Cheated by fate

It’s Friday again. Too fast.

It seems like only yesterday when I wrote my last blog and thought to myself, “It’s Friday again. Too fast.”

And then here is the weekend again, barely have I recovered from the tragic passing away of the last week.

I don’t like it when time flies like the wind and fruit flies like bananas because flies are one of life’s greatest annoyances.

Every day, I get the feeling that I’m going to die before I fulfill all my life’s desires.

And time just speeds along without a care, without consideration for the fact that I haven’t done all the things I have to do.

I am sad, too.

I didn’t want to blog about it because sad blogs are stupid and I don’t like to invite sympathy.

But I just read a short story in which the protagonist decides to write about a true event which has haunted him for over eight decades. He finally writes it at his deathbed because he believes writing can give him freedom.

He says, “What you write down sometimes leaves you forever, like old photographs left in the bright sun, fading to nothing but white. I pray for that sort of release.”

(That’s from a short story called “The Man in the Black Suit” by Stephen King.)

When I read that, it felt like Mr King himself was advising me to “get it off my chest”.

So here I am blogging, while waiting for my dinner to digest so I will have room for the chocolate rum balls I bought last night.

I lost a big movie role because I’m too compatible with the male actor.

The role is not big big, but it’s bigger than the previous two I had. It’s a main cast character, I believe.

I am not inconsolable, of course. I have a spare heart of titanium lying around in one of my intestines. I put it on over my regular stupid weak tender heart whenever I am faced with rejection. Every bullet of pain ricochets off it without so much as leaving a mark and I laugh manically at pithy attempts to crumble my soul.

I invoke my silver lining mantra. Every dark cloud has a silver lining. I’m not bothered by failures because I know something better will come along out of every loss.

I invoke sour grapes. It’s not, like, a perfect role, anyway. Not going to cause millions to adore me and worship me, so why bother?

But I am sad, indignant, because of the way in which I lost the role.

It was down to two actresses. The male actor who is to play the husband had already been cast and the director had both actresses come in to read with the male actor to see who looks better paired up with him.

Better, I am to find out later, is very subjective.

At the reading, I found out that I know that actor. In fact, I just acted in a short film opposite him. I thought that gave me a pretty good chance to snag the role.

I even did a good reading and I know the director liked my performance.

I went through an asthmatic, hyperventilating two weeks waiting for the good news phone call.

It didn’t come.

The only good news is that my heart is now an expert at beating very fast every time the phone rings.

Not exactly a very useful skill that I will call upon many times in my life, but you never know. Actors have to be skillful at everything you can imagine and everything you can’t.

I finally found out that I didn’t get the role because I was too compatible with the male actor. We looked too good together. At the audition, in between reads, we were joking around with each other and having a good time.

In the movie, the husband and wife are supposed to be in constant conflict and the director wants a certain awkwardness to show up.

I didn’t get the role because I know the actor and I am not awkward with him.

Such a bitter pill to swallow.

Worse than the vile Chinese concoction I take for sore throats.

I don’t blame anyone. I am in full support of the director’s method of casting and directing, which is to find the actor who, in real life, most resembles the character in the story, so the film can look totally natural and realistic.

He is of the school which believes in subtlely more than acting acting, and I totally dig that. Not that I don’t dig the other schools, but I believe different techniques, different styles, work for different people, different projects.

I am sad because I had looked forward to playing this role and I thought I had a great chance of getting it. It is not every day a big movie role appears up for grabs in Singapore. In the rare occasion that a movie is going to be made in Singapore, they always cast famous people first and the rest of us plebians get to be icing sugar and parsley.

But I am not disabled by the unhappiness which is, at best, intermittent. I can still function with zest. I look forward to getting an even better role than the one I just lost.

And that is why time is going too fast for me.

I need to get a good role before I’m 95 and hallucinating on my deathbed.

I’m hogging the casting lists every day, refreshing pages every three seconds, waiting, waiting, waiting for a to-die-for role which profile I fit, which is actually open for audition.

In the meantime, I have simple joys to contend myself with.

The Goonfather bought me a new keyboard yesterday. It is such a joy to type on. The keys are OH, SO, cottony soft and ghostly silent. It’s the Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000, which is also anti-spillage, and with which I am immensely pleased.

I have a role in another short film which I think is going to be a lot of fun. We’re all getting costumes from an actual costume shop because it’s sort of a theme thing. That is so way ultra cool. We have a rehearsal tomorrow and I so enjoy going to rehearsals, even if it’s on a Saturday night and we’re not paid for it.

I just bought four books by my favourite authors and I’m devouring them like a starved puppy devours his favourite bacon-flavoured chewing strip.

Life is good.

And now, one of life’s greatest pleasures, one of my most wicked indulgences, beckon me.

Chocolate rum balls (from Subway Niche) and a good novel, in bed.

Auditions are cruel and evil

The shitty thing about auditions is that you always fail the ones you really want to pass, and you pass the ones you don’t really care about failing.

At least that’s what happens to me.

Some time ago, I went to four auditions in three days. My confidence was high and I thought I might even get all of them. I really wanted to get at least two of them. I thought I performed well, I looked the part, and there was no reason for them not to choose me.

But within the very same week, three of them contacted me and told me that I wasn’t chosen. Another one called to say the project was cancelled so no one was chosen.

That was a really sucky week.

Usually, “failures” are not notified. Only the selected one is notified. Which is good because I’m allowed to be optimistic and hope for the best until, one day, I just naturally forget about it. That way, the pain of failure is manageable.

I don’t know what’s up with that week, why all of them simultaneously thought that I needed to be informed of my failure right away.

It’s awful to get a call or e-mail telling you that you weren’t selected. It’s like a slap in the face. All your hopes are dashed instantly, leaving an emptiness inside you that you’re not quite sure how to fill. I guess it’s kind of like when you get dumped — you lose your appetite, you go into a daze and you don’t really want to do anything other than sit in a corner and stare because you don’t know what else you can do.

It’s more awful when the same thing happens one after another within a short time.

I prefer no news to bad news. Other people might think different, but that’s them.

And then, there are times when I go for auditions, not really wanting to get the job because I think the role isn’t really me or I don’t like the role, or some other reason. (I go for these auditions anyway because I still need to feed myself and can’t afford to be selective of jobs.)

And then those jobs I get.

There are also auditions I think I performed really badly at. I want the audition tapes to be destroyed forever because I was horrible.

Those jobs I get.

There was this audition I almost didn’t attend because, when I read the casting script, I felt I couldn’t get a good handle on the character, so I didn’t think I could do it well enough to get selected. And I didn’t feel like wasting my time going after a lost cause.

But I went anyway because they had already scheduled a slot for me and it’s really bad form not to turn up when people expect you to turn up.

I did try my best to learn the lines and come up with the best performance I could, but I still thought I sucked, especially during the improv segment, which you can’t prepare for.

Well, I was seriously puzzled when I received the call telling me I got the job. After that, the director told me I was really impressive at the audition and I was able to give him all the interpretations he wanted.

It’s really weird but, as much as praise is a wonderful thing, it’s a hard pill to swallow when you believe that you don’t deserve it.

Life is stupid, nein?

I’m always trying to explain to people what the audition routine is like.

Think about your day job. Think about the interview you had to go through to get the job.

Now, imagine that, after the interview, you get the job, but you can only work for three days. After that, if you want to work some more, you have to watch out for more interview opportunities to try again.

Also, factor in the time and transport costs for every interview you attend.

A prolific Hollywood player said that an 80% fail rate is the norm. That means that, on average, you’ll have to attend 10 interviews to get two jobs.

If you’re lucky, a successful interview will nab you a bigger job which will allow you to work a week or more, or even a few months. Most of the time, each successful interview earns you only a day or two of work.

Sometimes, you don’t work for months.

How would you like to live that way?

You may call me a glutton for punishment for choosing this path. Go ahead.

But I can’t choose differently because I prefer the joy of those precious few days of work to the blah comfort of job security.

The constant hurt of rejection is something I choose to put up with.

But it’s not a big deal in the long run because hurt can be healed and forgotten, while happy memories last forever.