“…[I am] always on a path, seeking, questing, looking for [my] special star to follow into a night of endless mystery.”
-The Magic Circle by Katherine Neville
Year-two in Los Angeles, I cut my hair! Technically, I hacked it off in my first year; however, I forgot to mention it last article, so… After maintaining relaxed-hair for almost two decades, I grew out my natural texture for six months and chopped off my chemically straightened ends. Ta-da! Curly hair.
Second year, I was freshly signed with my new agent, Clear Talent Group. Year-one was magical, so year-two had to be fantastic, right? So here is the thing, when you are beginning with an agent and new to the industry no one knows you or cares about you. The first month goes by, nothing. The second month, one audition. I was elated! It was for Kay’s Jewelers and I was playing a nurse. I strutted in with my head-shot and resume in hand. Side note: This is a sporadic, outdated requirement because most information is electronic. Only newbs bring them into auditions. If physical documents are needed, most places will request them beforehand within the original breakdown. However, it is best to always carry a few copies in your car because luck favors the prepared.
I signed in, offered my head-shot and resume only to be told they were not necessary, sat down and waited to be called. I rehearsed with my newly assigned scene-partner and shortly, we were benevolently ushered into the room. Audition-rooms are surprisingly anticlimactic. It is often an ordinary room with one person and a camera. He ordered us to stand on our mark, look into the lens for a photograph, and asked us to slate. Being new, I did not understand his request, so I monkey see, monkey do from my scene-partner. Best advice my mom ever gave me. “Hi. My name is Nayo Howard.” Short wave and smile. The audition ensued and I left that room beaming from adrenaline. I rode that audition-high home.
Astounded, I got a callback which I soon learned was a second audition. I showed up confident. Once warmly greeted, checked-in and assigned a different scene-partner, I waited buzzing with enthusiasm. Ten minutes later, we were called into the room. As I entered, I was taken aback by the six new people relaxing on the couch. Nervously, I stood shoulder to shoulder on my mark next to my scene-partner. We slated and the audition commenced. I left that room deflated and rode that audition-despondency home.
I wrote my agent, “Just finished up. I was super nervous. There was a panel this time. So we’ll see. I tried to make you proud lol :)” I knew I did not get it, but I was keeping a stiff upper lip. My agent responded brilliantly and instilled gumption encouraging me forward. I went on 31 auditions that year. I took a couple of commercial workshops and began classes at Ivana Chubbuck studios for scene study. I garnered many callbacks and AVAILS (a temporary hold, when the role is being considered between you and one other person), but did not book a single job. I felt humbled and humiliated flying by the seat of my pants.
End of year two, a three-part series.
Follow my blog to read about year-three.