Today was a very exciting day for me for a number of reasons! For starters, it was Simon Casting annual Meals for Monologues event held at their casting office. This is the second year that I’ve attended the event and I feel that things went so much better than last year, not that last year was bad or anything. I just got better results this time around.
Simon Casting is one of the big time casting offices here in Chicago. They book for big shows like Empire and Chicago Fire and they’re always casting local actors to fill their casting needs. Every actor here in Chicago wants to book a job on those shows and I’m no different. In a nutshell, the event was an open call where actors can bring in canned goods and the casting directors will see you perform your monologue.
Surprisingly, I went in feeling very relaxed, refreshed, and prepared. The monologue I had prepared was one that I’ve been working on for a few weeks now. It dealt with a husband confronting a man in prison who tried to kill his wife. It was definitely some heavy-duty material, but I felt I had a clear understanding of it. Claire Simon, the owner of the office was there and I was crossing my fingers that I’d get to be seen by her, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. With over 300 people there at any given time, I was in a completely different line when my name was called.
Once it was my turn, I entered a room and was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a woman who introduced herself as Marisa Ross. I recognized the name because she’s the casting director for Chicago Med and Chicago Justice! I figured that if I didn’t get to see Claire Simon herself, Marisa Ross was the next best thing! After introducing myself, I took a deep breath and performed my monologue.
Last year, I made the horrible mistake of starting at the women in the room and that through me off. But I didn’t do that this time. I found a place on the wall and focused all of my energy there. That area was “Damien”, the man who tried to kill my wife, as per my piece. I was even able to add a few extra lines to it to make things flow better for my ending.
“Pulling the trigger is easy. Facing the consequences, not so much,” I said, in character. “My wife used to say that we need to end the cycle of violence. That violence leads to more violence, but let me tell you something, you caused it! So you don’t get to cry! Not here, not in front of me!”
After I was done, Marisa said that that was some heavy material, but I did a really good job!
“Sedrick, tell me, have you been to my office before?” she asked while looking at my headshot and resume.
“No,” I replied. “I just moved here from Minnesota last year, but in that time, I’ve been studying and taking classes and hoping to audition for you one day.”
“Well, you don’t have to worry about that,” Marisa told. “You’ll definitely be visiting soon. That was really good!”
I left the office with the biggest smile on my face! She’s a big casting director here in Chicago and for her to give me such good feedback is such a huge accomplishment. At this event, she probably saw hundreds of actors so for her to tell me that I did a good job and that I’ll be seeing her soon is a big deal to me! It means that she saw something in me in which she’s interested in seeing me audition for a role on her show!
It also means that my monologue did what it was supposed to do – show someone a clear range of my acting. My monologue showed anger, sadness, sarcasm, and rage. I wasn’t yelling the entire time nor was I sad. I was a good mixture of it all with highs and lows. I had a clear understanding of who I was and who I was talking to, the shooter, Damian.
As an actor, it was also good for me to get some feedback about my work! Half the time when I audition, I never get any feedback whatsoever and it’s hard to know if what you’re doing is okay. So for her to say what she said really encourages me. It makes me feel like I’m making good, strong, and interesting choices that people are relating too and that in itself is what makes good TV.
I’m truly over the moon with how well this monologue event turned out and that I’m progressing and getting better. I’m glad that I presented a strong monologue that showed my versatility as an actor. And I’m hoping and praying that it opens up more doors for me in the land of television.