I had my first audition with my new manager, Mr. Paul Brown, last week. He called just as I was finishing up my Piloxing class and was quick to tell me that he normally wouldn’t even look at a project like this (an independent film for the web) but it was being cast by Betty Mae. This office casts tons of feature films! He told me that the sides were being sent and to look over the material and let him know if I was interested. The sides never arrived. The next morning, I had an audition for a very funny pilot called Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid! My wonderfully funny husband coached the shit out of me for it and it went well but it was one of those auditions that you just know you didn’t get. However, I really feel like I did well enough to get dropped into the bin of future guest stars/co-stars!
This is the process out here in LA. A pilot is being cast and you get the amazing opportunity to read for the series regular lead! Woo Hoo! ”Mom, guess what! I am reading for the new MELROSE PLACE!” Yes, I know. Cheese. However, I’ll take that cheese on any day of the week! Mom gets all excited! ”Oh Jessi, I can totally see you as the new Heather Locklear! Ohhhh, this is so exciting! Well, keep me posted okay!? They are just gonna love you!” Immediately, my mother’s head fills with wild dreams of mansions, beaches and a mother-in-law’s quarters..and I am right there with her! Yea! So you prepare, you do your work! I am one of the few actors out here in LA who actually trains and doesn’t just rely on my face! I pump myself up with the magnificent words of advice from my acting coach. I do everything I can to step into the shoes of the new Amanda Peirce!.” “Do what is yours to do!” I am ready to do what is mine! Let’s play!
While you are sitting in the office waiting room surrounded by 10 other different variations of yourself, you hear offers being sent out to Mischa Barton and Ashlee Simpson for the role of…drum roll…Amanda Peirce! You try not to get rattled. You convince yourself that it doesn’t matter who they are offering the role to, doesn’t matter that neither of those girls has ever taken an acting class in their lives, it doesn’t matter because once they see you! YOU are going to knock their socks off!
“Yes. Hi. How are you!?”
“Fantastic.” Somehow, I don’t believe him. I have been to this office before. Many times. The CD’S here are never anything short of uninterested in my entire existence. Or though it seems. But, this time…!!!
We enter the room. He sits on the comfy couch. I stand. ”Do you have any questions, Jessica?”
“Well, I read the script. I really liked it!” I lied. ”Also, I loved the original!” Also, a lie. I can’t tell if this is helping me or hindering. Was he a MP fan?? ”Is there anything specific that you want to tell me before I start?” I ask optimistically. ”Just..be funny..” he exasperated. ”Cool.” No pressure. Considering, I thought MP was a DRAMA! It’s cool. He can’t shake me! I’ve got talent!
And so we read together, he says good job and I walk out the door. And that is how it sometimes goes. Did I get the part? Am I the next Heather Locklear? Do I even want to be? No! No, is the answer to all of the above. I never heard back from the MP audition. However, I did get called in for Busy Phillips part on Cougar Town. I did not get this part, BUT, they called me in for a Co-Star on the show and I booked that!
I was super excited to shoot Cougar Town because the episode was being directed by Mike Spiller. He is a very hot director right now. Recent shows include Modern Family, Scrubs and now Cougar Town. Although, I am super excited and feel incredibly blessed for the opportunity I shy away from telling people too much information. You never know out here, how things play out. Lucky for me, facebook was invented and so my mother and sister basking in their unending support post dozens and dozens of comments telling everyone I have ever spoken to in my life to, “WATCH JESSI TONIGHT ON COUGAR TOWN! ABC!!!! YAYAY!!!”
And so the entire city of Philadelphia, including distant relatives, my third grade crush and my fourth grade math teacher, all tune in! Only to find out that my scenes did not make it. I was left broken and alone all over the cutting room floor! I would have been okay with this. I was okay with this. Until, I saw a facebook post of my mothers claiming, “Ooopps..looks like we got the dates wrong on Jessi’s Cougar Town: ( I will keep you posted! Can’t wait!” BREAK! That was my heart.
Lesson learned?? Here is the lesson. And you might think that it is going to be to keep your mouth shut until it airs but no, I am taking something better away from this. It’s that or take to slitting my wrists. I joke. BUT, I was hesitant to tell anyone that I had the part because it was a quick scene. Cut to that feeling. My heart breaking. My poor mother has to tell all of her friends at Wal*Mart that I wasn’t going to be on tv! Would I rather have NO part or would I rather have even a few lines so that my friends, family and fourth grade classmates could have seen!? You guessed right. SO, from now on..any part that I get will get the same excitement, because you know what? I am a little girl from Philly who decided to follow her heart and here I am. And each step no matter how small it may seem, is leading me to that place that I have dreamed of since I was seven years old!
And so it goes..and so it goes..