I was sitting in a production building, surrounded by others who all looked like they'd done this before. Their hands held a variety of head shots, resumes and cards - many of them represented by an agent. As I attempted to sit casually and not appear to be out of place, uncomfortable or nervous, I wondered if I'd made a huge mistake. What was I doing here? Yes, we did get some info about a casting call for female farmers wanted for a Strayer University commercial. Yes, I randomly decided to take a chance and send in my head and body shot to the director. Yes, I had been asked to attend an audition, which was not granted to everyone. But I really was a female farmer, not an actor, not a professional and had no idea what to do in an audition. I had heard that this director was intimidating and I truly wanted to feel confident and not intimidated when I met her. As my hands and armpits continued to sweat although it was frigid inside the building, I did my absolute best to remind myself that I was asked here and all I had to do was be myself.
"Could we please have all of the unrepresented folks in a line over here?" Yes, that's me. Let me get up in front of this crowd with only a few others to move and announce to the world that we are in fact not represented by an agent. Cool, cool. No worries. Remember, all I have to do is be myself, represented or not. I kept nervously checking my phone, trying to keep up with work emails, being that the audition was taking way longer than I expected. Finally, my name was called and I entered the room to officially make my first ever attempt at a casting call. My conversation with the director went so quickly - "What do you do on the farm? What is your typical day like? What else do you do other than farming? Why do you like what you do? What is your greatest joy? Your greatest struggle? Would we be able to film at your home and office?" I am proud to say that I answered all the questions with ease and all the while maintained by regular personality and demeanor...maaayyybee there was a bit of shaky knees involved, but come on...it's a little nerve racking! They bid me farewell in what seemed like one minute and I cautiously exited the room, thinking that couldn't be it. Was my time really up? Is that all? Turns out that it was, and I left the studio feeling a dazed and confused. I was not sure if I did a "good job". How does once judge if you did a good job if you've never done this before? I stood tall, spoke well, didn't do anything stupid and was myself. After taking a few deep breaths and drinks of water back in the car, my mind finally calmed down and remembered that the only thing that I could do was my best - and I did.
The next evening I received an email congratulating me on the first round of auditions and was graciously asked to attend a second audition a few days later. They instructed me on what to bring (more pictures) and where/when to go. I couldn't believe it - in what seemed like a minute (although it was likely a bit more) they liked me enough to call me back! I was ecstatic along with all of my workmates and hubby who were tickled at the opportunity and were rooting for me the whole way. Since I was at work and it was a Friday afternoon, I had my work peeps help me select the pictures to bring to the call-back and ordered the pics so I could pick them up on my way home; ready for Sunday's second audition. A few hours later, however, I received another email explaining that the amount of people allowed at the call-backs had been cut by Strayer University and my attendance was not longer necessary.
Holy rejection Batman - what an interesting roller coaster! I was finally able to relate, in some small way I guess, to how actors/actresses feel when they audition for rolls and are rejected. I knew within myself that I was...sorry about that...that I am a great person - strong, smart, capable, loving, giving, well-spoken, great on camera and fun to be around. But in that moment I felt so confused and my brain started spinning as to why I would not have been selected. The inadequacy and fear that I experienced was not all together foreign (we all experience it at one time or another), but definitely new in the sense that I didn't do anything wrong or incorrectly, yet I wasn't chosen.
Looking back on this I am grateful for this experience. My confidence, belief in myself and my worth is something I have been working on. While, out of old habits, I used to base my worth on my accomplishments and other's thoughts of me, I have made an enormous shift recently. This rejection allowed me to see how false those feelings are and how important it is to know in your deepest soul that you are valuable, wonderful, worth-while, perfect in your own way and worthy of all the amazing things life has to offer. I would never, ever want someone to feel otherwise, and yet, for the longest time, I have allowed myself to feel that way. These thoughts are not a light switch that one can simply turn from on to off, but more like a dimmer switch. Our thoughts creep up on us sometimes and try to turn back on that self-loathing, lack of confidence and self-doubt. It takes a watchful eye and ever vigilant mind to keep them at bay and dim them back down where they belong. So if you are ever on a casting call, interview, audition, submitting an application, taking a test or putting yourself out there, remember that life is short and our moments here on Earth are fleeting. Don't spend one single second doubting the incredibly person that you are. You will be so much happier and fulfilled if you don't waste your time and light on such things.