"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beggars Being Choosy

I got an email from one of my theatrical agents. An audition!!! My first since November! For the lead in an indie feature! I was super excited and confirmed my appointment right away.

Then I read the sides.

I reread the sides.

I read the sides once more.



They were bad. They were so bad.

I went back to the breakdown they sent along with the info and looked up the director, and casting director and my thoughts were confirmed; they were at the level I thought they would be.

I sent the sides to a good friend to see if maybe I was wrong; maybe the three pages I got were actually really GOOD and I was too stupid to see it.

She wrote back that I'm not dumb. That the sides were just that bad.

What do I do?!

Do I call up my reps and say "Thanks but no thanks"? Being ungrateful for an audition - for PASSING on an audition is grounds for dropping a client.

I called up my manager.

"I know I shouldn't be choosy, but...."

"I'll go ahead and cancel your appointment."

There was no admonishing! No scolding! No lecture about how I should be grateful for the audition and that I was being a diva without the career to back up such behavior.

I went on to my manager that although the sides were....difficult, I could find a way to make it work. But then, what if I BOOKED it? I can save three pages, but I can't save an entire script. Even Oscar winners can't make a difficult script work all the time. Ask Halle Berry about Catwoman. Ask Sandra Bullock about All About Steve.

This is the first time I have ever been able to say to my reps, hey, this isn't right for me, and for them to listen and say, "Great. Not a problem. We want you to let us know these things."

I have the power to say no to things that aren't right for me.

I'm passing on a project. I feel....in control. I'm in control of my career, with people who trust my judgement.

It feels pretty amazing. It feels good.


  1. This is a great post - thanks so much for reminding EVERY actor out there that WE make our careers by making good choices!

  2. Very inspiring! I often have a hard time saying "no" to things out of some strange fear that it will hurt my future chances somehow. But knowing what we want for ourselves is key.

  3. Yaaaaay - for standards. Everybody has to have 'em. :)

  4. Empowerment. Thanks for this

  5. WHEW! That is inspiring!

    P.S. - Since you often speak of really bad breakdowns that make you want to run screaming in the other direction, have you seen this, which KEEPS popping up on Actors Access?

    "[ FEATHER - 21 ]
    $500/DAY. CAUCASIAN. No safety net film making...No safety net actress...A Fetus-in-fetu actress that is raw bone. Acting must be your oxygen. Hardcore Featherwood...From pretty to glue-trap...interesting. All body types, Heavily Tattooed or none, scars or none, gun shot wounds or none, hair styles (Shaved, Short, long, English cut....anything) She Loves her hate. There will be partial upper body nudity in some scenes because it's her DNA not for some cheap Hollywood jump the shark film making. There will be fight scenes with yourself as well as others.
    *PLEASE NOTE: Talent is not required to disrobe during audition or callback. Talent will be provided with a robe and dressing room."

    WHAT THE HELL? "Fetus-in-fetu actress"? Like, a deformed actress? This is WACK.

  6. I think I've posted that breakdown on here before, actually. AND of COURSE I saw it! AND submitted, because, my god, the script must be amazing! Read the other character breakdowns. I love that they're also looking for a REAL PREGNANT 17 year old African American girl, but will resort to prosthetics if they can't find the real deal. LOVE IT.

  7. It's awesome that you know your value!

  8. Good lesson learned! It's hard to speak up about that kind of stuff, especially for the first time and in ANY relationship, really.

  9. Glad your fiance is in the animals' good books! Good luck with the auditions - it's a tough business.

  10. I once had an audition that I should have said no to. Thought I bombed it (tried really hard to) but I booked it. Then I didn't know how to say no to that. Now I just pray that it never resurfaces if, no WHEN, I make it.


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