You are NOT a Paperdoll Cut-Out

I grew up in the Southern Ontario area (GO LEAFS!! Uh, if you don’t say that the Mounties hunt you down) ;) When I started auditioning for commercials, I spent a lot of time going back and forth to Toronto. T.O. is our big city. Basically Toronto and Vancouver are the New York and LA of Canada.

There you have your Canadian lesson for the day. It’s not all dogsleds and igloos up there. ;)

When I would show up for my audition, I would walk into a room where everyone looked like me. It’s horrifying to think you don’t really have your own look but I understood later when I was involved in the casting end of things that the requirement is, "We need a blonde, average height, etc etc". Similarly, they could need a balding, short man and so all those guys probably feel like they don’t have an identity either when they stand in that room with 100 other guys like them.

The quick lesson I had to learn with auditioning is that it didn’t matter how you coiffed your hair or how cool the heels you picked out were, there is pretty much no chance of physically standing out to the casting director. Your smile may be slightly bigger, your skin may be a bit clearer but overall looks weren’t going to do it. And it hit me, "How do I separate myself from these look-alikes?"

So, I went through a huge phase where I would rehearse one-liners to attract the director’s attention. I’d look up funny jokes before driving there so I would have a real stinger for them as soon as I walked in. This improved my chances slightly… I would at least have them remembering me. But then as time went on I thought, I’m going to just show them what I can do. I realized they were hiring me based on a certain look + a talent.
I had a history at The Second City Improv in Toronto so I thought, "It’s on my resume, so why not just bring it? They read my resume before I got the audition, there must have been something on it they liked." From there on I would immerse myself in improv at my auditions instead of worrying about which shoulder my hair was hanging over. That was the ticket.

I started landing many commercials and made some good money at it. It was because I started on a path to separate myself, but ultimately what happened is I just decided to BE myself. The same thing happened to me in the music industry. I had entered it in the dance genre and quit when I felt like it wasn’t me. I quit when one of my songs had hit pretty high in the dance charts and it felt really good to detach myself from something that had nothing to do with who I was!

I believe strongly that each one of us shouldn’t be competing with anyone else on a contest of looks and I firmly believe each one of us has something that is not only uniquely us, but HONESTLY us. It takes a lot of courage to be yourself.

I remember when I used to do some casting, I would learn to look for the standout personalities with the unique talent, but mostly I would look for the honesty behind a performance. Even now with music, movies and various art, my first question is, "Do I believe it?" When a 24 year old pop singer sings songs with content like she is 14, do I believe it? Is an actor fully immersed in their character or is it too far outside their character. And what is the motivation? I can smell a phony a thousand miles away. ;)

All I wanna do now is meet the spirits of people…individuals who are simply and uniquely themselves.

We are not supposed to be like everyone else. The things that are similar I believe are meant to bond us together and I like that. But in your chase, on your journey, in your life…are you really sure you are you? Or are you still physically competing in an arena that is nothing like you?

When I found the answer to that, I was sad at my own response, but then I set myself completely free of it. Now I can fly.

IT’S a CHEESY morning y’all…..hahahahahahaha

Karen :)

"No one should part with their individuality and become that of another." William Ellery Channing

No comments:

Post a Comment