a few weeks ago, i went into HOUSE for an ocean spray commercial. like most commercial auditions i've done in the past, it was an in and out situation, really. i've said it a jillion times before but it bears repeating -- there's a certain skillset that's required when it's time to say lines on camera and hit your mark, believe me, but most of the time, they look at you and decide whether or not they want to give you the job. seeing as how there's nothing i can do about how tall i am or how ethnic a face i have or how dark my skin is, there's never anything to get upset about when i don't get the gig. this audition was no exception. i came in and did my usual song and dance: put on minimal beat, had my picture taken, filled out the print out and signed in. then i pick up copy to figure out what they want me to do when i get in the room. once i'm in there, they occasionally fine-tune it. and that's it.
this time, i was to dance and have fun like i was at a cocktail party with friends, except i couldn't move my legs from the knees down because i'm supposed to be in a cranberry bog surrounded by rednecks. and yeah, that's not me interjecting that "surrounded by rednecks" line. that's what it actually said. now, i'm sure that when most people think of rednecks, they hear banjos playing somewhere in the distance as they're visualizing key scenes from deliverance. but when i think of rednecks, i think of archie bunker and jimmy the greek and president jimmy carter's much loved, much lambasted little brother billy. (actually, he was more of a good ol' boy, really. and that's not a redneck.) as a southerner who's lived in the north for quite a spell, i know firsthand that rednecks aren't just in the south -- they're absolutely everywhere. especially up here.
seeing that redneck line made me wonder just what they meant by redneck by putting it in there, especially since cranberries are typically grown in the northeast in this country. but i didn't wonder aloud. i wandered into the studio when my name was called, with a casually dressed middle aged white girl, where a smiling woman explained the scenario, turned the camera on us, slated us and cranked some music while staring at us on the monitor to her left. it's always funny to me, the way they're looking at me on the monitor and talking to me on the monitor and responding to me on the monitor and there i am, standing less than six feet away and they're not looking at me at all. and there i was, dancing without moving my legs to the strains of outcast, empty cup in hand, laughing and interacting with the other girl who was in the cranberry bog too, waving to the rednecks and wondering if they were waving back at me. hey ya, indeed.
yesterday i get a call from my agent phil at talentworks. surprise -- i'm on hold. that means they want to make sure that i'm available on the dates that they're supposed to shoot the commercial, because they might want me. to tell you the truth, i'm unfazed. i've been "on hold" before and not gotten the gig -- so often in fact that it felt as though my entire commercial audition experience was one gigantic hold button, with me dangling on the other end. but i keep going in for commercials because the money is basically a king's ransom. and the law of averages says that, like lotto, if i keep throwing my hat in the ring with this many near misses, i'm probably going to get one sooner or later. the question is, how long can i keep going in that room?
the obvious answer is, as long as it takes. because frankly, i'm way too hardheaded for any other option.