October 26, 2016

Rattlesnakes and Auditions

Rattlesnake Bottoms.

That's the tongue-in-check moniker I've donned upon the open space in which I regularly run. About a mile from our house, Rattlesnake Bottoms is several acres of dirt paths, a dry river bed, and a horse-riding enclosure.

And rattlesnakes. Lots and lots of rattlesnakes.

Or so I've been told.

I've probably run down there 40 or 50 times, and I've never seen a rattlesnake. In fact, I saw my very first snake just last week, a harmless gopher snake sunning herself six feet off my path, completely disinterested in the sweaty dude tip-toeing closer to inspect her tail for a rattle.

Look, I hate snakes. Even the ones that can't kill me. I wasn't thrilled to see a head on that surprisingly malleable-looking stick. And to be perfectly honest, I can't say definitively I didn't see a rattle. Like I'm gonna get that close to check.

At any rate, assuming it wasn't a rattlesnake - and for the purpose of my illustration, let's assume just that - I have defied the odds by running rattlesnake-free in an area that multiple locals have told me is ripe with rattlers.


Defying odds is great when it's in our favor. I feel fortunate to have avoided rattlesnakes at Rattlesnake Bottoms. I'm also thankful for every year I've avoided a direct lightning strike, each McDonald's meal that doesn't destroy my digestive track, and all the bug bites that weren't from West Nile infected mosquitoes.

But I still can't seem to defy the odds of landing significant auditions as a no-name average Joe.

I've yet to audition for a network or premium cable scripted show or major studio motion picture. I've been repped by well-respected agents the whole time I've been in L.A., but I've simply had too much working against me.

There's a pecking order out here I wasn't expecting, and I'm the krill trying to swim out of the baleen. When I got to Los Angeles, I had a ton of acting experience. But I didn't have any recognizable credits, a remarkable (or ethnic) look, or friends/family that could get me "in the door." Thankfully, two of those roadblocks are starting to be cleared.

I'll never be ethnic or remarkable-looking, but I'm gaining credits and making more friends. Something's bound to give. Hopefully.

Notice I haven't mentioned anything about talent? Talent does not a career start, but a career it sustains. I've yet to display my talent (or lack thereof) in front of the major players. I'm not dismissing the crime reenactment shows I've done, because they've all been a lot of fun, and I worked with great people on each of them. But they don't pay the rent.

Sure, I worked three days on NCIS, but the situation surrounding that whole opportunity is unique and something I'll write about another time. And it was barely a role, so it doesn't count.

As I defy the rattlesnake odds and succumb to the audition odds, I forge ahead, hopeful for stasis in the former and a change in the latter.

Mr. Berle (quote above) should be pleased with me. I've built many doors, but I still need the right people to open them. Opportunity is hard to come by out here, but when it comes, man, I'll be ready.