This is a tough industry. It really can be. A lot of hard work goes into the smallest parts of a large process. Television and film has many moving parts, and require many people to be at the top of their game. In order to get in, or get a chance at getting in, we audition. We prepare the work our way, bring who we are to the table, and leave ourselves, or a part of ourselves, in the room to be reviewed and to let someone assess if we can be one of the moving parts that make the final team. A lot goes into a single audition. A lot of yourself.
It can be a tough industry, for me, because it's not personal. And I take things personally. It's not about making friends, or having fans, or having someone on your side. It's about doing what you do, at the highest level, everytime, with absolute concentration, and not letting anything (ANYTHING) compromise that. And there is always someone who will do that each and every time.
I'm watching the Final Four right now, and was explaing to someone why it's so magical. There is one winner, whose path consists of not a single loss. They need a perfect tournament record in a short period of time, matched against multiple foes in adverse arenas, to bring home a championship. One misstep, one off day, and they're done. And for many, they are playing for the attention of the scouts who will hopefully draft them to the NBA - where they can then have bad games for 3 years before being given up on.
Auditioning is like playing in the Final Four. Except that it's a SINGLE audition that is the ENTIRE tournament. And we do that multiple times a week. And when we win, we don't go to the 'NBA' of acting. Instead we have to get into another tournament. It's kinda nuts.
I had my first callback today. That means I won the first game of the tournament. I passed through the round of 64, and advanced to the round of 32. I don't know if I played a perfect game today. To be honest, something happened that threw my concentration and I got in my head. A place I don't wish upon anyone. But I played. I played my heart out. I always do.
When guys lose close games in the Final Four they often cry. The stakes are that high. On National TV they cry, and it gets replayed on ESPN for a week.
I like it when they cry. Because I know the feeling. It matters THAT much that they can't even help it. I'm not crying. I don't cry after each audition. That would be really unhealthy. I've gotten good (read: better) at letting it go as soon as I can. Today, I phoned a friend to help work through the experience. And as always, Jamie Spilchuk was there for me, and able to put the whole thing into specific perspective - to point out the victories, to highlight the common place-ness of the incident, and to extract the lesson.
This is a tough industry. Being kind to yourself is important. BECAUSE it matters. And because the work we do can only be done from clarity.
Be you. Do you. Be the person you are today, whether the coffee got spilled on you, or you overheard things you shouldn't have, or someone tried to psych you out - be THAT person. The one who deals with or reacts to that truth. Be honest, and authentically yourself. Because it's all you can be.
And know that THAT person can take the shot at the buzzer. And if you are authentically, proudly, confidently you - you can live with wherever the shot lands.