I remember an audition I had when I was 11 or 12 years old. I'd taken some Parks and Rec drama classes and auditioned for school plays, but this was community theater.
Go ahead and laugh. It's hilarious now. But an audience composed of more than the parents of the actors? Pretty damn scary at the time.
The part was also a huge deal - Helen Keller. OK, so there's only one actual line to memorize, but it's a part that requires some real acting chops from a child.
About 50 girls auditioned for the part - equivalent to approximately 48 more people than I'd ever auditioned against before - and I was a nervous wreck. When it was my turn I almost froze, but this tiny voice inside me said, "Let go." And I did.
I didn't get the part.
What? You wanted this story to have a happy shiny ending?
The truth is I was ecstatic with how things ended up. At my first big audition I managed to be 1 of only 3 girls who made the call-back audition, and the girl who got the part had way more experience than I did. I also got cast as 1 of the blind girls at the school Annie Sullivan leaves at the beginning of the play, which gave me more than I imagined. I got invaluable experience in watching a large production unfold, and I got to make some friends who all loved acting as much as I did.
I learned that fear would only stand in the way of me getting to the good stuff.
And thankfully I took that lesson to heart and never let fear stop me again.
Or...I promptly forgot the lesson and have been forced to relearn it more times than I can count. Yeah, that one sounds about right.