What is it about not caring?!
Why do we always book the jobs we don’t care about? Give me a non-union production of Spiderman at Aunt Fanny’s Farm Barn, and I’ll book it. Why? Because how good can a low budget Spidey be, I hate Farm Barns, and who wants to move to the middle of nowhere for 3 months for $50/week?! *True story: I was actually offered $50/week for a summer stock job once. FIFTY DOLLARS A WEEK. That’s a blog post for another time.*
I need to figure this out.
What is different about the Jenna who cares and the Jenna who DGAF?
JENNA WHO CARES JENNA WHO DGAF
Worried about people pleasing Friendly but laid back
High pitched voice Low, grounded voice
Fake cutesy giggling/smiling/laughing Natural cackle when merited
Polite and quiet Dry witted
Heart racing 400 miles an hour Calm and intaking oxygen
Hands and legs shaking see above
Not breathing/not releasing rib cage to breathe see above
Pushing a product Shares work w/o expectation
Not fully present Present and open
Needs to be taken care of in some way Taking care of her work
Self conscious about my looks Unaware of my looks
Ugh- caring sucks! I had an audition a few weeks ago where I felt SO prepared with the material (I had been working on it on/off for a year). But, if I’m being honest with myself, I walked in as Jenna “Caring” Pastuszek, not as Jenna “DGAF” P. Not to say my audition was a complete dumpster fire, no. I had both the song and sides memorized (I didn’t even hold the papers), and I felt confident with the choices I had found during my rehearsals and with the choices I made during the run of the scene in the audition room. And I sounded good!
So then what happened? I do remember feeling extremely uncomfortable in my body that day. When I feel unconfident, I’m worrying about how “skinny” or “fit” I look, how my clothes feel on my body, how my legs look in this “audition outfit”, if I’m even wearing the right outfit, if my thin straight hair will decide to show up that day, and maybe sprinkle in some worry about how my voice feels and sounds.
I don’t remember noticing this feeling specifically when I was IN the room, but I did feel like I was comparing myself to the other girls OUTSIDE of the room before I went in. Comparing myself to the girl who had brought a legit carry on suitcase- ACTUAL LUGGAGE, PEOPLE- to the audition and took over the bathroom to curl her hair, lay out her 27 different bottles of make-up products, and steam her audition dress, and/or comparing myself to the girl with the great tits in the even higher heels and fun orange dress who was one person ahead of me in line.
I’m admitting that I may have self-sabotaged myself at this audition because instead of focusing on my work, I was worrying about what other people thought of me. FOPO. Fear of other people’s opinions (thanks Jen Waldman). Who knows if any of my fears were even noticed by people behind the table or factored into me not getting a callback, but for “fun” (because the whole constant self-reflection thing of this acting career is always FUN!!!), I’ll sit down now and brainstorm ways in which I can avoid doing this at my next audition.
Show up intentionally to share my work as a person.
Own my humanity.
It feels easier in low stakes situations to own my humanity, to be the person I am without hesitation or apology, because I don’t feel at risk to lose anything. That’s why Spiderman at Aunt Fanny’s Farm Barn is usually a win for me. It’s low stakes. There’s a low chance of the outcome of that audition affecting how I feel about myself as a functioning adult in society. But the low stakes are also sometimes the low hanging fruit, so being successful at the things we don’t care about doesn’t necessarily serve where we’re headed. We’re all trying to level up. So how do we make high stakes auditions feel low stakes? Or, a better question, how do we learn to show up fully for ourselves for the things that matter to us?
Perhaps it lies in my attempt to mask how much this audition meant to me. Like I said earlier, I had prepped for that audition for over a year, working on that packet with various coaches and in multiple classes. What if, instead of worrying about whether or not my hair had adequate bounce and volume that day, I had walked into the room and said, “Hi! I am thrilled to be here and show you what I’ve been working on.” That sounds like a statement that would have been an honest representation of my mindset at the time, and it also sounds like an introduction that would perk up a sleepy casting director’s ears. Owning where I was emotionally that day could have allowed me to access more of my grounded openness, and with that, more of the authentic work I had prepared instead of trapping me in a shame spiral.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on simply showing up to my auditions as a breathing human. And let me tell you, it feels so. much. better.