Today I’ve been pondering the torture and necessity that is auditioning to those of us who choose (or are chosen) to take the path of actor.
Now I think of myself as an artist open to all forms of expression and I take pride in having skill in a range of creative forms but acting has been at the center of my creative web since the first time I stood on a stage.
I haven’t thought about the moment I knew I wanted to be an actor in a long time but really sitting with my thoughts I can recall a very vivid moment in elementary school. A talent show or variety show put together in our music class or art class. I can’t remember the specifics. I do remember I used to be part of a gifted and talented class and worked closely with our music teacher on my performance.
What’s funny about the experience: I sang for this first performance. And singing still remains a slight fear for me. Yet the moment I knew I wanted to be on stage as often as possible involved singing in front of crowds of people.
I was terrified. I was literally shaking. And yet this response that I had stirred this passion in me to learn more about performing. I sang in this talent show or variety show a song picked by my music teacher that went something like this: “when I’m shivering in my shoes I strike a careless and whistle a happy tune so no one ever knows I’m afraid”
And I can’t quite remember if it was the words and finding that if I really believed I didn’t feel afraid or if it was the challenge of getting over my stage fright in order to accomplish my goal that really struck me – but something about that moment in front of parents and students alike and the congratulations I received afterwards from my music teacher forever branded me as a girl interested in the arts.
Now add to that moment later on in elementary school being picked at random to take on a 2-line role in a production that came to our school – to make a cameo if you will – and you had a fully determined actor on your hands before I even reached middle school.
It’s funny. I’ve never really thought about all this – but as I’m writing I’m remember so many moments about my early times on the stage and how afraid I was and how much that fear drove me to do it more. It was challenging to me. It scared me. And for some reason I liked that.
I guess thats a testament to something very clear about my nature – I am determined and ambitious. I always have been.
I may fear singing in front of crowds, but I can recall several moments after that where I have done just that. By choice even. And looking back that amazes me.
I haven’t looked back in awhile. I haven’t thought about where I’ve come from. I’m realizing I’ve come from a place of deep determination and ambition that still lingers in me today. I may not always feel it as strongly as I once did or think I should – but I don’t think this determination will ever leave me.
Auditions are scary. Singing is terrifying. And yet I do them. I’ve moved to a brand new city after graduation from college and I have made an active effort to audition for people I don’t know in the slightest – and to do so a multitude of times. It’s a funny thing we subject ourselves.
We walk in knowing we are going to be judged. Judged on our appearance, our smile, our movements, our choice in monologue, our interpretation of emotions, our past work, our appearance in a photograph – all of it. We openly accept that.
And then we hope and dream of being ‘well-liked’ ‘approved of’. We are the craziest, neediest, and probably some of the most determined people in the world. We asked to be judged regularly. It is our job to be judged by others and ‘ranked’. And our career is built on acceptance.
It’s a strange world I live in.
But its the world I’ve wanted since I first stepped into a spotlight and opened my shaking mouth.