The job of an aspiring actor is to audition. Over and over again. Some will go well. Some won’t. But what is important to me is that I keep lining them up, preparing, and doing my best, come what may. I decided to document some of my recent experiences. So here’s your opportunity to know what it’s like to be an #ActingRealtor
03:41-11:00 Auditioning: The Real Job of an Actor
14:58-19:00 My 33rd birthday | The Two Most Important Days in a Person’s Life
19:01-20:42 Housekeeping and Outro
WHEN PURSUING YOUR DREAM, YOU’RE BOUND TO HAVE A FEW NIGHTMARES
We have all had that experience. When you are preparing for something big, whether it be a performance, a presentation at work or school, you have nightmares of the absolute worst case scenario. You wake up in a cold sweat, thankful it was only a dream.
For a performer, it often involves forgetting all of your lines, or the director changing the show at the last minute to something you have never heard of. Either way, it is absolutely terrifying.
Well, I made my murder mystery dinner theater debut last Friday and unfortunately the wrong kind of dream became a reality. I wanted to challenge myself and do a kind of theater I had never done. More importantly, I wanted to do something that did not rely on my singing. Up ’til now, I’ve always considered myself a singer who acts, but I want to become more experienced and well-rounded as an actor. So I auditioned for and was cast in a Dickens inspired murder mystery.
My role in this particular show has the most lines of any character and we only had one rehearsal before opening. Talk about challenging, but I guess I kind of asked for it.
I have never felt more unprepared in my life. What followed was what I would say was the worst performance of my acting career. I dropped lines. I said the wrong lines at the wrong times, all while feeling like I was drowning in a room full of people.
Needless to say, I could not wait for the night to be over. I got in my car and made the long trek home, questioning whether I had made a huge mistake and if I was cut out to pursue a career in theater.
The trouble was that I had less than 24 hours to lick my wounds before I had to perform again. In hindsight, I’m very thankful that that was the case. I was able to get back on the horse quickly without feeling sorry for myself for too long. I had to get better and fast.
My ego took a huge hit, but my failure also made me realize that I have a lot of work to do. No one said that pursuing my dream would come easy. If it did, then everyone would be doing it. Unfortunately, some dreams turn into nightmares. But the sun comes up in the morning and you have another day to work hard, do something you love, and get better.
When pursuing your dream, nightmares come with the territory. But don’t let them scare you. Use them as a barometer for your ego and a catalyst to get better.
I’m happy to report that Saturday’s performance went a million times better and I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to improve.
Additionally, I felt my 3rd and 4th performances this past weekend continued to get better.
In addition to my current dinner theater role, I’ve had several auditions over the last few weeks. Some went well, others were just okay. But what is important to me is that I keep lining them up, preparing and doing my best, come what may.
Here’s me at audition number 1, when entering the audition room, all is quiet and all I can hear is the sound of my shoes as make my way onto the stage. Even though you usually in the room with several people, you can easily feel very lonely.
Audition #1 went well. It was for the show Camelot and I sang “Agony” from Into the Woods. I sang it well and was asked to stay for a reading. I still haven’t heard anything about that audition but at this point I’m thinking it was a ‘No”
Took me to downtown Philly on a cold and rainy day. Parking was a challenge so I had to walk several blocks in the rain. Needless to say I was drenched by the time I made it to the theater space. This particular audition was to be an understudy in a play for a well-known regional theater company. Since it was for a play and not a musical, there was no singing audition, and like I said, I’ve been trying to challenge myself to better my acting and not rely on the security blanket that is my singing ability. As nerve wracking as these auditions can be, I try to remind myself what a casting director once said, “Don’t be nervous, remember that this is just another opportunity to perform which is something you love to do.” So with that in mind I enter “the room.”
And in about 2 minutes, it’s over. For those of you that don’t know, Auditioning is the real job of an actor. You spend days preparing, memorizing songs, lines, etc. Sometimes hours in travel, all for about two minutes to show them what you’ve got. And then it’s on to the next one.
I received an email letting me know that I wasn’t cast, which I appreciate because most of the time you never hear anything and you are left to assume that you didn’t get hired. I was totally fine with not getting this one because this audition was more about getting more experience and additional exposure with the director and this particular theater company.
Once again, a rainy day. This time my GPS led me to Bristol, PA to audition for Jesus Christ Superstar. A good fit I thought since I’d just finished up work on another Andrew Lloyd Webber plus I can kind of look like a bible character in a few short weeks of not shaving or getting a haircut. Like I said, singing has been my strength. My acting has improved over time in my opinion, but one thing that will always hold me back is my dancing. Any audition that has a dance portion scares the Bejesus out of me. No pun intended. That’s why I typically refrain from auditioning for dance heavy shows. I’m what the theater community refers to as a park and barker, which basically means I stand still and sing with power. So after singing well, and impressing them with my headshots’ biblical resemblance, I proceeded to destroy any chance of being cast during the dance portion of the audition.
That leads me to Audition #4
This audition was with the theater company that I worked with back in the spring. The one that gave me my first professional theater credit. The show they are doing is Wizard of Oz. I was overconfident to be honest. I figured I knew the Wizard of Oz well and they knew me so that should be enough. I was wrong. The song I auditioned with was “If I Only Had A Heart.” Piece of cake, however in this version the song is in a different key, which threw me for a loop and then I proceeded to blank on the lyrics. My monologue was good but once again I was sabotaged by the dance audition. I did get a callback but not for any of the roles I auditioned for. I am grateful that I wasn’t simply sent packing but still somewhat disappointed by my perceived lack of progress when it came to auditioning. But that is why I keep at it. That’s why I keep scheduling auditions in my spare time between showing houses and settlements. Perhaps if I use a sports analogy
When (not if) you miss a shot in basketball, it’s your number one objective to get rebounds. You don’t sulk and wonder if you should ever shoot again. Rebounds allow you the opportunity for another shot. That’s why I feel it is important that you not ever say the words “this is my only shot.” I have had some great auditions and I have had some clunkers. But I try to always put in the work in order to give it my best shot.
Some people only share their successes. I, on the other hand, want you to be with me even when I fail. That’s what being authentic is all about. That’s what being in community with one another is all about. This life is about growing, and sometimes growth only comes through seasons of failure.
I am challenging myself by submitting for more and more high profile auditions. Someone once said, “if you’re the smartest guy in the room, find another room.” I take that approach to pursuing my dream. We should all be trying to improve and the best way to do that is to surround yourselves with people who inspire you. People who are better than you, so that you can glean from their wisdom and experience.
I know some people who are content to be a big fish in a small pond. But I want to be a hermit crab. I want to try bigger opportunities and grow into them. The more often you challenge yourself, the more likely you are to eventually be rewarded for all of your hard work.
That happened to me last Friday night.
In the midst of grinding out some auditions and trying to do a better job in my dinner theater role, I received a text from my friend. My hometown theater company was having their annual holiday party and I was given the MVP award for my performance in EVITA last month. There I was, dressed like Sherlock Holmes, sitting down on my break, reading a text about how my hard work was being rewarded. It was kind of a funny scene now that I think about it.
I can’t recall winning very many awards in my life, and the irony of not being present to accept this award was not lost on me. In that moment, it would have been much easier to be at the party accepting my award. But I was too busy doing something that had proven to be much more difficult than I realized, all because I wanted to get better as a performer. It was kind of fitting in a way.
This is the first award I’ve received to recognize all of my hard work over the past year to pursue my dream of being a performer. What made it even more special was that the director specifically mentioned that she wanted to also acknowledge the full body of my work for the organization, and not just this particular role.
That meant so much to me. I really can’t even think of the best way to word it so I’ll just leave it at that.
In addition to the award, I received a very nice email from owner of the dinner theater company that I am currently working with, congratulating me on an outstanding performance and thanking me for bringing my talents into the group. I was floored!!! All I can say is that God is good.
Now, please understand I am not trying to brag and say I’m great. This post is about sharing with you some of the successes that have come in addition to my many failures. I think it’s important to share both scenarios with you in real time, with the hopes of inspiring some of you who may be ready to throw in the towel and give up on your dream.
When pursuing your dream, sometimes you’ll get rejected or you’ll shoot some air-balls. But you have to remember to go for the rebounds, because without them, you’ll never get another shot. And without another shot, you’ll never know if the reward for your hard work was right around the corner.
THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT DAYS IN A PERSON’S LIFE
There is a famous quote by Mark Twain that makes the social media rounds every so often…I’m sure you’ve either seen or heard it before.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
I recently celebrated my birthday, and when you come to the close of another year on Planet Earth, you begin to take inventory of your life and the choices you’ve made in the last year. The hope is that you will learn and grow so that you can position yourself for a better year to come. It’s almost like a pseudo-New Years’ resolution.
What did I learn over the past year?
I learned that if you do not know why you were born, then you need to do whatever it takes to make that discovery your top priority going forward. I believe that no one is here by accident. I believe that everyone has a divine destiny…a calling and purpose for their life.
How do you find the answer? Well, here’s my recommendation…Question everything about your life choices. Why are you making them? How are they a reflection of who you are as a person? Are you trying to fit into someone else’s mold? Are you trying to appease some outside influence, like parents or peers? Are you merely trying to eek out a “good” living by obtaining financial independence & security?
To borrow from Mr. Twain: The two saddest days in your life are the day you stop being yourself in order to gain acceptance or get ahead, and the day you die without ever having really lived out your purpose.
If you ask me, you cannot afford to reach another birthday without knowing why it is that you were “birthed” in the first place.
For me – I was born to reflect the image of my Creator and to perform using the creativity that God has graciously bestowed upon me. And to use my unique perspective on the world to educate those around me and better the lives of those in my community.
What does that look like? I’m not always sure. I can tell you that it definitely has nothing to do with Real Estate. LOL! Hate to burst anyone’s bubble. But I’d be lying if I said I have it all figured out.
Some days it means making silly videos to put a smile on someone’s face. Other days it may mean putting a scowl on someone’s face because I am being true to my convictions and standing up for something I believe in, even if it is not a popular opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I am still on the hunt. I am on an unending quest to discover how I am uniquely positioned to change the world. And that is what gets me out of bed each morning!
Every day I try to find ways to use my gifts to encourage others to find their true calling and discover what they have been uniquely gifted to do.
It could be anything!
There is no black and white answer nor should there be. This quest should always be morphing and shaping who you are. If your answer is “I was put on this earth to be a painter or a lawyer,” then you are thinking too small. Even if you say something more “noble,” like, that you were put on this earth to be a good father or mother, then that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Think about it – You could have been born at any place or time in history.
Aren’t you dying to know the answers to these questions? Wouldn’t it be better if you were living out the answers to these questions?
Start doing hard things. Stop making excuses. Start tackling big things. Stop avoiding obstacles.
Stop chasing someone else’s dream, American or otherwise, and start identifying the things that you know you could not live without, and reclaiming the dreams you’d like to be a reality.
Remember, it is only when you have found your purpose in life that you can truly begin to live.