Chapter 30: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

July 20, 2009

As you may have read in my cliffhanger of a final chapter, I decided to become an actor again.

(throw scarf over my shoulder): An Actor

I assigned myself an arbitrary date to begin being an actor again (July 6th) and wouldn’t you know that just three days into my return to the actor state of mind, I landed myself a commercial audition.

 

 

The mental and psychological vacation I took from acting was truly wonderful.  That fire that led the nineteen year-old version of me to cut down on the Physics classes and start packing in the Theater electives had returned, and felt stronger than ever.

But that didn’t mean I was back to smooth sailing.  No, no.  I was in Los Angeles, where all the things that drove me nuts about acting were amplified to cartoonish levels.  The beautiful people were more beautiful, the skeezy people were skeezier, and white teeth were straight up blinding.  I had given my brain the resting time I knew it needed, and only while waiting for this audition did I truly understand how important that time was.

“Up next, huh?”  Came a voice from a scruffy looking fellow in plaid shorts.  No doubt I’d be seeing a lot of this guy if my hair remained so unkempt and people kept writing commercials for no-good couch slobs.

“Yeah”

“On deck”

“Yup.”

“They should have bats” he said, miming a swing to keep me from going that furry-flying-creature route.

“Haha, yeah” I said, deciding to join in to the banter.  “Or what or those things called – donuts?”

“Yeah.  By the time you get up to the plate your shoulder is sore.”

“Yeah.  Ha.”

“That’d be hilarious, if like a prima donna baseball player got up to bat and was like, no I’m tired.”

“Yeah” I forced some laughter, suppressing the Larry David side of myself.  “Or like he throws out his shoulder and they have to get a pinch hitter.”

“Yeah – that’d be hilarious…”

 

Now before I can finish the sentence, I need to make sure we’re on the same page.  If you’ve ever taken an acting class you probably heard the teacher talk about the importance of “the ellipsis”.  In laymen’s terms it is called “dot-dot-dot”.  It implies something is going on in the head of the speaker.  Something is coming.  Something is brewing…

Having lived this actor’s life before, I knew what it was.

The first major antagonist in ”TLOJG:Actor” was an insidious one.  There were so many things about it that were infuriating.  The feeling that this conversation was nothing but a networking ploy.  The feeling that my part in this conversation was merely as a sounding board, or perhaps the wall that an aspiring lacrosse player throws the ball against when he lacks a partner.  And even worse, the feeling that that which you hold so dearly in life has been reduced to a desperate attempt to produce something that somebody might like.  During the painful three dots when it was clear I was speaking to a villain, this is the reduced play-by-play of what went down in my head:

I consider jumping for cover.  Realizing that there is nowhere to hide, I consider running away as fast as possible with my hands over my ears.  Remembering the audition that I was about to go in for, for the high paying commercial, I scratch that and consider quickly punching this guy in the face before he can say it.  Noticing the casting director’s assistant in my peripheral I remember that old adage about treating everyone with respect since you don’t know what they may become, I consider not punching him just in case in ruins my professional relationship with her.  Not really doing it for me, I realize that the urge to punch this guy far outweighs my longing for a successful acting career.  About to punch the guy in the face, I remember the other old adage my grandmother told me about not punching people in the face.  So I don’t.  I let him say it, and I respond the way an actor has to.

The aforementioned ellipsis only actually lasted about two and a half seconds.  But I’ve been here before, and can go through such an elaborate thought pattern in the blink of an eye.

Rewinding so as to include the entire phrase:

“Yeah – that’d be hilarious…that’d be a great sketch.”

Yes.  Just in case you don’t know this, every conversation you ever have with a comedian or, God forbid, an improv actor, will ultimately lead to a phrase along these lines.  Other options are “that would be a great skit/bit/web-series.”

This makes me want to stab my eyeballs out.  I have resisted getting involved in sketch comedy all these years, ever since the party I went to where I realized that every single conversation happening around me was in fact a structured long form improv scene.  Is there no turning these people off?

But as I write this I can’t help but wonder what makes me think I am above this.  Here I am, writing a blog about what happens to me in my life.  What the deal, Gavin?  Huh?  You think you’re so much better than all them and here you are, with the blog you say you’re gonna turn into a show.  What a hypocrite.

Good point, voice of hypothetical reader.  That’s why this was my answer:

“Yeah man.  That’d be a great sketch.”

That’s right, I played the game.  I winced in anticipation, having opened the door for the follow up phrase: “hey, we should get together and flesh something out.”  Here it comes.  Here it comes…

“Jesse Gavin?”

Saved by the Casting Director.

I walked into the audition room, and into safety.  Exiting the room I was once again saved when the other guy got called in.  I gave him a wave whilst walking with the kind of pace that indicated I had somewhere I had to be.

This whole “being an actor again” thing is going to be harder than I thought.