There I was standing on a street in Toronto, somewhere in the Business district I had never been before looking up at this tall, daunting, nondescript building. I was there to audition for Disney, but the building was anything but magical; no colour, no joy, no character to greet me at the door and nowhere could I hear It's a Small World After all playing. But no matter, I was there for an audition, and I mean, why not? I was in my mid-twenties, I have a background in theatre and who wouldn't want to spend a year playing around with princesses, pixie dust and talking animals?
I arrived with:
- A head shot... which I had thanks to the Much Music VJ audition I did the year before.
(Yup, I will pretty much audition for anything that involves me making a fool out of myself!)
- My resume... okay, so my experiences came from my degree in music and countless school productions, but they HAD to mean something, right?
- Some over confidence... after all, that degree in music was an honours degree, and I have a killer smile! This audition was in the bag, and I thought the only thing I had to decide on at this point was what park I wanted to work for.
After signing in with the front desk with an overtired stage hand who was being pulled in multiple directions, I was escorted into a small gymnasium where I would sit for my call time with the other anxious thespians waiting for their chance to evoke 'oh's & ah's' from the casting crew of Disney.
I stopped dead in my tracks when entering the room at the sight of parents coaching their kids, others kids stretching like they were made of rubber and seeing that these kids were actually, kids! The average age of my fellow auditionees was 13! I felt like I should grab a walker to assist me, after all, 30 was around the corner and I was old enough to already have a career, vote, serve on jury duty and was actually able to drive myself to the audition!
I placed myself on an old old elementary school gym bench praying I wouldn't get a sliver in an uncomfortable place and tried to slouch enough as to not tower over the young-ins on either side of me. I sat there in a state of shock for countless minutes and then something funny happened, the kids who were there on their own started to gravitate towards me. They were craving a pep-talk, confidence boosting and a few even cornered me into giving them guidance counselling for their future. Although I wasn't at work, I was still very much a teacher and it ended up being good familiar diversion as I waited anxiously to show the good employees of THE mouse what I was capable of.
Then it happened... my name was called and it was my time to audition. I was placed in front of a panel of 4 extremely intimidating people from Disney in grey suits all holding pens poised ready to judge me, and a piano player set to put music to my craziness. As he started to play, I opened my mouth but.... NOTHING came out! I stood frozen, wondering why these words I knew like the back of my hand had run for cover somewhere in the recesses of my mind. The jovial piano player continued playing, bopping his head back and forth and when he got to the chorus, I was finally able to at least belt out the final words. In the end, the only words I sang were:
pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.
The music stopped, I thanked them for their time, and I laughed my way out of the room where dreams where meant to be realized.
Although I didn't leave the audition with a new career at Disney, I did leave feeling the following:
- pride in myself for not leaving when I realized I needed to be between the ages of 10 & 14 to audition!
- gratitude for meeting some really neat young performers and being able to help them.
- appreciating my ability to stick through the entire audition even-though I was voiceless for the majority of it!
- loving the opportunity to try something uncomfortable, failing, and simply being able to laugh afterwards!
Following my curiosity is one of my favorite things to do. I never know where it will take me, who it will introduce me to, what lessons I will leave with or what new perspectives I will learn.
In the end all I could do was laugh and follow the advice of the song. So...I picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again with new adventures.