Praying for the Part
In an excerpt from 'Breaking the Perfect 10,' Tracy Lindsey Melchior talks about landing her biggest role--with God's help.
BY: Tracy Lindsey Melchior with Susan Wales
For an actor there is nothing so wonderful as to work at your craft. The opportunities are limited, and it's a tough business. Just because you've had one success doesn't mean that you will work again.. I don't know how actors who aren't Christian survive. Well, some don't. They turn to whatever it takes to numb the pain--alcohol, drugs, and even suicide. If they do have the fortitude to hang on, then they likely will have to spend most of their time working in another profession, usually as a waiter, because that's one of the few jobs that will give you enough flexibility to take off for auditions.
I was one of the more fortunate ones who earned a living as an actor in commercials and an occasional guest star. I, like everyone else, was aspiring to get a regular part on a TV series or a film that might afford me a big break in the industry. I was working hard in my acting class and really beating the pavement to try to get a job, but nothing was happening. I had few auditions and didn't get any jobs at this time. At this point I was starting to point my feet in a different direction--God.
Unclear of whether I should go back to school or continue to pursue acting, I began to search the Bible for answers. One Sunday in the service, the pastor gave us a prayer to pray: "Dear Lord, I am your faithful servant, use me." I began to pray that prayer often. I was beginning to feel that maybe this business had no place for the morally elevated. I was at a crossroads in my life, searching for a career in psychology or possibly law, and this prayer could not have been given to me at a better time. Every day I felt lost, I lifted the prayer up to the Lord. I knew that I wanted to do something to serve, but I wasn't sure what.
This prayer also helped me because it was about asking for His will in my life as well as praying for an opportunity to serve. I longed to discover exactly where God wanted me to be. Through this prayer I also found my passion. I wanted to use my acting skills to reach teenage girls to prevent them from falling victims to their sexuality and to help them find their self-worth. I began to pray for these teenage girls and asked God to lead me to them.
A few days later my manager called. "I've got a great audition for you, Tracy. Aaron Spelling has decided to produce a daytime show for NBC. This is huge."
"I'm there," I replied. Spelling had an amazing professional reputation, and I was eager to be a part of his new venture, so I prepared myself for this audition.
I read for the role of Tess Martin, who was a nanny for a wealthy family. I loved reading the script and discovering this evil character. Tess wasn't at all what she appeared; she seemingly was nice, but behind closed doors she was evil. In an effort to get money to support her young son, she devised an evil scheme. The family who employed her as a nanny was a wealthy and powerful dynasty. In the story, the wife suffered amnesia and suddenly disappeared. Her family was naturally frantic to find her.
My character, Tess, found her; but instead of bringing her home to her family, the nanny devised a sinister plan that would benefit her, naturally, and not the woman. Unbeknownst to the family, their nanny, Tess, had a baby boy to support; but she had no money, so she had the woman believe the baby was hers so that she could become the nanny to her own son. Sounds a little like Moses in the bulrushes.
"I relinquished the job to the Lord."
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