Monday, August 22, 2011

If You Don't Love It, Don't Do It.

My 15 year-old son has some God-given gifts.  He's very athletic, a fast runner and builds muscle easily.  Gifts most teenage boys would embrace.  Gifts that could open a lot of doors in life.  Gifts that are perfect for football. 

His dad went to a Division I college on a football scholarship.  He was a stand-out running back through high school and set some college records that still stand today. 

My son is back-up running back on the JV football team.  Not the first JV team full of the best athletes, but the second JV team.  He goes to a large 4A school in Texas.  Competition is fierce for everything, but especially for football.  He's faster than the starting running backs on all of the teams, he's bigger, he's stronger.  He should be starting, but he's not. 

Why?  Because he doesn't like football.

I've been denying it for years but I always suspected it.  My dreams for his future included a football scholarship.  His dreams are to attend the Naval Academy and become a SEAL.  He's never liked sports, even when he excelled at them at a younger age.  It's never been more obvious than this year.  When he's on the field, his apathy shows.  His gifts go unused.  The passion isn't there.  Others want it more. 

Slowly I'm coming to accept this but it's hard.  I mean really, really hard.  But, I would never push him to do something he doesn't love.  You have to be "all in", especially for something requiring such a commitment.  If your talents don't match your desire, then you need to channel them differently. 

His athletic ability will serve him well in his chosen field, I don't doubt that.  He will be unstoppable when he finds that one thing that he's passionate about.  His talents will not be wasted.

Why am I writing this on my acting blog?  Well, for one, because it's cathartic but it's not all for my own selfish reasons.  If you're acting (or doing anything) and don't know why, then question it.  Is it because someone told you that you had talent and you should be?  Or is it because you truly love it and are passionate about it?  Are you "all in"?  Acting arguably requires as much (if not more) mental toughness, training and tenacity as any competitive sport.  It's a tough go and if you aren't doing it for the right reasons, then maybe it's time to stop and re-evaluate. 

Do it because you love it. 

As for my son, I'm backing off and giving up on my dream so that he can live his. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Little Things

Last week my mother-in-law was in town.  We took a trip downtown to do some sightseeing which coincided with an audition that I had that afternoon.  She was much more excited to get to tag along to an audition than see any of the sights in downtown Dallas! 

She sat outside and waited as I did a "couples" commercial audition for a restaurant chain.  She was fascinated by all of the actors coming through and the process of it all.  Living in rural Pennsylvania, she had never experienced anything quite like that and so enjoyed a glimpse into the day to day of being an actress.

Seeing the audition process anew through her eyes really makes me appreciate what I do all over again.  It's so easy to get bogged down at times but as Steven Pressfield writes in "War of Art", it's better to be in the arena getting stomped by the bull than to be in the stands watching...or worse yet, in the parking lot.  I love the arena, it's sights and sounds.  Sometimes, when I'm in there with the bull, I get the horns.  But once in a while, I hear an "ole" and know that I'm right where I've always wanted to be.

I have a callback from that audition this weekend - and I plan to take the bull by the horns and enjoy my time in the arena.

Keep on keeping on.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Progress is nice, no matter what form it comes in.  The past two days, I noticed a little something while waiting for auditions.  I was surrounded by the in-crowd - my market's A-listers that are booking like crazy and are seriously incredible actors. 

It feels good to be there.  It's progress.  Just like being second choice over and over again is.  Maybe there aren't tangible benefits but the confidence boost is amazing.  And that's part of what it takes to get to the next level.

It's been a nice couple of days.  I hope the old adage is true - you're as good as those you're surrounded by. 

Keep on keeping on. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And Then There Were Two

Hi, my name is Alison and I am #2.  Uh, wait, that doesn't sound good.

Hi, my name is Alison and I am second.  Yes, that's better. 

So I just got back from a three hour (!) callback.  It was an elimination round, so to speak, with the last couple standing presumably booking the spot.  We started out with 7 girls and 5 guys and ended up with two of each.  Two couples, of which I was one half of one.  After seeing so many others get cut, it was nice to be one of the last two standing.  Yet nervewracking at the same time.

Three hours of auditioning, different direction each time, down to me and another woman.  Polar opposites.  She's shorter, I'm taller, she has light hair, I have dark hair, she's got a very comedic look, I have a very commercial look.    Well, it's that last one that I think decided it for them. 

My last time I auditioned, I was asked to make it as over-the-top comedic as possible.  I was given one shot, I tried my best but I don't think it was enough.  They called her back in for a third time, then released all four of us.

Final two.  I am second.  If you're not first,  you're last. 

But I least I got to be second once again and that felt pretty good for today.  On to my next audition this afternoon and to prepare for a film audition tomorrow.  Yes, a film audition, oh happy day! 

Keep on keeping on. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Callback Rule #1

Well, hello blog peeps!  This Wednesday I have a commercial callback from an audition that I had before vacation.  And I've been deliberating something since finding out.  The casting specs asked for a perky, cute woman to play the part of the wife.  I'm many things but perky ain't one of them.  So, I was sort of surprised to get the callback. 

They called back seven women, three from my agency - me and two VERY perky other women.  Hmm.  Immediately I started questioning everything about my audition from what I wore to how I came across.  And yes, deliberating whether or not I should change everything about what I did the first time around. 


Callback Rule #1 - Do what you did the first time.  They liked it or they wouldn't be seeing you again.  Fight the urge to be like the others getting called back.  Be yourself.  At the end of the day, you can only be you.  Everyone else is taken.

Maybe they will change directions and go with something else, maybe that something else will be me.  Or maybe they will stick with perky.  Who knows.  What I do know is that I'm not changing a thing.  And if they really want perky from me, they might ask for that.  I can fake it. 

I am an actor after all.  :)