Intern vs. Interim
So I went to an audition the other day. And as, I always do, I checked the paper outside the door to see who was in the room. Usually it's a casting director or artistic director, someone with casting power. This is usually a good thing since you came all this way in hopes of getting cast.
I was quickly looking at said list of who's in the room and saw it was the intern casting director and an associate producer. Intern. Hm. I will admit to being a little disappointed. Associate producer has sway certainly, but not as much as a CD or AD. But an intern?? Lord. I heaved a big sigh. Oh well. Today's intern may be tomorrow's... somebody who casts. I put on a smile and walked in the room.
They were both very friendly but I will say the intern was quite in charge. Good for her I thought! Run this room lady! She seemed very knowledgable and in control. I gave them both equal attention, although maybe putting a bit more attention on the producer in the room. Audition went great and out I went.
As I was walking by the table, something urged me to take another quick peek at the audition information paper. What!?!? She wasn't an intern at all, but rather an interim casting director. A different thing all together. I misread it in my haste. Interim? Crap.
How was I in the room? Did I smile at her? Did I treat her like an intern or like an interim? After many audition replays in my mind ("Hello I'm Kim Schultz. Nice to meet you." Who did I look at first???) and self-flagellation (Idiot! Idiot! Idiot!), I was content. I think I did ok. I may have treated her a bit less importantly but perhaps that worked to my advantage.
After all, I came across, I hope, as her equal.
And what a great thing to come across as in an audition room. We are peers. We are both professional and want to make this connection work. She wants me to succeed as much as I do.We are equal. I am not less. And I think I was actually less nervous thinking it was an intern instead of the real deal casting director! It may have worked to my advantage. Maybe we should always think intern, instead of interim.
And of course, this made me think. How often do we decide someone's status and treat them accordingly? Often is the answer! Often!
Think about how you treat your boss vs. a child. Status!
On my street, outside of my grocery store, a homeless woman named Lisa is often (!) standing out there raising money for homeless folks in the hood. Sometimes I give her money. Once I bought her chicken. Once I gave her a winter hat. But almost accidentally, I have decided she is a peer and try to treat her as such, instead of treating her as a homeless person. Novel concept. Maybe we should always think interim instead of intern.
I say, "Hello Lisa!" as I walk by. I ask her how she is and sometimes I help her out. I don't know much else about her (it's actually been on my mind lately to ask? Is she in a shelter. I'm guessing so.) But lately, slowly, she is starting to treat me as a peer too. She'll just say hi back instead of asking for money. She smiles at me. We discuss the weather.
We are [almost] friends.
Does this make any difference to her day? I don't know. A smile ain't money. But sometimes just being recognized as a human being is all we need - helping her to raise her own status in this world.
In improv, we call this: whoever your scene partners are right now are the BEST POSSIBLE PEOPLE YOU COULD BE WORKING WITH. It's such a cool concept: there ain't no one better!
(I'm sure saying ain't a lot. Hm...)
Back to topic. These people around you have something to teach you. There's no one better you could hope to be partnered with at this moment. And therefore, there's no reason to judge them or yourself.
That's the ability we all have every day: to see people as equals--to make a connection, to find another human being. Trusting that whether she was an intern or an interim, she was the exact right person to be auditioning me at that time.
This is Lisa in her new hat this winter.
(It was made and donated by a knitting group my mom started in the burbs. It's the hat's big chance in the big city! Good luck hat! And good luck Lisa!)