right now, i'm averaging about 3 to 5 commercial auditions a week and something like 3 to 5 film/tv auditions a month. i won't be happy until i'm doing those numbers every week but i'm not sure that the demand is there for black females in my age range that have my look. i'm going to do what i have to do to turn the crank-handle. and of course, these auditions happen in the mid to late afternoons, so i can work out and do business as a record label of one in the mid to late morning. in the meantime, here's what happened on monday.
i had an audition for a part on a new tv show on comedy central called "stella" -- the character breakdown said older black female, fifty-something but they wanted to see "what else was out there," so there i was, sitting in their lobby in midtown on the west side, surrounded by swirling staircases and colorful goofy posters of their shows and monitor feeds that constantly ran whatever was on the channel at that moment. i needed the distraction. they didn't come out for more than a half-hour.
across from me sat a very pretty dark skinned older woman with long dreads, dressed in an orange tank top and one of those peasant skirts that everyone is wearing except me, the one with mirrors on them and stuff, in orange and black. we spoke politely. she looked lovely, i thought...and very familiar. hm. as i caught up on my stupid magazine reading (what's jessica alba doing on the cover of rolling stone?), my mind ran through all the visuals in my database like the terminator in an attempt to figure out who the lady was. only when the door swung open and they said her name that i realized: it was hazelle goodman, known amongst black theater folk in new york city as a wonderful solo performer but also as the first black woman to recieve a sizeable role in a woody allen movie. (and yes, she was a prostitute.)
another familiar face replaced her. she was older, with long salt and pepper dreads and sort of heavy set. i complimented her hair. she smiled. we chatted. she looked perfect for the role, i thought. they called me in. i stopped reading about what a nice girl jessica is and meandered down a busy hallway until i came upon a small white room with a white guy in a cowboy shirt at one end. the line on the floor opposite him was my mark. the white girl that led me inside was breezy and pleasant enough. both of them seemed squeamishly young to be doing what they were doing. i had enough time to memorize my lines and they let me redo it until we were all satisfied with the results. when i made my exit, the lobby was empty. i had just enough time to beat it down to canal st. for my next audition: a lasse halstrom movie called "the hoax."
i wasn't sure that i was in the right place at first because i was the only one there and it was such a small office. but there were movie posters everywhere. and then i remembered auditioning for something else there awhile back. no one was at the front desk. i refilled my water bottle at their office urn and pilfered a peanut butter cookie they had in an open tin. genuinely surprised at how good they were, i took another one. then i realized that was almost all i'd had all day to eat. what is it that makes me forget to eat nowadays? am i going through some kind of a wierd depression? i only seem to eat when it's absolutely necessary. i used to enjoy eating. i used to like food... someone said my name. i responded. she led me into the room, where there was a pleasant looking woman adjusting a video camera. we chatted for a minute or so. long enough for me to lose whatever nervousness i had. what did we talk about? cool stuff. her cool marriage. how cool her husband is. how cool billy crudup is. (his poster was hovering over us attentively from the movie jesus' son.) how cool nyc is. my cool hair. whatever. by the time she turned the camera on, i was at ease and as "natural" and small as i could be. she had me improvise, which always makes me happy. and then all of a sudden, i was out on the street, wandering through soho, headed uptown.
i called blood but then i realized that he was probably out of the country or out in the country, down south. i tripped up over a beautiful place that was going out of business, filled with victorian furniture. the owner led me around like a princess, amongst glittering chandeliers and oversized mirrors, until i saw a a beautiful queen-sized iron bed and fell in love with it. i simply had to have it. but how? one of the things on my 101 things list was "make a purchase you can't afford" -- this victorian bed would have to be it.
okay. now i have to get work in the movies...