Casting directors? In place.
Script? Already on the table.
Outside of the studio, throngs of girls who’s in their late teens and early twenties are lined up in front and waiting to be summoned inside to audition for a role that may or may not shoot them to the top of stardom.
In my head, I was offered the role of Sylvia, the protagonist of the film and the most badass of them all. She didn’t take any shit from anybody who she goes up against in the heart of the concrete jungle called New York City. But then again, I wasn’t exactly the girl who has the looks of the next “it” girl they were looking for so I settled for the production assistant’s job, which is to see to it that everything will go right and nothing should go wrong.
“Jen.” Nora, the casting director called me from the room.
“Yes, Nora?” I asked.
“Please let the first batch of girls in.” she said with a smile. She’s one of the nicest person I’ve ever met in L.A. and that should count for something. I look up to her as a mentor.
I went out the studio and called the first batch of girls inside. Each girl was to read a few lines from the script that was given to them earlier, so most of the girls had their’s memorized.
After 5 hours of letting people in the studio and telling them, “We’ll call you. Thanks for coming.” The last batch of girls were let in.
I stood on the beside camera watching a girl named Coleen read Sylvia’s line when she told her mom that she wanted to move to New York to be an actress, “Mom, you don’t understand. I need to do this to be able to to know if it is my calling or not. As cliched as it sounds and probably it is, I really want to go to New York and live there even if I don’t get on stage to perform.” She went a little bit hysterical at one point, with her arms over her head with the look of sheer panic in her eyes. It have looked like she was auditioning for a horror movie not a rom-com.
I wasn’t in any position to judge and comment, but in my opinion I could make a damn good Sylvia should I audition, but I was too scared and I wasn’t really that into acting, I was more of a backstage kind of person, the one who gets to fetch coffee for everyone, the one who does the fixing and making sure that nothing goes wrong. I have always been that girl every since I can remember, but that does not mean I didn’t want to perform.
When I was a kid, I wanted to write plays and perform them on stage for people to see, but this was a “pipe dream” my mom told me so, I moved on and studied English Literature and landed a job in the industry that I wanted as a Production Assistant.
“Jen.” I snapped out of my thoughts when Janice, Nora’s assistant called me to get the next girl. There was one more and it’ll be the end of the auditions for Sylvia’s role.
I decided to head to my cubicle in the office building to get my stuff and get going. I was one of the last people around the office because I was in charge of making sure that nothing was out of place, I was OC in that kind of way.
“I can’t make you love me, if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t, here in the dark, in these final hours, I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power, but you don’t, no, you won’t, cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t”
I sang while walking through the doors of the office because nobody else was there besides the guards and maintenance employees. I went up the elevator and pressed the button to get to the 4th floor. I was still singing when I got to my cubicle and I started to fix my stuff.
“Jen.” someone called from behind me. I turned around and saw Nora, the casting director.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Do you have a sec?” she asked.
“Yeah, sure. You need anything?” I asked, maybe she wanted me to do something. I went into her office.
“I want you to read for me.” she said once inside her office, it wasn’t even big enough to call it a proper office for a casting director. She sat down on her chair and motioned for me to sit on the couch across the room.
“Read? Read what?” I asked not following her. I don’t have a good feeling about this.
“Read the script. For the movie.” she smiled at me and handed me the script that 100 or so girls have read today.
“Seriously? Are you sure? Why?” I asked all at once, not knowing if she’s joking or not.
“Yes, I am serious and sure. And because I heard you singing I Can’t Make You Love Me awhile ago and I want you to read the script.” she rested her head on her hand on the her desk.
I sat back down on the couch and thought about my options. (1) there’s nothing wrong with reading the script for your boss and (2) you can’t possible get the part of Sylvia because you already have a job!
So, I started reading, “For two and a half years I’ve been working my hardest to get out of this town and become someone who I can be proud of but everyone just makes me feel like a small child and her dreams are to far from her reach and she is way in over her head, but I’ve had it. I don’t want to be a wannabe forever, mom. I want to be the real deal. I don’t care if I fail and not get the thing that I want but the fact that I tried might make the disappointment more acceptable. I don’t want to be stuck here thinking of what might have been. I don’t want to regret not pursuing my dreams, mom.”
I looked up at Nora, who was looking at me intently, like she was really considering if I can do it.
“Nora,” I started. “Why did you make me read that? I mean, it’s a great story but I don’t think I want to be part of that “scene”.” I said, honestly.
“Jen, you have potential and you girl, have a great voice.” she stood up and went in front of her desk.
“I like to sing but I don’t think that it’s what I am born to do.” I said, wanting to be anywhere but inside her office.
“We’ll see. Thanks for reading for me and singing that song beautifully.” she smiled and open the door.
I walked to my cubicle and gathered my stuff and walked out of the building with butterflies in my stomach.
Could it be that what had happened might make me the person I want to be? Or maybe it’s just a step towards something more?