I booked it!

The whole drive to set I still wouldn’t let myself feel excited, I was completely ready to get there and find out a big mistake had been made and they thought I was someone else. I was fully prepared to be sent home as soon as the director saw me and realized I wasn’t the one he wanted.  I carried on none the less remaining calm and steady and really unsure of what to expect. I mean it’s only one line, a kind of important line but still, pretty simple and again just one line. I drove up to the gate in my little Toyota Yaris and rolled down my window I’m here to work on “House of Cards” today I said kind of meekly or at least what is meekly for me. “Are you Emlyn” said the a member of the crew “Yes I am” I said completely surprised that he knew who I was. “Go ahead and park over there and we’ll have a van drive you to set”  Wait was he there waiting specifically for me? This was pretty neat. And WOW! A van is driving me to set, this guy knew who I was and I was about to get a van ride, I was really liking this. When I got to set I was shown to my trailer, that’s right I had my own trailer! It was awesome I’m not gonna lie. Very modest, just like a little dressing room kind of but I had my own bathroom and my character’s name was on the door and it was mine, just mine. My trailer was right next to a very big star’s trailer which was much larger and much more decadent but I didn’t care, I loved my little trailer, I loved it very much. I had my own electrical outlet, my own air conditioner my own heater my own stereo and again my own bathroom it was pretty much amazing in my book and way more than I had expected. I filled out the paperwork and made myself right at home I plugged in my phone and my laptop. I had plenty of tv shows like modern family downloaded on my i tunes. Having been an extra on film and tv sets a lot I was very aware that this could be a quick shoot but it could also be a forever shoot and I was prepared and ready for whatever.  Pretty soon after I got there I was taken to hair and make up, I was really looking forward to this. How cool to be able to show up to work looking just like blah ugly me and then magically after two people work their magic bippity bobbity boo I’m looking great and camera ready. Ok truth be told I was going to show up to set totally bare faced but I didn’t want to freak anyone out so I did put on some tinted moisturizer and a little powder, I mean I can’t go out there looking like a total animal. Bottom line though the whole thing is fantastic someone fixing my hair and someone tickling my face with soft little brushes and then I open my eyes and voila – hey I ain’t half bad lookin’!

I was then sent back to my trailer to await further instruction.  No problem, I had all my media, had a nice cool air blowing from my personal ac and hey I kind of needed to use the bathroom so blam, I did, I used my own personal bathroom. After a short while they told me to get into costume so I did. Little secret I was not crazy about my costume , not so flattering and I looked a little like a lesbian, not that there’s anything wrong with that, I guess I’ll just say I didn’t feel very feminine but actually when I think about it, I kind of never do so on with the costume. I tell myself to back away from the diva train and just “be all that I can be” which you will find funny if you ever see the episode of the show I was in.  I know it’s all in the details and I would like to give more but the confidentiality agreement I signed prohibits me from sharing information and hell if I’m gonna mess with a binding legal document!

All costumed up it was then time to go to set for rehearsal, I was met at my trailer door with a crew member who since it was beginning to drizzle had an umbrella to  walk me to set with so I wouldn’t get wet – I felt like the frieken pope! It was amazing. I kind of wanted to say “oh I can hold the umbrella you don’t have to do that” but then I thought…just let it happen, just let this rock star moment happen.  We got inside and he led me to the area of the set where we were shooting, I of course thanked him. I know what it’s like to be wardrobe crew and background and a stand in and have always vowed that when I “make it” in this business I will always  be polite and appreciative and treat everyone the way I wished I had been treated. I also am aware of the reality that one line isn’t exactly “making it” in this business but I was still going to be nice.

We rehearsed a few times so everyone would know what they were doing, learn the blocking and know our marks, (where we should stand). Then they called lunch.

“Cool” I thought that wasn’t so hard “and now we get free food, awesome!” I headed back to my trailer and put back on my regular person clothes and headed over to the tent where lunch was all set up. The interesting thing here was that I was so used to being an extra where you kind of develop a little group of fellow background friends and eat with them it didn’t occur to me that being solo on set and in my own little trailer I hadn’t really gotten to know anyone. The other actor my scene was with was really nice but seemed kind of serious and I didn’t want to mess up his “process” or whatever he needed to do to be focused. I walked over to the tent where the catered lunch was all set up. I saw a lot of crew and I saw a table of extras and stand ins but I didn’t know them and felt weird just going over and sitting myself down with them uninvited. I kept looking but none of the actors with lines were there, I guess they were all in their trailers. I fixed myself some lunch and walked back to my trailer with my tray. “I guess I’ll just watch some Modern Family episodes on my i tunes while I eat my lunch” I thought to myself. As I began eating my lunching and watching tv on my laptop it hit me, “I’m living the dream!” I was eating while watching tv while taking a break from being on tv. Save for the fact that I was wearing jeans and not sweatpants this was my perfect day!

That’s when I finally let myself get a little excited. I allowed myself to realize this was actually happening and I should really enjoy it. It still was a bitter sweet joy, kind of like a first boyfriend. I felt happy and giddy and warm but I was also all too aware that it wouldn’t last forever. I could only be Cinderella for a little while today and then at the stroke of “that’s a wrap” I would have to get back into my pumpkin, or Toyota Yaris, head back to reality and start the hunt all over again.

Meeting With a Casting Director

So as my husband is now working in Washington DC, not the first city you think of when it comes to the entertainment industry, I’ve decided to look into what show business is like in that neck of the woods. So far the thing I’ve noticed most is that it is very different from New York. In New York I have my agent who calls me with auditions which I record on my own and send in or I go into a specific casting office to record there. I can still keep an eye out for work on my own and if I book that job I’ll call them for advice or to make sure it’s ok and they sometimes will offer to deal with the business side of things. I never deal directly with casting directors. I’ve always been taught contacting a casting director directly is a big no no.  There are websites you can go to to see the auditions that are posted directly  by different casting directors but you always submit online or sometimes (but rarely) by mail.  The auditions posted always clearly state NO PHONE CALLS – usually there’s not even a please at the end of that – it’s just a statement , a very clear and concise direction that must be followed.  You don’t want to be “that actor” the one who thinks they are above the law, the one that doesn’t play by the rules and then wind up, as many of the actor legends say, BLACKLISTED. You don’t want the reputation of the annoying actor who will, as the legends continue, have their name spread through casting offices across the land as an actor to be dismissed and avoided. As far as I can tell, from the legends, it is a very fine line you must walk, you want to be a go getter but you don’t want to be too pushy either and you never want to over step that line and, as the legends say, be shunned for pissing the wrong person off because, as the legend clearly continues, it’s a very small world and people talk.  I’m not sure if as you are reading this you are getting the very ominous great and powerful OZ feeling but that is the kind of feeling that I have experienced.  You will be summoned if you are needed until then wait patiently and let fate unfold.

In the D.C. or Mid Atlantic market you really only deal directly and primarily with the casting directors. There aren’t really agents, I mean there are but they all seem to be non exclusive and they are often, but not always, associated with a casting office. How strange, right?  At least for me it is– so different – so foreign – but interesting.  It’s empowering, I think? I’m aware I’m using a lot of question marks, I guess that’s because that’s where I am, I am full of question marks. How is this going to work? Can I play both markets? Heck, can I throw Philly in there too? Should I cruise the northeast corrider and cast a wider net? Maybe they’ll finally make one of those Star Trek teleportation devices or someone will build a high speed cross country bullet train and I’ll get in on LA’s market too! Seriously though, how can having more opportunities be a bad thing?  I suddenly feel this statement coming back to haunt me in a later post.

So I start looking around doing a little research – cool stuff is being done in DC and Baltimore. They have House of Cards the Netflix series, The New Captain America is being filmed there, VEEP the HBO show with my girl crush/I hate her because I wish I was her, the amazingly talented and just awesome Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I heard some Parks and Recreations were filmed there, so stuff is happening there. I start trying to make some contacts and send out my materials directly to the casting offices. It seems scandalous but that’s because I’m a nerd who is always seeing drama in the simplest of things.  Indulge me while I give you an example…

I have a whole thing with this guy in our building because once when I was entering the building I was way off in judging his walking speed and thought he was too far from the door to warrant me holding the door open for him, big mistake, before I knew it he was right on my heels and I had let the door slam in his face. Another thing I paranoically noticed and then added to the imagined drama that I was experiencing was that we were not of the same race and so now we both, from different races, stood there waiting for the elevator. I was sure he was just seething, cursing me out in his mind calling me a racist and a self centered bitch and just hating me to the core. The elevator came and we both got in, “What floor?” I asked, thinking maybe I could make up for my heinous error with this feeble attempt at kindness. “Eleven” he said. Oh crap that’s my floor, “oh, me too” I awkwardly chuckled. We rode silently up the eleven floors and then both silently walked the long hall to our prospective apartments. “That guy hates me now, I’m almost positive he hates me” I think to myself  “he thinks I’m a bratty little racist and he is probably talking about me to whoever he lives with right now”. Later that week I saw him again in the elevator “eleven ,right?” he asked “Yup” I said cheerfully and smiled. Oh maybe he doesn’t hate me, maybe I made up for my faux pas by pressing the button for his floor last time OR maybe he was just trying to rub in how nice and forgiving he is and how I’m still a selfish little racist. Or maybe he wants me to remember he knows where I live. Or maybe he never even thinks of it, maybe he didn’t even realize I didn’t hold the door for him and just remembered I live on eleven too. The point is I find drama everywhere and most times it’s self created but for me it’s drama non the less.

So back to my scandolusly sending my materials, headhsots, resumes, demos etc directly to casting agents.  At first nothing really happened but then I started getting emails asking if I’d I like to come in for an audition. An audition for what? Just an audition, basically I do a monologue and a cold reading and they decide if they want to put me in their data base of talent to call when casting an actual project. Well sure, I’d like to be considered, so yes, yes please.

Huh… What do you know? I’m going to audition for a casting director. Is this a big deal, it is right? Or maybe it’s not. In New York this would be a pretty big deal I think. I mean it only happened twice to me in New York, once when I got called in for a general audition at NBC and once when I got called to audition for a specific role on 30 Rock. Don’t get too excited, nothing came of either of those. Although… hey NBC if you’re reading this you probably still have me on file there somewhere so if you ever want me to come on by for something I’m available.

Anyway… this time I’m meeting with a casting director in DC, I’m thinking it must still be kind of cool so I get excited. The dramatic mind starts reeling, “oh won’t this be hilarious, all my time in NYC and here I come to DC to meet this casting agent and I get my big break – who knew? Life is so wonderfully whimsical like that” that’s what I’ll tell people after I book this big role in whatever it is that they decide I’m perfect for.

I wake the next morning at 9:00 am that should give me the hour and a half to two hours I need to get ready and I would still have plenty of time to get there by 1:30pm, my audition time.

Yes I said and hour and a half to two hours to get ready, it takes me a while. Ladies might understand this better than men, unless your one of those annoying wash and go, I never wear make up and I look great girls – then you have no idea what I’m talking about and I probably have a little jealousy driven hate for you, sorry.

I have to find an outfit that is slimming but not too boring, stylish but not too stylish, neutral but not forgettable.  I have to wash my hair and then dirty it again by applying tons of products, then blow dry, then curl, then brush out the curl so that my limp, thin and baby hair like non textured hair actually looks fresh and somewhat full of body. Then the make up, basically imagine painting a canvas with all sorts of cracks and bumps in it but trying not to let any of the brush strokes show – in fact the viewer should wonder “is that canvas even painted?” The hope is that when I walk down the street everyone will be whispering “maybe she’s born with it?” But let’s face it in reality we all know it is in fact Maybeline or Bare Minerals or any number of the many cosmetics I have in my large makeup bag.

They say for headshots and auditions you always want to go in looking good but natural, “like you on your best day” is the phrase that is always used to inspire you on your look. Well right off that’s not going to work for me because my best day is me in comfy sweat pants and over sized t shirt, pimple cream working it’s magic on the appropriate areas while sitting on the couch with a pizza, a pint of ice cream  – preferably Hagen Daz or Ben and Jerry’s and a “48 hours investigates: True Crime Mysteries” marathon. Actually keep all that but in the middle of the marathon I get a call that says I booked a national commercial or a speaking role on a tv series and that would be my best day ever. I’m guessing that’s not what they are looking for.

So I finish the two hour, process of trying look like it only took me thirty minutes tops to walk out of the house this gorgeous and confident. I gather up all my materials, saying my monologue to myself as I go. I check to make sure I have my phone about six times and then head out the door. I stop first at the Exxon station for a Kashi Go Lean bar and a coffee – they actually have a pretty decent little make your own coffee station there where I can get a great coffee just how I like it for ¼ of the price of Starbucks. Just a little shout out there. Hey Exxon and Kashi Go Lean, I’m available to do commercials for you or I’ll just take a years worth of free stuff for that plug…either way. I also must add that I think that the little guy behind the counter with the pubic hair like moustache kind of likes me and that always gives me that little boost of confidence that says, “hey, maybe I will make it in this crazy old world!”

I drive to the audition while loudly and with conviction singing along to my “power mix!” All the embarrassing songs that I try to hide on my play list that make me feel like I’m a tough, strong broad and that dreams really do come true so ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me now – you know those kind of songs right? Oh fine, I’ll own up and name some… “I Believe” by Fantasia Barrino, “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy, “I am Telling You” from Dream Girls (I kind of like the Jennifer Hudson version), “Firework” by Katie Perry – I think that’s enough, you get it I’m a cheesy nerd. This is also the time when I get all Stuart Smalley/Tony Robbins on myself. “You’re great!”, I say to myself “You are totally going to charm the pants off these people!”, “you are really something special”. I talk to myself like I’m a coach coaching myself the player, I never say stuff like “I can do this” or “I got this” it’s always “You can do it… you got this” I’m not sure why that is exactly. I’ve asked around to see how other people talk to themselves and it seems to be split. Some identify solely as themselves and always talk in the first person others do second person narrative like I do. Someday I’d like to do a study on this. I wonder what the way a person talks to themselves means about them? I wonder if Bill Gates or George Washington were first person thinkers or second person? “Well George it’s pretty cold out there today but you are gonna get out there and cross that Delaware like a champ! Go get ‘em Georgie boy!”

If I were to bet I’m thinking leaders of nations and very rich moguls are more first personers George Washingon was probably always walking around thinking to himself  stuff like “I look great, I’m terrific, I’m unstopppable and I’m about to do some really amazing stuff  today.” But who knows really.

I’ve noticed that when I talk to myself it feels more like I’m parenting or guiding myself, like the actual me couldn’t handle anything so this more responsible and loving character appears in my mind to guide me through tough challenges or even just getting me out of bed. “Hey Listen, if you get out of bed now and get in the shower you can have a half hour of tv time before you start work, how’s that sound? Deal?”

I basically have a caretaker for my two year old inner self that would, if unguarded, eat cake and pizza for every meal, watch tv as long as I want and sleep until I naturally woke up everyday – which given the fact that my two year old inner self doesn’t have a bed time would most likely never be before noon.  I need that caretaker to prevent me from running amuck she is invaluable and she deserves a raise.

I finally get to the audition where I am asked to sit in the waiting room and fill out paper work, my name, phone number, address, union status, agent info and sizes.  Yuck  sizes I hate this part I’m always tempted to fill it in like this

Dress size: not skinny

Pants size: Average real American woman and perfect if you like big butts and you can not lie.

Shirt Size: Large but not because I have the shoulders of a line backer but because I have huge boobs.

Shoe size: 7

Weight: Take a guess, if you are within 5 lbs you win a stuffed animal.

Then they always ask me to list any special skills that I may have and think they should know about. I always chuckle to myself at the special skills question. I generally wind up writing singer mezzo soprano, improvisation and dialects, sometimes I add violin which I can play but am not good at as well as swimming and bike riding just to fill up more space and also in case they ever need someone who plays violin while riding a bike through a pool.  I’ve seen other people put whistling, burping on command, knock knock jokes and other kinds of weird uncomfortably unfunny things and I wonder – does that make them stand out and give the casting director a good laugh or does it just make the casting director roll their eyes and chuck their info right in the trash? So I just play it safe. I figure never try to be funny because there is nothing more horrible and cringe inducing than an actor, or an uncle for that matter, trying to be funny and failing miserably. Those pity laughs they pull out of people kill tooth fairies, I’m pretty sure.

There are three other people in the waiting room with me doing the paperwork as well, two GEORGEUOS girls with long legs and perfect wavy “I could be on Gossip Girl” hair and one very very handsome soap star/CW romantic drama type guy. Immediately I start to feel very small and yet thick – kind of like a potato.  Then the inner self  “coach” rallies me “hey, maybe they have enough gorgeous looking people, maybe they need a potato person, you go get ‘em spud!”

It’s finally my turn, I go in and smile and say hello and shake hands and all that. I explain how I’m from NYC but my husband just got a job in DC and so I’m checking out the scene around here and would “love to get more involved” a very cool and breezy phrase that masks what I really want to say which is “Hire me for something, for the love of god hire me!!!!!”

They have the camera running I slate my name and my height (which I exaggerate by a half inch, I mean who’s that really hurting if it makes me feel a little better) , They make me turn around once, I guess to make sure I have a back and then ask me to show my hands, backs and fronts…I guess they just want to make sure I have regular unmangled hands with the normal amount of fingers. However, I’d like to add a side note and some encouraging words about this part of auditioning. As a side note though if you are an actor with different looking body parts  you can always use this to our advantage add it to your special skills or something, let it set you apart. I guess I’m just taking this opportunity to say to those particular actors that your hands or lack of hands are yours so love them no matter what. Turn your mangled or missing lemons into mangled or missing lemonade, or something. So back to the audition – I do my monologue and read some “sides”, lines from a random show that has already been produced or is no longer on television,  and then I’m done. They stop the camera and the casting director gives me a look for a second and says “Yeah, I like you, you came in here and I just love what you are putting out there.”  Uhhhh ok. “Thanks” I say. We chat for a few more minutes share favorite New York Pizza spots as she once lived in New York City, laugh about how there’s just no good pizza around DC and then I leave.

As I walk away I’m not sure how I feel, I did my monologue well I mean as she said she liked me cause I did go in there and then she just loved what I was “putting out there.” So I guess that’s good? “Yeah it’s great!” I say to myself. “You did great and you never know where this could lead you down the road, right?” “Ok” I say back to my inner caretaker “yeah, you’re right, you never know.”

I Steal Ham

If you’ve been reading this chronicle of my days and struggle/ journey to become a successful actor you probably notice that it’s a lot of effort for little return. The truth of the matter is all this work for such little recognition and by recognition I mean yes I need for people to like me and approve of me and want to be clapped for and I especially mean MONEY.

A lot of resentment builds up in me I’ve noticed and for some reason it all comes out in grocery stores. I’ve realized that there is no easy way to get what you want in life and there is no way to cut corners and this makes me mad. At the same time I realized that grocery stores in fact have created an easy way to get what you want and have made ways to cut corners and I will take full advantage of this.

Self-checkout…are you kidding me with this? I mean I love it but unless you have hyper vigilant workers at each station watching what people are doing you must realize you are going to get stolen from. People will take advantage of your self-checkout option and if you think they won’t then you are dumb and you deserve to be stolen from.

It all started when I ordered ham from the deli and it was the wrong kind. I don’t know if I said the wrong kind or the guy just gave me the wrong kind or what but I had to go back and order again. There I was with two things of ham, what was I supposed to do? I really didn’t know. I was about to just abandon the wrong ham order in one of the aisles behind the soups but then I realized something. This ham is only going to get thrown away and be wasted so I should keep it but it’s also not the kind of ham I really wanted so I shouldn’t be guilted or suckered into buying it. I quickly put the wrong ham order in the bag with the right ham order and when I went through the self-check out I rang up the tag on the correct ham order. Success! Two hams for the price of one. I saved the dud ham from being wasted but I didn’t pay for it either. As I write this I know this seems like twisted logic to many of you as my husband described me as a “nut ball” when I came home and proudly told him this tale.

The thing is it makes sense in my world and that’s what I need. Since I for the most part and most of the time act and feel like I am still a four year old much of the world does not make sense to me. I still honestly find myself pouting and not understanding why if you really really want something you can’t just have it. I think that the acting thing feeds this unhealthy emotion. I see people say I want to be a teacher, they go to school, get a degree and get a job as a teacher. Doctors and lawyers go to school study very hard and begin working in their prospective fields. A plumber plumbs, a roofer roofs etc. etc. I want to be an actor, I went to school, I studied hard (not so much on the general education requirement classes but for sure on the classes that interested me) and got a degree … now where’s my job?

I think there’s a part of me that thinks that I deserve that free ham cause I’m creative and somewhat talented and it’s not being recognized. That free ham is kind of a “TAKE THAT WORLD!!”

It felt good, I felt satisfied, and I was my own warped version of Robin Hood. I started doing it with other items as well, I realized that if you put an avocado on the scale but entered on the computer that it was a lemon it would cost less and both the computer and the apathetic employees never noticed, “Feel that world, stings don’t it?!?!”, Single cookies from the bakery weigh basically nothing so if you put one on top of your loaf of bread and slide it through – free cookie “How’s that feel Universe?!”  I’ve even had the balls to when something did catch the machines attention call over the employees and say innocently “I don’t know what I did wrong?” The employee extremely lethargically and completely apathetically scanned the card that hangs around his neck hits a button and says, “there you go”   “HOME FREE YOU STUPID PLANET!!!!”

I’ve since started becoming increasingly worried about karma. I’m not worried in a grown up “ah yes, treat others as you would wish to be treated, respect the earth and all it’s creatures” it’s more like in a Santa Claus way, like I think Karma sees me and might not let me book any of these jobs I care so much about.

You’ll be happy to know that whatever the reason, I am now walking the path of the straight and narrow, I have retired my Robin Hood Cape and am ready to play by the rules. Maybe I am growing up, maybe I’m not a four year old any more…I think I’m at least a solid 12 now.

“Deaf Woman’s Little Boy”

This afternoon I had an audition for a certain salad dressing that shall remain nameless as I don’t want to get in trouble or sued for breaking a non disclosure agreement. The company wanted to to anthropomorphize the dressing into a cute bubbly woman salad dressing with curly hair. The kind of salad dressing woman that we can all relate to. They want us the consumer to think “Hey, if I was going to be friends with a salad dressing I would be friends with her!”  They had drawings hung up outside the room next to the scripts. Ms. Salad Dressing was curvy enough that no one would feel threatened by her unattainable figure but not too curvy that women would think she would make us fat. She had curly quirky fun red hair with fun funky earrings that made me  feel like I would be the centered one in our relationship. My wacky fun loving friend Ms. Salad Dressing would be coming to me for advice in this relationship, she’d make me feel like I really have it together. Ms. Salad Dressing would be the friend I called when I just wanted to let loose with some salad and a Margarita. Ok, so I get it, I know who this Ms. Salad Dressing is and now my job was to figure out her voice, how should she sound? I sat there with the script reviewing voices in my head, the best friend but not too young, maybe a little raspy, a little wry, super friendly, upbeat, could she have an accent? Southern or Midwestern maybe even New York? I feel like she needs a bit of a comical edge but not too cartoony, maybe I’ll ease back on the rasp and add in a little nasal quality. I look around at the rest of the ladies waiting to audition, it’s pretty much the same group of women I run into at this type of an audition, a new face here or there. We’re all about the same age give or take five years.  In voiceover it doesn’t matter so much how old you really are, it’s how old you sound.  I’m figuring my chances are about as good as they ever are and I just try to relax and “have fun with it” as they say.  There’s never really any way to to tell how things will turn out so if you can not stress about it that’s the best way to go.  I’ve had auditions where I thought I did a stupendous job and never heard even a peep back and I’ve had auditions that I thought I bombed and then wind up booking the job.  Someone once told me that if you can’t actually picture a situation happening that’s probably because it won’t. I don’t even remember who it was that said that but still I’ll never forget it was said. It’s kind of a haunting thought and it puts a lot of pressure on my mental “picturing” skills.  Suddenly the door opens and the auditionee who has just finished comes out smiling and still talking to the casting director … it was Didi Conn…Frenchy from the movie Grease! I’m she’s done much more than just Grease but that’s how I first was introduced to her as a little girl.  At this point in my mind I didn’t stand a chance, she was perfect for this job not only is she Didi Conn but she’s got that amazing voice, the voice I think I was actually imaging in my head as I was picturing drinking margaritas with Ms. Salad Dressing. I was next and all I can say is at least the pressure fell away, I was pretty sure that they had just cast the voice and were only seeing the rest of us as a courtesy. So I went to take my turn and just “had fun with it.”  As much as I would normally like to dwell on this situation for as long as possible I just didn’t have time today I had to be in Washington DC at 7pm to teach an improv workshop.  So off I went leaving my thoughts of Frenchy behind me as I hightailed it to the Port Authority bus terminal to grab that Greyhound. (Ok maybe I hummed Beauty School Drop Out to myself a little)

The bus ride to DC.

Normally on a bus ride any longer than and hour I would pop a Dramamine and sleep the whole way there but this time I thought I’d try to be productive.  I decided to prepare for the workshop I would be teaching, do some writing, respond to emails,  (maybe watch some Modern Family episodes that I have downloaded on my iTunes) etc. I was excited because the bus wasn’t full and I got two seats to myself, that’s the holy grail of bus riding as far as I’m concerned. “This won’t be so bad” I foolishly told myself. When we were boarding the bus a woman and her son were brought to the front of the line and helped onto the bus, she was deaf and traveling with her little boy who was about 4 years old.  I was impressed and wondered what that must be like, the little boy could hear but she couldn’t. I saw her signing to him and he signed back while talking too, it was kind of amazing, I didn’t know what they were saying but I loved watching the two of them communicate as they got themselves situated on the bus. I had no idea that what seemed like a sweet and sort of inspirational pair that made me smile would soon make me want to rip out my own eye lashes one by one. The minute the bus hit the road the little boy starting singing, “awww, that’s cute” I thought at first, “he’s singing a little song to himself, he’s so free and uninhibited, kids are adorable…he just keeps on singing…he’s just singing away…singing singing singing … still singing…this is a long song…I’m not sure this is a song any more…now he’s just making noises … ok so the song is over … but he’s still making long loud noises … he’s kind of shrieking … well his mom won’t let him just carry on like this for the whole trip … his mom will stop him soon…”  It was then I realized his mom couldn’t hear him – she was blissfully enjoying the quiet bus ride to Washington, her little boy beside her comfortably sitting in his seat, MAKING SO MUCH REDICUOUS NOISE!  At this point he is just wailing like a banshee “weeeeeeeee awww ooooooooh weee waaaaaah weeee whaaaaam woooaaaah weeee…” and on and on and on.  I didn’t have the nerve to tell the deaf mother her son was making too much noise. I kind of hoped someone else would, I looked around “anyone? anyone? I know we all hear this, we all have the same look on our face, is this how our four and a half hour journey is going to go? We’re going to listen to this the whole time? Surely someone must have the balls to ask the deaf woman to tell her kid to shut up!” No one was stepping up, I looked around again and met a lot of stranger to stranger looks of acknowledgement, the one where it’s like “I don’t know you but yes I am aware that this is a ridiculous situation and we are in it together” no one budged though. I couldn’t do it, I just listened to the sound of the little boy, they were almost becoming whale like sounds at this point. I sat quietly, sighed and accepted that this was just how this bus ride was going to go.

About thirty minutes later, the little boy was still jamming away (he had even added some percussion at this point), the whole bus started filling with the thick smell of cigarette smoke. I realize that at one point in time people could smoke everywhere, on planes on trains on busses, in movie theaters, I mean even while I was in college you could smoke in restaurants and after college when I first moved to New York you could still smoke like crazy in bars. Now that we are in a world that has barred cigarette smoking in public places the smell of cigarettes seems far more pungent and aggressive than I remember it being before . The bus started to fill more and more with the strong musky smokiness, people began looking around. The stranger to stranger looks started flying, “what’s going on, is someone smoking on the bus?” we were having eye conversations like crazy. Finally someone signaled to the bus bathroom, we all looked and nodded, we stared at the bathroom door waiting to see who would walk out so we could shame them with our eyes. While waiting a couple more glances were passed and an eye conversation began

Me: “should we tell the bus driver?”

Guy across from me with laptop and headphones: “well if we do he’ll pull the bus over”

Lady with Snapple : “That’ll take forever”

Guy dressed in full African apparel: “ I just want to get home, ya know?”

Me: “Yeah, good point”

We agreed, we would not tell the bus driver but we would all stare at the bathroom door and when whoever is in there breaking the law comes out they will face the persecution of our eyes. The door unlocked and out he came, we all stared scolding him, not even blinking. He avoided eye contact with us, trying to ignore what we wanted him to know, but he got it, he knew. As I stared him down with a slight head shake of disgust and disbelief I started to kind of feel bad for him. The man looked sort of grey and sad and sunken in. He looked like a slave to the nicotine and I sort of felt like that was a punishment in and of itself, I eased up on my glare, I felt bad but he had still disrespected his fellow bus riders so I couldn’t allow him a total pardon.

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I turned back and quietly sat in my seat, the musical stylings of “Deaf Woman’s Little Boy” were still going strong, I sighed and accepted this is the kind of ride I’m having today.  I should call Ms. Salad Dressing and see if she wants to grab a margarita.

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A Tuesday

My husband works in DC, my parents live in Philly, and my agent is in New York. I live wherever there are jobs, gigs and auditions.

One night I was with my husband in Washington and I got a call; I’m wanted for a callback in NYC. This is a call back for a new cartoon I originally auditioned for months ago so after not hearing anything for a couple of weeks I had just tried to forget about it. The only way to survive this business and the constant heartbreak and disappointment of not being contacted, which usually means you didn’t get, it is to completely erase the audition from your brain as soon as possible. You have to think of auditions like dates I think, match.com dates actually. He saw you online in your cutest photo and read your perfectly written bio/resume and he thinks you might fit the part so you are asked you out. You liked him you had fun, you see potential there but you don’t know how he feels and you don’t want seem needy, so you back off. Sometimes if you really think there was a connection maybe a couple of weeks later you might send a note just to say thanks for the experience and you’d like to be considered for future opportunities but then you have to pretend it never happened and move on with your life, making yourself available for new opportunities. I one time made the mistake of daydreaming about how much money I would be making if I booked even half of the amount of auditions I have been on, dumb, it only made me feel sad and worthless and I’ll say it, a little bit angry. Doing that is the equivalent of going back through your Facebook and looking at all your exes and their new girlfriends, wives, happy adorable children and giant houses…you just shouldn’t do that. It’s cruel and unnecessary punishment and pretty much a waste of time. Right now I’m on a particularly difficult streak, the call back streak. This is like when that guy you really really really liked that you went on one date with actually calls for a second date. “ Oh my gosh! He likes me too, what should I wear, should I wear the same thing cause obviously that worked the first time but then again maybe I need to show something new”

I had written off this cartoon months ago when I hadn’t heard anything because I didn’t need it right? There would be other opportunities, I wasn’t meant to get this job because maybe something else that’s better is right around the corner and more bullshit I told myself.  Then the call comes, they’d like to see you again – oh crap…my hopes begin to rise. I am the queen of hope but at the other end of the spectrum of that queen of hope is the queen of worry. I worry constantly that I’m going to end up 70 years old and my only credit that still raises an eyebrow is my time on Pokémon because oh yes, it will still be running. Kids from the ages of 8-12   and strange men who live in basements and always have cheese curl dust under there finger nails will still know what that is. The Japanese are experts at making millions of children and basement dwelling men who need plastic toys and trading cards because of a show that consists of strange creatures battling one another in what to the average adult is pure chaos. To children and cheese curl dudes the show is a hypnotic masterpiece.

So I book my ticket on the bolt bus, my audition time is 2:30, I better get the 8:30 bus just to be safe, it’s about four and a half hours to New York City from Washington DC. That gives me four and a half hours to try to focus on something besides how much I want this part. My thoughts are almost verbatim that song from A Chorus Line, god I hope I get it…I really need this job…oh how I need this job.  It would really lift my spirits, I’d feel like I’m still and actor, I’d feel like I could get of the call back streak, at least for now, it would be encouraging.  What would I do about some of the jobs I hooked myself up with in DC to be close to my husband? I’d figure it out.  I don’t think the four and a half hour ride would seem so bad if I were actually going to a gig, where I got paid, where there would be a finished product, something I could proudly tell people I am working on.  There’s still over three hours left on this journey and I haven’t done a very good job at thinking about something else.

I am very uncomfortable on the bus, it’s crowded. How many frieken people have to get to New York City on a Tuesday at 8:30 am, what will they all be doing there? Sometimes I look at each person and try to guess but today I’m too concerned with the European dude who has decided the middle armrest is his. He sits there all Euro like with his headphones and his European blue suede shoes and his tight khaki colored jeans, his sweatshirt just a bit too tight saying Hollister USA  (nobody from the USA wears clothes that say USA unless you are a teamster or an old man guarding your yard after you’ve retired from some Local Plumbers Union) His light blue polo shirt peeks out from under the sweatshirt collar and he has created a large triangle between his two elbows both claiming each of the arm rests and his knees pointed straight ahead. This does not work for me. I wait, I wait and watch like a cat watching a bird for the right moment to reclaim my place on that arm rest, and there it is! He reaches to plug in his phone; I stick my elbow down fast and proud and continue to look forward at Modern Family playing on my laptop. He comes back up and plants his elbow right next to mine! I can’t believe the balls on this guy! You move your meat you lose the seat buddy, how dare you touch your elbow to mine; I clearly swooped in and claimed it when you were dumb enough to leave it open!! You bastard! Just then My plug comes out of the socket and he offers to plug it back in for me – ok maybe he’s not that bad, he redeemed himself…for now.  So back to trying not to think about the audition.

We finally arrive in New York, its kind of melancholy. The familiar hustle and bustle and the feeling like people are really doing stuff here, stuff that matters. I wish a little bit that my life was still centered here and only here. I see all the crazy people on the street as I walk to the audition, and remember how much entertainment there is in New York City while just getting from one place to the other.  A pair of crack heads on a bench talking about nothing very seriously while trying to light an old discarded cigarette and share it.  A very interesting looking guy with bug eyes, a large and not at all ironic trucker hat and a very long stride walks past me with a little lunch cooler bag that has a tag on it that says MY BAG, again not at all ironic. I’m pretty sure he felt that bag was at risk of being mistaken for someone else’s and he was going to be sure that did not happen.  I hop on the good old subway, the guys with the gold gift bag they pass around for money are singing “My Girl” one of my favorite subway car acts. The lady next to me is something; giant and thick round glasses with flakes of dandruff on them, her hair very grey at the roots and kind of black and stringy everywhere else.  She has an interesting hairstyle; the part in her hair kind of makes a plus sign or a lower case t. One part brings the bangs forward and those are split in two and the back gets pulled into a ponytail held tight by a sort of dirty aqua blue scrunchie. I notice she has no wedding ring and I get a little sad, not that being married is the be all end all but whenever I see strangers with wedding rings I feel comfort in the fact that I know they have at least one friend and they aren’t too lonely. She is playing a game on her phone, I look a little closer, huh, what do you know, that’s the game I play on my phone.  The game I used to play that is, I have since removed it…I couldn’t bear to be reminded of her every time I were to play that game. She seemed sort of sad, or at least she sent out a sad vibe. What the hell do I know she could have more friends than me and be a real party animal especially at the clubs … but probably not.  I picture her most happy with a tuna sandwich in front of her television, which also might make me happy come to think of it.

I get to the audition, it’s in one of the typical cool NYC recording studios, I love being around all this, and I don’t want it to go away. I’m handed my sides and the person in front of me goes in. I can hear her in there she sounds great, they are all laughing and having a good time in there. I try to focus on the script and practice saying it a few times. I can feel my throat is kind of itchy, I drink some water, damn allergies, well once I booked a Hanes commercial when I was sick at the audition so maybe this is good, maybe people like the sound of my sick irritated voice. It’s my turn. I go into the sound booth , my microphone is adjusted, I put my headphones on and I get some direction from the casting lady and give it a go. “That’s great, that’s really great,” she says, just give us a minute. The sound to my headphones is shut off, I can see them all in there talking about me, the casting director, the producers, they are saying stuff about what they liked or didn’t like about what I just did but I can’t hear them…it’s kind of nauseating worrying about what they might be saying. “ She’s not right at all” or “She’s ok but not as good as the last girl” or “I don’t like her face” I don’t know what they are really saying but all these thoughts are racing through my head. The sound in my headphones comes back up, “Ok that was great we really liked the energy and the laugh was adorable, so keep that but then maybe if you could make it less sweet on the back end and then since you are naturally raspy that is great but maybe too much like a boy and we want a tom boy so that is great but maybe pitch it up a little, does that make sense?” “Yup” I say “No problem” I actually think I did kind of understand what she said and so I give it another pass. I think I do a bit better this time and I feel like I applied their notes and that is something I know they look for. “Great, great she says, just hang on another minute” The sound goes off again and they begin chatting, what are they saying now? “She took our notes well”, “I’m just not sure that’s the sound we want” My mind keeps spinning, what the heck are they saying?!? I wish so badly that I could hear. My sound comes back on “Could you sing a little something in that character’s voice?” “Sure!” I say. What I want to say is “what were you guys just saying? I will sing the song, I will sing any song you want, I will do any voice you want I just need you to tell me what you were saying” but I just start singing… “Row Row Row Your Boat gently down the stream merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream” my voice totally cracks on the merrilies I started too high, I make a little joke into the mic “crackle crackle” I say and then awkwardly chuckle.  I’m an idiot. She asks me if I want to try it again one more time and just take it down a little, I say sure and off I go again, it’s better this time for sure but I still think I could have done better “That’s adorable” says the casting director “great job, you’re all done” I say thanks and make the awkward exit out of the booth to the waiting room, get my stuff and head back to the bus stop. Why did I pick such a dummo song?  I should have sung Broadway Baby or Let Me Entertain You from gypsy. I should have sung something funny or memorable, well I’ve got four and a half hours to think about it all the way back to DC. I have to teach a class tomorrow night at the Washington Improv Theater so no overnight in New York or Philly for me today just straight back to Washington.

So my day was four and a half hours on a bus hoping that I get this part, about 20 minutes tops for the audition and then four and a half hours back on the bus thinking about all the things I should have done or could have done better and still hoping I get the part, oh and my total amount earned $0.00. But hey, at least two million experience dollars right!?

I’ll give myself until Friday, if I haven’t heard anything about it by then I will force myself to Eternal Sunshine my brain and let none of it exist.

Oh, and if I get a call tomorrow, from DC, from Philly, from New York, I’ll do it all again. Because I hate it and love it and love to hate it. The hope keeps me going, or the dillusion – it’s all the same.

It’s like gambling, or drugs or dating or any number of addictive things but it’s ok in this instance because in this instance, in this field, the addiction is called a passion and it’s mostly socially acceptable to have a passion for something. Bottom line I’ve had a taste and now I’ll never be able to stop chasing the dragon.

What I Will Do and Have Done To Succeed… That Hasn’t Worked Yet.

When I first moved to New York the first job I had was as a wardrobe person at the Barrow Street Theater. It was a theater where lots of cool actors would do new plays while they were on hiatus or “in between projects”. It was at that theater where I saw Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Sedaris in the lobby and peed next to Liza Minelli in the bathroom.

I didn’t say anything to any of them because, you know, I wasn’t really just a regular fan, I was their peer. It was only a matter of time until I too would be in that theater performing and someone would soon be excited to pee next to me. Sure I was doing wardrobe now but eventually this would all just be fodder for my late night banter with Leno and Conan O’Brian.

Every night while I was backstage ironing and steaming and sewing on buttons and checking that the wigs still looked good I would listen to the show over the speakers. It was a play with one woman and two men. As far as I could tell from dress rehearsals and how many costumes I counted there were no understudies…nice, this could be my chance. I memorized all the woman’s lines in the show just in case she should suddenly get sick or trapped on a subway train.  As soon as the word came in and people would be panicking, “well, we’ll have to cancel the show – we have no understudy!” I would meekly go to the stage manager and director and say “well, I know all the lines, I would be willing to go on” They would look me over and give each other a glance and then shrug “all right kid, you’re on, get her in hair and make up now” I was ready and I just knew it would happen – it didn’t. The most exciting thing that did happen was that there was a nude scene where one of the guys had to walk across the stage pause say a couple of lines and then put on a robe. I happened to be backstage and caught a glimpse of his pre nude scene “stretches” and “lengthening” techniques. I’ll tell you there was a lot of squatting, a little light slapping and a bunch of self-motivating muttering.

After that show closed I decided to move on, I wanted to get involved in Improv and shows and rehearsals were in the evening plus a job dressing other actors to go on stage and perform parts I wanted just wasn’t going to work.

What about teaching after school classes? Perfect, days free for auditions, still done by 7pm in time for improv classes and rehearsals and shows. One small problem – very little money, I’d have to do more.  That’s when I began a career as a nanny. I say career and not job because that’s what it felt like it was. It’s hard to shake rude comments from parents and crying children and you get sucked into their life. It’s like you are paid to be a part of that family and all the baggage that comes with family comes with the job. I would have constant nightmares, that I lost the children or that I would be holding them safely one minute but the next thing I knew they had turned into a piglet and I couldn’t switch them back. This job paid well but it wasn’t my dream and it was taking up a lot of time that I wanted to spend on finding acting work. I decided I would have to get clever I would have to work two jobs at once.  This was a little harder pre smart phone era. Outings with the children usually included stops at the local apple store where they could play on the kiddie computers and I would check casting sites and send emails. A lot of trips to Kinkos and Office Depot where I could print out resumes. A stroll over to the Law and Order office to drop my headshot in the bin filled with hundred’s of other headshots. Once the smart phone came on the scene things were much easier, sort of. I could do work and send emails and check castings all while at the park. But uh oh, what about when I get a call for that last minute voiceover audition and there’s two toddlers me and a stroller… knowing these particular children were not often allowed sweets so I made a quick stop at the CVS to buy two boxes of sugary animal crackers and hall ass up to the audition. I can’t leave the toddlers unattended in the lobby so into the voiceover booth we all go – me, the toddlers and my best friends the animal crackers. Those beautiful animal crackers in the little box with the string acted just like a muzzle or tranquilizer to these three year olds. It worked, we made it through the audition unscathed. Side note, I didn’t get the job. I say side note because as an actor there are so so many auditions that you don’t get it has to be a side note, you have to move on to the next opportunity.

One evening while cleaning up dinner and preparing to move on to bath time my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number and my hands were wet and covered in partly masticated chicken, rice and peas so I didn’t answer right away. I finished tidying up and led the way to the bathroom and instructed the kiddies to take off there clothes because it was bath time. As I did that I also, multi-tasker that I had become, checked my message. It was a casting director who wanted to know if I could play a nurse for a recurring background role on a new television series. My heart almost jumped out of my chest, who cares that she said background, she said recurring!  That meant a steady acting job at least for a while, that was gold. I ran back to the kitchen I grabbed a piece of construction paper and a crayon, the nearest things to me, I wrote down the number and called her back. Trying to sound as professional and courteous as I could I gave my name and said that I was returning a call, I was briefly put on hold. I was so excited this would be amazing! Suddenly feel a tug on the leg of my pants, it’s one of the three year olds – oh yeah I was a nanny – for a brief second I forgot all about that. “Just one second, Em Em has to do something importa…” The casting director picked up the line “ Hi, I just had a few questions to ask you about your availability and experience” she said. “Sure no problem.” I said calmly while shaking the three year old off my leg. The three year old went a way for a minute and I huddled against the kitchen window for better cell phone reception. “Well this is a medical drama so we are looking for extras that can portray nurses but we’d like it to be realistic so you have any formal training as a nurse?” ALWAYS SAY YES, that’s what they teach you in acting class and it’s the first rule in doing good improvisation. “Actually yes” I said.  Hey, I mean I had patched up boo boos, given Tylenol, checked temperatures, cleaned up puke, I watched so much ER and Grey’s Anatomy I could probably pass the medical board exams. Suddenly both three year olds were headed towards me, I tried to remain calm and sort of kept walking as far away from the them as possible, not unlike how they behave towards me when it’s time for them to go to bed. I continued with the phone call “I was a nurses assistant for many years, both in hospitals and home care and nursing homes.” I started racking my brain as I talked, what else did I know? I need more vocab words, my mom is a nurse what does she say, what do they say on those TV shows? “I know how to clean and change a tracheotomy tube as well as feeding tubes and central lines, I’m comfortable with the basic skills of checking blood pressure and patient intake” was any of this making sense, I think it sounded good, right? “Ok great” she said ( she bought it!)  “So I have some dates we’d like to have you put on hold”,”Terrific!” I said trying to sound on board and positive but not shocked and too elated. As I turned back around to get my crayon and construction paper I see the two three year olds naked in the hallway with pieces of toilet paper, I look closer there is a giant poop on the floor I try to cover the mouth piece of the phone and mouth emphatically to the them  “STEP AWAY FROM THE POO POO, NO TOUCH NO TOUCH” then one of them looked at me and stated “I was helping wiping.” “Hello?” said the voice on the phone “I’m not able to hear you very well I think you are cutting out”  “Oh sorry one second l was pulling my schedule up” Would it have been better if I had just told her that I was watching two three year olds who just used the hallway as a toilet and were “helping wiping “ each other, maybe that would make her laugh and I would be a memorable actor? I decided to just jot down the dates and say yes and finish this up.

I stood there listening to her list dates writing them all down and writing down her direct contact info and as I did I watched the two little ones making little brown poo poo hand prints all over the white walls, I watched helplessly as one of them stepped in the original pile of poo and little brown foot prints were covering the hallway, I watched as they both took very very tiny pieces of toilet paper and tried to clean up there mess but really only spread it around.  I finished my conversation with the casting director politely and like acting pro. I was back to being a nanny again but it didn’t matter. I cleaned up all the poo poo and washed up the children and put them to bed all with a smile on my face, I was about to have a regular acting job!

The next week:

I was told to call on a specific date and a specific time for my call time and location when I did a very apologetic casting directors assistant answered “ Oh we’re so sorry, we meant to call you, it looks like that shoot is being postponed” I was then given a new date and time to call for updated information. I waited and waited like a kid waiting for Christmas for that day to come and called right on the dot of the time they told me to call again the very apologetic assistant to the casting director answered. “ Oh I’m sorry, no one called you? Yeah, it looks like we won’t be needing you after all, so sorry about that” “That’s ok, no worries” I chirped with as much chirp as I could muster. I was crushed, I cried, it wasn’t even a speaking part but I would have been on a TV set, regularly, maybe eventually they would have given me a line, all my hopes and dreams felt like they were pulled right out from under me.  The poop, all that poop, literally all the shit I went through to get that part and it was gone.  I was back to being a nanny with a dream.

Something had to change.

P.S.  That series I had hoped so much to be in the background of was cancelled after six episodes.

If I Were Famous Would This Be Funnier?

HOST: So this is your first Emmy nomination and win!

ME: Yeah, it’s been amazing.

HOST: So people are kind of thinking of you as an overnight sensation but that’s not really true.

ME: No not really. I mean I’ve been working as an actor and writer since I graduated college.

HOST: Right, you’ve been in voiceovers for a long time.

ME: Yeah I’ve voiced a lot of cartoons and commercials. Getting to do voices for Sponge Bob Square Pants and Family Guy was amazing but my favorite is still probably the cartoon I created myself. Seeing an idea go from my head to paper to screen has been like a dream come true.

HOST: And then you’ve done a lot of writing and guest appearances for other popular shows as well.

ME: Yup Yup, I’ve written for SNL and then was lucky enough to get to be in some of my own sketches. I got to guest star on Curb Your Enthusiasm and VEEP. Julia Louis Dryefus has always been an idol of mine and someone I wanted to follow in the footsteps of so getting to perform with her was amazing I had to keep pinching myself to make sure it was actually happening.

HOST: And now the Emmy for best leading actress in a new Comedy Series. And you’ve just written a book.

ME: Yeah, I’m so grateful for all these opportunities. Being able to make a living doing the things I’m most passionate about is really wonderful, I feel very lucky.

dream emmyThe preceding interview was not real and never actually took place. It has played over and over again in my head since I was a little girl, and continues to play to this day with updates depending what shows are currently on the air. It never actually happened, but it was real for me.

I know I’m funny. People have always told me I’m funny, and not just my loved ones, the thing is I think I’m forgettable or something. The head of the drama department at Emerson College my alma mater told me during one of my evaluations that maybe I should try comedy “There’s a great improv and sketch comedy troupe on campus, maybe get involved there” “ Yeah I know” I said “I’m president of it.”

How can a person be that funny and yet get forgotten? I always seem to get passed over, always the call back but never the part. There are tons of things, reasons I can find that are to blame. I know I don’t have that “look”. I’m short but not that short and I’m not skinny but then again I’m not fat, like fat fat either. I was once actually told that I either needed to gain 40 pounds or lose 40 pounds because I wasn’t skinny enough to be an ingénue but not chubby enough to be a character actor. I’m not blond with translucent or glowing skin but I’m not ethnic enough to be exotic or exciting. I’m just me. Just blah brown haired, brown eyed 5’3 1/2”, size 10, funny but not memorable me.  Maybe if I lost a ton of weight I could be like a Mila Kunis, maybe I could fit that “slot”? I’m funny, I do voiceovers, if I were that skinny my eyes would appear bigger, maybe I’d have more Hollywood sex appeal? Maybe I’d be a tiny little spitfire comedian that would grab Lorne Michael’s attention? The thing is I don’t want to lose that much weight…does that mean I don’t want a successful career? Hells no. I want it, but I want it as me. I wan to come home from winning my Emmy and have a burger. Maybe have a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a long creative day and a show. I want to be healthy don’t get me wrong I exercise, I know moderation is important but moderation isn’t starvation and to be hollywoodable, (my own term), I think I’d have to walk the starvation line … at least what would seem like starvation to this Italian gal who loves a good meal and a cupcake every now and then.

I had hope when I saw Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey hit the air. I thought ok, here are two regular looking broads who are funny and talented and that’s getting them places. Rachel even has big boobs just like me, a fellow short, big boobed lady… but then I saw less of Rachel Dratch and I saw Tina start getting skinnier and prettier, more glamorous if you will.  Now I’m not dawgin’ on Tina Fey…she’s amazing, she’s brilliant, she’s beyond talented, she more than deserves her success, she worked hard for it and continues to but I guess I felt the self created camaraderie I experienced in my head faded a bit. Tina was no longer fellow female comedian, real and clawing her way through the entertainment industry, she was now something to aspire to something I’m not sure I can ever be.

Mindy Kaling is pretty hot right now, can she be my new self created and imagined best buddy my “sister”? Will she set a new trend, along with the chick from HBO’s GIRLS, for female comedians and actresses with that “real” look? Probably not. Mindy is beautifully ethnic and the girl from GIRLS is so edgy and hipster, I’m too mainstream…too blah.

Here’s the thing… It’s not about any of them and how they look, it’s about their drive, it’s about them not waiting around for the right part, they write parts for themselves! They made it happen by offering so much that no one could miss it. So with that realization I start my journey.

Now if I’m being totally honest, which I will try my best to be as I chronicle my experiences and share my stories, I’ve actually known all of this for some time now but I’m a scaredy cat. I am lazy, I am scared and lazy. I am scared to work for something that may not pan out. I’m afraid to fail – sort of.  The actual failing one time and learning from it and rising above it to ultimate success is fine with me. It’s the kind of failing where you do something and nothing comes of it…not ever being recognized for all my hard work is the kind of failure I am petrified of. I don’t want to be the tree falling in the forest with no one there to hear it. By the way, that is the answer to that age-old philosophical question about the tree falling…yeah, the tree makes a noise but the tree isn’t famous so the noise doesn’t matter and no one cares.

In her book Tina Fey brings up a situation where she was asked to share the moment where she first realized she was a woman…I then tried to think of mine…I don’t have one. I still, at 34 years old with a husband, don’t feel like a woman. I want to do things and be praised for it, I want to eat cake for breakfast but only if I can do it secretly and get away with it and I still want to play pretend, I want to play pretend and make people laugh all the time and get approval by getting paid for it. That’s not a woman, that’s a kid, that’s me and that’s pretty much what’s been true during every stage of my life. Until now wanting all those day dreams and and making a career playing pretend and making people laugh has been ¾ dream ¼ reality but it’s not enough … I don’t feel like a woman and for sure not a successful one yet. This is going to chronicle my journey to take a life full of dreaming and sort of doing to succeeding and being that woman I want to be.