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Okay, So Here's What Happened Yesterday...


At around 11:15 yesterday, I got a call from my commercial agency, telling me that I had an audition for Chex, and that I could get there anytime between 3:30 and 5:00PM. Cool. I had to reschedule some things, but that's the gig, so it was all good. About ten minutes later, my manager called to let me know that I had an audition for "'Til Death" at 2:30. She read me the description:

"30s to 40s, FEMALE, A large, butch woman who is mistaken for a man. A "Pat" character...CO-STAR"

Uhhh...okay, not great for a girl's ego, but hey, I'm an actress so unless something truly offends my sensibilities, I'm game. I am a large woman: I'm 6 feet tall with shoes on (and I was, of course, wearing shoes), and I weigh about 190 lbs. I don't advertise that on my size cards or resume because most people hear that a woman is close to 200 lbs. and they picture a gastric-bypass candidate. I took a look at the sides and saw that there were some references to this woman being fat, and looking like a guy, so I proceeded to 'butch up' - no makeup, no jewelry, large overshirt- CHECK! I worked on the script, did some impediment work (that's what the physical embodiment of a character is called) then drove to Culver City for the audition.

I got there a little early, so I sat in my car and went over the script again. Then I swaggered through the lot and into the building where my audition was to be held. When I arrived, there were already two women there waiting. One of these women was taller than I am, and both of them had at least 50 lbs. on me, easily. Okay, so they had me beat in the "large" category, but I wasn't rattled. I signed in, sat down, and waited. A man came down the hall and signed in for an audition as well. I didn't pay him much attention until I got a glimpse of him and realized that I had seen him on a talk show...and that it wasn't a man, but a woman!

At that point I wanted to laugh. Here I was in my big denim overshirt, baggy jeans, no makeup, and my own personal interpretation of 'masculine mannerisms'...and when the real deal walked in, there was no contest. Silly rabbit. It put me in mind of a Julia Roberts interview I saw when she was promoting the movie "Mona Lisa Smile". When asked how it felt to be working with so many younger actresses, after having been a Hollywood "It" Girl for so long, and did she feel the need to compete. She said "You know...you can't out-'kitten' the kittens." I thought it was brilliant when she said it, and it was certainly apropos for me yesterday.

So when it was my turn to go in, the casting director said "I called you in because of this picture, but now that I see you in person, you're kinda girly." Thanks, I think. I just nodded & told her "I know, but I'm an actress, so let's just see how it goes." I did it once and it didn't feel like I was giving a bad performance, but I knew we BOTH knew I wasn't right for this role. She asked me to do it once more, but be gruffer. I really wanted to have a good laugh and leave, but that would have been unprofessional (and who knows what else might come up in the future) so I did my best, we thanked each other and I left. I wished the last woman good luck as I left, and she graciously accepted, but in truth, she didn't need it. She was a bit small for the role, but I believe they would re-write it for her if she can act at ALL.

I left Sony and drove to my commercial audition, which was only about 15 minutes away. I took off my overshirt, put on a cute pink tee, did my makeup, and put in my earrings. My hair is what it is. "Young mom" look--CHECK! I went in, was assigned a cute little boy to play my son, but little man must have had some things on his mind because he wouldn't smile, and the spot was all about dancing and smiling (because Chex now has 60% less fat). Again, not bad acting, but not a spectacular showing either.

That's just how it goes sometimes. All I can do is be prepared, and deliver when called upon. The rest is out of my hands. And I'm cool with that. Today at least. ;o) Baby steps and deep breaths.

--Nicole J. Butler

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