ON APRIL 5TH, 2002, as Anne and I were packing for a Spring Break trip to Lake Tahoe with Ryan and Nolan for a much-needed change of scenery, I received a phone call from my manager. It was the end of pilot season—a period at the beginning of each year when studios cast for their new fall television shows. Most actors, myself included, hope to get a job on a pilot each year, because it means financial security and a chance to be on the next Friends or West Wing. During pilot season, most actors have several auditions each week, and it’s a hectic but exciting time. The pilot season that had just ended was the fourth in a row where I’d had fewer than 10 auditions, all of them failures.
“Is your fax machine on?” my manager said.
“Good. I’m sending you two appointment sheets for next week.”
“Oh crap,” I said. “I can’t go. It’s Spring break for the kids, and Anne and I are taking them up to Lake Tahoe.”
“When do you leave?”
“In about 20 minutes. When are the auditions?”
“You’ve got an independent film on Tuesday, and at least one, possibly two pilots on Wednesday. Callbacks will be Thursday or Friday.”
“What do you think I should do?”
“I can’t make that decision for you. Talk it over with Anne and call me right back.”
I hung up the phone.
“I know how you feel about your family, but this is our last shot at pilot season,” said a familiar voice.
“This is stupid, Prove To Everyone,” I replied. “You and I both know I’m not going to book these jobs, and we’re ...