This is a re-post of my Backstage Take 5 column from November 2008
Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me: I’m a fan of Grey’s Anatomy. I think the show is smart, well-written, and full of talented actors. However, the character of Meredith Grey gets on my nerves. One of this character’s most memorable quotes is “Pick me, choose me, love me.” This could easily be considered a driving force of her subconscious. Uck! It reeks of desperation. It’s whiny, self-centered, and allows her to keep choosing to be the victim.
I had a general this month with the office that casts one of the episodics on which I would most like to work. The piece I prepared was spot-on for my primary type, consistent with the tone of the show, and accurately showcased my emotional range and availability. Before the meeting, I did my work. I put in the time to memorize the scene, personalize the moments, and make clear, specific choices.
About an hour before I go in, I start freaking out. My mind starts swimming with all these thoughts: Oh God, I hope he likes me. Did I pick the right scene? Am I really ready to be in front of this guy? You only get one opportunity to make a first impression; what if I blow it? He’s never going to call me in. I’m a terrible actor. Why am I even doing this? Who am I kidding? It was endless mind chatter that sends my blood pressure through the roof.
My wife, Erica, is in the kitchen, and all of sudden I hear, “All right, Meredith, knock it off.” In that moment I had instant clarity as to what I was doing. I thought I needed something from this guy, that somehow his approval or acceptance of me as an actor would validate the fact that I was in front of him. I was going in with a Meredith Grey mindset. Was I seriously willing to give all my power away and let myself be defined as an artist by the opinion of some casting director? Seriously?
So I go in and actually do what my acting coach has been telling me for years: to put all the work away and just be in the moment. So I was. And this overwhelming sense of peace came over me because I didn’t want or need anything from him in that moment. I did the scene, we said our goodbyes, and I left. The feedback I got was great. He loved my work, I had made a positive impression, and he will definitely keep me in mind for anything he is looking to cast.
When we don’t give our power away and look to other people to give us value as artists and individuals, we allow our true selves to shine through. And when we stand in the truthfulness of who we are, it’s powerfully attractive to others. Hey, Meredith, maybe you should give that a try.