Okay. Let’s admit it. The chances of me getting an Oscar are slim. They are! Oh don’t be silly, I won’t. No, I won’t. No, come on, stop with the flattery… no, really… LOOK I’M NOT GONNA WIN AN OSCAR! Thank you for your feeble, if imaginary, attempts to argue that fact. However, and I am being totally truthful here, the only reason I want to get an Oscar is because I want to give a thank you speech. The Oscar itself is a political dildo and it doesn’t even take batteries. Meh. But to have a few moments when I can publicly say “thank you” before they shut my mic off and play orchestral medleys would be priceless.
Today I saw a news article about a man who celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday with sixty five acts of kindness. He stood on the corner and gave out five-dollar bills. That inspired me and made me think of two people in my life that gave me spiritual five-dollar bills and never even knew it. They did it when five dollars was the exact amount I needed to buy my soul back from the devil. Those are the people I would thank in my Oscar speech, so right now, I’m gonna thank them in my blog. Which is a TOTAL close second to an Oscar speech, I know, but the mutha fuckas can’t start flashing signs telling me to “WRAP IT UP” after twenty seconds. So there’s my silver lining.
My very first “big” show I booked when I got to Hollywood was “Star Trek: Voyager”. I played an alien. Big shocker there. But I was given an amazing through-line and emotional arc that I thought I understood really well. So I was preparing with the director for my first scene with Kate Mulgrew. I’m sorry, make that THE Kate Mulgrew. She’s fucking royalty and I was scared pant-less. She was not yet on set, but the director mentioned something I disagreed with about my character’s thought process. It just didn’t make sense and I said so. He tried to explain his point, I tried to explain mine, and a great deal of time was wasted. More would have been waisted except a door slammed and I suddenly heard a husky and enraged voice yelling, “My child has the chicken pox, I was supposed to be out of here half an hour ago, what’s the holdup?”
Kate honed in on us. The director wasted no time pointing at me and saying, “She has a problem with the scene.”
Thank God I was pant-less, so my piss went directly into my shoes. Kate Mulgrew is terrifying. That man sold me up the river. But it was his first time directing this particular show and Kate Mulgrew was HIGH QUEEN ALPHA. I could sympathize. I probably would have faked an epileptic seizure on the spot if I had thought it would keep her from being mad at me.
The director explained his synopsis of the problem and then Ms.Mulgrew turned to me and said, “Well? What do you think?”
I stammered what I had assumed to be my character’s point of view and motivation for the scene. She looked at me, looked at the director, and said, “Well she’s obviously right. We’ll shoot it both ways so you can see that she’s right and good for you, girl. You’re good.”
No, I did not cry. But I wanted to. She apparently actually called the producers of the series as my time there progressed and suggested they find a way to use me on a more regular basis. She didn’t have to do that. She didn’t have to side with me. She didn’t have to go on to teach me about not setting props down on your lines but rather in the pauses so the sound department doesn’t want to throttle you. She didn’t have to stop taping during a moment I was so overwhelmed and couldn’t remember my lines I just needed a hug. She didn’t have to do anything but be the brilliant lead of a show I truly adored. But she did. She probably wouldn’t remember me if I sat down in her lap, but I wish I could thank her for her kindness.
My other moment was much faster. Much simpler. But no less life-changing.
I had finished a week on a show called “Becker” and was back to auditioning. It was brutal. I had come down to the final two actors on fourteen different projects. This didn’t make me feel happy I’d been close, this made me feel dismal I’d had my heart broken fourteen times. I was too fat. I was too young. I was too old. I was too quirky. I was too boring. And I still was so new to this town that I didn’t have a thick enough skin to let this shit slide off. So when I walked into a room for an audition on this particular day and there was no place to sit down because all the skinnier, prettier, better dressed other actresses wouldn’t move over, I was pretty damn near done.
I went outside, sat down on the fucking ground, and looked at my material. While I was there, taking up as little space as possible on the Paramount lot, a woman who was on ‘Becker” walked past. “Becker”. The show I had worked on the week before. Yeah. I smiled and said hi. She stopped, stared at me and, with the expression on her face that perfectly suits this inquiry, she asked…
“Do I know you?”
I blushed furiously as she walked away. Then I started to cry. Fuck this job. Fuck this town. Fuck these people. Fuck it all.
I wiped away my tears and looked up in time to make eye contact with David Hyde Pierce. Goddammit! I love David Hyde Pierce! I think he’s a genius! And here I am, sitting in the dirt, pathetically looking at a script I was never going to get to do. I was truly muck beneath his feet. It was too late to look away, so I readied myself for the barb that I knew was about to come. How could he NOT mock me?
He winked at me and said, “Good luck.”
I am still an actor today because of that wink. I wish I could win an Oscar so I could stand on stage and thank my agent and my manager and the producers and my husband and all the people who had faith in me, but then I would like to close with, “And David Hyde Pierce, who was kind to me when I was ready to quit.”
Go be nice to someone. It might help make them who they want to be.
Or be an asshole. And hope you don’t read about yourself on a blog someday when nobody remembers your name any more.