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.

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