"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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Callback That Almost Wasn't

I haven't booked a commercial since last April. Does that make me nervous? Of course it does! Because even though I am happy with my commercial agency and go out a lot, and get called back pretty frequently, I always have this thought in my head: If I don't book something soon, they're going to DROP me!!! It's always in the back there, niggling at me.

On Tuesday, I got two auditions. On my notification sheet, it said the callbacks were the following day, so I knew I would have to be notified that night if I was to be called back. I thought they both went well.

Cut to me in class that evening, constantly checking my phone to see if I got called back.

I didn't.

And class goes until 10pm.




I was home, catching up on emails at 11:07pm when my phone beeps. I got a callback! For the one I wanted the most! Yay! I confirm to my agent, "Oh, how funny! I was JUST thinking to myself - what the heck? No callback?! And boom. 30 seconds later!" He writes back immediately, " now just think to yourself...what the heck?  No booking?!  Let's see what happens. :)" Ha. Love it. Will do, I wrote back.

The next morning, I get another notification. I got called back for the other one too! Woot! On a roll!

The only problem is that one is in Santa Monica at 3:25 and the other is in the valley at 4:25. And they are 14 miles away from each other. I email my agent asking what the time frame is for the one in Santa Monica to see if I can get there earlier. I can. They start at 2:30.

So, I figured, after my tax appointment at 12, I would go straight to Santa Monica, get to the callback around 2:30/2:45, finish up around 3:30 and probably only be about 10-15 minutes late for my 4:25 callback in the Valley.

Well, add in an extremely slow tax preparer and rain. Two wrenches I didn't count on. Also add in that Callback number 1 is taking over an hour to see people. The waiting room I walk into is filled with people.

I am emailing my agent in the wait room to see how long the other callback is going until. After a few frantic minutes, she tells me that I have until 6!

By now, I'm wondering if I should just cut my losses and just head over to the other one, but I learn I'm now third in line. So I wait.

I get in the room to audition and when they start the camera and ask me my name, I turn to look at one of the clients who is playing audio on his computer during my audition. I'm sure he didn't know they started. But I look at him with a pleasant smile on my face, waiting for him to finish. That has never happened to me before. I'm already going downhill. Then I find out it's all improv and I'm so flummoxed due to needing to leave TWENTY MINUTES AGO, that I bomb it. I bomb it So Badly. SO Badly.

They thank me and I run out of there, run to my car, and drive 20 miles under the speed limit because the rain is just coming down and traffic is at a halt. I have an hour and ten minutes to go fourteen miles in Los Angeles in the pouring rain.


Twenty minutes go by and I am at mile two.


Ten more minutes go by and I am at mile 4.


We are now at 5:40 and I still have 8 miles to go.

I won't make it.

I should also mention here that we're going away for the weekend Callback number 1 is shooting. I didn't even WANT that gig. I wanted the second one. The one with the cuter campaign. The one with the shoot dates fully available to me. THE ONE WITH A SCRIPT.

Finally, FINALLY, I get to the second callback at 6:20. It's on a second floor. The bottom floor is deserted, the side streets, normally packed with actor cars, is deserted. I glumly walk up in the rain, hoping that maybe, just maybe they ran a little late and can still see me. I take the elevator up, and the room is pretty much empty. I walk towards the lady helping run the session.

"You guys aren't seeing people anymore, are you?"
"We've been waiting for you, Lira! You're after these two."
The session runner said she was fielding calls from agents all day about actors being stuck in traffic and running behind due to the weather.

I get into the room, have my lines down, do them, am given redirection, do them, am given another line, do it, given redirection, do it again, given another line, do it, given redirection, do it, and finish.
"Thank you so much, Lira, that was great. You are a very talented actress."

I leave the audition feeling so happy. It was such a good callback! SO good! And as I exit the building, a miracle seemed to happen right before my eyes. The sun was out! It stopped raining! The clouds had parted and the sun was streaming through. It was beautiful.

I go to a meeting at my friends house a little distracted because I know that the second callback has their fitting the next day. If I were to book the thing, I would get a call that night saying so, with where and what time to report to wardrobe to be fitted for fancy clothes.

I don't get a call that night. I don't get an email.

I go to bed disappointed. I really thought I nailed that one. I made the room laugh! I got a great compliment from the director!

I wake up the next day at 10:12am (the life of an actor!) thinking, okay. I would know by now for sure if they passed on me. I check my phone.

A voicemail from my agency.

I'm on Avail!!!

Avail - Means that the actor should be available to work in the dates of the shoot. It is almost as if you have a 50% chance to get the role. Many times the casting director will just use you as a security in case something will fall with his first choice. But anyway you look at it, it is a good thing.


  1. That's such great news, Lira, congratulations! Fingers crossed the avail turns into a booking! X

  2. Yay! Congrats! What a great ending to the crazy story. Now just keep thinking "What the heck?", hehe! :)

  3. Congrats Lira!

    (Is it weird that I feel satisfied knowing that I'm correctly pronouncing your name in my head? Thank you, Italian currency example.)

  4. Wahoo, congratulations! I love reading your success stories. :) What is the commercial about?


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