Tag Archives: quotes

My First Audition

12 Jan

*Tries to sneak into my blog like I haven’t been AWOL for three months.*


I’ve been reading an EXCELLENT book I borrowed from the UCB library called Long Story Short by Margot Leitman about learning how to craft stories for the stage (or seminars/Ted Talks/funerals/what-have-you). And one thing that really stuck with me so far is this quote she lives by “Most events in life can be categorized in one of two ways: A good time or a good story.” This quote really calms my anxiety about everything I’ve been doing in comedy so far (and non-comedy, but I don’t take that many risks outside of comedy these days) because it frames everything in a win/win situation. If whatever I’m worried about is great, then awesome! If it’s terrible, then I still get something out of it, either a story or learning experience (I read another wonderful quote that said mistakes are the fertilizer that grow our amazing ideas – not a great image but a good message.)

This is especially good to focus on after my Harry Potter Improvised show last night wasn’t me and my team’s best work. But instead of hyperventilating about it, my teammates and I sat down at a nearby pub afterwards and mapped out a game plan over beers on how to get better. It makes me wanna write myself one of those “grit tickets” we have in our classrooms that the fourth graders fill out when they stick with difficult math problems or logic puzzles.



I definitely had a new experience tonight. After seeing a friend’s post about a network looking for female comedians to participate in a “Comedy Project,” about women, I sent in my tape and bio, and got an audition for this past evening at 5 pm. The e-mail specified that I prepare 3-5 jokes centering around womany things. I was so nervous! I can count the amount of things I’ve auditioned for on one hand – and three of those things were talent-show related. One was an African American Drama Troupe (don’t ask.)

I showed up to the studios at 4:45pm. I had spent the past 15 minutes in the Duane Read beauty section across the street putting on hand lotion, sweating off hand lotion, nervously spraying myself with various perfumes, putting on more hand lotion. I am weirdly insecure about my hands (their size, feel, nails – it’s just all wrong) and I never pay more attention to them than before I know I’m going to have to shake someone’s hand. But hands aside, I was jazzed. Super jazzed. Cool people went to auditions. Joey Tribiani and people who wore leather jackets and people with perfect bedhead. I felt cool. But like cool and overly excited. Like a Golden Retriever puppy in  a swimming pool.



Pictured: Me



“Aviva?” asked a man poking his head into the waiting room where I had been watching a man shoot basketballs into one of those arcade hoop game that was there for some inexplicable reason. “Come on in.”

The audition room was a table, a few chairs and giant TV. There were four people, two men and two women sitting around the table.


“Oh, haha great! It’s like we’re taking your audition virginity,” said the man who was conducting it.

“HAHA YOU’RE WELCOME TO IT,” I yelled. Stop talking now. Everyone laughed like “Look at this adorable little naive puppy.”

“So basically you’re going to be right here by the chair. You can sit or stand, whatever you feel comfortable doing.”

“I’M GONNA LEAN” Stop narrating everything you’re doing, I berated myself. Leaning isn’t cool! Stop leaning! Just sit!

“That’s fine,” he responded. “Now, you’re gonna look into the camera, say your name. Pause. Tell us which female comedians inspire you. Pause. Say your jokes but with a breath between each one. Got it?” *Camera clicks on*


Hi my name’s Aviva Woolf. And. Um, what was a supposed to say again?”

I’ve been an actress for 12 seconds and I’ve already forgotten my lines.

“Comedians that inspire you….”

“RIGHT SORRY. Um, A lot. Like, Irma Bombeck, Nora Ephron, Lindy West. Mindy Kaling, Jessica Williams, Samantha Bee, Kristen Schaal, Aparna Nancherla, Megan Amram…umm…I’m sure I’m forgetting some…but yeah.” Smooth

I do my jokes to laughter. Genuine I hope. Do people at auditions fake laughter to be polite?

“NOW WHAT?” I ask, like we’re all gonna go get smoothies or something.

“Well, we’ll let you know if you’re right for the project in a week, we generally don’t tell people if they got it at the audition.”

“RIGHT. Okay, so like, should I just go home and refresh my e-mail inbox every five minutes…?”

“No. If a week passes and you don’t hear from us, then you won’t. But we have your info so…”

“OKAY. Great! I mean, not about the not hearing from you. I’d like to, but if I don’t like, it’s okay.”

“Well, we have your picture…” *Gently ushering me out the door*

“Yeah! So like, you know what I look like! If you see me on the street…okay. BYE EVERYONE I HAD SO MUCH FUN BYE.” *Closing door slowly while staring at them*



“Are you sure you guys don’t want smoothies?”


“Oh my God, did you ever leave????” texts my actress cousin Chana when I recount the audition to her. “Eventually” I type back.

So that’s the story  of my first non- high school audition. I legitimately have no idea if it went well or not. I was striving for memorable and I think I achieved it. Yay!

Onto the next adventure! Have a great night snowflakes!



Good Will Hunting and Why Daydreaming Is Important

10 Dec

One more week ya’all. One. More. Week.

I have two projects and a quiz tomorrow, which is why I’m writing on my blog tonight and not writing about why CVS’s SEC’S 10-Q report in 2013 is more than its 10-Q in 2012 (Look, I took this reporting on the economy class this semester and I’m obviously not going to end up doing anything with the information I’ve gleaned so I have to shoe-horn it into as many conversations as possible. It’s harder than you think. No one wants to hear you say “Haha! That movie failed harder than the idea to repackage risky mortgages which led to the financial collapse of 2008!” That is a true story.)

Worse is that I also just watched Good Will Hunting last night with my roommate and now I have to be like to my friends, “I know this is 16 years too late but I want to discuss this movie now!” If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a boy who just wants to be a simple janitor but has a terrible disease. He’s really good at math. One day some professors discover his secret and ruin his life and make him see a therapist for his mutant math powers until he runs away. Lesson: Math never helped anyone do anything. Also lesson: If your soundtrack doesn’t have at LEAST four Elliot Smith songs, than it can’t legally be counted as a 90s movie.

Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what the movie was about but that was kind of what it seemed like to me. Maybe watch it yourself, OMG it’s been 13 years what are you waiting for?! (#movieshaming)

But the movie made me anxious. Really a lot of it is “Spending money on college is dumb! Read more books and just smart yourself up that way! Or just be really good at something like math or just resign yourself to construction work.”

It also had some good points too like “Don’t give up” and “It’s not your fault” and “How do you like them apples?”

But you didn’t come here to get a review of Good Will Hunting (and if you did you have amazing luck! Good for you!)

You came because…???… you’re my mom and you like being a supportive parent. Or you maybe you typed Virginia Woolf into Google with mangled fingers and got this blog instead, who knows?

Anyways, in my on-going effort to figure out what I want to do with my life, today I talked to and drank coffee with real life awesome journalist/author/friends’ mom/best friend’s mom-in-law/super nice lady who lets me stay at her house with her family when I have no place to go for Jewish holidays – Adina Rishe Gewirtz. (Her YA book “Zebra Forest” got super great ratings on Good Reads. Click if you don’t believe me even though you should why did you come to my blog if you don’t believe the things I write??”)

Talking to other writers is fun for me if a little intimidating. Because I always think authors and journalists have some secret to success that isn’t just “write every day and you will get better at it.” Because that’s what you have to do. And I know that but I always hope just once someone will be “Oh, you just have to do 700 jumping jacks and drink Absinth out of a shoe and it’ll all fall in place!” (Although I’m sure if I actually did that, I would come out with some interesting writing.)

But I actually got a lot more out of our coffee klatch so because I think the stuff we talked about is good advice for everyone (although some stuff is more specific to journalists) I wanted to share it with you too.

– Daydreaming is important – (This might be for writers and not like, surgeons. So if you have someone’s life in your hands daily, please don’t daydream. If you have a character’s life in your hand then yes daydream away)

— Having a voice is more important than being an expert on something that you’re writing about because you can always do research. (Again, probably more for writers)

– Life is all about taking risks. 

– Just because you think of yourself as one way doesn’t mean that that is a concrete or even accurate representation of yourself.

– “Life is pieces” –  I think this helps with my writing and anxiety. You can’t really look down the road and know what’s going to happen, life is about living in ‘today.’ Just like with writing, you have to write one word, one page, one chapter and not focus on the whole book.

It’s very strange that so many writers are the same in the respect that we all might possibly be insane. Insane for thinking that writing stories is a smart career choice, insane for thinking that our work will make a difference to people, insane for bringing people into worlds we create and characters from our heads. But all writers I’ve met have this indestructible hope that hundreds of rejections can’t kill. It’s inspiring. And then also this humble surprise when people like their writing. I may not know what I want to do with my life but talking to successful people is always helpful.

When I came home from Starbucks, my friend happened to send me an amazing quote that very beautifully summed up how I was feeling about my future (which, despite meeting with my professors, bosses and authors about what I want to be when I grow up is still “???”)

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. 

And the point is, to live everything. 

Live the questions now. 

Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

I think that’s what I’m going to do. Learn to love the questions. Live the answers. Try to soak up as much advice and knowledge in the next 5 days before I am tossed into the next phase of my life. The dreaded  exciting “REAL WORLD.” (Not the show, but as in “Aviva, in the real world you can’t tell your co-worker you want to ‘fight their face’ when you get mad” or “Aviva, in the real world you can’t go on BuzzFeed all day” or “Aviva,in the real world we still won’t give you money for writing.”

Okay! Back to homework.

Good night my little ducklings.


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