I’m Auditioning Again

The last time I auditioned for anything, I was a senior in college. I majored in Theatre and Journalism and my final audition for our season was a mess. I was late and when I showed up to my audition they were walking to the stage. I threw my dress on, no makeup and did the thing I practiced for weeks.

Surprisingly enough, I thought it went well. It’s hard not to put your self-worth on the one audition a semester that will decide whether you are in a show or not. The nerves can sometimes get to you. But there’s always that rush of energy, knowing that no matter what happens, you love what you do. That’s why acting was always in my life plan, because it’s something that I love to do.

When I didn’t get cast from that audition, it stung. That was it for me, I was done in college. I took it as a larger sign that, maybe I shouldn’t do this anymore. If the place that is meant for my growing and nurturing doesn’t think I’m good enough, maybe I’m not? There were a lot of politics in my theatre department, and unfortunately that was a factor as well. I had one acting teacher, who made it clear that he didn’t care about my development as an artist. When I told him I’d be holding off acting to go to journalism graduate school he told me I was, “making the best choice”. Really boosts your confidence doesn’t it?

My teacher had a phrase he would say when he felt like we weren’t working hard enough. “That person is cashing your checks”. Work harder, be better. I understood the sentiment, because the industry is hard, but man. It put a lot of pressure on you to be “the best”. Whatever that meant to whomever. Each director had a different vision of what that was, so it was torture trying to figure out how to be that for so many. It created a toxic environment to learn in and put a lot of pressure on kids who were just trying to figure things out.

Meanwhile, over in the journalism department, I was being rewarded for my writing. Teachers were reading my stories to the class and writing me recommendations for top notch graduate schools. I got into both schools I applied to, which were two of the best schools in the country. When I told friends in the theatre department, I would see the look of disappointment on their face. I betrayed them and didn’t deserve to take up class time that could be theirs. I was a quitter, and good riddance.

I went to graduate school in the hopes that after I could work freelance and audition. I wanted a survival job that I didn’t hate and I thought graduate school would help me with that. Honestly though, I was insecure. Classmates of mine were booking and moving to New York on a wish and a dream, and I didn’t think that I could make it. I didn’t feel prepared enough. I wasn’t prepared enough. I wasn’t confident in my capabilities, and if I wasn’t a fan of myself no one else would be.

I graduated school and didn’t find a job out of the gate. I moved back home with my parents and spiraled into a depression I didn’t think existed. Here I was, master’s degree in hand with no prospects. No jobs lined up, no future plans to rely on. I was just sad. I left what I loved to do to pursue another passion of mine, and it didn’t work out. Had I made a mistake? All things I would discuss with my therapist (reminder, see a therapist everyone. It will change your life). I desperately needed approval from my acting friends who were determined and trying to brake into an industry that I wanted to be in.

After a month or two of wallowing, I compromised with myself that when I saved $5,000 working my retail job I would move to New York no matter what was going on. If I couldn’t find a job with my fresh master’s degree then I would cut my losses and try something else. It was scary, but I finally made a goal for myself that was achievable. It would take time, but once I got there it would set into motion moves I wanted to make.

Then I received a job offer in Chicago, which was amazing but I felt a twinge of disappointment that my contingency plan would never come to fruition. A part of me wanted to take a risk and see if I could do it and a smarter part of me knew that I needed a job before wildly moving to New York.

I took the job in Chicago, but I made some promises to myself first:

  1. I would take a class/course/something that would further my career in acting.
  2. I would audition/do open mics/whatever it took to finally get back into the swing of things, proving to myself that I could finally do what I wanted to do. What I had originally planned for myself.
  3. I would stop holding myself to goals that put me at success far too early. Jeez, I’m only 23, I have time. Let’s all chill out here.

Yesterday, I signed up for an audition for an actual show. That would actually pay me! Am I nervous? Absolutely. Am I excited? Absolutely. Even if I don’t book it, I still did the thing I promised myself. I’m trying to be grateful for the little things, and signing up for this audition is one of them. There’s also another audition later this month, and I’m going to it! Huzzah!

Little by little, I’m working my way to the life that I want. That’s all I can do is try little by little. I can do this, and will do this. Dammit.