–adjective 1. existing in or formed by nature
I walked in and signed my name on a white sheet of paper attached to a clip board. The girl behind the desk looked me in the eye, smiled, and said, “Hi! How are you? Do you have any bank conflicts?” She was happier than most casting assistants. Enthusiastic? I wouldn’t go that far, but she was warm , friendly and relaxed. “Hmm,” I thought, “maybe she’s new.”
She handed me a dry erase board with my name, height, agency name and number. I was lead into another room and instructed to stand on my mark (a piece of tape on the floor) smile naturally with no teeth holding the dry erase board at chest level. I was instructed to “Just act natural.”
Behind the photographer who snapped away as I attempted not to act but to be natural, a team of clients sat at a table in the back of the room staring at me, at their computers, at their cell phones, at each other, until my last image was grabbed and I was dismissed. As I left the room the casting director said, “All of your actor training comes down to that doesn’t it?”
“Is that true” I thought? “Does all of my training come down to that…all of my training and my college degree and my years hustling and all of my life experience and all of my sweat and tears and laughter and blood and frustration and celebration and positivity and defeat and time and energy and thought and practice and…..does ALL of it come down to that? Just act natural?”
What does that mean anyway? If I’m acting natural is that acting? Furthermore, why is it such a challenge to act natural? Isn’t it supposed to be my natural state of being to be natural? This doesn’t just apply to actors either. In the workplace, at the super market, at the gym, out at the bars…isn’t it a better world if everyone is just acting natural? It didn’t seem like a challenge for the casting assistant who signed me in. Why was it so easy for her to act natural?
I forgot to mention that while I was signing in there was a baby left untended by his mother (who was there to audition) running down the hallway with a pen in each hand. The casting director grabbed the baby and began to scream “Who’s kid is this? He’s running down the hall with these pens…WHERE IS HIS MOTHER?” Until at last he reunited the child with his confused actress Mom who was excused from the casting. There was a lot going on and still the assistant naturally welcomed me and asked me to sign in.
I think that the key to booking work as an actor and one of the keys to success in life and to happiness and freedom is maybe that simple. Life is good when you figure out your natural balance in the world and exist in that place. Everything is at peace when you make peace with what is around you. No amount of naked unattended babies running with loaded pens could shake that casting assistants natural balance. As a result, my experience there was improved. Because I had a good experience I took that positivity with me throughout my day.
Imagine if everyone found a natural state of inner peace and calmly went about life with intention and positivity. Imagine if we all stopped the incessant thinking in our minds and actually tapped into what is naturally happening around us.
Another way to put it is “Just be yourself!” Motherly advice that seems to translate into every facet of life. I guess it’s time to put some effort into finding out who we are so we can get back to just being ourselves and just acting naturaly.
For me, running always seems to get me there. Off I go….
PS. Be Silly. Have Fun!