All is quiet in Spectrum blog land which means Laura’s life has taken a turn for the busy. She has also begun talking about herself in the third person. Please make note.
Yes folks, audition season in NYC is picking up speed which means my Blackberry alarm often goes off at 6 AM and I weep and fall back asleep for five minutes, JUST FIVE MINUTES and by mid-week, I collapse on my living room floor in a pile of PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ME AUDITION EVER AGAIN.
These early winter mornings flash me back to high school sometimes, waking up in the dark, willing myself to open my eyes, stumbling towards the shower, wishing desperately for just a few more minutes of sleep. My high school started classes ahead of any high school in New York State. The bus showed up to pick me up at 6:43 AM and first period started promptly at 7:05 AM. The last bell rang at 1:48 PM and we were free.
So, in order to get to school on time, I needed to be up and out of bed around 5:45. My father was delegated Official Waker Upper since the man automatically wakes up at 5:30 every day unless he’s had a late night and then he “sleeps in” until 7. I call this TOTALLY BATSHIT INSANE. My dad calls it “Waking Up In The Morning As Opposed to The Afternoon”.
I think being married to an early riser was one of the best decisions my mother ever made considering she has a completely opposite sleeping schedule. While my father is stuck on a Let’s Get Up Early To Milk The Cows farming schedule, my mother’s internal clock closely resembles that of a brother at the off-campus Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house. She is up on the internet until midnight, sometimes one o’clock, hours after my father has gone upstairs to bed. Obviously, this results in sleeping a bit later than her husband which I found really useful as a child. Knowing she’d be dead to the world right before I left for school, I’d use this time to gently wake her up and make her sign permission slips for field trips or tests that I nearly failed.
“Moooooooooooooooom…I need you to sign this…”
“What? Who? What time is it? Why do I have to sign it?”
“Oh, no reason,” I’d assure her, slipping her a pen, thinking I was saving her the pain of knowing I was getting C’s in math.
The problem was that she always came to her senses later, say, when she realized I never came home from school.
“WHERE WERE YOU?!”
“I was at Jamie’s house! You signed the slip saying I could take her bus home!”
“LAURA I WAS HALF-ASLEEP AND YOU KNOW IT.”
Once I became a teenager, I followed my older brother’s footsteps, gaining the magical ability to sleep in way past noon. I discovered that for the most part, I really hated missing so much of the day when I slept that much. The times when I fell in rhythm with my father’s sleeping habits, the happier I was, able to have a full morning, afternoon and evening. The problem was that my body seemed to require an extraordinary amount of sleep and so even if I went to bed close to midnight, it was a major effort to get out of bed before 10.
I still struggle with this today, all the time. I discovered that my target sleep time is ten hours.
Please, feel free to laugh your ass off now because WHO, besides babies, EVER GETS THAT MUCH SLEEP?
Certainly not me. Juggling a full time job, a winter audition season, classes and social activities, uh, let’s just say that I usually clock in somewhere between seven and eight. I realize that is still high, especially for someone my age in the city that I live in that seems to just keep going and going. Most of my friends survive on five or six hours a night during the week and let me just tell you that if I tried to do that, I would die.
I am not even exaggerating. I would fall over and die.
This brings us to some important conclusions:
1. I should never have a baby. EVER. After three days with the screaming little thing, I would probably try to pass it off on someone else.
“RETURN IT. I DIDN’T REALIZE IT WAS GOING TO BE LIKE THIS.”
And then the other person will be all dude, it’s a BABY, you can’t SEND IT BACK.
And I will be all YES I CAN BECAUSE I NEED MY TEN HOURS OF SLEEP AND THIS SCREAMING THING IS GETTING IN MAH WAY.
Talk about high-maintenance. I also want to point out that I am only half-joking here. Considering how delusional I get when my sleep dips just a little bit, I sometimes wonder if I will seriously harm a baby if I don’t get enough sleep. I am semi-considering adopting five year olds. Anyone?
The other conclusion we can draw is that I am kind of a loser. But, we all knew this already.
Yesterday morning, I was torn between attending two separate auditions and decided on the less popular one. “It’ll be less crowded,” I reasoned. I told my reliable roommate to pull me out of bed, throw water on me if necessary by 6:15 the LATEST.
6:15 comes a LOT QUICKER THAN YOU’D THINK. Especially if you don’t go to bed until close to 11:30. Especially because, CALCULATE IT, it is way less than ten hours. Especially if you were in the middle of some sort of erotic confusing sex dream that sadly got fuzzy after just a few waking moments.
“WAKE UP,” demanded my roommate, flinging my door open. He was already completely showered and dressed, headed to work early.
“I AM UP, YOU ASSHOLE,” I muttered, crawling back under the covers.
“LAURA. YOU CANNOT GET INTO A SHOW IF YOU DO NOT AUDITION FOR IT.”
(For the record, I instructed him to use this line the night before when prepping him for How To Get Me Out Of Bed v. 2009)
“I know, isn’t that the worst logic, ever? What if I just stay here in bed and WISH it into existence?”
“That is not what The Secret is all about.”
And so, I hauled myself out of bed, took a shower, took fifteen minutes to meditate and as I walked into the bathroom to blow dry my hair, I noticed for the first time a post-it note stuck to the mirror with my roommate’s handwriting scribbled on it.
“YOU’RE A STAR!” it said.
Keeping that in mind, I ran out the door and people? I was the fourth person in the line that morning.
I got a callback.
And all because I sucked it up and got out of bed.
LOOK AT ME NOW.
The problem is that I have to keep having mornings like that, multiple times a week, over and over. Audition season just threw up all over my calendar and summer stock and national tours and other projects are calling my name and the problem is that I can talk myself in or out of them in a heartbeat.
“Ohhhhh, it’s probably already cast with Broadway people…”
“Ohhhhh, it’s in the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania, WHY would I want to go THERE?”
This could go on and on forever and often does, as I lay there in my warm bed, thinking about the fact that I’m almost 26 and this will be my third season auditioning as an Equity member and while I am so grateful for that, part of me really resents the fact that lots of my peers have representation and don’t have to grace the horrible open calls. Instead, they are given much kinder appointments through their agents, auditions that require them to show up just a few minutes before their allotted time compared to me, sometimes waiting hours and hours in the freezing cold in a long line, getting up early just to make sure that there are still appointments left for me to take. OH, the woe of the unrepresented actor.
However, this could all be worse. I could still be non-union and I truly believe that if I was, I probably would’ve stopped auditioning for the most part, that’s how awful THAT whole situation is. If Equity members show up to open calls around 7 AM in the winter, non-Equity members get there even earlier, sometimes by hours. I remember when Thoroughly Modern Millie first went non-Equity and I heard that the first girl in the line showed up at 5.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
And yet, wow. There you have it. The drive to get ahead as an actor in NYC. The realization that there really are THAT many people and most of them want it as bad as you, maybe even worse. And sometimes, it’s okay to go back to sleep with a “I’m sure it’s already cast” or “Who wants to go to Jacksonville, Florida anyway?” But sometimes, all of that really is bullshit, an excuse to sleep in, an excuse to stay where you are because while you can’t get work if you don’t show up, you also can’t get rejected. I think what it really comes down to is that discipline and work ethic have everything to do with doing things you don’t really want to do. And for me, that means attending Horrible Overcrowded Overwhelming Open Calls every damn winter.
So, as I’m a month away from entering my “late-twenties” and as I reflect that I’m not half as far along as I wanted to be by now, sometimes these open calls are the only chance I have to be seen, to get work. And as evidenced yesterday, by my callback, sometimes hauling out of bed at 6 AM is the only way to make that happen for myself. And so while I wish with all my heart that one of the many agents I’ve met will actually change their minds and want to work with me one day, I will suck it up for now and pretend that I have a screaming kid and get up way earlier than I ever wanted to.
This is a very long way of saying, HELLO INTERNET. That’s where I’ve been. I’ve been auditioning. This week is insane, next week looks even worse. But through it all, I’m trying to stay positive. I still get to sing almost every day. I get to do monologues. I get to hang out with my friends, with girls who make me laugh every single time I see them. And while my 22 year old self swore she would NEVER still be doing this at 26 or 27, well, HA. I am. So, go screw yourself 22 year old self, you had NO IDEA what you were in for.
I will try to post more over the next few days to make up for almost a week without a new entry.
If you get bored and give up on me though, I suggest you watch this, I was really sad it was only twenty seconds long.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go to bed at 8 pm. And no, I’m not kidding.