So I had an epiphany this week, and it may or may not be due to finally getting the gears churning on a new year of this acting game -> The process of auditioning (which, let’s be honest here, feels like it’s about 90% of being an actor) is exactly like playing the dating game.
I know, revolutionary.
…Or not, but for those who haven’t gone through the endless saga that is auditioning, the metaphor is pretty close (and La La Land basically nailed the process. Still not ‘the best movie of the year!!’ UGH LET ME MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS HOLLYWOOD)
You primp and preen and say your prayers, maybe try to squeeze in one more visit to the gym. You shave, definitely shave. You run through conversations in your head, compulsively check the mirror, and pretend that this small moment means nowhere near as much to you as it actually does. And then when it comes, you smile, fake laugh at their jokes and think playitcoolplayitcoolplayitcool.
Will they like you? Are you what they’re looking for? Will you be the perfect match, or will you be left without that all-important kiss at the end of the evening? (And by kiss, I mean callback. Please don’t go kissing your Casting Director).
When you don’t get it, you enter that spiral of self doubt. Was it them? Was it you? Were you too funny? Not funny enough? Too fat? Too thin? Too much like the others? Not enough like the others? Did they notice that pimple that is about to erupt on your chin? Around and around, and not an answer in sight. The game seems endless. You’re on the verge of swearing off it altogether, but the thought of giving up is scarier than carrying on. What would you do, get a real job? How would you even manage all of that mystical grown-up money?
When you’re younger, it feels like every single rejection is the end of it all, you’ll never be able to carry on. Then your heart gets tough, you become a little bit more jaded and take care to care a little less. You’re pickier about what you’re looking for, and like to think you’re more in control of the situation.
BUT every once in a while that one comes along- that one you didn’t see coming and most certainly didn’t expect to care about, not at all. This perfect match sneaks up on you so quietly that you don’t even realise you were planning a blissful future together with a home and 2.5 kids, so when -WHAM- you get the ‘that’s all we need for today, thank you’ (and why can no one in the industry ever say No?) It’s like a brick through all of your dreams and you realise that maybe you were never that tough to begin with, at least not where this potential soul mate was involved. You put on a brave face, smile, say Thank You and drag yourself home for a pity party.
Some things help to patch over the aching void that you didn’t expect to have every again – ice cream, action movies, absolute denial, swearing black and blue that this is the last time you’ll feel this way (as if). Just like a breakup, in a day or a week or a month, you’ll forget just how much this hurts, and go barrelling out again. Maybe your cards will tucked just that little bit closer to your chest, but let’s be honest again, isn’t the pain just the price we pay for the joy of caring?