• Joyce Lao

The (First) Co-Star Syndrome

If you are like me, who auditioned in Supporting and Co-star roles on TV for quite a number of years and have been on hold or on first refusal - also for a number of years and not book the roles, then you know how it feels like to be wanted and unwanted at the same time.

You feel wanted because out of probably a hundred of talents - your agent somehow submitted you...and out of hundreds (or thousands) of talents - the Casting Director chose you to audition for the role... and out of the chosen actors, you are one of the few that almost made it! but.... did not actually book it.

And yes, after many many years I finally booked a small Co-Star role on a Netflix series. I was very ecstatic and I was crying on the phone when my agent called me on a sunny Saturday morning.

I enjoyed every moment of my time in my own dressing room in Kaufman studios. I was thanking God, the Universe and the people who made this happen and when my time came, I went to set ready to perform.

In the beginning part of the shoot, I was quite self-conscious. I tried to say my lines exactly how I did in the audition but the director wanted it to be said differently. I started to overthink .... but then I caught myself, assured myself that it is how it is on set. I have done principal roles in theatre and Indie projects with pages and pages of lines but have not been distracted by the directors' suggestions or corrections before. At the end of the day, I just did what I was told and felt that I did well.

After my shoot, I was ready to audition for an episodic again. From that booking, I felt invincible! as if I cracked a code and nothing could stop me! Since I am presently seeking for a manager (I decided to separate from my previous one because of moral and political differences) I mailed my headshots, resume and my post cards to all the Casting Directors and Talent Managers I could think of in New York and even in LA. I was getting anxious, thankfully my theatre and musical auditions kept me occupied. I saw an audition post by a reputable CD for a new comedic series and I knew I wanted to be in that audition room because in my head, it would help me get more auditions in the future. I emailed two of the agents I am freelancing with and have not gotten a call. Before my co-star booking, I would have just shrugged it off and moved on but since I have tasted how it feels like to be treated really well on set and get paid fairly well - I was very affected. My significant other, was apparently observing me while I was obsessing over this audition and told me to calm down. He reminded me to just enjoy the experience and move on. After my conversation with him - I was kind of dumbfounded - what just happened? I am usually calm, I am the calm one, I am the energetic, positive one, I am the type that moves on, not him!

As I pondered on what happened, I couldn't help but laugh at myself. I am not sure if actors who have struggled and were presented with similar opportunities or misopportunities, fortunes or misfortunes such as I have experienced the same emotion and almost inexplicable belief that everything that I would wish for from that time on would magically happen! I am penning it - The First Co-Star Syndrome.

So if you are an actor and you are reading this and you are about to go to your first Co-star job - Good Luck! Best Wishes and You will be great!!!

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