Let the record state that Team Lintz will not be attending pilot season this year. Nope. Not doing it. A spiritual being that none of us can see planted a large hand on my head whenever I thought about heading west and pressed down firmly while my limbs windmilled helplessly. STAY, it said. Ok, invisible spiritual being that none of us can see, you got it!
And guess what? I am so so fine with that you guys, because pilot season sucks so, so badly! If you’re not an actor, pilot season is when you basically uproot yourselves to a temporary housing situation in Hollywood for 1-2 months, homeschool the kids, help them prepare auditions that come in at a fast clip, get them to coaching sessions at the last minute that cost over $100 a pop and drive them to opposite ends of the greater Los Angeles area at all hours of the day in, hands down, the worst traffic on the planet. I’ve been known to weep aloud upon receiving a last minute email about an appointment in Santa Monica at 4:40.
Not only that, you are doing this knowing that the entire enterprise will most likely be an exercise in futility because 10,000 other child actors are in Hollywood doing the same thing. Only so many jobs, guys. In the five years that we have gone to pilot season, we have booked exactly one pilot and this is a successful ratio. You arrive with high hopes, and leave wishing you were dead. But like child birth, you forget the part where you were screaming and punching your husband in the face when he was demonstrating breathing exercises for you during a particularly trying contraction (not that that ever happened to us), and there you are again on the 405 at rush hour a year later.
However…….I’d like to let you in on a little industry secret. This is something that your agent won’t tell you. Your manager won’t tell you. If you hesitantly bring it up, they will immediately start verbally flailing around and saying it’s non-sense, but it’s not. And I, the pied piper of anti stage-moms, will tell you the truth.
You don’t have to go. You. Don’t. Have. To. Go. YOU DON’T.
I will now support this point with several real life examples. The very first time we went to LA, we got lucky and Madison booked a pilot. Easy peasy, thought I! However, the second year we went there, Mackenzie decided to stay home. She wanted to focus on school, and discouraged by her last LA expedition, didn’t think she would book anything anyway. The rest of us went out there and performed several ritual sacrifices to no avail. Meanwhile, back home, Mackenzie booked a series regular role on Under the Dome off tape. From our house. In Atlanta. Somewhere Alanis Morissette nodded sagely.
The next year, Matt and I went out there again. Madison and Macsen too. Zero. Nada. Defeated utterly. We came home and Matt booked his largest role to date, a lead role in Pixels. Off tape. From our house. In Atlanta. The next year, Matt and I went out there AGAIN. Madison, daunted by “the great studio apartment debacle” of the year before (you have to save money somehow), stayed home and landed a series regular role on Bosch. From the taping room in our basement. In the state of Georgia.
What the hell are we doing? Why are we draining our bank accounts, and our reserves of sanity with these futile expeditions when it seems to me, that if you send in a good enough tape, and are exactly what they are looking for that you could land a perfectly great job from the comfort of your own home. I’ll pause while you skeptics (led by our beloved manager) hem and haw and say words like getting in rooms and face time!!! I’m all about face time! Literally. Face time me into a callback.
Nevertheless, even I did not believe my own hype and so last year, Macsen, Matt, Mackenzie and I, for the fifth time, made the trek across country. Lest any of you are still unconvinced that this was a bad idea, I have one more trick in my bag and it’s called let me relate the account of just DAY ONE of pilot season 2016. I wrote it down.
8:00 Wake up early, try to get right with the Lord. It works not at all because God does not ever go to Los Angeles.
8:30 Prep Matt for a feature film audition that we have to tape.
9:00 Get Macsen’s school work set up and wrestle him into his desk chair. He asks for a pencil.
9:01 Realize that with the 9500 things I packed for school, pencils were not one of them. Dig around in the bottom of both back packs while shouting something along the lines of, “NEITHER OF YOU HAVE A SINGLE FREAKING PENCIL IN YOUR BACKPACK? HOW DO YOU SURVIVE AT SCHOOL!?” They stare at me blankly.
9:10 Drag Macsen away from the iPad he retrieved while I searched for the one nubby pencil I found in my suitcase that they will now share as I refuse to be defeated.
9:15 Teach Macsen a math lesson while simultaneously making breakfast.
9:45 Drag Matt away from his PS4 that he secretly played while I taught Macsen his math lesson and tell him to begin school. He says he doesn’t know what he has to do.
10:10 Email Matt’s teacher to find out what he has to do, then drag Macsen away from his iPad to do spelling.
10:30 Drag Matt away from the PS4 he snuck back to while I was doing spelling with Macsen to tape his feature film audition.
11:00 Assemble and send tape for feature film while yelling into the other room school-like instructions for the boys. None of these instructions will be remotely followed.
11:21 Yell a lot about iPads and PS4’s and where I’m going to put them. The words up your butt and around the corner are used.
12:00 Gather all things necessary for Macsen’s audition that afternoon.
12:05 Lose keys.
12:30 Find Keys. Head to Mackenzie’s house which is 30 minutes away (don’t ask) because before we go to Macsen’s audition, I have to coach Mackenzie for her audition. Grab lunch on the way. Lunch will never cost less than $50 no matter where you go.
1:12 Leave boys at the neighborhood basketball court to play while I coach Mackenzie. They aren’t happy with the type of basketball rim on this particular court and say it won’t do. I roll my window up against their protests and drive away.
2:30 Coach Kenz for her audition.
3:00 Pick up boys from basket ball court. Prep Macsen for his audition that afternoon.
4:00 Drive an hour during rush hour into Hollywood for Macsen’s audition.
5:00 Drive an hour and a half in rush hour traffic BACK to Mackenzie’s house while wondering if meth is really that addictive.
6:30 Make dinner then head to Walmart because Matt has an audition tomorrow, but has not packed any pants. Not a single pair. I would think packing items to cover the lower half of your body would be a fairly obvious inclusion, but no. I also need to get the school supplies that no one thought to pack because I have to live everyone’s lives for them. Mackenzie also requests batteries for her fairy lights in her new room at her new house. I don’t even make a mental note of that nonsense.
7:30 Just AFTER I’ve paid, gotten back in the car and have driven away from Walmart, Matt texts me and says he has no socks either. I hang up on him, and turn to give a deadpan look to the imaginary camera filming our imaginary reality show.
8:00 Begin prepping Matt for his pilot audition the next day.
8:30 Leave Macsen at Mackenzie’s house to spend the night because Matt’s pilot audition is super early the next morning and I don’t want to leave Macsen alone at our house.
8:45 1/2 way home realize I forgot the pants I bought for Matt at Mackenzie’s house. He has no pants to wear to his audition the next day and no socks. My arms literally refuse to execute a U-turn. I just cannot. He will have to go pants-less and sock-less, like baby who is potty training.
9:05 Do one more prep session with Matt for tomorrow’s pants-less audition.
9:30 Collapse into bed. Realize I can’t find my phone. Spend 39 minutes ripping apart the entire house, car, and every orafice on my body to find my phone. I cannot NOT have a phone in LA.
9:31 Cry again.
9:38 Promise God I will never go to pilot season again if He finds my phone.
9:39 Find it. It’s in my shoe………what the….no memory of how it got there.
9:45 Watch the last 15 minutes of the Bachelor. Realize that at least I am not as pathetic as the women on this show. Then again, they are gorgeous and drinking wine and I am
catatonically staring into space clutching a cell phone and eating handfuls of M and M’s in a strange bed.
Ok. So. Multiply THAT day by about five weeks and you will find yourself wondering if this is, in fact, what a nervous break down must feel like. You will write to the President to suggest, rather than water boarding, that he may consider sending prisoners of war to Hollywood and putting them in charge of multiple child actors because in about 3 days they will tell you whatever you want to know. Or like me, you will total your rental car on the very last day in town and as you sit there, concussion forming, both airbags deployed, you will whisper to the sky, in final, irrevocable defeat, “Never. Again.”
So we didn’t go this year. I didn’t care what the ramifications of that decision were because nothing would matter anyway if I DIED, which I would have done had I gone back to that city this spring.
And here it comes. Wouldn’tcha know. Point proven yet again.
After three taped callbacks, and a taped screen test, Matt landed his first series regular role on a television show called The Alienist, opposite Dakota Fanning. From Atlanta. In our house. In our very own comfy taping room. Unbelievable. We don’t call it the magic taping room for nothing! (thumbs up and a cheesy grin)
So HA! Take that Los Angeles! Up your butt pilot season! The invisible hand didn’t send us out west this year because He knew that we would be going East instead! Yep. You heard me! We’re going to Eastern Europe. Budapest to be exact! Where we will spend the next four months……and four months next year maybe…….and arguably four months a year for the next several years of our lives. Four months a year in Eastern Europe, where I’ve been told to bring my own peanut butter, taco seasoning, and salad dressing. And where they don’t use ice.
I might should have gone to pilot season…….