Making Believe

Updated: May 29, 2018



I heard a comic say once that listening to a first date in LA is like listening to kids play make believe. “I’m pretending to be a producer. What are you pretending to be?” Asking people what they do here usually results in a monologue involving the words “influencer” and “branding” and concludes with one's zodiac sign; “…but you know, typical Gemini, amirite?"


What I’m mostly pretending to be is an actor and a writer, although some days I reverse the order. I want to make gay romantic comedies, but more on that later - right now I just want to make enough to pay the rent and afford food I don’t have to cook myself, which is my version of living the dream.


When I first moved here and started auditioning, I had no idea what I was doing. Mostly because I’d never done it before, and hadn’t yet discovered there were classes all over town where you could pay a bunch of money to have people tell you what to do. In my first audition I delivered every single line directly into the tiny camera recording the session, until I realized halfway through maybe I should look at the guy reading lines with me. Panicky, I jerked my eyes in his direction, but then just as quickly second-guessed my decision and swung back to the camera. And then, for no particular reason, I decided to shoot a look to an empty corner of the room off camera, in case this was where I was supposed to be looking. 


I have no idea why I didn’t get the part. Sometimes my mind wanders and I imagine that tape being played in a class somewhere. “And this is exactly what not to do with your eyes, because you will look like an anxious drug addict. Any questions?"


Yesterday, I had an audition that required me to cry. Sob, actually. I was auditioning for a character who finds himself tied to a chair about to be murdered, and he's not taking it well. Reading the scene on paper terrified me, because I’ve never sobbed in a role before and I can’t remember the last time I sobbed in my life when I wasn't watching This Is Us. Heaving, snotting, sobbing from something actually happening to me? I don’t typically get that worked up, but then again I haven’t been tied to a chair about to be murdered. I did not want to do this audition, which is why I knew I had to do it.  

I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, but that was probably a good thing. I’m not sure what I would have done (besides binged This Is Us) so like most things in my life, I showed up, took a deep breath and hoped for the best. And to my surprise, halfway through the scene (which I delivered looking at the reader, not an empty corner because progress) tears showed up. I was begging for my life and screaming to be let go and my tear ducts totally believed it. 


And apparently, so did the director because I got word later that night I booked the part. 


*****

This is post 3/30 in a 500 Word a Day Challenge - read them all here.