Well, after months of tireless campaigning, I didn’t get a role in The Storytellers: New Voices of The Twilight Saga.
I was fortunate enough to be able to audition for two of the Alice-focused productions: The Mary Alice Brandon File and We’ve Met Before. Formal auditions aren’t something I’ve done since high school, and I’ve had little to no traditional acting experience since then, so the process was a little frightening. It involved taping myself reading from each script and hoping that I’d touched on something that both directors wanted to see.
I was happy with both of my auditions. In watching them again, of course, there are things that I see in retrospect – things that I wish I’d done differently or interpreted another way. But that’s just how acting goes, I think: something can feel absolutely right in the moment and then seem off when you have the benefit of hindsight. But for someone who isn’t an actor, I thought I did well in showcasing my understanding of Alice’s character.
Here’s where I made my mistake: I thought that because I’ve played Alice in the fandom for a number of years, I’d be an obvious choice – or at least a frontrunner – for The Storytellers. And from what I was told by both directors, I was, in fact, highly considered. But at the end of the day, event experience in Forks isn’t the same as on-screen experience or technical acting chops. Being able to look, sound and act the part in Forks doesn’t mean you fit a director’s vision of what they’re hoping to see in a short film. And, from a purely logistical standpoint, being thousands of miles away from where the films will actually be shot is a hindrance. Especially if said films are 10 minute productions with very small budgets.
So, was I upset when I learned I didn’t make the cut? Of course. I’ve been following The Storytellers since it was announced late in 2014. The concept and what it was hoping to accomplish by nurturing women in film really spoke to me. I put a lot of time and energy into auditioning, liaising with directors and fans, and just generally trying to put myself out there. In general, I thought I was making life a lot easier for these directors.
“Here I am!” I practically screamed into the void of the Internet. “I already play Alice, I work exceptionally hard, and I’d do it for FREE, if that’s what you needed! Cast me!”
But, you know, sometimes hard work isn’t enough. Sometimes loving something isn’t enough. Sometimes your experienced or the people you know or WHATEVER isn’t enough.
And that’s okay.
For months, I tied my idea of self worth up into this contest. I felt like my role as Alice for Forks would be somehow diminished if I wasn’t cast. I felt like I would be letting a dream I’ve had since 2008 slip through my fingers. I felt like I’d be a failure. And I’m not.
Why? Because I tried. I took myself so completely out of my comfort zone just by auditioning that I consider that to be an achievement in and of itself. I can’t even play charades without feeling deeply uncomfortable, and there I was, COMPLETELY putting myself out there for the judgment of directors and their team. And not only did I try – I got personalized responses and feedback in return. In the world of acting, I’ve been told that’s golden. And even if I didn’t get either part, it did feel good, in the end.
The one thing I’m still struggling to let go of is my own sense of entitlement. I keep picturing a plethora of random actresses auditioning for Alice just because it would be a job and a credit – actresses who may not have read Twilight or may even have mocked it in the past. I keep imagining that an actress who doesn’t understand or like Twilight fans got the role. I keep thinking, “fans know and like me as Alice – doesn’t that count for something?”
At the end of the day? Not really.
Here’s what I keep reminding myself:
- You got an opportunity, even though Twilight events are your only experience. That’s more than a lot of inexperienced actresses can say.
- The directors gave you a fair chance. They don’t owe you anything. They didn’t even owe you THAT. Just be grateful you got the opportunity.
- Sometimes, it just doesn’t work. Whether it’s logistics or the directors having someone specific in mind, there are a million reasons why ANY actor may not have been cast, even if you nailed your audition.
And here’s the positive that I need to focus on:
- Again: YOU GOT NOT ONE BUT TWO AUDITIONS. And you were the only Alice cosplayer, to your knowledge, to get them!
- You got personalized acknowledgement from BOTH sets of directors! Directors who don’t like your audition or who weren’t seriously considering you don’t write you back. The end.
- Twilight fans were incredibly supportive throughout this process, and they’ll continue to be supportive. That doesn’t stop just because you weren’t cast.
- Let’s face it: You came out of your shell to do this. And that’s a good thing.
So where do we go from here? Up, as always. To St. Helens, home of the first Twilight film, with friends this summer. Back to Forks in September. Because Twilight isn’t over, and I am not a failure.