Growing Pains

Though the title may conjure sweet memories of the popular 1980’s television show. This brother in no way has the house home and picket fence here in Brooklyn NY. The oldest of five(5) dad and grandma have little time to think about Junior as he pursues his dream to be an actor. Besides he has two degrees in Finance. He’ll be ok.

In retrospect earning two degrees in Finance may not have been the smartest move nevertheless, I plan to be more savvy as I maneuver my way through the trenches of the New York acting scene. Having moved back since May of 2011 I figure I have had ample time to get acclimated to the ins and outs of auditioning here in the big city.

After reading one of my favorite periodicals that updates me on auditions and open calls in New York. I decide to attend and Equity call, so on an unseasonably warm day for a New York winter I arrive at said audition at 10am. Now I realize having been here for some time now that I will have to wait. So I brought my fully charged iPhone and a good book to read to keep me occupied. I figured I would be out in an hour, two hours the most.

As I walk down the hall filled with perspective auditioners, stretching and doing lip trills I was sure this would be a short day. I walk into the holding room filled with probably 50 people still not too bad. I approach the monitors table to sign myself in and at first glance it appears that I am number ‘37’. I start to break into one of my big cheesy smiles when I do a double take and WTF the '37’ is preceded by a '2’. At 10:37am in the morning in midtown Manhattan I am number '237’. People have been lining up since 8:30 that morning. Well there goes my day.

I take my book and iPhone to the hall and commence to letting the time go by. Several chapters later and my iPhone desperately needing a charge its 12:30 and I’m losing patience. To my delight an interesting obese character decides he wants to be friendly and talkative. Having been raised not to talk to strangers I plow deeper into my book.

By 1:30 I’m hungry and my butt hurts from sitting so long. I decide to venture out and get something to eat and besides I have voice lessons in a few. After my lessons I head back to the audition room. Fortunately they have not called my number. Unfortunately, they have changed the audition criteria from 16bars to 8bars. They have also decided to screen all the actors and bring us in. All I keep thinking is I’m glad I’m not the only black guy in the room. Twenty minutes later I’m in the room doing my thing and they are bobbing their heads and tapping their feet.

I felt great about my audition, I got the job done, but damn 6 hours later and after I spent the whole day in the audition holding room. Is this what life is like for New York actors? It’s a long way from the Seaver family household.

Nathaniel J. Ryan