Oct 5, 2005
Please Don’t Ask
A few weeks ago, I auditioned for a Post Cereal commercial. “How did you do? … “What did you do? … “Did they like you?” I barely had time to take a deep breath before my parents asked these questions, forcing me to dwell on the situation. The professional response is to put it out of mind.

Let me give you an example. Two months before the Post tryout, I auditioned for an AT&T commercial. After meeting me, the casting director announced that I “would be perfect for the role.” I received similar encouraging comments at the call-back, but I made a mistake: I relayed the casting director’s praise to friends and family. Later, I wished they had never asked because it only heightened my disappointment when I was never cast. This prompted a new batch of questions: “What happened? … Why didn’t you get it?”

Who knows why I didn’t get it? Casting agents themselves don’t know sometimes. Often they change their minds. Also, they don’t have the final say. The sponsor must approve their choice. Maybe AT&T did not agree with the casting agent’s decision.

I don’t mind so much that I make the long trip into New York City for an audition that leads to nothing. What bothers me are the well-meaning but annoying questions people persist in asking. Why do they do this? Perhaps they’re curious or drawn to potential fame. Maybe, like a cheering squad, they’re rooting for me. If I succeed, they’re on the winning team.

I try to teach my parents not to bombard me with questions, but they can’t help themselves. Like others, they probably feel they’re supporting me. They don’t realize that discussing the topic prolongs the agony. They’re not familiar with the industry or the rejections that actors face as a standard part of the job.

Mulling a booking I probably won’t get wastes energy and only sets me up for disappointment. If I keep thinking about it, I start to doubt myself. Should I have interpreted the script differently? Did I sound too sarcastic? When they took my picture, was my head tilted right?

Once, the audition was canceled. I was partly relieved, because I could dismiss all questions. “Did the like you? … Do you think you go the job?” I found satisfaction in simply explaining, “It was canceled.”

Still, my friends get so excited at the mention of a TV show or film. They don’t realize that it’s like a test in school. You don’t know how you did until the teacher grades it and tells you. Unlike a test, however, there are no right answers in auditioning. You may have the wrong color hair, be too tall, too short, too sweet-looking, too sleek. Or, for whatever reason, the casting agent does not perceive you as right for the role.

I have another audition soon. Please, don’t ask me any questions that night or the next day. If I get the job, you’ll be the first to know.

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