Last summer my agent sent me an audition request email. It was for a SAG principal role in an upcoming Netflix film called “Players”. I submitted the tape in late June. Then I went to Florida for a month. While there, my agent emailed saying I had been pinned. I googled it. It was good news: some of the people who had seen my audition liked it, and had passed it along to other people who were going to view it. The next day my agent called with my “booking offer”. I had booked my first SAG principal role. I had to cut my Florida vacation short, get back to NYC, and be available for a certain amount of days. When I showed up on set - the sidewalk in front of the Guggenheim Museum on 5th Avenue between 88th and 89th street - I wasn’t sure where to check in. I went to the table where a PA was seated with clipboards, lists and pens. “Hi. I’m Tony Foggia; number 20 on the call sheet.” The PA spent a few minutes looking for another PA. Another PA was found. He was the PA in charge of background actors. PA #2 scolded PA #1, referring to me, “He’s NOT background. He’s a cast member.” PA #1 slumped a tiny bit. I was given a PA escort named Tallon. Tallon spent the night walking back and forth the six blocks between the set and my honey wagon “room”. The scene order had changed and my scene would be last. When I got on set the director apologized that I’d waited so long. “I’m blessed to be here” I said. I really was.
I used to take acting seminars in which the speaker laid out a timetable for actors in NYC. She’d said that the first few years would be spent laying the groundwork. Like building a business, you need materials: headshot, resume, classes. The next few years would be akin to being a journeyman. Those years would be spent auditioning and getting known by casting directors, and starting to book. The next few years after that would be the payoff. More auditions, bookings, offers. She said that how we handled the middle phase was important because that’s where the majority of quitting happens. So basically she said it could take 6-9 years to begin having a career as a known actor. Well if you’re a middle-aged man, add about 5 more years to that.
I returned to the USA in 2013 and began taking on-cameral classes for the first time. I’m still learning to calibrate my on-camera performances, taking into account different genres of writing.
A few years ago, after a typical audition, I would spend the next 2 days replaying my audition in my head and obsessively ripping it apart, thinking 'oh I should have done it this way or that way'. I’ve noticed that lately I don’t do that anymore. Maybe I’m getting more comfortable with my self-taping tools: camera, lights, background, sound, etc. But it’s nice not to obsess over auditions anymore.