As I write this, the Golden State Warriors are one game from winning the NBA championship over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Michael Jordan never played for either of those teams, but over his 15 seasons in the NBA, his Chicago Bulls won six championships.
So, what does Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, have to do with Dallas Comedy House Ewing team auditions? I'll get to that, but I have a story to finish first.
As I was saying last week, I participated in the latest Ewing team auditions. (To read about the audition process itself, please read Part One.) After the audition was over, I thought I had done okay for a Level 3 student. Not brilliantly, but I held my own, I guess. Then again, I also thought the other members of my group were in top form. I was impressed with the level of competence I saw across the board. I could not imagine how the judges would narrow the field down.
We hung around until Amanda Austin emerged to tell us that the judges did not need any call backs. She also provided comforting words for those who would not make a team this go-round. I paraphrase: “We’re not looking for a particular type. Age, gender, and color don’t matter. We’re looking for a group we think will work well together. That doesn’t mean that you’re not good. In the entertainment business, sometimes you have to audition many times before you make it.”
Did I say comforting? We all know that the words are true. The test is in what we do with them.
Two days later, the email came. The judges had formed two Ewing teams, but my name did not appear on either one.
You know how sometimes you don’t realize how much you wanted something until you find out that you can’t have it? Honestly, I can’t exactly say that I grieved, but I was definitely disappointed that I did not make a team. It took me a little while to process it. Remember, I've never been on any kind of audition before. I went from thinking
“The judges do not think I had the right qualities to mesh with the pool of candidates.”
to . . .
“The judges do not think I am ready.”
to . . .
“The judges think I suck.”
to . . .
“Maybe I ought to give up this crazy idea that I could actually learn to do comedy improv, stop traveling so far out of my comfort zone that I am in danger of falling off the edge of the earth, give up my super cool new friends, and let the world continue to believe that the joy of being goofy on stage is just not appropriate for anyone over 40.”
Ummm, that sounds a little over the top, right? Gotta regroup, I thought. Being a compulsive list-maker, I ticked off all the things that I’d miss if I walked away:
- all those super cool new friends
- fun classes
- the Jams
- my blog posts
- being on stage
- future Ewing auditions
- learning and doing new things and taking chances
- getting that email with my name on a Ewing team list
In the end, I knew that it was just not yet my time. But, that doesn't mean my time won't come. I thank the judges for considering me. I will audition again in July. Count on it.
In the meantime, I will console myself by printing out the following list and taping it to the bathroom mirror:
- Twelve publishers turned down J.K. Rowling’s manuscript about a boy wizard.
- Of Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the MGM casting director wrote, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”
- The list of extraordinary talent who unsuccessfully auditioned for Saturday Night Live includes Louis C.K., Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Lisa Kudrow, John Goodman, Kevin Hart, Kathy Griffin, Marc Maron, Geena Davis, Dave Foley, Richard Belzer, Zach Galifianakis, and many more.
- Harvey Keitel auditioned for the Actor’s Studio for eight years before he was finally accepted. Now he serves as its co-president.
- Steven Spielberg applied three times to USC Film School. They never let him in.
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school freshman basketball team. Yeah, that Michael Jordan.
We close with one of my favorite quotes, conveniently supplied by the great MJ:
"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
Next time: The Audition, Part Trois (the Notes) (yes, I’m milking this audition).
Carron Armstrong is currently in Level 3 and has been obsessed with improv and DCH ever since she discovered that someone can actually take classes to learn this stuff. She is currently negotiating to purchase the naming rights for the brand new stairs added to ease access to the stages of DCH’s Main Street theaters (Thank you, Amanda and Kyle). During the day, she’s a lawyer.