“This is so fun. And this cider is so good. And I really love my friends. We’re really good actors. We should make a movie. And I’m so happy he came. He’s a good one, right? I think he’s a good one. And I’m happy.”
That was the genius opening of the post I considered writing last night.
It seemed like an idea brimming with creative merit.
The sort of idea you get after drinking this:
And then this:
Luckily, more reasonable heads prevailed and I saved the writing for the next day.
In my defense, it had been a hell of a day.
Those of you with any passing acquaintance with anxiety or depression know they can be sneaky bastards. They can keep quiet for days, and when you’re not looking, one can jump out from behind a door, scream ‘blegha blegha bleu’, jump right on your back and stay there for the season.
That was the cramp-inducing dance that anxiety and I had been doing all day. It interrupted my treadmill that morning. Well, anxiety and my creaky, busted, broke-ass knee also interrupted my run. But mostly anxiety. When you jump off to check the toaster cord and your recycling, really, it’s not your knee’s fault. It cornered me in the bathroom at work.
Anxiety was generally being a slimy bag of grossly adherent donkey vomit.
It wasn’t the audition. I don’t get weird acting jitters. I had prepped my piece. Did my work and made my choices. I had her. Done this many times for many years. But, when it comes to emotions, head games, traffic and sick kids, it all comes into the room with you to get its time on camera.
For me, if it’s coming, it better damn well be ready to work. Because it was absolutely character appropriate and something I had already picked for the girl I would play for the next ten minutes, anxiety was going to be infused in this girl. Big, pushed boluses of anxiety. (I looked it up. The plural of bolus is boluses. Boli is the accepted plural for scholarly work. I don’t think we’re there yet.)
I went with it. Big. She was twitchy, and scattered. There was a fidget and tremulous energy that I pushed to the limit with my first line. My initial hesitant ‘hi’ was replaced with a giant, forward-leaning, up-on-toes and nervous high-pitched ‘HI!!’.
I really didn’t have much choice. Anxiety was there in me as an actor. I could not shut it off. So, I was highlighting it in the character, because on this day, it was going to be in there as a whisper whether I liked it or not. So I made it a scream. Might have been totally wrong based on the sides I had seen. But it felt all kinds of right.
Didn’t hurt that it turned out to be a really good room. I got to see and give big hugs to a director/friend before I went in. One of my dearest girls was reading before me. More with her and cider later.
Inside, I had friendlies. Another rad lady friend of mine is on the show’s team and I got to read with her. Love.
(Note, films that have ladies in the room as part of the core crew and not just outside collecting head shots, give me warm southern tinglies. Keep that up.)
I knew the writer from a lifetime ago. And the director is an awesome dude, a skilled director and just generally great because he previously cast me in another film. I had a blast in there. Nights like that make you remember why you keep coming back to this art that can be so cruel. Because sometimes, it curls around you and takes you somewhere where magic lives.
After that, to say that I had a “little” residual manic energy would be like saying Adele can hit a “few” notes.
Thus, the tour of pints and the earnest attempt to drink all the things in all the bars in the city.
Because, also, when you live in a house as the only one of legal voting age, and you get only a a handful of nights off,
you make them count.
So it was me and my actors. Loud and gesturing and possibly jumping onto chairs and/or the bar. Borderline harassment-level hugging. And kissing. And I’ll call cut there before anyone gets in trouble.
Best of all, there was planning. Diabolical planning. Of us girls and a script and a project. And it was all delicious.
Here’s where we ended our night. Hours later. Because actors can draaaank.
Maybe it is weird. Maybe it’s not normal in most industries to hang out and drink and love with the person you just tried to beat out for a job. And you’re deluded if you think they weren’t gunning for you. But it’s okay. There are snags. I missed beats in my scene that I kicked myself over. A lot. And I got a vibe that the part I read for might be pre-cast. But, it was still nice to be invited to the party.
The next day, I was still smiling about it all. Another brief chance to do what I love. Even physically. My morning run was the least painful I’ve had in weeks. And my brain was quiet and content for at least five minutes.
And I need that.
Especially because I have to be involved in a meeting this weekend. With my kid. And his dad. In a church.
See how fast the bloom dies? I’m not precious about my tenuous optimism. It’ll all suck again soon enough.
Until then, after the night, I think have a new screenplay to start
Anxious now. But in a good way.
Actors are weird.