Connie, check yourself.
I have a story for you. This one is a bit harder to tell. It's open, too open. Honest, too honest. And revised from it's original publishing because I felt I betrayed the privacy of other characters in this story out of emotion. This story shouldn't be about anything other than what I intended it to be about. Me. It's my story, I want it to be authentic and true, but it really only needs one character.
This story is about me setting my heart on something and getting it broken. And I know all the things you're going to say, it's the business, there will be another opportunity, they were looking for something different. The mind knows the logic.The mind knows the reality but the hearts wants what it wants.
So, here I sit. 24 hours fresh from heartbreak and I want to tell my story.
Let's back up. Last October, I went in to record my re dub for Gremlin. At that point I was on cloud nine. Every single time they called me I was all bobble head nodding enthusiastically, tail wagging and "yes" all the way. Yes. Anything you want. Sunday? 8am?
Absolutely. I'm there.
Bright eyed, bushy tailed with bells on all that jazz and more.
My mom was in town, so when they called l was ecstatic about the opportunity to bring her with me for part of the magic. We went in, and we got to see the full movie trailer, which hadn't been released yet. We got the sneak peek just a couple days before the trailer was posted online. That was so exciting. The the trailer was so well put together it made me extremely proud to be a part of it. I held my breath waiting to see myself flash into the compilation. We got to see all my scenes- and then record clean audio for it. This was fun, I listened to my dialogue and then mocked my own voice. The funny part? Providing clean audio for the intimate scenes. They replaced all the previously recorded audio with clean, in studio tracks. Even the kissing sounds. So there I was, in the sound booth by myself doing some heavy breathing and lip smacking sounds.
After the work was completed we stuck around to chat. My mom and I both congratulated Ryan on the news that he and his crew were already moving forward on the next movie. As he told me the storyline,
I felt all the strings of my heart throwing lassos
I was falling in love. Desperately. I thought about the lead role. The complexity. The challenge . The range of emotion she displays and the roundness of the character. I thought about how amazing it would be if I could land it and I was sad. I was disappointed that it was out of my league. Bummed that I was still hanging out on a lower level and already jealous of the actress that gets the role. But, I thought "Oh well, I'll try to get one of the other smaller roles. It'll just be so great to work on another of Ryan's films." I am super okay with that.
Within a couple of days something changed. I told a friend about the new movie and isn't it just too bad that I'm not good enough to play the lead role? He asked me why I thought that and told me that, on the contrary, I was good enough, nonsense.
I considered this. I thought to myself, I'm not. Yet. I'm not going to delude myself and say I'm such a great actress I should be able to get this role, like today. No. I know the reality - I'm not that good, but I want to be and I believe that I can be. So, yes, I can accept that I'm not great. But I also believe that if I'm cast correctly and given the right tools, I can fool the audience and play on my strengths and LOOK much stronger, technically, than I am, and hopefully no one will ever know or see my weaknesses.
I was running. I do remember the moment specifically. I always have epiphanies when I run :) I was running and I thought.
I want that role.
Not just want it like, how I want a speedy luxury car, or a big beach house, or a closet full of designer shoes, not in the dreamy far off la la land "want". I want that role like, I need to make a plan for getting it, execute the plan and be ready when the time comes. I'm out doing my run and i decide with absolute certainty that I am going to take acting classes. Find a way to get stronger, better, and good enough. I want to be good enough.
I have immense respect for people who go after their dreams, take risks, make themselves vulnerable. People who make movies are brave people. They pour so much into their projects and have no certainty that people will love it. We creative types have to take risks.
Once I made up my mind, I was giddy.
I felt incredibly empowered.
I was lighter than air and I couldn't wait to put my plan into action. I announced it to Mike, what I had decided and he was one hundred percent supportive. From the gym, I went straight to the book store after my run, now that I think of it. I don't know why I hadn't done it before. There are so many things I don't know about the industry and wouldn't you know it? I have access to resources! I don't have to sit in the dark, waiting for tidbits of information to fall from the sky. A book is practically a map, it has directions to guide me to success and answers to all my questions!
So I research and find a great option that works really well for me. Michelle Delong offers classes on Thursday nights so I set that up with her and plan for my first class. After just my first class, I loved her. This woman knows her craft. She is so smart, and a wonderful resource. She knows who I am and we seem to click right away.
This all felt so good. I want to work on this, I want to know what I can do to be better. I tell her, I need her help to get lead roles and she says she's on board.
Each class was frustrating and enlightening. I see it, each time, my bad habits right there on camera. I also get great feedback from her on my natural talents. I'm feeling like I'm making progress and enjoying the process all along as well.
I reach out to Ryan a few times during this period. I am really just so happy for him and I respect him so much for doing what he loves. He takes risks and he works his ass off to put his passion out there. People talk about doing the things they want to do, but the difference is Ryan does them. And each time, with every product he produces, he is exponentially more successful. He's growing and accomplishing. I've read articles on him, I've had long and interesting conversations with him. I admire him, and I like him so much. Which is why I really really want to work with him again. I want to be a part of his success. I mention during a text conversation that I'm taking classes. I want him to know how bad I want to be a great actress.
I want to demonstrate the behaviors of someone who has what it takes.
Passion. Drive. Persistence. I sell myself as a total package. I'm not just a pretty face on camera. I'm a dedicated team member. When you cast me, you get all of me and my resources and I'm dedicated to doing everything I can for the project. Location scouting? Wardrobe help? You name it. I'm you're girl. I can be your right hand if you'll take me.
Self doubt is poisonous and terminal.
I needed to tell myself I can do it so I could keep the momentum going. The second I tell myself I'm not good enough, then it becomes true.
I don't want other people to be the ones convincing me that I'm a good actress. I need to believe it myself and prove it to them. Not the other way around. However, I still tip toe around the conversations. I'm trying to be cool and let him know I'm interested, and I'm working on being good enough, but it feels fragile. I'm always afraid I'll come across as too needy and that's just a turn off. In any situation.
So, lets move on. The time comes to audition and at the time, I felt very collected and confident. My boys.... oh my boys. They are adorable, they helped me with the lines, they watched me stalk around the kitchen yelling at the walls. They are very interested in Mr Ryan's new Dinosaur movie. I love it.
I felt confident as ever when I arrived. Afterwards, I was very torn on how I thought the audition went. It seemed like I was doing everything I wanted, but after I left I replayed it and like most auditions, I could see more clearly things I would have changed. The benefit of this reflection is that it always helps for the next audition. As long as I know I have a little time, I can spend time doing research and prep before the audition and ask myself the questions I think the casting director will ask. Get ahead of it. Every audition helps me learn.
I didn't get the role. I waited to hear back. Thursday in class, I begged Michelle for a sign, she refused. I tried to read her, I looked into her eyes and scrutinized her body language. I was looking for a hint. I didn't see any good hints and I ignored anything that looked like a bad sign. I needed hope. Out of respect for the hierarchy of the industry, there are things that influence casting that I'll never fully know or understand. The result is, I didn't get the role.
It always feels like forever when you're waiting to hear back on a casting. Sometimes the only way you know you didn't get it, is because the day of the shoot comes and goes and you're not in it. Days dragged on and I heard nothing. Until, I did. And a friend who said she just heard from another friend that was offered the part I wanted.
At that moment I slowly placed my body on the floor of my bedroom, my cheek on the carpet, and I cried. I didn't cry because I didn't' get the part. (I did) ...I cried because I was grieving the loss of the role. I grieved it because it was mine and now it was gone. I grieved it like it was taken from me. I grieved that girl that I could no longer be. I grieved the effort and energy I'd spent working towards that goal and I wanted so badly for it to not be true. For it to be a mistake. For an undo button. I devoted myself to that goal. I had committed to it in my mind, one hundred percent. I was certain that my life, for the months of March, April, and May, I would be living and breathing this movie. Make no travel plans, I'm doing a MOVIE!
I know. It's the business. I know. I have lots of reminders of this. I audition for things that I don't get all the time. I read and memorize lines for parts that I decide I'm right for, I make sure I really want it, and change my schedule around to make sure I'll be free if I do get the job, and I don't get it. I know nothing is ever in the bag. I know that casting is so difficult. I know that it's not really about me, its about what they're looking for and I can't control it.
I reached out and notified some of my close friends. They were sympathetic and encouraging. They said all the things I needed to hear. People inside and outside the industry alike. They all reached in for a comforting pat on the back. It was a great mix and healthy variety. I went to tell Reed and Decker, who immediately were concerned about my tears. "Why are you crying mommy?" I told them, "I didn't get picked to be in the dinosaur movie. They picked someone else." Decker said, "I'm so sorry Mommy." Reed said, "Maybe you can be in a different movie then". They are perfect little gentlemen. The next morning I woke up wishing it was a bad dream, but there it was still real. Still no chance of getting that role in this movie.
I know there will be others. I know I'll get used to it, the rejection. I know I'll desensitize, not only to the disappointing news of not getting a part- but preventative desensitizing. I'll desensitize and not fall head over heels for roles and protect myself better. I know I'll persevere. I know I'm not finished because of this and I'll come back stronger and better and wiser. And, importantly, I know I won't listen to that voice inside that says,
"I. told. you. so."
That awful voice that says,
"I told you in the beginning that you weren't good enough for this role"
"I was right and now you know it"
What a bastard, right?
I've auditioned since then. I've submitted for jobs. I've made progress on my to-do list for my LLC. I opened up a business PO box so I feel pretty damn official. I filmed 3 new tv commercials last week. I'm proud of them. In no way has this slowed me down. I'm good, I really am. I know that because I wasn't working on that movie, I was available to do other projects, I was available to travel and have little man dates with my boys and picnics with my friends and cheer for my husband at his races.
I want to do movies. I will do more movies and I will continue my classes and reading my books, and I will, when the time comes, submit even if it's just as an extra. I love being on a movie set. I want to pour positivity into the world and encourage all my friends in the business.