I never know what exactly to expect each day when I go to work. My job is to clean the commercial casting facility where I’m employed. Sometimes there are crowds of men adorned in togas on one side of the room and pretty Western boot-wearing cowgirls on the other. Later in the day, the lobby might be full of little kids all dressed in blue shirts, each accompanied by a serious-faced parent, or there could be old folks wearing jogging suits. One thing for sure, it’s always interesting. But no matter which kinds of groups I see each day, there’s one thing I know for sure: there will be coffee splashes and drips left on the floor.

I’ve come to believe our facility has more coffee splatters than Starbucks itself. When I first started working here, I just couldn’t understand how it was possible, day after day, to see so many coffee drips. But I soon observed in action how it occurs: actors carrying coffee cups who aren’t paying attention to the steps they’re ascending or which way they’re turning. They appear to be “in their head” rather than “in the moment.” 

I presume these auditioners are preoccupied with learning their lines or trying to figure out exactly where their audition sign-up station is located, or maybe they’re simply overwhelmed by good old-fashioned nerves. Whatever the case, I imagine that “spilling” state of mind is probably not helpful once they enter the audition room. It seems to me, the best way to stand before the camera is feeling on top of your own feet, actually seeing what’s in front of you, being able to breathe and listen to others—being present. Who knows? Maybe it all starts with being in the moment when you drink your coffee.

Moving on, I’m also the person who will be removing the cigarette butts that some people try to hide in the planter—you know, the planter right by the “no-smoking” posted sign. I personally don’t care if actors need a cigarette, but there are city ordinances that forbid smoking in front of businesses. And when actors smoke directly outside the casting facility entrance, it can cause trouble with the building. Besides, it’s not really the way to show how much of a team player you’ll be on set, nor is leaving your butt amongst the plants. Better to walk down the sidewalk if you need a smoke.

Now there’s no question about it: I love children. But there’s something I need to say about a room full of kids: they tend to have a hard time sitting for lengths of time waiting for a turn. So what do their parents or guardians do with the pent-up energy? Some come prepared with books, headsets, or stuffed animals (very helpful). Others pull out a piece of paper from their purse, grab a Sharpie or highlighter pen from the facility and let their child draw. There’s only one problem: When the kid draws outside the boundary of the paper, the permanent markers are now being scribbled on the facility furniture (not helpful). So adults who come prepared to support their children during extended wait times are very much appreciated. And they get bonus points for stopping their kids from smearing their hands all over the windows and mirrors.

The last thing I’d like to say (besides thanking you for throwing your trash in the conveniently located trashcans, of course) is how entertaining I find you all to be. I’m intrigued to see some of you with intense roles going off in your own corners to prepare independently. I’m bewildered by how some of you can socialize in the lobby one minute and then be ready to perform under pressure the next moment. And when you’re required to be paired up with a partner you’ve never met and spontaneously start playing kazoos with a whole lot of spirit, all I can say is heck, I’m ready to hire you myself! You’re a playful, gorgeous bunch, and you make my job a lot more fun. It’s no wonder you chose the job you did—you’re made for it! And you wouldn’t know it, but I’m secretly wishing you all the best in your auditions and with your careers in the long run. 

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