Thursday, September 21, 2006

Back to Basics

My last entry mentioned that I went on two auditions last Friday, and despite the incredible amount of rain, it was a marvelous day. I've been meaning to write about it ever since...

The first one was all the way out on Sheepshead Bay Rd. in Brooklyn. It was for that vodka distribution commercial. It took me forever to get there, too. Forty minutes on NJ Transit, and then another hour on the B train out to Brooklyn. The next to last stop on that line. So to make the 1pm appointment, I had to catch the 10:39am train. So, I get off the B train and start wandering around Brooklyn looking for Avenue Z. I find it easily enough, and was actually a half hour early. I trudge upstairs and into a room with a rather beautiful girl (a little too skinny for my taste though) handing me a clip board to fill out with my name, email address, and all that jazz. I quickly fill it out. All the audition was, was me sitting in front of the camera doing separate emotions... dull surprise, enjoyment, disgust, etc. I've heard of auditions like this, but I'm almost always doing cold readings, so to actually have an audition like this was a real kick. Even if it only lasted 30 seconds.

So back on the Manhattan bound B train I go. As I'm walking back to the station, and while I'm sitting there waiting for the train, a sense of contentment came over me. Something I've needed in my life for as long as I can remember. I'm really pursuing my dreams. I smiled as the train came in. I sat down and began to daydream. Trains do that to me. I can't tell you how many short stories I've ran through in my head on those forty minute commutes from Metro Park to Penn Station. It's a good thing I'm finally beginning to learn how to express myself in this manner. But my problem now, is what to do between now and my 4:30 audition for The Frankenstein Virus. It's only 1:15 and I'm already on my way back. I get off near where I'm supposed to be at 4:30 (Broadway and Lafayette) and figure I'll just wander around, get some lunch, and just enjoy the city. Then it dawns on me. I'm right in the neighborhood where I'd taken acting lessons earlier in my life, and I KNOW there's a kick ass pizza parlor right around the corner... Two Boots!!

I walk in it's just as hopping as ever. I order two with mushroom, a soda, and I grab a seat at the big community table. I'm sitting with a woman who's at the end her meal and about to go back to work. She smiles and leaves, and then two NYU students sit down. We make idle chit-chat, exchange our daily agendas, a fourth person (a woman) sits down, and then we all just quietly sit there and enjoy our lunches.

Inspiration strikes me. I've inadvertently come back to where it all began. Back to being "in the moment", and "the reality of doing", and all those other terms that only actors truly understand. People think acting is easy because it's fun. Yes, it's fun, but that's because of the benefits of your hard work. Just as not everyone can be a teacher, or a doctor, or a lawyer, not everyone can be an actor. Don't think so? Take a flip around network TV on any given night during prime time... I rest my case.

I sit there feeling centered and at peace. I'm inspired so I dig out my writing tablet and pen from my bag and begin to write:

Two Boots
sitting here in a cafe somewhere and quietly jotting down my thoughts

At peace. This is where I started, and I find it fitting that I find myself here again. After abandoning my dreams for the hope of security, I'm back here again.

Sitting at the table with strangers. Four of us quietly enjoying lunch involved in our own lives. I wonder if they appreciate this simple pleasure.

They say 30 is the new 20. Lord, I hope so because I've made some decisions I shouldn't have. If I had to do it all over again, I'd have made the decisions I'm making now, a hell of a lot sooner. But I guess it doesn't matter. I'm here now. And while sitting there in that pizza shop, I felt whole again. There's been a part of me that's been missing, and I didn't realize how important that piece was until I found it again. This is what I'm doing for the rest of my life... Now, if only I can make some money. LOL

There's only so much time you can sit there with dirty plate and napkins, and an empty bottle of soda, so I look down and see I still have like over an hour and a half to go. I remember this quaint little book store a few blocks north on Broadway called Shakespeare's Basement. I was sent to that book store oh so many years ago to get a book for acting class. The name escapes me at the moment, but it doesn't matter. A nice quiet place to get out of the rain with smart, beautiful women who wear glasses?!! Oh yes, a bookstore is just what the doctor ordered. Off to Shakespeare's Basement we go!

I trudge my way up Broadway in the pouring rain and walk in where you have to check your bag because people are stupid and like to steal things from book stores. I give the kid my stuff and take my number and go wandering around. Walking past the photography section, I go downstairs to where the interesting books are. Horror, Sci-Fi, New Age, and they have an acting section which has plays, monologue books, and all sorts of nifty things that we actors thrive upon. I'm looking at the new age section, and what do I see, but the dream book that I already own. My copy is ancient, the cover, both front and back are missing, as well as a few pages from the introduction. Quite the mess, I tell you. It's rather old and I can't find it anywhere around the stores here, so this is a magnificent find. In the mental rolodex this goes for a future when I'm not entertaining thoughts of mugging old ladies for two nickels to rub together.

Satisfied with this find, and the wealth of beautiful young women in ankle length skirts, sexy boots, and reading glasses, I head back upstairs to peruse the photography section. I like leaving that section for last. It's like reaching down into the bag of cookies and finding there's one more left than you thought there was.

I've been on the hunt for this specific set of bed sheets. They belonged to my grandmother before she died, and she's had them all my life. In fact my mother has told me that they got them when she was a wee little girl. When I was a kid, she'd use those particular sheets when I'd get sick and stay at her house while my mother worked one of her 3-4 jobs to keep a roof over our heads. Thanks Dad. So these hold a certain amount of sentimentality for me. They still exist, but my grandmother, being the clean freak she was, has washed these sheets so many times, you can literally see right through them. Not to mention they're 40 years old. So I've made this one of my super secret missions to replace these sheets.

I come across this book of ads from the 60's, which is a large collection of, as luck would have it, ads from the 60's. It must be every magazine ad they made in that decade. I'm thumbing through ads for slot cars, and radio flyers, and all sorts of neato stuff, and what do I find? Grandma's sheets!! Oh hell yeah!! I'm half way there. All I need is to get my cash situation somewhere respectable, and I can write the company and perhaps work something out. If you had told me last Thursday that I'd be closer to solving the "grandma's sheets" caper than I am finding a cell phone case that doesn't mock me, I'd have laughed in your face. But here we are... w00t!!

So after writing down the name of the company in my handy writing tablet, I still have like an hour to kill. I duck into McDonald's next door and buy a 4 piece McNuggets and a small soda so I can use the men's room and head on down to the New York Film academy where my 4:30 audition is.

I get there with more than a half hour to spare, so I get to sit on the window ledge of this clothing store, under plenty of shelter from the rain, and do what I love to do most... watch people. I can sit on a park bench and watch people for hours, and I did just that. It's quite a relaxing endeavors. In fact, I just may use this to my advantage on future auditions. A half hour early? Watch some New Yorkers go about their business to chill out to help you relax before an important audition? Yes please, that would be quite grand.

4:15 and I'm up the elevator on my way to the audition. I'm sitting in this giant white lobby in a bright red leather chair, which was comfy times 100, thank you very much. I'm sitting there a who walks by, but Damien, the cameraman on my first independent film. Awesome! It's always good to find a friend when you're doing business. And, as luck would have it, the director who I was to audition for, interrupted our conversation to see if I was who he was auditioning. I said yes, and he told me he'd have the room in about ten minutes.

I go in for the audition, and I nailed it. I read the part very angrily, and at the height of the scene I put the paper down, got right in the director's face, and gave him my dead stare while I delivered the final part. He offered me the part on the spot.

All in all it was a great day, and I owe it all to getting back to basics


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