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Laurieby Karen Michel Pavlick

My child is stuck in the body of an actor!

Last night I was flipping through the channels and I saw that the movie Flashdance was on.  I tuned in, remembering I was put on tape for the role that Jennifer Beals ended up getting.

They were looking for an unknown that could dance. I was an NFL Raiderette cheerleader for The Oakland Raiders at the time. A casting director approached me and asked if I would audition. Of course I said yes! After some time went by, I heard that my tape most likely didn’t get seen.

As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder, what if? What if I had gotten the opportunity to be seen? What if I had gotten the role? We were both unknowns, and we both had that super big hair! And I could dance which really didn’t matter, as I later found out a professional dancer doubled for Jennifer Beals.

Then I wondered if my life would have taken a different path? I don’t know. But, I am glad I said yes and did my best. The rest was out of my hands.

QUESTIONS: I just went financial core after being a SAG member for years. There are a lot more non-union commercial auditions, however, I feel I am running all over town, sometimes for just $200, a big difference than the pay I would get from a union commercial. When do I say no and when do I say yes to an audition?

ACTORS: Great question! It all depends. When I first started out in this business auditioning was a full time job, but I also booked a lot, so it was worth it. However, times change and as my actor friends will concur, there are a lot more non-union jobs than union, especially in the commercial world. The pay is usually way less, it’s a buy-out instead of residuals and there seems to be way more people vying for the same role.

However, what I have enjoyed about non-union is the job often travels you to another destination other than Los Angeles, which I love. I just flew to Indianapolis for a shoot and the callback I had today would fly me to Costa Rica. Another audition I went on films in Cabo San Lucas and Chicago and quite a few would have taken me to Portland.

So, get your passport if you don’t have one yet!

When to say yes or no really depends on you, how much time you want to spend traveling around LA and if you are juggling auditions with a part-time job.

I have put a minimum on the projects I will go out on, as I wanted more of a balance in my life.

However, whenever you do say yes, do it with fun and don’t complain.

And when you say no, don’t regret.

A few weeks ago I was in a roomful of actors who were all sitting around complaining about how little the pay was for this particular commercial, until this one guy spoke up and shared that he said yes to a $200 job that ended up turning into a national spot with a pay increase of nearly $8000! He quieted that room!

I walked into an independent film audition the other day and was told that the wait could be well over two hours. I decided to leave. But, before I left, a girl that was waiting already for an hour told me that she was going to stay because the last time she waited, she booked an independent film that ended up in the Cannes Film Festival.

I wished her the best, and I had no regrets leaving.

A few years back, an actor friend turned down a co-star role audition for the TV show, Mad Men. He didn’t have any TV credits, but thought he was better than a “co-star” role. He said no. I was like what? A yes would have gotten him in front of the casting director that could have led to something else.

There are definitely times when you need to say no, I am not discounting that. But, a simple yes can change your life. I listen to my instincts, which never fail me.

Over the years, I have seen many actors, including myself, become too serious and/or lose humility; pride gets in the way or money becomes the goal instead of the experience.

When Flashdance ended and the credits started rolling, I’ll admit, I got a bit teary eyed. The beauty of innocence is in the not knowing and saying yes not for the wanting, but for the experience.

I didn’t get that role because it was meant for Jennifer Beals, so I really don’t have a valid “what if” because I said yes and did my best.

Plus, I would have never even gotten that audition if my employer, Dan Diez, didn’t put a newpaper clipping about the Raiderette tryouts on my desk saying, “You should do this.” I thank him so much, because of him, I auditioned, I became a Raiderette cheerleader and have the most amazing memories and friendships today.

And… on Sunday, October 21, 2012 I am back on the Oakland field, dancing during halftime, celebrating the 50th Raiderette Reunion as The Oakland Raiders take on the Jacksonville Jaguars!


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