Well, Bri gave me my big break. It’s just not the one I was expecting.
At least she did things face-to-face. In this town agents are so cold they cut you loose via E-mail, snail mail, a Fed Ex, fax or they send their assistant to tell your assistant to tell you the bad news. Telling me things face-to face shows how much she cares about me.
As I leave her office one question keeps running through my mind. What am I going to do now? Without an agent I can’t get work. At least the kind that pays decent money. Bri had the connections to get me auditions with the minor studios. Without her making my case after an audition, most casting directors wouldn’t even think about returning my calls. I’m so typecast they call me Nikki Desmond when I walk in the room.
I could start auditioning cold on the arthouse circuit. But most of the directors and producers on that side of the lens don’t have much use for an over thirty former sitcom star on their projects either. The ones I’ve talked to tell me I’ll “ruin their artistic vision and compromise their story integrity.” In layman’s terms they don’t want people pointing to the screen and screaming Nikki Desmond during a showing of one of their serious films.
I hear the fast clop of high heels rushing behind me as I open the tall glass door of the AATA office and head out into the hallway. It’s not Bri. She doesn’t reek of ambition.
Before I reach for the down elevator button Ava, Sabrina’s latest assistant cuts in front of me. She pastes on a smile and extends her hand.
“Ms. Marie?” Ava asks.
“Ava Gardner. I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with Sabrina-”
No, you couldn’t help but eavesdrop. I shake her hand so she won’t be offended.
“I’m no longer her client.” I say politely.
“Well, I’d like to offer you my services of representation.”
And I thought the clown in reception was delusional. If she thinks she’s going to book me jobs in between getting Bri coffee, answering her phone, and making copies she’s crazy. I need to get her back to reality before she gets herself fired.
“You’re an assistant.”
“Agent-in-training.” Ava continues. “I’m building a valuable list of clients and I’d love to have a valuable AATA property like you on my list.”
If she had her Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA licenses she’d have a cubicle in the boiler room with the rest of the junior agents. She wouldn’t be pitching to me out in the hall. Most of those guys have more business than they can handle from the kids in the waiting room. They wouldn’t want to waste their time with me after I’ve been cut loose by a senior agent. Unless I was a D-list superstar with some solid direct-to-video sales it wouldn’t be worth it to get on Sabrina’s bad side by picking me up.
“Sabrina’s body isn’t even cold yet and you’re harvesting organs.” I joke.
“I can get you a supporting part in a movie.” Ava pitches.
“You can get me a part in a movie. Yeah right.”
I need to get out of here. I reach for the down button. She grabs my arm. “Look, this gig pays more than you’ve made in years-”
“Please. You don’t even have a SAG card-”
“Look, I have access to Sabrina’s breakdowns and all the call sheets for this movie.” Ava pleads. “I’ve networked with the producers on this set. I can get you this job.”
Okay she has a point. The admins do get to read the breakdowns before the agents get them on their desks. So she would have access to inside information on the casting of a movie before the public would. But I just don’t like going behind Sabrina’s back. It doesn’t feel right.
“Sabrina’s a friend of mine. This wouldn’t be right going behind her back-”
“Look, I know about your financial situation Marilyn.” Ava pleads. “I just want to help you-”
In addition to being an agent trainee she’s now psychic. “I have money-”
“If you had with money you wouldn’t be walking in here wearing old Gap clothes and rundown Saucony sneakers.” Ava says looking me up and down.
Ouch. Busted by my own gear. Well, it’s hard to buy Prada and Gucci when I only have $515.98 in the bank. Most of the limited income I get now goes into paying for important things like property tax, insurance and maintenance fees on my condo. I’d rather keep a roof over my head than wear the latest. If this alleged gig paid enough money I could probably afford to own clothes made in this century.
“How much?” I ask.
“I’ll call you with all the details this afternoon.”
Ava smiles at me smugly as she presses down button for me. I get on the elevator with butterflies in my stomach. I have to wonder, is getting work worth betraying the trust of a friend?
Chapter 3 Up this Saturday!