Dream, Believe, Do!
A skinny, long-haired, “Princess Jasmine-y” Indian girl playing a conservative, cardigan-wearing Christian school girl? Not a chance in hell.
Or so I thought.
When I read the script and character breakdowns for “Michael,” my heart sank a little. Not one character felt suitable for me, so I thought I’d wearily aim my auditions towards “Drunk Female Friend” or “Hot Girl.” Then I REALLY read the script and connected with Katherine, a consoling and optimistic girl, who would probably be played by a white chick, but I didn’t care. I slipped on the only cardigan I owned, pulled my hair back, and taped my audition.
One month later I got a phone call from our fabulous Director of Operations, Leigh Ann, saying I got a similar part in the film. My heart sank to my stomach (this time with excitement and nerves), and as soon as I hung up, I jumped up and down all over my apartment – scaring the shit out of my 5 cats. Literally, there was poop on the floor.
I get to set the next day, sit in my trailer, take a deep breath, and soak it all in. After getting my hurr and makeup did, I go over lines with another actress. Our scene, which was an extremely pivotal moment for James’ character, also included a large part of the cast. It’s amazing how you can feel the presence of great actors and get drawn even deeper into the scene, like a vacuum. At the end of the day the Casting Director came up to
me and congratulated me on booking the part. She told me she had watched hundreds of audition tapes and picked mine. Completely taken by surprise, I simply said, “thanks,” not having known that my efforts and talent had truly been recognized up until that point. The chance that I took, auditioning for a part that wasn’t “made” for me, paid off.
The reason I’ve told my story the way I have is because believing in your self is such an integral part of this business. The actors we look up to and admire
didn’t get to where they are because they let opportunities pass them by. Encourage and put yourself out there. Go outside, take a beating, come back, perfect your craft, and do it all over again until you get where you want to be. Look at auditions as practice, not as a waste of time. Look at dry spells as a forecast of something exciting yet to come. It always does. I tell people to get excited when you are in a dry spell, because before you know it, something great will come out of left field – that is, if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
I regretfully didn’t get the chance to thank James personally for providing us with the access and numerous resources that he has. But auditioning and booking a part in “Michael” reinforced to me that if you dream, believe, and do, good things will come, and I thank him for that, more than anything.