An Actor Prepares...
The life of an actor in Hollywood is mostly spent on auditions and training.
This is a frustrating fact to many - but the reality is that most working actors (who are not famous A list stars you know by name) have to hustle to 'get the job' so much more than actually spending the time to DO the job. So if you are in actor in Hollywood and don't like auditioning (and not many do...) the journey is going to be challenging, to say the least.
One of the perks of Covid era for actors - is the new trend of auditioning via self-tapes. (Um, in some ways it's a perk but in other ways it is NOT).
To the non-industry folks: a self tape is an audition that the actor produces on their own in the given time they have - sometimes with multiple scenes and very limited time given, and with specific instructions and technical requests such as angle, backdrop, lighting, etc. An actor in Hollywood nowadays has to multitask: They need to have some technical skills to tape themselves with sufficient lighting and quality, make their acting choices with the given material, edit the footage and so on.
One of the perk of self-tapes is the ability to tape from anywhere. As long as there is a good backdrop, camera, tripod, lighting, quiet space, a reader and wifi connection - you are good to go even if you are hundreds of miles away from your home. That is most definitely a perk. But it's not a perk when you are auditioning for a period film while you are traveling with a tiny carry-on and the only clothes you brought with you are sweat pants and t-shirts and you are given only a few hours to memorize, prepare and tape the audition. This was me a couple of weeks ago in my visit to Texas.
So what did I do?
Well, first - I panicked. Second - I went through my entire carry on just to confirm that no, I had absolutely nothing that resembled 1903 fashion. Third - I looked up vintage stores in the area. four - I sighed in relief. I happened to be at a town that celebrates a Dickens festival once a year, and that invites vintage fanatics from all over the country to attend and showcase their goods! um, what?! Meant to be!?? Heck, yeah.
I headed over to a vintage store and my problem was solved within an hour. I counted my lucky stars for being a very quick memorizer and speedy at my script analysis skills, and managed to tape the audition and send it just an hour before the deadline.
Did I have to dress the part? No, I did not. But part of the job of the actor is to find a way IN to the material, to the character and world presented in the story. Sometimes the 'outside in' is simply the best way to go. And in this case - believing that I was portraying a woman living in 1903 was important.
So in case you are curious about the life of an actor... this is only one little example of the random challenges that actors face. Stick with me a tad longer, you'll eventually hear of many many more...
*Pic taken by Tamar Pelzig
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In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman