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David Moretti Life on the G List Episode 2 Whats My Motivation


It may be the most cliche line in all of Hollywood: "What's my motivation?" (A good runner up is always, "I'm ready for my close-up," but come on! How self-indulgent is that?)

Most directors assume we actors want this question answered, but the most interesting answers come when we haven't asked the question at all. To directors, actors are mindless peons who couldn't put two thoughts together if we were handed them both along with a roll of tape. We're props, automatons who, without instruction, would somehow cease to function as if our batteries had been removed. It's not like we're models.

Recently I was auditioning for a highly coveted commercial spot during the Super Bowl--where 30 seconds of airtime costs more than a villa in the Hollywood Hills. The magnitude of landing this part would be equivalent (in both the challenge and reverence) to Indy finding the Holy Grail. The whole country is watching, and an actor can support himself for up to a year by booking just one ad. And in case you didn't get the memo (which I also missed), products advertised on the Super Bowl are only consumed by hyper-sexualized straight guys whose beer bellies somehow serve as kind of bat signal to the feminine elite. So here comes my "motivation."

"Now David," said the casting director, "you are just waking up from a mid afternoon hammock nap in Paradise. The palm trees are gently swaying in the breeze. The red sun is kissing the crystal blue water, just about to dip below the surface for its nightly rest. You're wearing white linen resort-wear and a pair of flip-flops, and you peer into infinity over the balcony of your condo in the hills." At this point, I'm thinking, Dude, I'm with you. I've got my foofy drink in hand, dinner reservations made, and I'm about to check on those Cirque du Soleil tickets. But he keeps going on with his own imagery, in a very different direction: "You stretch victoriously and grin with satisfaction. Now look behind you at what you just conquered... [pregnant pause] Britney, Beyonce, or J.Lo."

Hold the phone? Did he just say... Oh God, he did. Here we go again.

This director surely thought he touched every politically correct base on the field, and he was obviously quite proud of the universally appealing image he just created, ear to ear grin and all. I mean he mentioned white, black, and Latin pop divas, all frolicking in paradise, any one of them at my disposal. What else is there? What other fantasies could a man possibly have? Um, my thoughts exactly...?

"You know what?" he continued, "You're on vacation. You're allowed to be a playboy. It's actually all three of them--at the same time. You just had a four-way with the hottest chicks in pop music." At this point I'm thinking, Really? I'm sure the flawless figures of these perfectly sculpted women are all entirely fueled by happy hour beer. But I have long since shut off the rational part of my brain. "And you're going to bring them exactly what they crave," he said. Me? With beer?

Not only has this guy shot himself in the foot with me--he's now using a semi automatic with the trigger jammed. Shall we count the ways? Non-light beer is now an aphrodisiac, I'm into multi-cultural, heterosexual hedonism, and I wear white after Labor Day. I mean, really?

Futilely trying to hide my best "You've got be kidding me" expression, I walk into the scene. Here's when I did a little thing we actors call substitution. That's where actors use what works for us in place of what's in the scene--or in this case, the scene playing on a testosterone-driven loop in the casting agent's head. Substitution is an invaluable tool for situations like this. I'm not going to tell you exactly what I used in place of Britney, Beyonce, or J.Lo, but rest assured it didn't lip-sync to sugar coated pop drivel, perform for the family of a terrorist on New Years Eve, or booty shake in white sequined tights. Well, my substitution may have been wearing something tight.

I'm ready for my close-up.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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David Moretti