9.22.2009

The One About Appearances

I find it fascinating that I have moved from a medium where I am judged on my looks first as opposed to what I sound like. It has so many layers to it. Much like, as Shrek would say, an onion. I had a troll, I mean a professor, in college who told me I could only be a writer in the entertainment industry because I was too ugly. Writer was as close as I could hope to get. At the time I had no intentions of being in front of a camera so I really didn't care what she said. But, seriously, I think she did live under a bridge.

I have vivid memories of being called a manatee, thank you Mary Elizabeth, the ugliest girl in the world, thank you Sean, and fat, by just about everyone else (so you got off easy because of the vast numbers of you who were not clever enough to be different). But I knew I was fat so that was no shock to me and I knew I wasn't ugly so try a different approach.

Broadcasting was something I fell into because I liked music and running my mouth and it just fit. I spent my entire radio career ignoring people who told me I talked too much because I was just that interested in what I was saying. Now even Ryan Seacrest is being told to cut the chatter. I will venture to say that once the fun goes out of it for him that's the first job he will ditch. He's pulling down $45 million for Idol alone. He doesn't have to get up before dawn to jock a morning radio show just to be told to not talk. I can imagine that went over big with him.

I find it funny, funny ha ha that is, that I am in no way bothered about the fact that I go on audition after audition and some of them you are just looked over for thirty seconds, you say your name and agency for the video camera, then you're gone and the next one comes in. The director is seeking a certain look. You've got the look they want or you don't. Which really takes the pressure off as far as I'm concerned.

Sure, the competitive side of me wants to get it every time. But that's just not realistic. As you read this, but not as I write this, I will have already filmed a major country music video. To get it I actually did more than just stand there. Though I had already auditioned for something else for the same director and my photos had been seen by the director so I had, in a way, passed the look test. I then had to get through the performance part.

There are many successful broadcasters who have made their way in the world, winning awards even, by reading material written by others. It is a skill to be a good reader. I am a great reader. But I can write my own material better than anyone else. So I never was much for reading jokes. I preferred improvisation. I like the feel of it. It's more exciting and satisfying to see where something will take you. Turns out, I was getting valuable training for auditions. Had no idea knowing how to improv through something was going to be a skill I would need. This week, it worked. My natural facial expression of looking condescending, I really can't help it, and my terrific jewelry and wardrobe collection, except for the shoes all given to me, I got the part. I had to look rich. I'm not. That's why it's called acting.