As an actress who has spent the past decade auditioning and working (but mostly auditioning and not working, let’s be honest) in New York and Los Angeles, my daily routine almost always involves reading casting breakdowns for upcoming roles that I might be called in for.
[Waitress] 20’s, blonde, delivers coffee to film’s lead
[Prostitute] 20’s, disheveled, delivers drugs to TV show’s lead
Of course, I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here… but the above is actually a pretty good representation of the “range” I get called in for. Or, I might even get a breakdown that reads like this:
“…attractive but she’s that classic actress type who would be so much hotter if her mouth was always duct-taped.”
I actually love auditioning, and am always thrilled to have any opportunity… but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t begun to wear on me over time. I’ve started to feel pretty conflicted about what my real goals are in this industry, and in life. What value am I adding to the world by waiting to audition to say a line or two about another character’s coffee order? Again, I would love to book any of those roles… but I also feel like I got into this business because I wanted to tell fully developed stories that meant something to me.
I also spend a lot of time thinking about other women in this industry. I think about the comments I’ve been subjected to about my own appearance. The way LA makes you feel like you should be filling your face with Botox and hypnotizing yourself out of a love of carbohydrates as soon as you hit 25. That even at the highest levels, roles for women are often reduced to “the girlfriend” or “the quirky sidekick.”
Then I look at stats like the ones in the infographic below…
I think about what an impact those numbers must have on the content that ends up being produced. While I’m certainly not in a position to make any significant changes to those numbers… I can certainly do something in response to them.
One of my best friends from high school is an unbelievably talented playwright named Samantha Macher. She wrote a play, To The New Girl: Sound Advice for My Former Husband’s Wife or Mistress, with an all-female cast a few years ago. We’re turning that play into a feature film that will be made 100% by women, highlighting a team of ladies that are talented, ambitious, and enthusiastic about promoting women in film.
This is a true ensemble project, and while the film’s content is fresh, engaging, and important… we also think that the way in which we’re making it is equally significant. Our goal is to involve as many people as we can, even using 10 different directors for each of the film’s 10 stories. We hope that this will not only be a great independent film, but also one that shines a light on the way a team of women on both sides of the lens can provide a unique and important voice.