Friday, February 13, 2015

The Pip With Pizazz

Warning: This post is 80% pity party and 20% inspirational. I hope. 

It's been two months since "Damn Yankees" closed. At the time, I was grateful for the break--November was madness and I was grateful to have a few extra hours each night to refuel. But now I'm getting antsy. I can feel my acting muscle starting to atrophy, and I'm getting desperate for something to work it out with.

And for the first time in my life, I'm dealing with rejection on a level previously unknown to me. I seem to be in the middle of growing a thicker skin right now, but I'm finding it to be slightly more painful and confusing than I ever thought it would be. It's slow at the agency, and I had laryngitis the last time they called me for an audition. I've done three auditions since Damn Yankees, only gotten a callback for one of them, and not been cast at all.

Which, in the grand scheme of things, is totally not a big deal. But to one who's spent the last ten years as a big fish in the little Rexburg pond, my ego is feeling slightly crushed. After each rejection in the last two months, I spent a few days feeling certain that I was the worst actress ever. Then I snapped out of it and started gearing up for the next audition.

But it is tiring. My feeling is not so much that I might be a bad actress. I do think that now and then, of course I do. I think every creative type occasionally feels certain that they're the worst ever. It's more's like this: like I'm a bagel on a plate of onion rolls. Like I could wow 'em if they'd just give me a chance. I feel like this:

Which I know sounds a bit conceited. And maybe it is. I don't know. Probably. I'm absolutely certain that I'm no Barbra Streisand, but I know I'm a good actress. I know I can carry a tune. I know I can fake my way through a dance. I just really suck at auditioning and am completely unknown to almost every director in Utah. I gotta up my game here. I never realized until now that I've been half-faking my way through auditions for the last several years, just because every director I was auditioning for in Rexburg had already seen me and knew me. And that's not gonna cut it anymore.

And I know I'm not going to be every director's cup of tea. I do think I'm pretty, but I also know that my teeth are terrible and my nose is crooked and I have a weak chin and I'm prone to acne and I make onstage/onscreen choices that aren't always what they're looking for. But that's okay. Because I'd rather be successful as myself than try to be anyone I'm not. I just have to find the directors who want me.

I'm impatient. I want them to find me right now. To write "YES" in big bold letters on the top of my audition sheet.

The other part of my problem right now is I'm a bit picky about the projects I seek. I want to be paid for this. And if I'm not paid, I want it to be a project I really care about. But maybe I need to get over it and just get INVOLVED. Audition for anything that comes my way. Get myself out there.

Saying it out loud, I see how wise it sounds.

I also wish there were more opportunities than there are. I recognize that compared to Rexburg, Idaho, Salt Lake City is FULL of opportunities. But, that we're here, it's apparent how unlike New York City this really is. If we were in New York/LA/Chicago, if I didn't get cast, I could audition for something else the next week. But here, it feels like FOREVER before the next audition comes around. And I've got my heart set on auditioning for certain shows that I really care about, which makes me reluctant to audition for other things that might conflict with them.

A good summary of this entire post so far is just: "Ggaah arghh someone cast meeee!!!"

So now that I've gotten all that out of my system, here's what I'm gonna say to myself. Screw waiting around. Just audition. Just get involved. And if no one is giving you opportunities, make your own. And give 100% in auditions. Don't fake your way through. Give an opening-night performance. The auditioners deserve that from you. And you owe it to yourself to do that. Because when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter if your teeth are terrible, if you have a crooked nose, if you have a weak chin, if your skin is prone to acne. If you're talented and if you work hard and if you audition for roles you're suited for, those things are so so so secondary. Don't waste your time comparing yourself to women who look different than you do, who have been doing this longer, who know people in this area better. Just be yourself and trust that the RIGHT opportunities will come to you if you seek them.  Keep working on your craft. A dry spell isn't the end of the world. You will have your time under the lights again soon.


Kjerstin said...

Your advice to yourself is PHENOMENAL. Repeat it every day, Jessica's Daily Affirmation style.

And then watch this: Success is a numbers game.

Love you! I haven't seen you in many things but I HAVE seen you in enough things to know you're a freaking amazing actress. If you give opening night performances every time you audition, the people you perform for are going to realize that too.


Carrie Lynn said...

You know who this post reminds me of? Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Because for a really long time he couldn't get a job so he started creating his own stuff instead. I know how much you love him. We all know how awesome he is, but he went for a long time not getting cast in stuff and now he's JGL.