Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Please Hold

After doing this acting thing professionally (and exclusively) for nearly 15 years, I have become very good at forgetting about auditions as I leave the room. It is the only way to retain some shred of sanity in a career where one fails to book the job more often than not. Besides, there are so many other factors that determine whether or not one is successful - such as one's height, weight, hair and previous credits and how those might affect the producers, director, casting assistant or other cast. One can't take it personally, because it isn't personal. So there's no point losing sleep over it. I aim to go in, enjoy myself, be friendly, leave and forget.

This is all fine and good, until one gets a callback. Then you start to invest a little. You can't really help yourself. It's validation that you have the goods and gives you greater confidence in the room. Of course, that can mess you up. Maybe the very reason they brought you back was for your carefree delivery. Start caring and you might blow it. Well, I've learned not to care about callbacks, too, because there are still other actors on that list. All I can do is be the best "me" and hope that me is what they're looking for. And then forget about it. (Because you never ever hear that "you were good, but...". You simply either get the call to say you booked the job, or you never hear anything)

So I can forget about auditions and I can forget about callbacks. But I can't forget about "on holds". That's why I'm writing about them right now! I am currently on hold for a TV guest role. What does that mean? Well, I'm in the running. It's somewhere between "callback" and "cast". Probably, there are 1 or 2 others they're considering. Or maybe it's just me. They just haven't decided yet, because they have other priorities. But, in the meantime, we are "on hold" for a period when, strictly speaking, we cannot take any other work.

I don't enjoy being on hold. When I get the call, I do allow myself a little "yeah!", and then feel a little depressed. Because it's not real. It's like being told you might win the lottery next week. It's down to a couple people - you're one of them - and you probably won't know until after the draw date. Now try not to think about the lottery.

Difficult, right?

So, I am on hold from tomorrow until July 7th. I'd like to rejoice in having work, but it doesn't exist yet and I still don't know. I was on hold for a 3 week period last month for a movie. Then, the day before the shoot was due to start, they released me from my hold. Great. I can't even get angry that I cleared my schedule for no reason as, well, it was already clear, okay? Hey, it's been a tough year for the industry.

The real hold, of course, is psychological. It's got a hold of my brain. I want to get excited but I'm not allowed to, yet. I am the poor dog, whose owner is waving a sausage over its nose, juuuust out of reach. I might get the sausage. I might not. It's out of my hands.

All I can do is sit, salivating, hoping that my owner has a heart...


  1. Wow, holds suck. It's amazing how different Hollywood is from the real world. If I were told I had to wait 2 weeks to see if I got the job and not take anything until then, I'd keep searching, hopefully find something better, and tell them to shove it. But when all jobs are in essence temporary work, I can see that you can't really do that.

    So, what might the role be like? Creepy?

  2. Here's another question: While on "hold", do you get paid? I'm not about to assume anything, but you do have to eat and pay bills, right? If that's the case, put me on hold too! On an unrelated note, I have a $5 Starbucks card, but I don't drink coffee. Maybe I should sell it on ebay.

  3. No, the role isn't creepy and nope, there's no "holding" pay. I can't take any voice bookings, either, in case I suddenly get the call I'm working tomorrow.

  4. Man, what a pain in the ass. I hate that feeling when you want to get all excited about something but you won't allow yourself to do it in case it doesn't work out because then you'd feel all disappointed. (Woah, that was like, the run-on sentence of the century.) I'm kinda in that stage right now with this job opportunity... it would be fantastic, and it's looking really good, but I don't want to get too pumped about it.