My First Hollywood Audition

Today, I went to my first audition in Hollywood.

I suppose you could call it my first “Hollywood audition,” but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. That implies something fancy with recognizable names, or at the very least a paycheck. That’s not the kind of audition I’m talking about. But it was in Hollywood.

I’ve been in the Greater LA area for a little over one month now, but I think today was the first time I’ve seen the Hollywood sign since being here.

“Well hello there, beautiful,” I said.

“Welcome home,” she said. Or something like it.

Today, I was turned down for yet another apartment/room for rent/roommate/whatever.

I got the message right before going in to do a final read at this audition. Okay, I didn’t actually know that’s what the message said. I saw “Hi Sarah, I wanted to let you know that we decided…” pop up in the little Facebook Messenger bubble. But tone is everything.

For the past month, I’ve lived 60 miles away from LA and tucked up in the mountains. It’s beautiful. There are lakes, hummingbirds, turtles, coyotes, baby birds, and stars. If I have to go into the city, I drive hairpin turns down the mountain through hills that sing. I am grateful. Yet I want desperately to be in the city.

Today, I felt alone.

Gone for now are the days I show up for an audition and know half of the people there, the days I walk down the city streets and recognize a friend or two. I drove at least 120 miles today, just me and my thoughts, my prayers, my podcasts. I got an unexpected text from a friend: “Wish you were here” with a picture of one of my favorite coffee shops. I broke down in tears, in traffic, going East on the 210. Crying in traffic is like an LA rite of passage, so I guess I’m officially here now.

People tell me that it will all come together. They’re not wrong. But if I don’t immediately take to your encouragement, I apologize. I know it will be okay. I’ve waited so long to be here, and with the satisfaction of being here, my patience has taken a vacay, leaving me all “so it’s just gonna come together NOW, right?!”

I’ve been in the Greater LA area for a little over one month. I know that it doesn’t all happen with a snap of the fingers. And if I’ve waited over 15 years for this, then what’s a little more time?

It’s not much.

Today, I went to my first Hollywood audition. I parked in a garage and paid $10 because I don’t know the secret parking spots yet. That’s what I used to do in Seattle, too. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation garage was my safe spot. But with time, I learned. The audition was at the LA Film School, across the street from the LA Cinerama/Hollywood Arclight. I forgot to take a picture. Little piles of young film students came and went. I sat in a hallway, availability form in hand, and waited like I’ve done ever-so-many times: in hallways, on stages, backstage, in prop rooms, with wardrobe, on sets. Waiting.

Every time I’m on set, an actor makes the “hurry up and wait” joke. I give a polite chuckle and usually say something like “that’s the game.”

Patience: that’s the real game. There’s no time limit on patience. There’s no time limit on how and when and where and with whom things will come together. I have to wait, contentedly on the edge of my seat, ready.

But I am not powerless in the waiting.

Today, I got cast in the little thing I auditioned for at my first Hollywood audition. I checked my email after my lengthy drive home and found a few messages asking for my availability, interest, a self-tape, a callback. It’s not traction, yet, believe me. It’s an illustration of the up and the down and the ever increasing unknown. It’s a pain in my butt. It’s a joy in my heart. It’s tears in my eyes. It’s loneliness. It’s anxiety. It’s the smile I wear in the audition room. It’s the secret I keep. It’s “what’s next?” It’s change. It’s what I love.

DYNAMO ep6

Once upon a time, my first friend (literally met when we were babies) Ian Hubert created DYNAMO, a webseries that I describe as Firefly meets Twin Peaks meets Bladerunner meets nothing you’ve ever seen before. A couple of months ago, Ian invited me to join the DYNAMO family as this sciencetist character, Shanananalala, introduced in the newly released ep6. I had a blast and truly love how it turned out. You should ABSOLUTELY watch the previous five episodes (for context and ’cause they’re awesome) before checking out ep6. So go do that now.

Have you finished?
Did you watch all five?
I didn’t think so.
Will this help?

ONE

TWO

THREE

FOUR

FIVE

SIX

Pretty cool stuff, amiright?

Personal Reflections on 2017

I’m not sure what to say about 2017. It was an odd year for me, and it almost feels like not much happened. But that’s not true. “Progress” means many things, and in 2017, it meant taking a step back. Not backwards, but a step back to look at a painting, to see the whole thus far, to examine, adjust, appreciate.

I’m an observer, and a seeker of inspiration. I always have been. But this past year was practically dedicated to inspiration through observation. I took nearly the whole year off from theatre and performing. I wrote more. I saw more movies. I introspected so hard. I found flaws I didn’t know I had and discovered abilities I thought were reserved for other people. I learned to trust my friends, and I’m learning to trust myself.

At the beginning of the year, I couldn’t choke out the word “home” in relation to Seattle. It didn’t feel honest. But over the course of these 12 months, I found another layer to that slippery word. Home is in the mountains. Home is in the desert. Home is any place where there are people who love me. And though I can’t say that’s everywhere, I can say – and I do so with deep gratitude – that it’s a heck of a lot of places. So like, I guess home actually is where the heart is.

Part of my hope for 2018 is that we will continue find home somewhere we don’t expect to find it, that we will each find the redemption of our flaws, and the courage to take the planks out of our own eyes. I’m excited for the coming unknown, scary as it always is.

I spent a lot of time crying in movie theaters this year: Manchester by the Sea, Logan, Dunkirk, Bladerunner 2049. Each moved me profoundly and left me reeling with emotion. But it’s a line from Logan that has stayed with me the longest, given me so much to consider. Without spoiling anything, seconds before a character makes a huge sacrifice, he utters the words, “Beware the light.” The moment is brief, but it has never left me. I’ve been pondering it in my heart for eight months. This year,  I stepped out of the spotlight and turned it inward, so it seems fitting to close my reflections on 2017 here:

Beware the Light because darkness cannot hold it, and fear cannot withstand it. Beware the Light for it will expose you and force truth upon you. Beware the Light because it burns with refining and opens our eyes. Beware the Light. Tread boldly. Tread carefully. Lord, give us more to see.

The Story of Me and Spiders (this has nothing to do with acting)

If you know me, you know that I’m not really afraid of spiders. In fact, since moving to the city two years ago, it’s not unheard of for me to say something like, “I miss my spider friends.” They just don’t hang out in city windows and door frames as much as they do in the suburbs or out in the country, and I miss them. It’s odd. I know.

Today, I happened upon a journal entry from 2012 that tells the story about how spiders and I.  Full disclosure, I made some edits as I transferred this from my journal to these here internets, but the voice is still pretty strongly 2012 Sarah Karnes. Here:

When I was a girl, I would sit and watch spiders go about their business. I always considered time spent in their company, watching their web weaving, as time well spent. Sometimes I would linger after their work was done to see what they did in their downtime. It turns out, they mostly just sit in dark corners and wait for unassuming and innocent flies to take a wrong winged right turn into their gossamer spires.

These spiders made their homes on the outside of our second-story windows, which were divided by brown panes into three: two perfect squares topped by a large rectangle. It was in those bottom squares that the spiders made their homes. The panes provided unparalleled support, certainly better than any breezy branches or bending grass blades. The panes also served as a perfect perch for the spiders to crouch in their silent hunt. Some spiders would stay in our windows almost a month, square and sufficient as they were. I’d check in on them, see how they were doing. In some sort of girlish morbidity, I would watch with excitement whenever an unsuspecting fly would find itself entwined in the spider’s web. The spider would slowly emerge from its corner, using its many legs to gauge the fly’s location. Then, with light rapidity, the spider was on the struggling fly, wrapping it with sheer spider-wire that layered and grew white as the nimble and macabre scene played out. Then, stillness, as the spider drank life from limb. I would sit, fascinated.

On some of my more curious and mischievous days, I’d explore the webby homes of garden spiders, the ones that stayed in the yard, not venturing to windowed heights like their cousins. These spiders could undoubtedly spot my approach from a distance: here comes girl, unafraid. Plucking a grass blade or a leafy bit, and with my face close, I’d toss the decoy into the spider’s house. Some would pounce, only to be met with hungry disappointment. Others, like a retriever often tricked into fetching a ball not thrown, would roll they’re multiple eyes in disgust, staying firmly planted center web.

Once, I worked up the courage to touch the orblike abdomen of one such garden spider. He was firmly established on a stretched web outside of our old playhouse. I slowly approached, knowing that no harm would befall me in my innocent need to feel. With a quivering hand and a sense of true bravery (I might as well have been fighting one of history’s violent hoards), I reached out and gently brushed the spider’s body. I yanked my hand back with a nervous giggle as soon as I’d made contact. I had touched a spider and lived to tell it. The spider didn’t seem to mind. Perhaps it was warmed by the ambassadorial greeting from cruel humanity. And, all fear demolished between myself and the creature, I touched it again. This time actually petting it like a child would a cat’s nose. It was soft and orange with red shapes patterning the whole of it. It reminded me of the time I pet a boa constrictor; there was no rough scaly skin, only structured smoothness. It became sort of a habit, and for a while, I was the girl that touched spiders and liked it,

Still Time to Catch My Man Godfrey @ Theater Schmeater

Pictured: Eric Smiley, Teri Lazzara, Sarah Karnes
Pictured: Eric Smiley, Teri Lazzara, Sarah Karnes

Audiences are laughing their way through My Man Godfrey, and you should join them! There are only two more weekends left to catch this rare classic screwball comedy.

Here are a few of the reviews so far:

“Directed by Doug Staley, this show was beautifully set and costumed, and the theater was full of eager patrons. This madcap rom-com whipped the audience up into fits of laughter throughout the play. The performances of Alysha Curry as Molly the maid, Sarah Karnes as Irene Bullock, and Teri Lazzara as Angelica Bullock all displayed quick comedic timing and attention to detail that kept the audience laughing all night. Between the costumes and the drinks, the jokes and the jewelry, this production was certainly a party.” – Drama in the Hood

“Sarah Karnes’ portrayal of the bratty, diluted Irene is a delight. Teri Lazzara brings sauciness to the flighty Angelica Bullock. As her piggish “protégé” Carlo, Lantz Wagner is so dramatic in a really entertaining way. Terrence Boyd’s Alexander Bullock was an enjoyable victim of circumstance.” – BroadwayWorldSeattle

TICKETS HERE

Up Next: My Man Godfrey @ The Schmee

Turns out one of my favorite movies of all time, My Man Godfrey (starring William Powell and Carole Lombard) is also a play, and I am beyond excited to share with you that I will be playing Irene Bullock in Theater Schmeater’s upcoming production of My Man Godfrey (directed by Doug Staley).

Most people have never heard of this gem of a film, which is unfortunate. I quote this movie on a regular basis and have since high school. If, as of yet, my recommendation to see this movie has gone unheeded, you now have an even better excuse to see it. There are literally eight full versions of the movie uploaded on YouTube. Go watch it, and then come see the show.

January 27-February 18th at 8pm
Theater Schmeater

BUY TICKETS HERE AND NOW

See you at the Schmee!

Tickets on Sale Now!

Tickets for Leavenworth Summer Theatre’s 2016 shows are on sale now! I’m performing in all three productions this summer: The Sound of Music, Singin’ in the Rain, and Beauty and the BeastSound of Music and Singin’ in the Rain are both outdoor productions.

Tickets do sell out, and there are no wait lists, so get your tickets while you can! It’s going to be a wonderful summer.

Click here to buy tickets.

Up Next: Another Summer in Leavenworth

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I’m happy to announce that this summer I will return to Leavenworth, WA, where I will perform in all three musicals at Leavenworth Summer Theatre!

This season I will reprise my role as Baroness Elsa Schraeder in The Sound of Music as well as play the Wardrobe in Beauty and the Beast and Zelda (Lina Lamont understudy) in Singin’ in the Rain.

Come out and see the shows, if you can. It’s sure to be a wonderful summer.

Tickets go on sale June 3rd.
Show dates here.

See you there!

Up Next: Challenger

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Come April, I will portray Teacher-in-Space Christa McAuliffe in the Seattle premier of Challenger. Originally devised by a student ensemble at Central Washington University, Challenger is a six-woman show that tells the story of the shuttle disaster and aftermath as a unique ensemble piece.

January 28th marked the 30th anniversary of the disaster, and this show in memoriam will be a moving tribute to the crew who lost their lives in 1986, while also serving as a poignant reminder that in the face of disaster, we must continue looking to the stars.
Click here for more information.

We are also in the middle of a GoFundMe campaign to take care of the rest of our expenses and help Rocket Theatre Lab continue its good work after the show closes. If you can give, even just a few dollars, we would greatly appreciate it. Your support makes shows like ours possible. Donate here.

Plays at The Pocket Theatre – TICKETS
Thursday, April 7, @ 7pm
Friday, April 8 @ 10pm
Friday April 15 @ 10pm
Saturday, April 16 @10pm

Up Next: She Loves Me

She Loves Me

Seattle Musical Theatre presents perhaps the sweetest musical around, She Loves Me (directed by Alan Wilkie, musical direction by Joshua Zimmerman), opening Dec. 4th and running through Dec. 20th. Click the image for more info.

She Loves Me is a musical adaptation of the 1940 Jimmy Stewart classic, Shop Around the Corner, which itself was based on a Hungarian play by Miklós László. And if those don’t ring a bell, surely you’ve seen You’ve Got Mail, yet another in a long-ish line of adaptations. It’s a charming bit of theatre (with some stunning voices), and I recommend that you make a date of it (no, really….if you’ve got a date, this is good for that). Or if you’re more like me and take in your theatre dateless, come for a bit of light, warm, fuzzy cheer. Like egg nog, a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils or, in this case, vanilla ice cream. 

Oh yeah, I’m in the ensemble. So there’s that reason to come, too. 😉