When I was almost 50 when I saw an ad seeking actors. I responded to a couple of them. I didn’t like the first agency but signed up on a Tuesday with the Craze Agency. On Thursday, I was working as an extra on a film directed by Danny Glover. I met him, had a picture taken with him and left the film in the shirt I returned to wardrobe. I was never able to locate the film. I then worked as an extra on the TV series Touched by Angel and Everwood and several other movies before being advised that if I wanted to be an actor, don’t regularly work as an extra or they will see you as an extra not an actor. I quit when I went to an audition and an assistant to the casting director said “Oh I thought you only worked as an extra.” My next big break in the movie industry wasn’t a big break. I was cast in Napoleon Dynamite. After auditioning for two parts, I was rejected. While vacationing in Missouri at my mother’s, my agent received a call that they had a part for me if I could be on set in Idaho that day. I couldn’t. The movie came out and I was listed in the credits as the cashier. I still receive credit on my IMDB page. Even though I wasn’t in Napoleon Dynamite, I did shoot a couple of short films with John Heder (Napoleon). Since then I have had speaking roles in several national productions. I appeared in S. Darko, a sequel to the cult movie Donnie Darko; Border Run as Sharon Stone’s boss; the Discovery Channel’s TV series Gold Fever as one of the first two senators from California; and I have a lead role in the Web Series Proper Manors.
I have also been fortunate to work with some talented, as yet, unknown directors. I have appeared in short films that have won numerous film festival awards thanks to those directors and other talented actors. The most frustrating thing that has happened to me in this business is getting cast, such as the Napoleon Dynamite movie, and because of circumstances beyond my control not getting to take the role. It has happened to me three times.
It has also happened the other way. I learned I got a lead role in a short film that way. When the director’s first choice couldn’t do the movie, I got the role. I still believe that, if it is meant to be, my time will come. Another thing that has frustrated me is when I audition and the director loves the audition and I still don’t get the part. Sometimes you go into an audition and the director says great job and you don’t know if they mean it or not. Other times, I have gone into auditions and the director couldn’t stop praising my performance. It was genuine praise. Then, I didn’t get the role. They must have been looking for a single, pregnant mother. That, too, has happened the other way. At the first commercial I ever auditioned for, an infomercial, we were all called into a room and sat around a table. We were asked to read the script for our part. I was up first. I read the script. The director said thank you very much. You can go. I was absolutely convinced I had blown. I was the first person sent out of the room. I got the part. This is the good, the bad and the ugly of the business. You gotta love it.