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  • Writer's pictureBobby Wilhelmson

A Set-Back in Goals

I had a bit of a set-back today with career goals and plans. At the beginning of the month, I submitted an audition video to a theatre in Atlanta that was doing a dream show of mine, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. It's about a Puerto Rican professional wrestler, Mace, who has dreams of being the next THE Wrestling Champion, but his lack of charisma has made him nothing more than a "jobber." (The guy who loses to everybody). It's not until a new personality, VP, enters THE does Mace think he has a chance at Championship Gold. But the promoter of the company sees two minority men that look Arab and makes them act like terrorists.

This show speaks to me for two giant reasons. First, I have been in love with pro wrestling for as long as I can imagine; and the playwright recreates a dingy, scrappy, independent wrestling company perfectly. It takes me back to watching Raw and Nitro with my Dad and brother on Monday nights. The show's theme is also a microcosm of what my acting career is. Not One Batu will be the first time I will actually play Filipino. I have played stereotypes of tons of races before, and so I have a specific connection to the characters in this show. It's a giant issue.

Because of this, whenever I see Chad Deity being put on, I will always see if it is feasible for me to do. This Atlanta production was the first time I actually got to audition for this show. They wanted my own version of a pro wrestling entrance so I jumped at the opportunity and had my good buddy, Rhett Thompson, helm the camera as I got to live out my dream of having my own elaborate entrance. I did it as a heel (bad guy) because let's face it, heels have way more fun. It was only 40 seconds, but those 40 seconds are some of my favorite work I've done and something I'm really proud of. This is a character that has manifested in me since high school when I would be made fun of constantly and being able to embody "The Bad Guy" is my rendition of art. I'm incredibly proud of this 40 seconds and will not let a setback diminish what it means to me. So much so, that I want to share it with all of you.

I sent it off to Atlanta, and they watched it and said that it looked great. During the next few days, they proceeded to ask me which roles I was interested in playing. I didn't care because I just wanted to be involved in that show. They then asked me what my ethnicity was. I'm aware that i'm ethnically ambiguous and I use that to my advantage in this business. But I also never want to be deceiving, so I told them I was Asian. They then cut all communication with me and reached out almost 2 weeks later saying they had no available roles for me. I didn't even get asked to come read in person. It has bothered me since I got the e-mail. Not the fact I got told no. I have thick enough skin and get told no on a daily basis. But to put my heart and soul into an audition video that they thought was great, and then to have these people ask what roles I wanted, and after all of that, THEN ask me what my ethnicity was really felt like a kick in the balls. Needless to say they could have asked me what my ethnicity was when I sent my head shot in, or before I spent a whole day doing this video. Or more importantly, put in the character breakdown that you will not consider any other ethnicity for certain characters. It was handled incredibly poorly by them and has left me rethinking this business, where an agent I recently auditioned for said was "the nature of the beast." Needless to say, they won't be representing me.

I refuse to accept this. That is not the nature of the beast. I say fuck the beast. This chip that is now on my shoulder will resonate with me for a very long time. If you thought I was focused and driven before... you just wait.

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