Okey doke. So, I took a brief, self-imposed blogging hiatus (alright, it was only two days, but for me on the jaunt to 365 posts, that feels like a lifetime). I did so in order to travel and to think. I was traveling for a comedy thing and I was thinking about said comedy thing. The comedy thing was a “showcase.” This is a common “old school” method of casting and scouting stand up comedy talent. I say “old school” because nowadays casting people will simply look on youtube for comedic talent, just as the music industry goes online searching for the next Justin Beiber.
As a result, these showcase type things are a thing of the past. Often there is usually an audition, run up process, to the showcase where the actual “industry” are. This was the situation for the above mentioned comedy thingy. Now, I’m not going to go too much into the comedy thing, specifically, but here are the necessary specifics for what I’m going to talk about:
- You show a video of your stand up to a casting person at the network for this audition-showcase. Some people were chosen to showcase off their tapes, some were not. I was chosen off my tape.
- You had to fly yourself out for the audition / showcase. I mention this because for me it’s one of the most annoying parts of the process. Really? The showcase can’t be done in LA? Where everything feckin’ else is?
- Important thing to know about me — I love doing stand up in front of a live audience. Stand up in front of a table of judges or in front of a group of other nervous comics, not so much. Unfortunately, you had to get through the awkward round of judges tables and nervous comics to get to the showcase in front of the live audience.
- Lastly, once I heard about the judges table/ nervous comics portion of the audition, I went VERY reluctantly. VERY, VERY reluctantly.
I went and did the audition. It was awkward. My set went well, meaning, if I had the chance to do it over again, I would not change much. However, I did not advance. The feedback was, “She was hilarious, but we were on the fence.” I can not tell you how many times I’ve heard, “We liked her, BUT. We were on the fence. We agonized over NOT taking her. She was close. It was between her and one other act.” What’s amazing is that in the audition process casting people are on the fence with me very often. In my understanding of the English language on the fence means, “I could go either way.” If you were to picture two yards and a fence in-between them, the casting person is sitting on the fence, and they could fall into one yard or the other. Oddly, once they are on the fence with me – they NEVER fall into my yard. It’s always the other yard. You know, the one without me.
Now, this is not a pity party. This is not about anyone feeling sympathy for me. I could have NOT done the audition. I could’ve skipped it. It’s not about that. This is about me trying to understand a very long string of ALMOSTS. I think this very long string of ALMOSTS mostly applies solely to my comedy career, but when I think about it, I could apply it to writing too. I ALMOST sold a book. (Meaning it went to committee at a couple of big publishing houses.) I ALMOST staffed on a very big and popular TV show. (Meaning, it was down to me and about 5 or so other people out of hundreds.) The reason that I’m analyzing this so much, right now, is because I do NOT want this type of mentality to overflow into my writing career at all. For the most part, I think it hasn’t. However, I worry. When I think of my comedy career, sometimes I think I have…
Andy Murray Syndrome.
Andy Murray is one of the top tennis players of all time. Tortured and emotional, Mr. Andy Murray, he just can’t seem to go from being really, really good to feckin’ WINNING.
That’s the Andy Murray Syndrome – when your stuck between being really, really good and to quote Charlie Sheen, “winning.”
It’s a thin line between number one and number two. And if you are consistently in the number two spot, after a while, you start to believe it is YOUR HEAD that keeps you out of number one.
It doesn’t matter if you follow tennis or not. Here’s what you need to know. This past Wimbeldon, Nadal got knocked out early. Who knows why, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Nadal has been an obstacle for Murray way more times then it is necessary to mention. I’m not sure where Djokovic was, doesn’t matter, he was also out. I mention him because he has also been a Murray-obstacle. And then there was Federer. Federer is a champion. Federer has won Wimbeldon several times. Federer is a Murray-obstacle. Federer has beaten Murray many times. There is only one thing that Murray had going for him against Federer. Federer is a champion on the down slope. He’s getting old. He’s on his way out. Murray is younger than him. Murray should’ve beaten him. So, why didn’t he?
Here’s the first paragraph of a New York times article written about Murray’s Wimbeldon loss to Federer:
“Even on his good days, Andy Murray makes playing tennis look like the equivalent of swallowing cough medicine for two hours. And once things start going wrong, that cough medicine starts going down with a handful of thumbtacks. Normally, that’s when it is time to start channel surfing for a rerun of “Extreme Makeover,” but on Sunday it merely made your heart break right along with his, to share all of the cosmic affronts that played out over Murray’s tortured face. This Wimbeldon final could have been his golden moment, the one thing that changes everything. Instead, it was as if every one of Murray’s childhood dreams was run over by a bulldozer, which then backed up and ran over them again.”
So, do I have Andy Murray Syndrome in regards to my career? I don’t know.
Now, of course, I know how this business goes. I know that the woman who wrote “The Help” was rejected by over 60 publishers. I know Mark Ruffalo went on over 800 auditions before landing his first decent role. I know that, much like love, it’s always wrong, until it’s not.
Yet, I can’t help, but think that Murray’s HEAD plays a role in his torture. I can’t help, but think that sometimes it plays a role in mine. What about you? Do you ever feel that your head / personal psychology / background / subconscious / Murphy’s Feckin’ Law gets in the way of YOU achieving your goals?
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Photo credits: Andy Murray, asian-child