Hop aboard my Train of Thought: if I’m not going to graduate school, I should go to this Disney character performer audition...oh, yes, that would be fun...get paid to be in parades? Please. And I’ve been told I’d make a great Cinderella...whatever that means...OK, so that’s only a few days from now...I better work on my resume...what kind of resume would Cinderella have...
Skills and Qualifications: exceptional smiling capacity, ability to conjure twinkle in eyes when needed, doll-like hands that are borderline childlike
I contacted a friend of mine who previously filled the role of Anastasia, one of Cinderlla’s wicked step-sisters, (though she herself is very beautiful and not wicked at all) to find out what to expect. Among other tips, like “remember to smile...SMILE like you’ve never smiled before!” she informed me that they may be looking for a few very specific physical traits, and that we would never know it, so not to take it personally. This was later reiterated to me by a casting director during the audition process.
I recognized straight away that there was very little I could do to effect the outcome of this spontaneous pursuit to parade around the happiest place on Earth..for a living. I knew that I either had the face they were looking for, or didn’t. I possess no face-changing abilities or any other shape-shifting qualities for that matter. And since my face is my face, I reasoned, then I can do nothing but have great fun in the entire borderline ridiculous process. Some of the other contenders, as I would later note by the tears streaming down their faces, had not approached the audition with the same attitude.
The audition was held at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Costuming and rehearsal center. My dear friend Ashley and I arrived early and parked the car outside the building, so we could scope out what other people were wearing.Yes, we basically stalked the competition. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have a friend who is not only adventurous enough to join me on this last-minute trip, but takes an active role in its involved shenanigans. We wanted to make sure I that didn’t look like a complete fool, since neither of us had any idea what in God’s name one should wear to something like this. The internet gave a myriad of suggestions...workout clothes, jeans, a cute casual dress...all of which made appearances in our parking lot stalker session. After much deliberation, and analyzation my outfit was decidedly composed of a cute but modest top, jean shorts, and flip-flops. I packed sneakers in a tote bag in the event that I was asked to dance. I did not look like a complete fool after all.
Upon entering, I was assigned a number and took a seat next to a dead-ringer for Snow White. I used the waiting period as an opportunity to chat with my fellow character candidates. One of few guys auditioning told me some alarming stories of kids he knew who dropped out of high-school to work at Disney World. Another girl recounted the story of her friend who was crushed by having to turn down a Tinker Bell job offer so she could finish her senior year. “It basically ruined her life...”
We were separated into 2 groups of around 50, and ushered into a smaller room with loud music where we formed 5 lines of about 10. As I was headed into have my face examined, I recalled my friend’s advice, “remember to smile...SMILE like you’ve never smiled before!” But I was already smiling...in fact, I was on the verge of boisterous laughter. How completely fun and ridiculous and spontaneous and random is this whole experience?
After the casting directors stared a hole into the faces of those on the front row, the next row stepped forward and the others moved back. As they stared, they had what looked like a pretend conversation because the incredibly loud pop music drowned out any noise they were actually making. This made me smile even bigger because I imagined them saying really funny things to each other like “Don’t you think she would make a great Pochantas?”
“Sure, if she didn’t look like a prostitute.”
They lingered on my face for a while, but in the end, my number was not called to stay for the next stage of the audition process. Only 3 out of 50-something had their number called, and while I was waiting for Ashley to pick me up (like a kid waiting for Mom after school) I saw one of them come out crying.
Was a disappointed in the outcome of the audition? A little. But I had a great time, and I ultimately knew there is something else I’m meant to do right now. Luckily, when you go into something with nothing to lose, you don’t lose anything. I didn’t invest my self-worth into this endeavor, I just enjoyed the process and had fun. Granted, this was not something I wanted badly, like it was for some of the other participants, but I have decided to apply this mentality to everything I set out to do. We can still pursue success with diligence and dedication, and have fun in the process.
One of the most influential books I have had the pleasure of reading, "The Art of Possibility," dedicates an entire chapter to a lighthearted approach to life which the authors call Remembering Rule #6. Co-author and symphony composer, Benjamin Zander, begins the chapter with this anecdotal explanation of the rule:
"Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: "Peter," he says, "kindly remember Rule Number 6," whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: "Marie, please remember Rule Number 6." Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology. When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague:
"My dear friend, I've seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?"
"Very simple," replies the resident prime minister. "Rule Number 6 is 'Don't take yourself so goddamn seriously."
"Ah," says his visitor, "that is a fine rule."
After a moment of pondering, he inquires, "And what, may I ask, are the other rules?"
"There aren't any.”
I have Remember Rule #6 posted on my fridge. You should buy that book and read it immediately. I mean it!
Click this link: http://amzn.com/0875847706
Oh, and one more thing:
“When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” Buddha knew Rule #6 before it was Rule #6.