Fall or Fly with Morgan Freeman.
"Hey Cliff! Drop over sometime!" I have heard this all my life. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised when my audition breakdown reads "trip & drop burgers".
And that's exactly what I did.
It was a birthday party scene and kids were running around like crazy and I tripped and I fell and it felt great. It felt amazing actually, except for the carpet burn on my elbow. As is always the case, on my 75 minute drive from Vancouver to home (what idiot pursues acting when he lives in Chilliwack), I began to think through what I did or didn't do, when it hits me like a ton of bricks. The breakdown didn't say 'fall'. I fell. Sh*t. It did say "not looking for a 'goofy' dad". I fell. I was goofy. Double sh*t.
It's not the first time I have fallen. I was in an improv competition at the National Arts Center, Ottawa, with the Canadian Improv Games when the scene called for a fall. There was an imaginary banana peel just lying on the stage. Another actor dropped it. I knew it was there. More importantly, the audience knew it was there. Awareness plus availability equals calling. As I threw my foot, my body followed high and upwards and I twisted and the world slowed down; I saw the stunned expression and heard the gasps as I returned to the earth with a thud, smack & crash. Oof. It hurt. The audience cheered and my thigh was bruised for weeks. It's called commitment. Put everything into it. It will hurt, but your audience will be entertained. Worth it?
In the early days of my freshman year at Briercrest Bible College I was required to take the stage to receive a theology bursary that I somehow managed to secure. I tell myself it is because I am smart, but I am pretty sure no one else applied. Either way, I was dared to trip up the stairs as I went to gather my certificate. So, I did. I tripped up the final stairs in the grandiose 4000 seat chapel and then as I took the stage I acted bewildered as if I didn't know where I was supposed to walk next. Professors and administrators came to my aid to show me the way, but many others guffawed with great delight. I knew I had secured my role for the next 4 years. Thanks for the cash, but the opportunity to Look Stupid was more valuable. Life is a series of dares just waiting to be taken. If someone says 'trip'... ask 'how hard?'
Back to the commercial. I got a call back. This time there was a crash mat. THEY WANTED ME TO FALL!!! So, I tripped, nah... I flew. I launched myself up and forward and finger rolled the plate of crumpled up paper towels up and away from my grasp and then crumpled into the mat. In short. I earned the approval of the director and ad agency and I booked the role. It was for VISA! Watch it!
Did you notice anything? Did you recognize the voice of the narrator? MORGAN "VITRUVIUS" FREEMAN. Mind Blown! Of course I didn't meet him. He probably recorded the spot in his ginch at home. But, I am pretty sure our pay scale was the same, though (nope). It was a fun and painful day. I had the privilege of working with a stunt coordinator and earned stunt pay (aka chiropractor allowance). I WAS A STUNT MAN!
If we hope to accomplish anything ever, we need to be willing to Look Stupid. Sometimes our success even requires us to fall on our face to prove that we are willing to do anything for the win. Are you willing to fall? Will you jump? Throw yourself into it and you will certainly fly... and maybe with Morgan Freeman.