One of the biggest fails of my life was the first time I was on television.
One morning I got a phone call from the casting director of Egoli. She saw my performance at our final exam in third year and they had a small part for me – the part of a singing telegram. Was I interested?
- I wasn’t alone – we were a group of three girls
- I could rely on my basic tap dancing skills as the song required tap dancing
- I wanted good marks, so I had to show different skills.
But here a casting director was offering me a job on television. My big break had come.
And I was not going to say no. Even if I had to… sing.
I was there at about 6 am (I had to be there at 8 – the things we do to miss traffic). I was psyched up and ready to go. I sang my heart out in the car, and once they opened up the building I went inside. I was sent to a waiting room and sat on a couch. I then had to move couches ‘cause that was ‘that other actress’s seat’, and I there I waited. The call sheet said that my scene will be shot at around 12pm, so that wasn’t too much of a wait. Eventually I was sent to block the scene, work a little bit with the voice coach and then I was sent to hair and make-up. I was super excited and pumped up with adrenaline – I really did not want to mess this up.
12 o’clock came and went.
1 o’clock came and went. I had lunch with a super friendly actor.
2 o’clock came and went.
Apparently there were children and their scenes had to be done first.
So I had to wait some more.
And as the day went on, my pumped up adrenaline and energy started fading away. I felt like I had sung the song a million times in the dressing room already and I was just exhausted from all the waiting.
At 17:30 it was finally time to shoot my scene.
I was tired, my voice was tired, I was unbelievably nervous and I completely and utterly messed it up. There’s no nice way of putting it.
I was so disappointed in myself. It was something I had been dreaming of my entire life and I finally got a chance and I blew it. I was crushed.
The saving grace was that that episode aired on Christmas Eve, and I was dressed up, so few people watched it, and the ones who did probably didn’t recognise me. They cut quite a bit of my song out (I wonder why) and it was okay, but I wasn’t proud of it. Not at all.
It sucks that I had a day like that, but I did learn a couple of things:
- I was not ready for that industry. My confidence levels were very low and, if that was in fact my big break and it did lead to other things, I would’ve cracked at some point. I was just not mature enough.
- You don’t get paid for acting, you get paid for waiting.
- I shouldn’t sing on TV – at least not until I have had years of vocal training.
It wasn’t a proud day for me, but it was exciting. I have a story to tell and I can laugh at myself.
Sometimes we need to fall so that we can learn to stand up again. In the big things and the small.
It’s as simple as that.