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Actors, Don’t Hate The Game

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Silvana I clearly remember the thrill that came with my first audition. I was scared stiff, but I was happy as a clam – I was DOING it! I clearly remember my first booking, too – I was doing it, and it was actually WORKING! YES! Unfortunately, I also remember the first time I went to an audition…and waited a long time…and started to feel ungrateful…and started to feel entitled…and then got in the room and totally blew it. Yep. We’ve all been there, yes?

When I sign in at an audition, I insist on reminding myself that – yes! I’m doing it! – and that I am so lucky to be doing so. I’m on a short list of women called in that day, and I insist on acknowledging that also means there are about 2000 women who were submitted and passed over. There is great power in that perspective – but with great power comes great responsibility (Spiderman speaks the truth). WE GOTSTA STAY GRATEFUL, MY ACTOR FRIENDS.

Life is hard. Traffic is shitty. People suck. I swear I get it – there are many days that I can’t help but cry. But whether I have been crying on the 405 or not (chances are good that I have), once I get to that audition I insist on staying grateful.

No one said it was going to be easy – in fact, everyone has probably told you that it was going to be really, really hard.   But you know what? You are HERE, right now, with the distinct privilege of living out your dreams. There are no guarantees that an opportunity will present itself twice, or that reaching one level of success warrants that you reach the next. So DO it – do it right now, and do it with gratitude.

We have made a complex choice to be in a profession that, basically, requires you to interview for your dream job over and over again. We have shaped our whole lives around being able to show up when the call comes in – we’ve sacrificed and risked and rearranged our lives in more ways than I can comfortably list. I do not doubt that every single actor I encounter has worked extremely hard and is stretched extremely thin.

And yet – I can count on one hand the number of times I have attended an audition and not heard a complaint. What gives, friends? Too many times I am asked how long the wait has been – usually followed by a sigh, a phone check, and an eye roll. Too many times have I heard grumbles about getting to dinner plans, or off to Vegas for the weekend. Too many times I have heard people talk poorly about the client, or the role, or the pay, or the network – right there in the waiting room! It is kind of astounding stuff.

With this said, I think it is important to stop and recognize that everyone is fighting their own private fight, and things that people quietly carry cannot be judged. Bad things happen all day long, and heaviness can bleed into even the most chipper and motivated of outlooks. I do not pretend to know the personal struggles people face. I do not pretend to be better or wiser than anyone else (see paragraph #3, re: my daily traffic crying).

I do, however, try to remember this: we owe it to ourselves to show gratitude for current opportunities, regardless of past hardships. We owe it to the sacrifices we have made to get ourselves into that audition – each and every time we are lucky enough to have one.

This does not come from a place of resentfulness, but from a place of I-don’t-have-time-to-play-ness. This is a profession, and we must conduct ourselves as professionals. Remember that your ability to show some gratitude may leave the impression that you actually WANT to book the job! Remember that you are one of the lucky ones to be considered for that job, so live up to it.

Call it the golden rule or call it karma, but I am a big believer that you get back what you put out. Be grateful; you are regarded as worthy. Be proficient; you are met with esteem. Be focused; you are treated with respect. Call me a hippie or call me naïve, but that is what I believe – and quiet frankly, that is what feels right in my soul.

Get on board with some gratitude and see what opens up in your life. Next time you are met with a long wait or a hectic schedule you must get a granola bar, feed your meter, and arrive at your audition like the grateful, graceful, professional actor that you are.

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About Silvana Gargione

Silvana Gargione is a New Jersey-born, Emerson College-educated, and Meisner-trained actor and comedic improviser. She is also a walking stereotype - a 1st generation Italian-American, she grew up working in her family's restaurant and convincing everyone that her family wasn't in the mafia (seriously though, they're not). In June 2012, she authored and published her first non-fiction children's book about the 1000 islands region of upstate New York, St Lawrence ABCs. Silvana has been involved in a variety of independent projects, as well as generously contributes her legit chops to the advancement of America's commerce (see: books commercials on the regular). She keeps a large vegetable garden year-round, and can pickle, saute, roast, or stew anything she grows. Her religion is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.