I’m booking or not.”