At eleven years old I walked into the audition waiting room like I always did- with a thoughtful scan of everyone else in the room. Walk in, greet the receptionist, sign in, take the sides, sit down. Repeat. I have to say... what Emma Stone's character in La La Land experienced in the world of auditions was spot on. In that waiting room setting, every other person seemed way more competent- way more confident and pretty and talented than little ol' me.
Casting for the latest Peanuts special had called all these kids here, and it was Lucy I'd been called back for, though I had a hard time believing it. In my Charlie Brown opinion I sounded nothing like her! But when I was ushered into the studio again I perched myself on top of the stool in front of the big microphone and without knowing what the guys behind the recording glass wanted or how to possibly make myself sound like Lucy, I read those "Oh, Charlie Brown" lines as straightforward as I had before.
Later that day my agent called. "Well she's just about got it," she said to my mom. "They're deciding on Charlie Brown first. If they go with a younger Charlie Brown, it'll be a younger Lucy. If they go with an older Charlie Brown then they want her." I hadn't really known how but somehow the part of bossy Lucy was almost meant for me. Until it wasn't. They went with the younger Charlie Brown and that was that!
And that kind of that happened to me a lot in my audition experiences, really. Fast forward a year or so. Little House on the Prairie: A New Beginning was casting for Jenny- the young niece to the now grown-up Laura Ingalls character. After two rounds of callbacks I found myself back at the MGM (now Sony) lot in yet another waiting room, sitting next to a girl named Shannen. Shannen was all of those things I talked about. Pretty, smart, outspoken, and absolutely bubbling over with confidence. She and I both knew it was down to just the two of us-- and Michael Landon would be the one to choose. He emerged from the doorway, and all I could think was how much taller he was in person! My reading went well, but he chose Shannen Doherty, and I honestly always thought she made an excellent Jenny.
Later that year, Michael Landon Productions hired me as an orphan named Lucy for a part on Father Murphy. The lesser-known show was also a western drama, set in the same time period as Little House and starred Merlin Olsen.
Lucy was a fun part to play- a tomboy who inherits a fortune and gets kidnapped on a train. But she's saved just in time by Father Murphy, of course!!
Coming close and getting callbacks over and again was really fun, honestly. It reassured me that I could act, could compete, could carry myself with confidence. I ended up doing a few other acting parts along with some singing and voiceovers, and for me the child acting experience ended up being entirely positive. Probably because I didn't have to deal with success and celebrity! I met loads of interesting people, filmed at far-away locations, and learned first-hand about the inner workings of the film business. And look at that-- in just one show I ended up with my own orphan experience, my own Lucy experience, and my own western drama experience. When it comes down to it, I'd say that my trip to La La Land was pretty cool... and for that I'm really grateful.