Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mean Reds

Yesterday I almost drop-kicked a morbidly obese meter man for giving me a ticket.

Which is very unlike me.

If you ask any of my friends they will tell you that I am unendingly cheerful.

Once, while working as a hostess in a restaurant, a guest filled out a comment card that said, “the hostess was too chipper.”


I remember thinking at the time:

How can I possibly be too chipper?

And then I went on picking wildflowers and whistling.

I’m all about avoiding conflict. I think the worse thing I’ve ever said to someone was:

You make me feel angry.

After which I covered my mouth, horrified I could say something so cruel, burst into tears, and begged for forgiveness.

So I don’t just go around drop-kicking people.

Just so we’re clear on that.

I’m sure at this point you are wondering what the hell this has to do with acting in Los Angeles.

Well, I think I’ve traced all my anger and frustration back to my career.

There are times when I feel like things are moving forward. Things are happening and changing
in ways that I’m excited about.

But I’m tired.

Tired of hearing “no” disguised in passive aggressive compliments and wishes of luck.

In other words, can someone just give me a fucking break??

I have a bad case of the mean reds.

Classic movie reference, anyone?

Audrey Hepburn, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s says:

The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.

I am afraid.

Afraid this whole dream of mine, this life I’ve been pursuing for what seems like forever, is just too far out of my grasp. That I’ve wasted years of my life on something that won’t happen.

And that makes me angry.

Pissed, actually.

And what makes me even more upset is the fact I let myself think those things.

That’s not me. I’m not a “mean reds” kind of girl.

I’m a bright blue or sunny yellow!

And when I feel like the world is against me (or at least the Los Angeles Parking Enforcement) I need to remember who I am.

I am the girl who believes in herself.

I am the girl who is on the right path.

I am the girl who is too chipper, dammit!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vintage Boots

Yesterday I auditioned for an acting class.

Which means that yesterday I almost threw-up, had continuous cold and sweaty palms, and wanted to die for the better portion of the day.

There is nothing that makes me more nervous than to have my peers and a renowned acting coach watch me as I try to prove I’m good enough.

At least in an actual audition there are only casting directors and producers who want you to be good to make their jobs easier. In an audition for acting class, you’re surrounded by people that are secretly hoping you will fail to make them look good.

As soon as I walked into the building I was uncomfortable.

The guy at the desk wearing a headset and suit jacket, greeted me with a smile that said, “I’m
way more comfortable than you and know exactly what I’m doing but I’m still going to be over-friendly just to prove how cool everyone is here.”

He told me to hand over my headshot and take off my shoes.

Excuse me?

He looked at me with an unwavering smile. He had obviously had this conversation before.

Just, take off your shoes.

I looked around. Everyone was in socks. Shoes were stacked in little cubbies all around the entryway.

I started to panic.

These shoes make my outfit. This is my power outfit. The one that says, “I’m cute and pulled-together but still edgy because look at my vintage boots!”

Without the vintage boots I was just…cute. Who wants to be ‘just cute’ in LA??

Now, I know taking off your shoes was supposed to make everyone feel comfortable, but of course (as things like that often do) it just made me feel less comfortable.

As I trudged up the stairs to the group audition in my tights with the giant hole in the toe (BECAUSE I DIDN’T THINK ANYONE WOULD EVER SEE IT) I already felt defeated.

But – I have to say; I really loved the acting coach.

For my audition I chose sides from one of my favorite real-life auditions. I played (as I often do) a comically upbeat woman who is desperately trying to hang on to reality.

Wait a second…

Something just clicked.


Afterward, as I was simultaneously listening to feedback and trying to swallow down my vomit, the coach asked me why I chose that particular scene.

I explained that I always go out for characters like that and I think that’s how casting directors view me.

And you guys, she literally said:

I don’t see that at all. You are sitting here right now and you look so cute and pulled-together.

I wanted to jump up from my chair and yell:

Wait!! Just let me get my boots!!

But despite my shoeless audition and ridiculous nerves, I got in to the advanced class.

Just one small step for me and one giant leap for my pocket book.

And as I was walking back to my car (in my boots) I thought long and hard about the shoe situation.

If taking off my shoes is going to help me get more acting jobs than I guess it’s worth it.

I’ll just have to buy some really cute socks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I try to see as many live performances as I can in Los Angeles for two reasons.

1. If they are horrible (which, let’s be honest, most of them are) it makes me feel smug.
2. If they are amazing (about 5% of the time) it inspires me.

A few nights ago my friend Noah and I ushered a Sutton Foster (big Broadway star) concert. We couldn’t afford tickets but somehow Noah was able to snag us jobs as ushers.

As the House Manager of the theatre was explaining our very important role of handing out programs, he mentioned “unfortunately, you will be unable to meet Ms. Foster after the show because she has a red-eye to catch back to New York.”

That was fine with me. I would rather not meet someone I’m a fan of so they don’t have an opportunity to ruin my crazy, unrealistic, view of them.

When the concert began, I settled in – ready to be inspired. As I listened to Sutton’s incredible voice something crept in on me that I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t inspiration and I definitely wasn’t feeling smug…


It was pure, unadulterated bitterness.

Sorry, Sutton.

All I could think about was how much I wanted to be up there. How much I wanted to be able to say I had a red-eye to catch back to New York after a doing command performance in LA.

Instead, I’m doing a command performance at a restaurant and then catching the red-eye to my nanny job.

I tried to push my bitterness away: She had worked hard! I will be just like her someday.

But I’m tired of saying someday.

I’ve fed myself those stories for years.

Someday… I’ll tell Jay Leno how I used to eat popcorn for dinner because I was too poor to buy food.

Someday… I will give an Oscar speech about how struggling for so long has made me the artist I am today.

Someday… I will look back on my experiences and think about how being dirt poor was truly the happiest time of my life.

But I’ve come to a conclusion: Someday sucks.

And there’s no amount of pep talks or good vibes that will change that fact.

Actors are always trying to reassure themselves that their situation is not permanent, but what would happen if we were simply okay with the fact that sometimes its just too damn hard to see the positive?

To just… sit… with that reality? And it’s okay… It’s okay to hate it.

It occurred to me the other day – after I opened my fridge and found only mayonnaise – that I’ve struggled enough, thank you.

I’m done now.

So, Hollywood, you can call off the dogs! You got me! I admit it! I didn’t know it would be this difficult, I thought I would rise above the average actor, blah blah blah.

I know now that this business can be rough.

And ugly.

And unfair.

And lately I’ve felt like taking a big, heavy sigh and just…giving up.

(I imagine it sometimes and relief washes over me like tequila – I mean rain.)

How good it would be to admit defeat… To look Hollywood, and all it’s bullshit, in the eye and say, ”NO THANK YOU. I choose something… else.”

I’m sure Hollywood would respond with a resounding, “What was your name again?”

And inevitably, just when I’m on the edge, ready to fling myself into the sea of other failed actors and writers, something pulls me back.

Sometimes it’s my competitive nature.

Sometimes it’s my friends.

Sometimes it’s not really anything at all.

This time it was an audition.

I think my manager must have sensed my desperation when she called me the other day.

I had an audition for Cameron Crowe’s new movie starring Matt Damon!

And like a bolt of lightning I was back. (Matt Damon can do that to a girl)

I could be in a movie directed by Cameron Crowe…