So if you just watched my video you know that I have been auditioning to be a designer on HGTV for the last 5 years! I have auditioned 3x's for 3 different shows in 12 months and have gotten callbacks for all of them! Even so..... I have yet to be cast! UGHHH!!! All three of these auditions were open calls which means thousands of people apply (in some cases over 10,000) I seem to be good at standing out among the masses but haven't made it to the final cut..... not yet.
Last month I auditioned for season 5 of Design Star along with 10,000 other hopefuls and got the big callback! I had an interview with the casting agent, from there my tape and portfolio went on to the producers and that's where it ended ....(oh to be a fly on the wall for that discussion and to know what they are really looking for and why ? How do they pick from the 10's of thousands... I would really like to know wouldn't you? )
So even though I was not selected, if you know my whole story you will see that I have come a long way.
Since childhood I have secretly wanted to be on television..... but there was one small problem ... I was painfully shy, afraid of any kind of public speaking and usually avoided cameras. I suffered a lot through my 20's and 30's because I was an extrovert on the inside and an introvert on the outside. In college, I dropped my public speaking class on the first day, dating was a challenge because if I really liked the guy I became frozen and, tongue tied.
I started my own design /retail business in my late 20's thinking that the desire to be on TV was ridiculous for someone like me. My TV aspirations haunted me in spite of my shyness. I would daydream that I was the host of my own show imagining myself as a kind of whacky Martha Stewart, who would dig through dumpsters and come up with magnificent designs that anyone could afford.
So in 2005 when it was announced that NBC was auditioning local San Diegans for Martha Stewart Apprentice.... I knew I had to give it a shot.
I sent the casting agent my portfolio and they liked my design work so much that I was FedEx'd a VIP pass so I wouldn't have to wait in the 8 hour line with everyone else. I picked my outfit, a cute vintage inspired lavender sundress from Ann Tayor Loft with coordinating sandals and bravely marched down to the NBC station in San Diego. As I waited for my name to be called my heart raced, my hands trembled and I felt like I wanted to throw up. One of the crew members looked at me and said, "oh you look so scared". Most of the people there were auditioning for Donald Trump's Apprentice so I stuck out like a sore thumb in the sea of black suits. They called us up in groups of ten and sat us all around a table together, then they gave us a political topic which we were to discuss and debate ....hugh? what about crafts, cupcakes or decor???? Thinking back now I don't even remember the question, that should give you a hint as to how well I did. What I do remember is, I wasn't informed on the topic, I bareley spoke up and I wasn't selected...... I thought well maybe I will get used to this, get over it and do better in the future. So I vowed to keep trying (diehard that I am)!
Every time an audition would come up it was the same story, shy girl, painful to watch, no callback.
Two years ago my brother invited me to attend an on-camera acting class with him, I signed up for Tom Ardavany's acting workshop in Encinitas http://www.theapproach.net/. I listened to Tom speak about his approach to acting and I was dying to learn, inside my head I was like YES! YES! I want to do this! We broke for lunch and then headed down to Swami's beach to recite our monologues in front of not just the class but the camera and all of the beach goers who happened to be there that sunny Sat afternoon in May. When it was my turn to get up in front of the class and recite my monologue ... well you can guess, shaky hands, stomach in knots, heart pounding and a voice inside my head saying 'run! get the hell out of here what were you thinking?' This is not for you!
. My brother pretty much pushed me up to say my lines, the piece of notebook paper in my hands quivered as I raced through my words, I finished as fast as I could, shrugged and gave a sheepish look to our teacher just hoping to finish and quietly duck out. Tom did not let that happen, he tried to help me and when it became obvious that he was not going to let me sit down.... the embarrassment and torture wouldn't be ending any time soon, a survival instinct came over me...I thought 'OK Debi... you are going to be standing up here a long time, if you don't figure it out , listen to this guy and try to give it a real shot and then you can leave! '
So I sent up a silent prayer and attempted to apply the principles that Tom was teaching and for the first time in my life I was able to express myself publically with out self consciousness. That girl with a gag in her mouth was finally able to speak!The monologue I wrote was about a re-ocurring dream that I had since high school, in my dream I had somthing important to say but there was a wad of gum that was choking me and it just got bigger as I attempted to get the words out. As I struggled to recount my dream the real frustration of that moment and all of the other moments when I fought to express myself came to the surface and my fear slipped away, tears came as I felt the impact of all the missed oppourtunities and the unspoken words and finally I was able to share what was important to me with my audience, when I finished I looked out at the sea of faces and they were right there were with me! Some were even crying with me and people who were just hanging out on the beach that day were there with me too! That moment marked a huge turning point for me right then and there I vowed to do whatever it would take to change.
I signed up for acting classes and every week battled fear and anxiety. For those of you who don't know what goes on in an acting class, you do a lot of wierd stuff like, rolling around on the floor, our teacher took us to a steep ocean bluff where we had to yell at the surfers and the waves ( the innocent bystanders loved this) I was asked to act like a dog, make strange noises, no room for embarrassment here... it was the kind of thing I avoided most of my life yet it was the most exciting and enjoyable experience I ever had, I would count the days to acting class and what was once torture became fun!
After 6 months of classes, in Dec 2008 I auditioned for HGTV design Star again (4th try) I sent in my tape( see hgtv Dec 08) and The phone rang and it was HGTV! they wanted to see more of what I could do and they asked me to send in another tape. and they gave me 2 weeks to get it done which I did,(see HGTV Jan 09) it was so cute! And then I was cut... damn it!
So this Dec was try #5.... I really thought this was going to be the year.... my tape and my portfolio were the best ever! The anticipated callback came a week after I sent my package. The interview with the casting agent went for 45mins and it was supposed to be a 20 min interview. The casting agent seemed to be really excited and said that they would hopefully be calling me in the next two weeks with an invite to LA to meet the producers for the next round of auditions. I know from past experience that when you get a call to film it is often on a moments notice. and if they called I would need to be prepared I would be tested for hosting skills, ability to use power tools, and I would be asked to present a design plan to the producers ( at least thats what they have done in seasons past). so while I was staring at my phone and carrying it around like it was a fragile egg in a nest that was about to hatch , I created my designs, studied every host on HGTV and asked my dad to help me hone my skills for power tools. I think waiting for the phone to ring is the hardest part about auditioning, I actually enjoy filming, interviewing and presenting now, but waiting ....while you carry on with all the other stuff that life piles on your plate is a bitch!
I waited with phone at my side for two long weeks... and the damn thing never rang... well it did, I do have a few friends but it wasn't HGTV..... seriously I was shocked, I was half expecting Mark Burnett to call me himself. Yes your laughing now but when you are a creative person with a wild imagination these are the kind of things you secretly hope for...( I even sent Mr. Burnett an email telling him why he should cast me, so far no reply but you never know the phone could ring and it could be him!) Yes I'm a dreamer, I've always thought I would be on Oprah too, when she came out and said that this was her last year I thought 'what!' I'd better get it together fast!. In the mean time I'm back at the drawing board and I don't want wait an entire year for next season"s auditions to open... don't get me wrong I will continue to audition, as the oppourtunities come up however I have come up with this design show that I want to share with all of you....,it's been brewing for years, so many ideas, fun ideas that are affordable and green. So if you stay tuned... with the help of Todd Kietel my amaizing videographer and photographer www.toddkeitel.com I am going to post 15 min webisodes here, on Youtube and my website I will share my design and home improvement ideas with you. I will give you project ideas using recycled materials and discarded items that often end up in the landfill. I will take you the local junk yards, garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets and show you how to take rusty crusty junk and create magnificent, craft ideas and furnishings . Along the way we will meet some of the most interesting characters and discover unique one-of-a -kind places to shop!
So if you like what you see please leave a comment, tell your friends and subscribe to my show. If I get a million veiws on youtube I can actually make money to pay for my show! Oh and if you want to send and email to HGTV or Mr. Burnett and tell them to' hire me already' that wouldn't be bad either!
thanks for watching and please stay tuned the next show will post in March!