Internship: My first day at the casting agency - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Internship: My first day at the casting agency

Oh my gosh – I haven’t seen this hour in forever.  I forgot it existed.  6 a.m.  And I’m up. Disciplined this morning – literally not a minute (or nine) to spare for the snooze button.

In the shower – wait – walk the dog, walk the dog.  Geez.  She looks like she hasn’t seen 6 a.m.  in a long time either.  Come on, Gidget.  I’m practically pulling her down the stairs.  Poor dog.

“I’m sorry, Gidg.”

OK – jump in the shower.  No – wait – turn the coffee maker on.  I prepped it last night – yeah I know – I knew I was getting up at 6 a.m.

Shower time.  For real this time.

Shouldn’t there be a law about having to get up at 6 a.m. to go to work? Even Gidget is not so willing to get moving let alone me. Sleep is not underrated.

And blowing the red locks dry in my gray Banana Republic pants that I got on sale for $20 – holla.  Hmm… the email said dress casually – not even business casual, but casual.  What does that mean?  If I wear gray business Banana Republic pants and a blazer, am I pushing business casual?  I don’t want to show up looking like a nerd at the first day of my casting internship.

Hmm.  Is this a test?

If she said to dress casually, does she really mean dress business-casually to see what we turn up looking like?  She did say look presentable.  I think I’d rather be over dressed than under dressed.  But then again… if this isn’t a test and I’m actually supposed to dress casually.  I’ll fail miserably.  I look like a pants suit dweeb.

And if I’m going to intern at a casting agency, I can’t look like a nerdy pants.  I have to be put together, sophisticated, but stylish and cool.  That’s it.  I have to be cool.  Because this is a cool business to be in. Right??  OK, so jeans?  But skinny jeans that will make my legs look good.  Do skinny jeans still make my legs look good?  Let’s see.  Umm… I guess.  As long as I don’t sit down.  But, I’ll be sitting all day, right?  Well, if I’m behind a desk, people won’t see the jeans, just the blazer.  But if I’m in jeans, I’ll be casual.

OK. OK. OK.

Now we’re 15 minutes past 7 and late.  Just get your coffee and we’ll go.

Driving.  Driving.  Driving.  Traffic.  Checking my phone.  Whoops that’s illegal.  Driving.  Driving.  Not checking my phone.  Driving.  Traffic.

Hmm.

But we are moving.  Driving.  Welcome to Virginia.  Thanks, guys.  That’s sweet.  What a sweet sign.

And I’m 40 minutes early to the internship.  I sit and try not to sweat in my car.  It’s humid and thick in the early September air.  Gross.  Don’t ruin my hair, heat.  I’ll destroy you.  That sounds pathetic, doesn’t it?  I can’t actually destroy heat.  Dang it.  I should have brought my Banana Republic pants with me in case I’m too casual and it was a test to see if we could really look presentable.

Oh my gosh.  I’m wearing jeans.  To my first day in the office.  9 a.m.  Time to get in there.  A car screeches past me and into a vacant spot.  A short woman gets out.  She’s carrying a lot of things in her arms – including a box of Costco variety chips.

Red hair pays off in the acting and modeling world.

“Do you need help?”  I ask.

“I’ve got it,” she says.

Someone didn’t drink her coffee.

We enter the office and she assigns me a work station.  I dive into it, slamming my thigh against the desk.  I think I got a bruise.

She doesn’t see my skinny jeans.  Victory.  She puts her Costco box down.  She’s wearing out of style clam diggers and a hoodie she must have bought at the Thrift Store.

Am I in the right office?

Or did she mean casual when she said “casual?”

I spin my chair to face her, showing off my skinny jeans from the sitting position – it’s not the best angle, but I want her to see I’m the cool and casual intern.  Did I mention cool?

“Turn the computer on,” she says.

I do.

And I peruse a database of actors like me – most of them far too old to be claiming the age and weight they do.  I recognize a few.  One girl from the last show I did.  Another girl from my alma mater.  She must be from the area.  It’s good to see them.  It’s like running into old friends in CVS.  A pleasant and unexpected surprise.

And all of a sudden, this office feels more familiar.  More familial.  I feel comfortable here.  I get a tour of the place and ask good questions.  I watch a few actors audition.  Their first take is always the most nervous, but then they sink into it.  They’re all talented.  It goes to show the old casting cliche holds true: It really is a tough decision.

I’m about to head out for the day when the casting associate turns to me and says, “you’re caucasian.  And you have long hair.”

I grab at my red curly locks and hold them in my fists.  “Yes – I am,” I confirm, trying to stay cool.

“A friend of mine is auditioning for an internationally renown hair and make up artist tomorrow.  She needs a model.”

“Cool,” I said, hoping my word will calm my persona.

“She needs someone with light skin and shoulder length to long hair.”

“That’s me,” I almost shriek, shaking my fists full of hair. But I stay cool. Sort of.

“I’ll do it.”

Yes.  One day in the office and I’ve scored a gig just for being a red headed white girl.  Thanks, mom and dad.

I get in the car and fight traffic on the way home.  Wow, the beltway is thick.  Note to self: download Tina Fey reading Bossy Pants for next week’s drive.

Getting home, I curl up with a cup of decaf and the dog.  I try to read, but drifting off, I set my phone for 6 a.m  – OK, 6:05 a.m.  I deserve a little extra.





About the author

Jana Stambaugh

Jana (it rhymes with “banana” or “anna”) is an artist from Clarksville, Maryland. Growing up her parents always told her to “be whatever you want to be.” Seeing as she has come from three generations of doctors, she obviously became an artist. As an actor, she has performed internationally Off-Broadway, and locally to the Baltimore/DC area. Favorite roles include Juliet, Ariel, and Caliban. Jana is the Founder of Red Connect Online, a social media marketing company that creates customized advertising campaigns for small businesses. You can listen to her podcast, Confessions of a Closet Christian, on the E-Squared Media Network. You can also follow her on Twitter (@Jana_Stambaugh) and friend her on Facebook. Contact the author.
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