Ever So Envious of the Equity Actor
Frustrations have been pummeling me this week with the woes of going to auditions and being non-equity. Herded like cattle, from one room to another, dealing with monitors’ rudeness, “unofficial” versus official list drama, and of course, the risk of spending your day at an audition only to be told there is simply no time for you to be seen. I sincerely try to not let these instances get to me. After all, this is the way it goes in the profession I chose and I have learned to accept the frustrations that come with it. This week, however, the tediousness and envy has particularly gotten to me and crept under my skin.
I really think that so much of the audition vibe depends on the monitor. If they are nice, helpful, and understanding, a stressful and frustrating process can be truly turned around and become enjoyable. However, there are a couple of monitors who I truly dread seeing, as their rudeness permeates the audition room like the smell of sweaty dance shoes.
After a particularly upsetting day at not only not being able to audition, but also being dejected and treated as a second class citizen at my non union status, I confided in a friend. She is not an actress and has never been through an audition, so I tried to give a detailed description of the signing in process and what the monitors do. Picking up on it immediately, she said, “You know, it kind of sounds like bouncers at clubs. They can be great, or they can exercise and abuse the power they have over people that have no control over what they say or do.” I couldn’t believe how well she hit the nail on the head. It’s so true! They stand at the head table, all mighty and powerful over us meek actors, and whatever they say, goes.
Of course I know that they simply relay what the producers have decided, but come on, there are so many ways in which that can be done. A couple of my favorites are always so sweet, encouraging non equities to “try coming in tomorrow!” or thanking us, “I really understand the effort you made to get here and they really appreciate it. I’m so sorry, girls.” When that’s the case, everyone leaving is of course disappointed, but positive, and I leave smiling simply knowing today was not the day. But when the words out of their mouth are, “I told you non equity girls to move your bags out of here, there’s no room for you even if you’re seen,” or “get breakfast, girls, I have to focus on the people who are actually going to audition,” or the dreaded, “non equity girls, there is no time for you today. Do not leave a headshot, get your things and leave immediately,” the mood in the room is soured and pessimistic. I hate feeling like I just wasted an hour or more of my time, do the monitors really feel a need to ensure I feel like crap about being non union too?
Like many, I cannot wait until the day that I get that magic blue card, giving me audition access like a true professional insider. I watch with envy at the gorgeous girls walking in at half ‘til the audition time, unlike the rest of us who must get there two and half hours early to even have a prayer at auditioning. While I primp and stretch, knowing it may all be for naught, they can relax (somewhat!), at least knowing that they will be seen and their efforts won’t have been for nothing at all. Until then, I’ll keep showing up to audition after audition, hoping that this will be the one to give me a chance and perhaps if I’m lucky, propel me into the nirvana that is Actors Equity.