Friday, January 20, 2012

Waiting Room Doppelgangers

Sometimes when I walk into a casting office, I find a waiting room filled with actors of all shapes and sizes. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I see rooms like that, because it tells me that the casting director isn’t locked into a specific idea for the role. Everyone has an equal shot. All I need to worry about is being my authentic, unique self and giving a good performance. My individuality as a naturally nerdy professional is on my side.

Then there are other times when I walk into a waiting room and find twenty women who look just like me. This happened at an audition this week. Not only were they all 30-something, Asian-American females, but they were exactly my type – professional, intelligent doctor-types. Several were wearing nearly the same business casual ensemble I was wearing. Yipes.

This always makes me more nervous, because my individuality feels smoothed over and smothered. The sight naturally begs the question, “How will I possibly stand out in this sea of smart-sounding Asian women?”

My old tendency was to panic – throw out all my preparation in favor of a rushed new attempt to be “different” from the crowd, which usually just resulted in a bad audition. Because I can’t be in the moment if I’m in my head.

So instead, I’ve learned to take a deep breath and un-see the room, block out all the mirror images of myself walking around, and concentrate on what I came there to do. I can’t control who will stick out in a casting director’s mind. All I can control is my performance.

Doppelgangers be damned!

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