22. James Attends 55 New York Auditions…And Learns Some Shit


I has learned many fings. I decided that after attending 50+ New York auditions, I would know a few things about auditioning. Here’s what I have learned:

1) Don’t be a crabby whore. If you don’t get seen, have humility and grace, for the love of god. If you are a girl, you will occasionally get screwed at auditions. It sucks. I’m so sorry. But be a fuggin’ lady. There are an F-load of girls auditioning in NY. So. Sometimes for the sake of time, they will ask you to only sing 16 bars. Sometimes they will cut it to 8. I will concede: 8 bars SUCKS. So sucks. I’m sorry. But 16? Come on, if you can’t get it done in 16, then you ain’t doin’ it right, bookay? And if you are a sourpuss in front of the monitor, they could say shit about you to the people in the room. You’re an actor. ACT. ACT like it doesn’t bother you. And then go outside and swear your face off; you’ll fit right in.

2) Do not go to every audition. I know that some people encourage you to go to every audition you can. I STRONGLY advise you against this. I tried this. You absolutely can. I tried. You can audition 5 days a week. You can sometimes audition 7 days a week. You can go to at least 2 auditions a day, 5 days a week, every week. But you will burn yourself out. Trust me. I am hardcore, and I have tried this. I promise you. Please trust me. Cuz once you burn yourself out, you will need time to recharge. It happened to me. I was auditioning my ass off, and it really wasn’t to my benefit. I was going to dance calls, singer calls and principal auditions. And I wasn’t really fully prepared for all the auditions. But I DID learn that you don’t need to be over-prepared for every audition. But I started getting depressed as F. Cuz I was auditioning all day every day and not getting any jobs. And that surely affected my auditioning, because I was super discouraged. And I had to take a long break from auditioning, cuz I felt like I was gonna have a breakdown. Dealing with that much rejection is painful. And even though it may have nothing to do with my talent, I started to take it personally. Yes, it is helpful to get your name out there, and make people know you. But you NEED to take care of yourself, cuz I promise you that no one else will. New York will kick you ass day after day after day, so you need to be your own advocate. You need to take breaks. Today I lied in bed with the Trick til 11:30 am. If you know me, you shall be shocked. I never do that. You will meet people who know how to slow down. LEARN SOMETHING FROM THEM.

3) Have a life outside of theater. You can’t talk about theater all the time. When I go to open calls and I hear those people just talking about all the auditions they went to, it makes me want to die. YOU MUST HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE OF THEATER. I started cooking. I blog. I love reading good literature, watching good movies and watching Rachel Maddow. When you go to an open call, please, please PLEASE don’t be that person who just talks about all the auditions they went to. Don’t talk about what jobs you’ve booked and which superstars gave you compliments on your weave. Cuz I can see straight through it all: you’re super insecure and you’re trying to validate yourself by talking about how cool you are. It’s ok; we’re all insecure, myself included. But I literally want to rip my ears off and eat them when I hear theater talk all the f-ing time. It’s ok if you’re insecure. Journal about it. Have a discussion with a friend about it over some wine and cheese and dairy farts. Just be a real person.

4) Be beautiful. Just be a good person, for F sake. When someone walks into the room, do not give them The Deathly Look of Judgment. Say hey. Smile. BE NICE. Don’t bad talk the other people in the room. Because you are brewing hate. Talk about how gorgeous someone is.. and then GO TELL THEM how gorgeous they are! BECAUSE PEOPLE NEED SUNSHINE. Auditioning SUCKS. It sucks. And if you like it, you suck. I’m just kidding. Totes kidds. But it is terrible. And sitting in that room is awful, especially when it’s brewing with hate and insecurity and negativity. Being nice is so easy. And it encourages other people to be nice. FOR EXAMPLE: The other day I was at this audition and there was this girl who looked JUST LIKE Vera Farmiga. So I told her. I said, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Vera Farmiga? You both have such calm faces. She’s really beautiful, don’t worry.” And she was super flattered, and she said that no one had ever told her that before. That was my one act of kindness. THEN. I went into the audition room and sang. After I came out, the guy behind me said, “You sounded really great in there.” I said, “Oh my God, thank you.” Because he had no need to be kind. He did it JUST TO BE KIND. Ok. Well maybe he wanted to S my D but I would like to think that he just wanted to be kind. But then I went downstairs and this girl was like, “That is such a great color on you. So beautiful.” Ok there! THAT was unwarranted kindness. Cuz it’s clear that I’m gay cuz I’m at a fecking audition. So. What I’m saying is: be a beautiful person. Cuz if you’re being hateful, you’re just rotting your heart away and you’re becoming those “typical New Yorkers” who honk their fucking horns too much and hate everything, including cake. Do you REALLY want to hate cake? Do you want to be THAT person? Be. Nice.

5) Make time for friends. Auditioning sucks cuz it feels like the people behind the table don’t care about you. Like they couldn’t care less. So make time for the people who do care about you. It makes a huge difference. Cuz New York will kick you while you’re down, make no mistake about it. And it feels amazing to know that there are people who will pick you up while New York is trying to curb-stomp you. For example, I was having this phone conversation today:
(this was near the end of the call)
Stacy: What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: *rambles on for far too long about my day tomorrow, somehow get on a tangent about how the west was won, get sidetracked and talk about what my face will look like in 20 years, whether my nose will get big enough to obstruct my view constantly*
Me: *after far too much talking* Why do you ask?
Stacy: I just have to get ready for tonight and–
Me: Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry! Go ahead! Go go go go, have an awesome night.
Stacy: No, wait, shut up, I love you, I love talking to you, I just want to finish this conversation tomorrow.
Me: *tears up but Stacy doesn’t know cuz despite not getting cast I am a MASTER ACTOR* Thank you.

It makes a difference to know that people care about you. It feels earth-shattering to be able to laugh your ass off at the end of an exhausting day (otherwise known as ANY DAY LIVED IN NEW YORK CITY). Being hardcore is awesome. But being a person is awesomer.

6) Journal. Get out it out. All that anxiety, anger, insecurity and even the good shit just boils inside of you. You need to get it out. I told Caity today that crying is just the same as pooping and peeing to me. It’s just a bunch of shit that builds up and you need to let it out or else you’re gonna explode. Let it out. Write down the stuff that you’re afraid to say to anybody. Write down the good stuff, too. Just get it out. Sometimes when I’m bitching to Kaylee, I tell her that I just need to get the poison out of me. Cuz I don’t want it inside of me. Write it down. Or you can burden other people with it… but I have a feeling that bitching makes you a less desirable person to be around. Just saying.

Those are my most important lessons. If you don’t do theater, I hope you can still learn something from all this. Or maybe you laughed. Or maybe you think that I actually went on a tangent with Stacy about the size of my nose. (It didn’t happen. I exaggerate for comedic effect.)

I’m getting closer. I can feel it. Can’t give up. Never give up.

Read the next blog: I’ma write about the aftershocks of Project Happiness 365.


Oh I should include a picture…

The other day I cooked a whole meal wearing this wig. Sometimes you gotta make yourself laugh.

I love you.



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