“Can you make an audition Monday at 10:15am?” On Friday, much to my surprise, I got a call from my acting agent. I figured they had forgotten about me after 2 years of being pregnant and then taking time to focus on the new baby. I was planning to let them know as soon as I felt like I was “camera-ready” again, but being overly critical perhaps, I still had yet to do so. Anyhow, I figured that now was as good a time as any to jump back in, so I readily agreed to the early morning appointment. (Anything before noon is early when you’re trying to get out of the house with a baby– even if she’s not going!)
Since I knew it might take me a good while to get on the road, I resolved to have everything prepared the night before. It’s a daily struggle (I get it honestly from my family) to be on time, but I’ve been doing very well these days with a concentrated effort. Amazingly, I found my headshot folder immediately, despite not even touching it for longer than I cared to admit. I printed up the audition notes and script to add to the folder and slipped it into my purse, which would be waiting for me on the loveseat nearest the door. No way was I going to forget anything! I mentally went over outfits in my head until I settled on the right “look” which would pop in front of the studio background– likely blue or green paint.
The audition, for a national commercial, was quite laid back– we were told as we signed in that it would mainly be improv– awesome! We were each partnered with another actor–I did my best to make conversation beforehand so we would be comfortable together. As comfortable as you can be after knowing a person for five minutes. We were the second pair to go in, and it was definitely nice not to be stuck waiting around for our turn. The director was friendly and did most of the prompting. It was fun and I found myself easily conversing with my fellow actor, while making sure to look towards the camera at key moments. For being out of the game for so long, I felt like things went just about as well as they possibly could.
I was lucky. When I got home I began to realize just how UNprepared I really was! In my inbox waiting was an email from the casting service alerting me that I still needed to upload a photo to my profile on their site. I logged in and sheepishly put up my headshot– which has to be about eight years old! (Completely unacceptable! Adult performers should get new head shots every 3-5 years or sooner if your look changes substantially.) While I was logged in, I took a quick review of my resume– yikes! My last training workshop was in 2005! It had been almost a decade since I had done any real work to improve my craft– again, totally unacceptable. Even my address on file was the apartment I had moved out of four years prior. Sadly I had the thought that if I was my agent, I would NOT send myself to any castings!
What had happened to the young actress, fresh out of college, who couldn’t get enough time in front of the camera? Who signed up for at least two seminars a year, who read every book on the subject she could get her hands on? Who got nervous with excitement just thinking about any upcoming projects? Life had happened. I threw myself into my day job– the job that paid the bills. I dedicated myself fully to my kids and family. Both are admirable causes, but in all this I had forgotten about ME and my passions. I had let fall by the wayside something that I really enjoyed doing, and that potentially could be a source of income. But just like anything else, an acting career requires investing to be successful– investing time for studying, training, and driving to auditions; investing money for quality and up-to-date head shots, classes, audition outfits, and for us lucky females our hair cut and color! Just like any other business, if you don’t put anything in, you won’t see a return.
I have a lot of work to do, but instead of feeling down or discouraged (which if indulged, these negative emotions can lead people to give up altogether), I made a list of all the tasks I needed to accomplish in order to be a respectable actress, and someone the agency could call upon with confidence. I prioritized what should be taken care of immediately (updating online profiles) and what could be done over the next couple months (new head shots, finding a good acting workshop). To make myself accountable, I sent an email to my agent thanking her for submitting me today, letting her know I was ready to get serious again, and asking what casting services they use and need updating.
Sometimes as moms we get so caught up in the lives of those that we take care of, that we forget to take care of ourselves. I’ve been both a working mom and a stay at home mom, and both are tiring and time consuming in their own ways. Sometimes it feels that there really is no time left to do things that we like to do, just because we LIKE them. Or sometimes we let the details slide, either out of exhaustion or complacency.
But success is in the details– so I made a commitment today to get back to work on these things that have been hanging over my head unfinished. Loose ends are a drain on energy– so taking care of them will not only make you more productive, but happier as well. And every mama deserves to be happy! Even better, the definition of success is subjective– it could be finally organizing that closet that you can barely walk through, or writing a business plan so you can make your dreams reality. The only thing standing in your way is yourself, so don’t be an obstacle– be your own best ally!
Monday is just about over, but the week is just getting started. Make this week the one where you embrace a positive change in your life!