As the first quarter nears its ending in 2017 — I figured it would be a good idea to delve into the inexact science that is the audition.

Even before reading August Wilson’s Fences, I’ve had this fascination of comparing elements of baseball to the audition. Baseball is an intricate sport with nuances I believe to be comparable to chess. Sure, I love football and basketball a bit more than baseball, but that doesn’t diminish the respect I have for the ins-and-outs of it. You see, like a pitcher, and unlike a shooting guard or QB, an actor’s ability to work is strictly determined by the judgement of another person. I can throw a football into my receiver’s hands into the end-zone and it’s a score; I can shoot the basketball into a hoop and it’s a score; a baseball… I can throw a fastball right down the middle of the plate — should be called a strike — no doubt about it — and the umpire can yell…ball. For those reading this that aren’t familiar with baseball, I’m going to make it a bit clearer in the acting context: regardless of how good, or how close to perfect I believe the audition to be, if the casting director doesn’t feel it’s working for them, it’s doesn’t work — like an umpire in baseball. This is why I have a profound respect for pitchers in baseball, you have to be continuously great and manage to have someone else agree with what you already know to be awesome: for pitchers, a pitch; for actors, an audition. Between me and you, I should get a “called strike” (a strike by way of the umpire agreeing as opposed to a swing-and-miss by the batter) after every audition — or in my case at least a “callback”, but that’s not the way it works — at least more often than not.

I’ve come to really enjoy the journey and appreciate the ups-and-downs of this business because when it’s all said and done, it’ll be a sweeter story to tell once I reach what I deem to be the glory moment. My first teacher used to tell us “there are a lot of talented actors that never made it.”Aside from the love of the craft, there’s something about working in a field that not many people are able to be successful in that adds a little extra to the push. Until I get to that reflective moment when I look back at all the times I could’ve taken off to my would-be crowning moment, I’ll just continue to throw my fastball right down the middle of the plate as hard as I can until the umpire yells…strike.


Jeffery Desalu


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