This week I acted in my first commercial. I think I must have been a last-ditch replacement, because I got the call the day before, and when I arrived the other women all seemed to be models in their 20s. (The instructions were to come "hair and makeup ready," which for me meant that I combed my hair and remembered to put on lip gloss. Obviously I have a lot to learn about this business.)
"Acted" is stretching it a bit. First I sat at a desk for several hours, pretending to do office work while the main characters walked past, engaged in conversation. Then I, along with several others, walked across a building lobby and out the door about a hundred times, after which we exited an elevator and walked to the spots in the lobby where we had started the previous journey, also about a hundred times.
It sounds tedious, but it was fun. The other actors were pleasant and interesting, and just seeing how many hours of work go into what will eventually be winnowed down to a 30-second spot was fascinating to me. And I made up a narrative about my character, and why the work I was doing was important, and where I was going when I left the building, that entertained me and helped me to sustain a feeling of freshness through the repetitions.
I don't envision quitting my day job to do this work full-time. But as Ben becomes increasingly independent, I am working to engage with the world in new ways, and acting is definitely absorbing my interest.
Next week a model friend is going to shop with me for makeup and hair products and teach me to use them, so that the next time I will actually be "ready."
This process of branching out is scary and sometimes lonely. But I am someone who can get stuck in nostalgia if I don't watch myself, so as my sweet child grows into an amazing adult, it feels important to keep learning and growing along with him.