Entering the “Outside Your Comfort” Zone

As a casting director, I meet so many cool, talented, outgoing, and amazing people every day.  Actors who are truly passionate about their craft and have a complete understanding of this crazy business.  But, what if you’re not an actor. Instead, you’re a doctor, a nurse, you ride a bike to work, you live in the far reaches of Maine, you were a professional boxer, a football player or an EMT?  What if you’ve never auditioned before and you find yourself at Slate because we sent out an email looking for exactly the type of person you are. These so called ‘Real People’ never cease to amaze me.  Not just because they are experts in their field (and many often save lives on a daily basis), but also because they have the guts and the courage to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.  They are putting themselves out there in a way that I don’t think I could have done if I were in their shoes.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot.  I give people so much credit for trying something new.  For letting things happen without really knowing what will happen.  For those of us in the business, we know what to expect from the process of auditioning and if booked (yay!) we know what it’s like to be on a set and to work with a crew and other actors.  For ‘Real People’ this is a whole new world.  They thrive in their own business environment- they are the experts and if we see them in in their workplace, we follow their lead.  In the studio, it’s our job to make these people comfortable, to work with them and guide them through the audition, booking, wardrobe, call times, and the thousands of changes that almost will certainly happen.  And they take it all in stride.

I look at my own life- my family and all the commitments my kids have (I wish my own social calendar was even half as full as theirs) and I think “How could I add one more thing?”.  Yet, when we put out a call for real hospital personnel, real banking customers, real hockey players, real people with real families and real commitments at work and home, they make the time to come in and audition.  They take that hour or so to leave work, audition for 3 minutes, and go back.  They put multiple days on hold, just to have schedules change over and over again. This isn’t their job, this isn’t their life, but they’re willing to give it a go. I marvel at that.  They’re jumping into the unknown for the thrill of trying it, maybe it was on their bucket list, maybe they’ve secretly wanted to perform but medical school got in the way.  Whatever their reason, we are so thankful that these ‘real people’ are willing to give it a try.  We absolutely recognize it’s not easy to put yourself out there like that.  But we are amazed, impressed, and inspired by their courage.  I don’t think I could go out of my comfort zone and put myself in their shoes, but I’m so glad that they want to take a shot at putting themselves in mine.