Slice of life of a C-list actress.

Luck

It begins with your agent offering you an audition for the role of a beautiful healthy looking woman, not too model-like, between 35 and 45 years old, to sell some gizmo. You’re a commercial actress, that’s all you are, despite playing Lady Macbeth in theater school. So, you say yes and go get a manicure.

You arrive to the casting place after spending way to long in your wardrobe and in front of the mirror. The girl at the front desk smiles and hands you a wooden tablet with information sheets. Your name here … your arriving time … your role here … Complete the other sheet, please: your name here … your age … your weight … You think about how you should order rubber ink stamps with your info on it. Then you’d just have to thump, thump, thump, voilà! You say it to the girl. It was funnier in your head.

You are surrounded by beautiful healthy women, 35-45 years old, not too model-like. You know all of them. It has been more than 20 years that you’ve regularly rubbed shoulders with their periphery. You’ve made the run a thousand times and, generally, it was all for nothing. You look at the contender that comes out of the audition room; she seems to have done well: she has that cocky sheen.

You sit down. It will be a while. But not long enough for you to touch the monetary compensation. When it’s finally your turn, you enter saying hi to everyone. In the back of the room, there are people that don’t give a flying fig about you, because you are the 28th healthy beautiful woman between 35 and 45 years old. You must not take it personally. You take it personally. The acting director explains the concept. Superficially, he is full of passion, but he is dead inside. You can understand. He’s burning the cigarette at both ends.  You do your identification to the camera. You are asked to show your hands. Inwardly, you congratulate yourself for getting a manicure.

You do what is asked of you with the gizmo. You try not to trip while naming the gizmo. You fumble a bit, but it’s not so bad, since you got the lines only yesterday. You clutch the gizmo in front of the lens and you scrunch your face the way you think the customer might like. You are thanked, neither coldly nor warmly and you leave, not confident at all. But you do that same proud cocky smirk on your way out.

The adventure continues when you learn that you’re on “hold” or “recommendation” and that your chances of having the gig are very good. You try hard not to precociously count, before they hatch, your chicks or checks, but you’re poor and you miss acting. You want to perform. Even if it’s with a gizmo. At last, your agent calls you with a fifteen percent vibrato in his voice: You’ve got it! You’re the gizmo girl. You hang up and do a retarded dance.

You receive your call sheet. Usually, they expect you to show up at the crack of dawn. You set up your alarm and go to bed while it’s still sunny out with costly and ineffective cream on your wrinkles. You sleep 20 minutes segments, never fully trusting your clock to do its job.

The taxi leaves you in the dark cold morning where the “swings», «techs” and “grips” are laboring like loud ninjas. They’re invariably in black and have at least one roll of tape attached at the waist. You look for the Kraft table. You’ve always enjoyed free coffee and muffins.

The wardrobe lady wants to see the 12 pieces of clothing she asked you to bring «in case». She doesn’t take anything, as usual. She slips you in a generic pastel and asexual suit. You then go to hair and make-up. You love it. The metamorphosis duo bitches, gossips, tittles and tattles so badly, it’s awesome.

You are then taken to a plastic chair in a corner. And you wait there with the other actors, extras and wannabes. You linger a mighty long time. Between interminable slowness and what the endless hell is taking so long??

A hundred people are foraging around you. Everyone is best of friends. They chirp to each other on their right shoulder where their walkie-talkie is attached. You, you’re just a guest in their big family. The other thespians share their daily life. You will learn that one is freshly vasectomised, the other hasn’t pooped yet and the old lady just lost her son. And by «son», she means «poodle». We become generous with our intimacy. Especially carnal. You never talk so easily about sex with strangers than during a shooting.

It’s finally your moment to shine on the sound stage. They put you near the gizmo. They all focus on the gizmo. They look at you, through you. You’re an accessory to the gizmo. And right now, you’re casting a shadow on it. Move left … again … back … stop! A little green strip at your feet so you can remember your spot. The director explains what he wants and what the customer wants. Most of the time, it is diametrically opposed. Anyway, the only important thing is the gizmo.

The girl with the iron hand in a boxing glove yells “SILENCE ON SET!!!” and everyone gets quiet. Not a sound except for the dzzzzz of the lighting and boom ba doom of your heart that yearns to do well.

In three, two, one, you take the gizmo. You speak of your love for the gizmo fifty eight times from three different angles. Between takes, they powder your nose, dab the sweat off your forehead, and place your shirt back into your pants. You’re hot. You’re thirsty. And you’re starting to think you’re really not believable with the gizmo. But it’s over. Thank you, please leave. Go sign the contract over there, ma’am. Thank you.

You put back the clothing that molds your personality. You say your goodbyes. Best of luck with your vaping, Stephen! I hope you get the loan from the bank, Myriam! Yes, I’ll take a look at your web series, Peter! Ok, bye, then! Bye!

The journey ends with your ride back home where you verify how much you made. You realize that maybe you’re not the actress you hoped to be, let alone a star, but you just earned the six weeks salary of a waitress for having some fun with some nice folks…

… And a gizmo…

So, you cry your failed career all the way to the bank.

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