Life 2.0: The Graduation
As this was my last week in school, I made sure to book it full of private lessons – including three with a voice coach to perfect my New York Italian Accent for the final showcase, and another with one of the schools agents to lay out a strategy for me when I’m too cool for school.
The latter, who has worked in the business for thirty years, told me maybe a little too many times that «there are advantages to looking like you in this business.»
What I thought was some kind of an awkward compliment from a middle-aged man, soon turned around when he added that I was perfect for playing psychos and serial killers. «Playing against your looks makes the character twice as dangerous, cause nobody expects it from a guy like you.» Quite a stretch from romantic leads, but versatility is a virtue, I guess.
Wednesday was the day of our two last finals. In Movement, my scene partner and I performed the terrible, unforgettable scene from Wolf of Wall street known as the Quaalude scene; DiCaprio (me) and Hill, both overly drugged on Quaaludes (thus numb and paralyzed), fights for the phone in DiCaprios luxury kitchen. Adding to the obscenity, Hill chokes on some ham, and DiCaprio takes cocaine to get the energy needed to save him.
The focus of this class is the physicality of our characters, and seeing that we were not allowed to take the actual drugs, there was definitely plenty to work on. While wriggling and shouting on the floor like injured walruses, it was once again impossible for me not to think of how insane my new forms of exams are. Like everything else in film school, the madness is forever stuck on tape. Though our teacher was totally in love with the result, I’m a little afraid this tape gets out of hand and forever haunts me.
Thursday was The Big Day. The incarnation of our whole years training from every class, one might say; the showcase. Starting at 9 AM, our whole day was spent at the theatre dress rehearsing, tech rehearsing, and for some unfortunate classmates – not rehearsing, due to lack of time. As the first show went by, my teacher came up to me more excited than ever; «That was brilliant man, best I’ve ever seen you! Whatever you did now, you must repeat it exactly.»
The problem was only that I truly had no idea of what I did. When I’m on that stage, its like I black out, so I had next to no memory of what just happened. «Well, that is actually a good thing», he said, «cause it means you were totally in the moment». Encouraged, but confused by how to repeat it without remembering, and afraid of performing a dead copy (actors’ mortal sin), I went up the second time and blacked out again.
The theatre was more than fully packed that night, and the audience breathed, laughed and clapped with us. Though I do not remember the actions, I remember exactly how it felt – and THIS is why I act. One would think you go up there for the audience, but for me the audience is forgotten instantly – and finally I forget myself. There is a rush of adrenaline, and it sends me to the only place where I believe in myself and feel home. I forget and come alive on that stage – and any drama, inner or outer battles the last nine months was worth this feeling.
After cleaning out the theatre (no joy comes for free) there was the good old house party, of course – which lasted through the whole night and until the graduation ceremony next morning. Unfortunately, there will be a lot of useless graduation photos from that day. Few of us had slept at all, when our final movie projects were screened at the school’s movie theatre and we were given our diplomas.
Seeing yourself on the big screen is quite an interesting way to graduate, when you have dreamed of just that ever since you were a little kid. And so this day was also one of the weirdest, most filled with contradictory thoughts and feelings ever in my life. Though I have been looking forward to it for many weeks already, finalizing and saying goodbye really puts the past in perspective.
Nine months ago, I knew none of these people and I was contemplating whether it was the right or an incredibly stupid choice to move to LA and pursue my dream of becoming an actor. I left love and security behind, and had no idea of what I would meet. Now, I look back and see that these months have been the most different, new, weird, sad, crazy and happy ones of my life. It has for sure been a rollercoaster — but the highs were worth the lows, and the total sum is something I would never be without.
I will not see my classmates anymore, there will be no more acting classes, and no one at home knows or can relate to my life here. Though there has been some turbulence in our group, my classmates have become my acting family. Through acting one gets incredibly close, and by leaving them I get reminded how much they mean to me. I came here with no one, and I’m leaving alone – but I got a whole lot of new luggage (NOT literally) and people to come back to. Most of all, I have my passion and my craft, and from now on I take it with me wherever I go.
Duty calls, and I might have to switch back to my old life for a while. But Life 2.0 is definitely not over — I will be back, and new chronicles will be added to the journey I’ve started.
Life 2.0 is one of Khrono’s blogs, and will be presented with new blogposts every week. Petter Egge is a former student from HiOA and journalist at Khrono.no. He has decided to do something quite different. This is his stories.
September 27th 2014:
Chronicle #32: Wrapping Up
Petter Egge is soon at the end of his studies to be an actor in Hollywood.
September 12th 2014:
Chronicle #31: The Free Brunch
This week started with one of the few days a year where all Americans are actually allowed to skip work; Labor Day. As I’m both Norwegian and a non-working actor, that didn’t really apply to me.
September 5th 2014:
Chronicle #30: The Norwegian Pretzel
It’s not always a success to pretend that you are prepared, when the opposite is the thruth.
August 29th 2014:
Chronicle #29: The Carouself
This week I starred in five film projects in seven days
August 22th 2014:
Chronicle #28: The Bread and Butter
This week started with the shooting of my final scene – in other words, probably the most important day of this whole school year.
August 15th 2014:
Chronicle #27: The Voice
Hard lessons in Hollywood: Believe it or not – one of the things I devote most time to these days, is learning how to stick my tongue out, fully relaxed, so I can shake it from side to side hanging out of my mouth. Who wouldn’t want to learn that?
August 5th 2014:
Chronicle #26: The roommate
Though quite a lot happened this week, including a couple of film shoots and a lot of script reading, I feel that the time has come to devote an entire post to my roommate.
July 30th 2014:
Chronicle #25: The Home Run
This week Petter Egge found himself crying in front of a class full of professional actors.
July 23th 2014:
Chronicle #24: The Hidden Hollywood Hardships
There is no secret that there are many obstacles for a young, naïve man who goes to Hollywood to search for gold as an amateur actor.
July 17th 2014:
Chronicle #23: For Crying Out Load
Before acting school, I couldn’t even remember the last time I cried.
July 9th 2014:
Chronicle #22: The Week of Independence
While I was already on that wave from last Sunday, I started this week with some hours in the gymnastics gym.
July 2th 2014:
Chronicle #21: The Upswing
This week started with a Q and A session with casting director Chris Devane, which might be described as a rather tough start.
June 17th 2014:
Chronicle #20: The Circle of Life
Ok, this is a hard one, folks. So please bear with me. This week, I circled halfway around the earth to catch the circle of life at its closure.
June 10th 2014:
Chronicle #19: Back to business
Life 2.0 - the chronicles of an emerging actor facing Hollywood: After a really nice visitor, the company has left and Petter Egge is feeling a different kind of alone.
June 3th 2014:
Chronicle #18: The Life of the Party
After one week off from school Khronos blogger Petter Egge is heading for semester two at the New York Film Academy in Hollywood.
May 20th 2014:
Chronicle #17: The Life of the Party
This week, I got a whole new understanding of the fact that I now live and breathe the LA-life.
May 15th 2014:
Chronicle #16: The Leap From Sanity
After San Francisco, the way back to reality was just a little too short. From a weekend in heaven, I hit the ground in a pile of papers to write, finals coming up, and most of all – our final showcase at the Victory Theatre.
May 8th 2014:
Chronicle #15: The Escape
This week I thought I was up for an easy ride. Not many film projects in sight, and a long–awaited trip to my favorite city San Francisco – where I left my soul when leaving UC Berkeley two years ago.
April 29th 2014:
Chronicle #14: The Aftermath
No journalists called me this week, and my phone has slowly managed to find peace; now it is only buzzing about twice as much as before Ellen (yes, there will forever be a «before» and «after Ellen» now). The number of followers on Instagram has eventually stabilized, and though my twitter profile is more busy with visitors and followers than ever before, the threat of an explosion seems to cease.
April 23th 2014:
Chronicle #13: The Tribute
Out of his good heart Petter helped a person on the street, and suddenly life turned around for a couple of days. When this week started, I was at the bottom of a deep valley, weighed down under a number of concerns. The ones about my economy had already bothered me for months, as frequent readers would already know, but now my worries included another area of much bigger importance.
April 16th 2014:
Chronicle #12: When words do not suffice
There are times, even for a writer
when written words become empty signs
Times when a writer don’t want to write
cause there’s too much between the lines
April 9th 2014:
Chronicle #11: «The School of Life»
Life is a funny little thing. It is for sure a trembling rollercoaster, but also a splash of water in your face and missing ground under your feet. It has its ways – mysterious, inscrutable – of surprising me, not just when I thought I had it all together, but even more often when I’m already out of balance.
April 2th 2014:
Chronicle #10: «The Decennium»
From waking up scared of an earthquake, to not take notice at all. So: I’m happy to announce that I might already be a real Californian.
Mars 25th 2014:
Chronicle #9: «The Wake Up Call»
They say you’re not a real Californian until you no longer notice the earthquakes. This week started with something of a wake up call. As mentioned in previous posts, sleep is quite limited for me over here due to lack of time. That one night when I finally managed to enter deeply into those psychedelic lands of dreams at the right time, with no alarm set for the next morning – THE EARTH decided to shake me out of bed at 6:25 AM with a 4.4 magnitude earthquake.
Mars 18th 2014:
Chronicle #8: «So You Think You Can Act»
Do you know how to walk? No, you don’t. Can you sit, crawl, or lie down? No, you can’t. You can’t even lift your arm up in front of you. I know you can’t believe it – neither could I. But every day here, I am proven wrong.
Mars 11th 2014:
Chronicle #7: «The walk of Shame»
Ever had the feeling that your duties seem to pass by like a super fast train and you just can’t catch up with it for the life of you?
Mars 4th 2014:
Chronicle #6: «Teaser»
I was a journalist, a gymnast and a musician. I had everything I needed – except what I wanted. Thats why I decided to quit my job, say goodbye to my friends and family, and leave for acting school in Hollywood. The Video presented in this blog is a small taste of what life has been like the first few weeks.
Feb. 25th 2014:
Chronicle #5: «In a cold sweat»
For a guy who has lived all his life by the rules and routines of a gymnastics regime, there is no doubt that life here is a tad more divergent. Having nothing to do at one moment is just as shockingly unfamiliar as it is to run from a film shoot to my roommates’ baptism in the next. At any point earlier in my life, the degree of variation stretched from sleeping, through eating and practice, to toilet visits, school and back to sleep. The circle of life has definitely taken a new shape.
Feb. 18th 2014:
Chronicle #4: «The Proposal and the Valentine’s»
Real life, as we will know it the next eight months (though dreamy it may still seem to me), is about to blossom. As the hassle of settling down slowly dies out, challenges of school is coming to life, growing over the heads of its students.
Feb. 11th 2014:
Chronicle #3: «Life’s a like a box of chocolate»
As we still can’t seem to get friendly with our apartment (at least our rent), it took my roommate and me no more than three days to decide to move out again. Already stretching our comfort zone with one bedroom, we are now downgrading to NO bedroom.
Feb. 8th 2014:
Chronicle #2: Move-in Day and monologues
When gas, water, power and insurance companies got back in to business on Monday morning, Murphy’s law did the same; what could go wrong – well, you know. For the landlord to let us move in, they needed confirmation letters faxed from all of the above – which should be no problem, since we asked them all to do so when opening our new accounts. After half a day of waiting by an empty fax machine, we dared to call them back with a friendly reminder – only to discover that they’d forgotten all about us. When they eventually faxed it, only one name was on the paper – and we’d really prefer that both of us could move in.
Feb. 5th 2014:
Chronicle #1: «I need a dollar, dollar is what I need»
Ok, just to make it clear right away: I am NOT a blogger. Since the dawn of the blogosphere, my prejudices have kept me far away from its kind. But as we all know, the first unwritten rule of a struggling actor in Hollywood is that «Everyone must accept some kind of prostitution in order to survive up until the big breakthrough.» So, I could have fulfilled the stereotype of waiting tables between my auditions, or I could do a «Sylvester Stallone» – but instead I am now spreading trivialities about my still-to-be famous self. Oh, the irony.