I’m suddenly finding my life very full of these individual meet-and-discuss situations, resembling interviews, where I have a matter of a few minutes to convince someone that I am what they need, or deserving of their support, or perhaps could be a useful member of their company for a stretch. I had a job interview this last week, and years of auditions have taught me how to be immediately personable and friendly and come off as someone you’d want to work with (or at least I like to think I know how).
In auditions, however, you take on the character and experience of another person for exactly one minute (less if you’ve got a good monologue) and then you’re off the hook. Experience or recommendation aside, they’ve seen what they need to see in that one minute to know whether or not you are what they are looking for. In interviews, on the other hand, you have to carry on and be ready to be yourself (which I must say is much harder than just being someone else).
In my interview the questions started pouring out immediately, and I pondered on real toughies like Have you had any retail experience before?’ or What kinds of research projects have you worked on in the past?” These really should be straight up questions with straight up answers, but as the questions continued to pour in, I realized I have little more than my passion to recommend me.
I’ve been looking into doing a field study in Cambodia this coming summer, but Jerusalem rendered me completely wiped clean financially, so I’ve been looking into alternative forms of funding (to supplement the potential employment for which I apparently have no qualifications, besides my spirit). There are available discounts on field studies, and to my dismay those discounts are based on “commitment, dependability, integrity and adaptability.”
How can I prove to a panel of strangers that I have any of those things? And that dilemma comes only after I’ve convinced the guy who is heading up the trip that I’d be a worthwhile contribution to his team. I’m not merely sitting here stewing about, and taking inventory on, what weapons of persuasion I have in my arsenal; that sounds to me like false advertising. I’m trying to learn that most fundamental vulnerability that will render flashy embellishment unnecessary as that other party looks into my soul and there finds exactly what he needs.
An epic example of all examples is my pre-Acting status in the BFA program and the never-ending effort to get on track.’ It isn’t just a matter of putting out a good performance of your two audition monologues, they have a special talent for weeding out the ones who would never have the fortitude to make it in this business. I’m still looking for the perfect monologue, but the part that’s harder to show the judges is my ardor for this art and its projected import in my life. Meetings with the head of the major render me completely at a loss for how to prove to her that I’m worth that shot in the dark, and that it isn’t just a whim.
Hanya Holm, one of the Big Four’ of modern dance (on whom I had to write a report this past week) said of dance, “I want to see a sign of passion, I want to see the raw if’ struggling to express itself. A work must have blood.” I have that blood, pulsing out to the very ends of my appendages like an ocean current. I have that passion; but trapped beneath my skin, how will anyone ever see or reward the struggle?