A little over a week ago, after months of waiting, the episode of the web-series, “Soon By You“, which I took part in, finally aired. Because this episode was the season finale, the producers threw a festive premiere party at the JCC Manhattan.
Despite the build up, I had mixed feelings about the occasion: on the one hand my role in the episode was not close to central, and I felt like attending a big party would end up amplifying my feelings of tininess. On the other hand, this was my first premiere in New York, and it was a celebration of not only my being featured on the screen, but also of how I got the role.
After my first three months of non-stop auditioning, I retreated to Israel for a long vacation, after which I changed my strategies, as elaborated on in a previous post on this blog. During this vacation I read an article about “Soon By You”, which depicts the dating-lives of young orthodox Jews in New York. I immediately sympathized with the show and reached out to its creator, Leah Gottfried, through Facebook. After shortly introducing myself, I asked to meet her, not knowing what we would actually talk about. To my surprise, she responded very quickly and positively, and we set to be in touch once I’m back and the city. Apparently, as we were looking for an ideal time to meet, she started casting the next episode, and so she reached out to me and invited me to audition, even though we hadn’t met yet.
The audition itself was quite an experience. It was on my birthday, after an earlier audition for another series, and after watching a performance of the Pina Bausch Dance Company, which was the inspiration behind my decision to leave the army and become a dancer, five years ago. The audition itself felt good, I cracked jokes with the crew, and ended up being cast in a hilarious roll. This was the first time I was acknowledged by a casting director as a funny guy.
The shooting day was a mixed experience. I was done with my scene and could have left about half day through, but I felt like I was in for a learning experience if I stayed on. Along the day I got to see the crew in action, changing sets and moods, and got to mingle with the tens of extras on set. I was feeling somewhere in the middle: I was no leading actor in this show, but I wasn’t an extra either. That very long day came to an end and I went home tired and hungry for more.
The overall experience was larger than life – what started with an article in a Hebrew newspaper turned into my first American screen credit, and the way the Jewish connection did its magic in the middle, was well… very Jewish. Still, on the night of the Premiere, I had mixed feelings about the event’s significance to me, and ended up leaving it at that. Sometimes things don’t feel completely right, and that’s just a part of life.
My friend Natalie had some wise words to offer about this ambiguity: if this would end up being my biggest success, then it should be well enjoyed and celebrated, but if there are bigger successes yet to come – I should enjoy these celebrations while they’re small, because the bigger they get the more stressful they become.
After the episode had aired, I finally got my meeting with the show’s creator. We met for a very short time, in which we told each other about ourselves. I found it incredible that I had already gotten to work with her before even having this meeting, during which she said something worth mentioning, that I was once told, that all performers are told. She said so how many people have reached out to her about her show, but my message really stood out, so when she started casting this episode, she was reminded of my message, and thus reached out to me. So to anyone who’s ever gotten that piece of advice – to be mindful of your words which you send out into the world – I can gratefully attest to that.