This episode is dedicated to my friend from our Record Plant days, Randi Greenstein Mitchell, who was generous enough to send me her Mother’s recipe for Chicken Soup, but not generous enough to send me some of her home-made Brisket, which might have changed the course of this episode, and my life, forever. You never know.
My phone, un-Otterboxed, recovered from imminent meltdown by a 3 minute blast from my car’s air conditioner. I redressed it, tossed it into my bag, found a place to park, read the signs, twice, rushed to a corner with a light AND a cross walk, narrowly missed getting hit by a car that neglected to stop for either the red light, the painted cross walk or me, ran down the street, threw the Valets at the corner restaurant 5 bucks, so they wouldn’t steal my car out of spite, calmly & professionally walked through the door to The Workshop that was still open (thank God), looked around at the space, which was quite nice, found the sign-in sheet, grabbed the copy and sat down on a very nice Ikea-type royal blue couch and sighed with relief.
I made it to my 1st Class.
Ok, so here we go.
In one of the many paragraphs of the email I was sent prior to the first class, it was suggested that I wear something I might wear to an audition to see what it looked like on-camera. This seemed like exceptionally good advice.
So I wore my absolutely favorite blue sweater over a beige cotton t-shirt. Everyone knows blue looks great on camera and I had always thought that I looked really great in this sweater, so it gave me an added sense of security. Even if I bombed on camera, I would look good doing it.
The copy for the class “audition” was for a credit card company. It was well written, it made sense, and it had words I was comfortable repeating and a character that was generic enough so that I thought I would be able to be myself on camera.
For me, that is always the key. I have to be able to be myself (or at least make it my own).
I may not be the world’s greatest actor but I am incredibly great at being me. I’ve had a lot of practice and it’s easier than trying to be someone else.
We were all brought into the room and the Very-Nice-Turned-Out-To-Be-A-Canadian-And-Not-A-Mid-Westener-But-Is-Kinda-The-Same-Thing teacher, Jaret, introduced himself, gave us a short lecture about the coming weeks and some instruction on what to do when we were called into the audition, one at a time. Then we all trooped back out to the lobby.
I sat on the Ikea Style Royal Blue Couch, memorized my lines, was called into the room, said the lines with some accuracy (more or less, ok… less) and returned to the lobby to wait until the rest of the class had their opportunity to audition.
Then we all trooped back into the room for more words of wisdom.
And to watch ourselves on the monitor.
Nonononononononononononono! My brain screamed inside my head. NONONONONONONONONO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There was no way I was going to watch myself on a monitor or anything else. I don’t like getting my picture taken. I’m not even that fond of looking in a mirror.
I actually thought that they would have the monitor on during the audition, so you could take a fast look at what you were wearing. I had no idea that they were going to actually tape it, play it back and make you (and the rest of the class, I might add) watch it. All together. But that is exactly what they intended to do.
They say Acting is about Choices, so I considered mine.
I had none.
Unless I wanted to quit the class there and then, and after everything I went through to get there and the money I had already spent, which I’m sure wouldn’t have been returned and would have to find a way to get back from Scott Sedita, who had suggested the class in the first place, I would stay and console myself with the thought that at least I would look great in my favorite blue sweater.
I was so wrong. So, so, so wrong.
My favorite blue sweater looked, on camera, as if it was trying to swallow me whole. All I saw was a huge mass of blue and a tiny little head sticking out of it.
Now it might have had something to do with the way I was grasping it tightly closed, to cover the stain on my originally clean, brand new, beige cotton t-shirt, after I stopped at Wienerschnitzle to get something to eat before I left Burbank to drive over the hill.
The class started at 12:30 and I had left the house at 11, hoping to dodge all of the road events that might transpire, and many that actually did. I knew, because of the email I had been sent, that there was no way I would be able to snack on anything during class (Page 6, Paragraph 4), and while I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (my favorite) for breakfast, breakfast was served at around 5am because I was usually up at 4am. So by 11, after I had gotten in my car and started driving, I realized I was starving and had to stop somewhere. Anywhere, to get something to eat in the car.
Burbank is not big on fast food chains. I think there might be one of each kind, Taco Bell, MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, but they are spread far, far apart and I didn’t know the town well enough to know where any of them were. So when I saw a Wienerschnitzle (not my favorite) way across the 5 point intersection I was on, I pulled a stunt my Driver’s Ed teacher, Mr. Hasen, wouldn’t have been happy with (and thank you fellow classmates & Ms. Salant for remembering his name), pulled in, pulled through and ordered. I didn’t want a hot dog, which is what they are known for, because I didn’t want to get mustard on my camera-ready audition clothes. So I got a burger.
Turns out their burgers have chili on them.
Hence the stain on my brand-new from Walmart beige, cotton, camera-ready, audition t-shirt.
That I didn’t want to appear on camera at my very first Commercial Class.
So I performed the whole audition clutching my sweater closed to my chest, as if I was having a heart attack.
It wasn’t a good look for me. I was so horrified at my appearance, that that was the only thing I remember from my first class. The ONLY thing.
But that’s what class is for, to learn things, and that was what I learned.
Don’t EVER wear that blue sweater again, at any time, under any circumstance.
That lesson cost me roughly $77. 25. $71.25 for the class and $7.00 for the T-shirt at Walmart.
Money well spent, but money I fully intend to get back from Scott Sedita. Someday.
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