When You Love an Actor
Helping Them on the Path to Fame and Fortune
Ask any actor and they will tell you that while the art in which they engage may not be as physically taxing as some careers, it is emotionally exhausting. The roller coaster ride of auditioning and waiting to hear about roles can take an actor from high to low to despair in a matter of hours.
It’s rare, however, for anyone to consider asking the actor's significant other what the journey is like for them. I can tell you from experience that it is as much of a roller coaster for us as it is for the actors.
The ride is even more exhilarating for those who are part of the actor's journey. Maybe we’re managers or videographers, or all things mushed together, like me. The more involved a partner is in the process, the faster the roller coaster goes.
It starts with an email. Maybe it’s the agent or maybe it’s directly from a casting site. Either way, the email sets your heart thumping. It’s an audition. A chance to show someone how amazing the actor is.
You share that email with the actor and the process for them begins. The preparation, the practice—it all starts with the contents of that email. In this house, it means a few hours to a few days of mumbled lines and lots of pacing up and down the porch. For me, these days mean staying out of the way. It’s time for the actor to become the character, to invest him or herself in the character, no matter how small the part or limited the provided information. The preparation for a part with a single spoken word can be far more complex than one for a part with pages of dialogue.
While the actor prepares, the manager/videographer/keeper of the calendar stresses. Or, at least, that’s what I do. I’ve already added the deadline to the calendar and looked at all the other things that have to happen between the email and the submission. I’ve taken into account my own schedule and the schedule of the reader if it’s going to be someone other than me. I’ve also nagged a little as the deadline draws closer to ensure the deadline is met with an outstanding audition.
Then comes the audition. If the audition is in person, my job is done. I try to not even go to the audition location with him to help him stay focused. If the audition must be recorded, there’s reading with your actor or running the camera. Everything needed to get the audition ready to send to the casting director is up to me. I try not to get frustrated, but I have to admit that I do get irritable at this stage. I’ve watched him practice and I know he knows the scene, but sometimes that camera causes amnesia.
Once the audition is recorded, it’s time for editing and naming the files. Some casting directors are very particular about the format of the file name. I actually prefer that since I don’t have to guess what they want. Sometimes the editing and uploading can take what feels like forever, especially when technical difficulties come up (which seems to happen nearly every time). Nothing is more frustrating to a type A personality like me than to have only an hour to submit before the deadline and come up against an issue exporting or uploading the file.
And then the process is over. No, really, that’s it. Unless he’s chosen for the part, we don’t hear from the production again. It’s been a learning experience for me to submit his auditions and then let go. I wish the casting directors had the time and inclination to share feedback with us so we would know what to do better next time, but they don’t.
Instead, we move on to the next audition. And the next. In fact, I think I just heard another email come in.