I have a newfound goal of, someday, being on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. It’s legit. And earnestly, at the nuts of it, I think it’s really just about my crazy pseudo obsessive desire of being asked to have an epic lip-sync battle or play Box of Lies. Which, I suppose, I could really play either of those things at anytime just, essentially, in my kitchen, of my own volition, with my friends or with my dog, but, let’s be real: I want it televised.
The problem here is that these people, these people who play this game? They’re all, like, SUper famous. …. …OK, I guess there’s two problems with this:
A) I don’t ever want to be SUper famous. I just want to be a working actor who makes her money and her living exclusively as a working actor. So, there’s that.
B) The unofficial Merriam-Webster definition of ‘SUper famous’ is:
EVeryone knows who you are. EVeryone.
“Did you hear that the paparazzi caught Miscia giving John Mayer an HJ in the middle of a Starbucks? She’s gonna be SUper famous!”
synonyms: real popular, kinda big time, Wikipedia-worthy, trending
What’s the problem? Presently, I’m the most anonymous that I’ve been in a really really long time.
It’s marginally terrifying.
On Being Anonymous:
Now, OK. I know that this is a topic that I’ve discussed before, and I think that ‘anonymity’ is a fascinating topic to visit and revisit and, frankly, attempt to wrap your brain around. And I’m sure that I’m going to be dealing with it in various aspects throughout various portions of my life and it has, most certainly, taken on a brand new face as of late.
Thing is that when you pack up yer shit and you move across the entire country to a town where absolutely no one knows your name (professionally speaking), it’s a foreign and ugly feeling. It is.
This is not to imply that EVERYONE knew me in New York, obviously, OBviously this was not the case. Au contraire. But, a few people did, and they knew me well, well enough to call me into their office with pseudo-frequency and know “Oh. Yeah, Angela can get the job done for us.”
They knew my name, for god’s sake. And they knew what I could do.
I have made some introductions in LA and that much, admittedly, feels good. But, no one actually knows me here. Yet.
So. What’s a girl to do? What do you do when you’re anonymous?
Par exemple, how do you get out there and audition more often (see “all the time”) and straight away?
(Which, naturally, as I’m saying this, I’m recognizing that that’s an entirely unrealistic expectation. But. Also, I like to defy expectation? So. There’s that?)
(… … … Deviating.)
But, you can meet a person, a casting director, an agent, a writer, a peer, and you can say to them “Yes! I’m your quirky best friend next door. A younger Judy Greer-type. Not quite your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, more like your Manic Pixie ‘That Could Potentially Be Fun’ Girl.” You can say these things. But. You still have to prove it. And, now, you have to prove it to absolutely everyone. You actually actually do.
Because you're new. You're anonymous. No one knows you yet.
Because you're new. You're anonymous. No one knows you yet.
And THEN. Someone (your agent) says that you need new headshots.
First of all, this is a terrifying realization to me. Terrifying. Headshots are TERRifying to me, again, as I’ve mentioned before. And here I am, having spent a stupid amount of money on some pretty swell ones 2 years ago, (see “In actual fact, it’s been awhile”) now I’ve got to turn around to do it all over again and NOT JUST THAT. But, I’ve got to turn around and do it all over again in a city where ABSOLUTELY NO ONE KNOWS WHO I AM TO BEGIN WITH AND I’VE GOT TO START TELLING THIS STORY ALL OVER AGAIN FROM SCRATCH.
So then, you resume the following debate with yourself: How am I going to sell myself? Whose photography is going to capture that the most for me? Whose photography is good, and whose is trying too hard? And how much money is too much money, and PS how am I paying for this?!, and should I risk having a really awesome friend shoot these as opposed to a known photog, how much does name and renown matter in THIS regard? Have I been eating ok, is my face going to be tremendously bloated, do I have to go shopping, CAN I even go shopping right now? Are this guy and I going to jive?
Is this going to be a waste of my time and money?
(Also…wait. Remind me how I’m paying for this?)
And you begin to hope that it, this picture, is going to be the answer to your everything, and fear that your lack thereof has been the road block.
Your brain races as you begin to wonder whether or not this is why you haven’t been sent out on an audition yet, whether or not you and your picture have been standing in your own way.
You begin to wonder whether or not it’s too late. And you panic.
For 30 seconds.
And then you realize “too late” simply isn’t an option for you and you get over it, kinda, and it’s fine. But, such is the stress of being an anonymous bitch in a beeg new city: Every everything begins to sound ever-so-slightly insurmountable because you don’t own anything. As of yet.
And you continually try to remember that “as of yet”-part whilst mowing on your peanut butter & jelly, researching alternate day jobs, and Actors Accessing your face off.
On Shaking Hands Anonymously:
I ponied up to a workshop place the other day for my first time since moving to LA, which felt both glorious and utterly utterly shameful. (WHY ARE YOU ONLY DOING THIS AND SETTING OUT TO MEET THESE PEOPLE NOW WHEN YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN HERE FOR A MONTHoh riiiiiight you’re broke.)
(Also, too? I have begun to accept that this is going to be the story of my life for the foreseeable future. I’m coming to embrace it, really. I meeeean, even P. Diddy in all his prolific wisdom warned us “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems”, so, you know, am I right or AM I RIGHT?!?! …Guys…?)
(... ... ... ...Deviating.)
But, I met a casting associate the other day, the SWEETEST lady ever, and she works on a particularly booming sitcom. I would give my left arm just to breathe on that set.
I signed up for this particular paid meet-and-greet with her knowing that she calls people in, just to do it, to read, and to be a reader. She’s hooked multiple friends of mine up. (Barf.)
I could not resist.
And, thing was? I killed it in that room. I killed it. So hard. And knew it, and was told as much.
“I have seriously seen that scene hundreds of times, and I’ve never seen That. You actually made it funny. You actually found the beats that no one else ever seems to get, and yet, you did your own thing with it. “
(BARF!) And my BRAIIIIIN explodeddddd.
“Have you been into our office before?”
No. No, actually, I just moved here a month ago.
“Ooh! From where?”
From Brooklyn. (Said with alllllll the braggadocio and shoulder-dusting)
(Sidebar: To the BK’s credit, that announcement will potentially always be, for whatever reason, made with some semblance of braggadocio.)
“OH! Oh, well, wel-commmme.”
And so, we shoot the shit, and it’s fun and lovely blah blah blah blah blahhhhh.
And then, she notices my agent at the bottom of my resume.
“Ooh! And these guys are GREAT! Be sure to have them submit you to me.”
Oh. Actually, uh, I’m just with them commercially. I don’t, uh…I don’t have theatrical representation quite yet. (I am new. I am anonymous. No one knows me. …Yet?)
Silence. Utter utter silence.
BUT! Um, I will absolutely see what I can do about…them…submitting me to you, I will certainly try my best to, uh, make that happen. Soon. (Honestly, I’m almost impressed with how completely awkward I’ve become in the last year and a half. It’s staggering, really.)
“Yeah, uh. Do that. And, you have my email, so, try to submit whenever you think you’re right for something. You get the Breakdowns and whatever, yeah?”
YEAH yeah yeah yeah yeah for sure, ABsolutely!! (Stop.)
“Great. Nice meeting you. “
“Yeah, and REALLY, though, great great work.”
So. There’s that.
When you’re anonymous. When you’re new, and anonymous, and attempting to build relationships…I mean, how do you do that when you don’t completely have your shit together yet? Because you’re new. And anonymous.
I guess it’s about shaking hands. I guess it’s about doing that a lot.
I guess it’s about being patient with yourself.
I guess it’s about taking time to allow everything to get aligned and really really really being actually honestly ok with starting over. Completely. With clean slating it. With knowing what story you’re trying to tell, believing that it’s going to be a damn good one, and recognizing that no good story has an early climax.
They build gradually.
I guess it’s about being receptive to surprising turns, and remaining open to where the turns take you.
I guess it’s about staying resilient.
I guess it’s about understanding that every anonymous person only remains as such as long as they refuse to do something about their station. I guess it’s realizing that ‘anonymity’ is as often a circumstance as it is a choice.
I’m choosing to not be ok with remaining sedentary.
And I’m choosing to buy cheap wine and have you over to watch me perfect my lip-synced rendition of St. Elmo’s Fire, in the interim.
I guess, we’ll see.