We Are Young

Steve on location in Palm Springs

Mike worked with Steve on a commercial in Century City on Saturday, then Monday and Tuesday on a different commercial in Palm Springs. Oh yeaaaa Steve with the hook-up. People who meet Mike constantly think he is much younger, like 22 or something. That’s good, you look young. “Or it’s because I’m a PA.” True, that too. Obviously, Mike took the car, so of course, Monday night I get invited to an audition Tuesday evening.

Thankfully, Dorian is back from Thailand, so instead of working a double Tuesday, I have off. I analyze the bus schedule for a while and figure it will take an hour and 20 minutes to get to my destination. Ryan (Woodle) told me he always shows up an hour early for an audition, and I try to do that every time now. It’s funny, too, because growing up we were late for everything. By we, I mean my family. The worst was church because Mom and Dad and five little kids would show up late and walk in the door. First of all, it’s completely silent except for the pastor; second of all, even the door opening in a church is loud. We’d “quietly” file in and sit in the furthest pew back. I’d try and listen to the pastor and understand what he was saying. Fail. My mind wandered. I just looked forward to afterwards when we’d head to Sunday School (they had snacks there, and sometimes we did arts and crafts). Eventually, we only went to church on Easter and Christmas Eve, then just Christmas Eve, and then not at all. Another thing I used to get mad at Mom for – not making us go to church. She had to remind me that one, I could go if I wanted to, and two, how much I hated it. It’s true. Church was so boring. If I were to practice any religion now it would be Buddhism. Seems to make the most sense. To each his own.

Pictures before church; Easter 1991

I’m mad I can’t just drive because it would take me half the time, but I guess now I really get to fit the stereotype of struggling actress who works in a bar and has to take the bus to her auditions. I arrive at an unassuming building exactly one hour before my call time. It’s a short film – a SAG AFI thesis film to be more precise. Pay is deferred, which means the actors will only be paid if the film actually makes any money. So unpaid. It’s a film of young actors. The lead is a 12-year-old boy. They’re also casting his friend of the same age, and his older sister, Dilly. That’s me. Dilly is a math wiz, discovered when she was 12. “18 to play younger.” I’m really reaching on this one. But whatever, I submitted, they saw my head shot and resume, and invited me. I throw on jeans and a shirt with a cardigan over top (nerdy math girl?). I debate wearing my glasses and opt not to. It’s better if they can see my face. Hair in pigtail braids, and no makeup to help me look younger.

Sign in and there are no sides waiting there for me. I already looked them up online (had to pay $4) and it’s four pages of script but they are three separate scenes and I pretty much have one line for each scene. So there’s no flow and I have to convey a lot with my few, short lines. I’m not exactly ecstatic about this audition. A girl walks in after 10 minutes with sides and I grab one. Head out into the hallway to say my lines out loud. I’m the supportive older sister. That’s all I really know about my character.

I sit and wait. I’m positive I’m the oldest person in the room for this audition. I see a couple Dilly’s who are actual teenagers. The waiting is the worst part. After 20 minutes skinny white chick in casual jeans and white T-shirt with super high heels walks in and calls me and a younger boy into another room. He goes in first, and I’m on deck. This is a smaller room and me and the receptionist-type girl sitting at the only desk in the room are the only ones here. Waiting to audition is like waiting to see the doctor. You go from a large waiting room into a smaller waiting room and sit forever. Finally, the doctor sees you and looks at you so fast you think he can’t possibly know if there is something wrong with you. At an audition, it happens so fast and you only get one take; you think they can’t possibly know if you’re right for the part.

I’m called into a tiny room. Skinny white chick and Asian guy are here. She’s setting up the camera and he seems enthralled by the pages in front of him. Usually I would introduce myself and shake their hands, but I don’t even think to by his vibe. My rule is, if there are three people in the room, it’s OK to introduce myself and shake hands. Four or more people, no shaking hands. It’s wasting too much of their time. I just put down my bag and sit in the chair in front of the camera. Skinny white girl addresses me. “Lindsay, are you over 18?” Yes. Pause. But thank you for asking. She and Asian guy look up and smile. I’ll take it. “There are three scenes and we’ll cut after each scene.” OK. “And, we’re rolling.” It’s that fast. You’re waiting and waiting and waiting and then it’s happening too fast for you to realize. Asian guy’s face is right next to the camera – he’s the reader. Don’t look at the camera. Don’t look at him. I stumble to try and not look at him because he’s talking to me. Focus, Lindsay. I finally find a spot in between his face and the camera. My lines feel meaningless. I try to make them important. I listen when he speaks. Reaction is just as important.

And then it’s over. They thank me and I thank them. I leave, kicking myself. I could have done better. I literally shake my head, embarrassed that it wasn’t my best effort. Still, it feels good to audition.

*fun.

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