I landed an interview with a very reputable agency one of my first few weeks in Los Angeles. I had been pursuing acting in Philadelphia and New York prior to my move to LA, but I learned quickly that LA was a whole different ball game -- bigger city, bigger competition, and to state the obvious, much more ‘Hollywood’.
The agency that I got an interview with was WAY out of my league. They only represented ‘established’ actors, and I was completely new to the city. That didn't intimidate me, though. I just told myself I would do something in that room to make myself stand out from the rest of the Caucasian, late teen/early 20’s brunette actors they were meeting that week. And trust me, there are a lot of those in LA.
As I was brainstorming what I could do to make my meeting ‘special’, since my resume was small and I was still non-union (meaning I wasn't even a member of the Screen Actors Guild yet), I had the brilliant idea of presenting an original poem. I thought that was a cute, creative and fun way to get my point across. And for those that know me, totally in my personality bubble. I mean, who doesn’t love an adorable rhythmic poem?!
The next day, I got to the office an hour and a half early. I had been warned LA traffic was bad and I didn’t want to take any chances (side note: I still get to meetings and auditions ridiculously early – why take the risk of being five minutes late?!). Anyway, I practiced my poem in my car at least one hundred times. I practically had it memorized. I was feeling so confident and so ready for my meeting: I felt like I could take on the world that day.
The meeting was going great; they seemed to take a particular interest to the energy I brought into the room and they were really impressed with the monologue I performed. Our time was about to wrap up so I thought it was the perfect moment to present my poem. “And I have a poem for you guys!" I said. One of the agents replied, “Oh God.” I ignored that comment, too excited to present my masterpiece. Here’s the poem (yes, I still have it). The very first line has the name of the agency in it, which I won’t publicly say for obvious reasons, so this is beginning at line 2:
I’m quirky, warm hearted, professional and funny,
I’m very happy and bubbly, and my mood is always sunny.
I’ve booked two pilot TV shows and do countless shows at school,
But moving out here to start my career, now that’s what's really cool!
My mom used to be an agent and my dad is a songwriter,
So I grew up learning a lot about the business, and how crucial it is to be a fighter.
I can take criticism and listen well to direction,
So hopefully after today, I will be another client on your on-camera section.
I can act, I can dance, and I love to sing,
So when it’s a day for callbacks, I can assure you that phone will ring.
So here I am reading this awfully corny poem to you all,
But I hope this shows how much I want this, and together, we can have it all!
End of poem.
I swear I heard crickets when my poem was over. Which is pretty ironic because I felt like a nailed it and was smiling from ear to ear, waiting for applause, or at least a genuine laugh. But no, I heard nothing, and continued to hear nothing, until I said, “So what did you think?!” One of the agents replied with three words that cut through my heart like a knife, “That was weird.” I left the doors of the agency holding back tears and cried the whole way home.
It’s no surprise I never heard from that agency. BUT, two years later, I have a management team that I love and who believe in me as an actor. I read them the poem and told them the story, and they thought it was hilarious and responded with, “That’s SOOO you!” I left the doors of that meeting with the biggest smile on my face.
Looking back on it, I actually had done exactly what I wanted to do. I made myself stand out, and did something even greater; I let my true personality shine. I AM weird, and yes, I AM the type of person to write a corny poem to show how much I care about something or someone. What’s so wrong about being weird? I’d rather be weird than boring. I’d rather be my ‘weird’ self than pretend to be someone I’m not.
And that folks, is what I will say in my Oscar speech someday. Maybe I’ll even write a poem for it ☺
INTENTION: Never question what makes you YOU.
Amanda House lives in Redondo Beach, California. She is originally from Pennsylvania and moved out to LA to pursue her acting career. Hopefully some day soon you will see her on the big screen! Find Amanda on Facebook.