Oh, Los Angeles. The land of ocean-filled sunsets, UFO’s that are (definitely not) rocket tests, and actors. Lots and lots of actors. Even people who aren’t actually actors are still actors because most likely their friends are actors and need them to be acting in their self-produced stuff.
But even the best actors in this city will tell you, auditions are horrible. There’s simply nothing natural about standing in a white-walled room staring into a camera or a bored assistant and reading lines from a piece of paper you just printed out at FedEx Office. Being good at auditioning and being good at acting are two completely separate skill sets and if you’re good at both, you’re probably Jennifer Lawrence.
And when a bad audition happens, you need comfort quickly. A phone call home, a therapist - or food. We highly recommend the first two, but are here to help with the last. Here is where you need to be when things go south in the audition room.
It’s hard to eat well when you’re waiting for your big break. Get the rest of The Actor’s Guide To Eating & Drinking In LA here.
Uh oh. You accidentally put N. La Brea into your GPS instead of S. La Brea and ended up at a Hasidic Community Center instead of a casting office. Easy mistake. You still made it there, and only about 25 minutes late, but unfortunately the damage was already done. Time for soup. And why have a few great soup options when you can have 23 bad ones lined up in a row together? Not only is each flavor of soup at Souplantation different, so are the temperatures! Scalding, room temperature, or even ice cold (if you arrive late enough). You said you wanted choices. You got Souplantation.
Your British accent slipped into an Australian accent, and then on the way out, the casting director asked if you were intentionally doing an impression of John Travolta in Hairspray. Time for some perogies at Polka Polish. One of god’s most trusted superfoods, these stuffed dumplings are everything you need when you realize $800 worth of acting classes didn’t pay off. Not only does Polka Polish make our favorite perogies in town, the quiet dining room is the ideal place to wallow and contemplate if you should just become a John Travolta impersonator.
You woke up with a fever, but powered through because you weren’t about to skip a Handmaid’s Tale audition that you waited two years to get. One sob scene and some uncontrolled breathing later, you’re passed out unconscious in a room full of people who think its an acting choice. Once you come to, have your roommate pick you up and direct them to Porto’s. The classic Cuban deli has just about everything your body wants after low-key almost dying, but if you don’t get a guava pastry and some potato balls, you might as well have stayed unconscious.
Some girl with bad bangs in the waiting room was mouthing off about Lady Gaga being overrated and you had to step in. Nice job, you were released without even making it into the room. Be sure to stop at Apple Pan on the way home to contemplate why you’re so drawn to unnecessary conflict over a hickory burger. Find one of the few empty stools at the counter, bury your face in a plate fries, and whine to a cook until you realize they don’t care about your problems. Get the banana cream pie for the car ride home.
So you rushed your lines again. Bad habits are hard to break sometimes, but at least your audition was in Hollywood and there’s a street dog cart right outside. The bacon-wrapped hotdog on the far right might be a touch pink but who gives a sh*t? They don’t call them Danger Dogs for nothing, you’re still kicking yourself for making the same mistakes over and over again, and cholesterol feels good.
You could have sworn your phone was on silent, but the casting director had the pleasure of watching you deuce your pants on tape as Dua Lipa went off in the middle of your Hawaii Five-O read. The only cure at this point is a stop at Jollibee. This Filipino fast-food joint serves soul-crushing classics like sweet spaghetti, little spam bites, and something referred to as a “bucket treat.” On top of one of having one of the more unsettling mascots in the public realm, Jollibee is where bad decisions go to dance the night away.
You’re not entirely sure, but you think the casting director said something inappropriate about your hips on the way out. Screw that. You gave a terrible read, but seriously, screw that. Go to Mel’s Diner for milkshakes, wet omelettes, and a kitschy-retro vibe that will make your current pain disappear. And is there any better era to escape to than 1950s California when swimming in the ocean was still appealing and blatant Hollywood sexism was referred to only as “show business” followed by a wink?
You’re in the middle of a tear-jerking Alzheimer’s scene when you notice the casting director compose and post an entire FB status on her phone. You hate your life. If you’re in the mood for a sandwich, but would also like mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, and jalapeno poppers in that sandwich, Fat Sal’s is your stop. Honestly, you can’t really come to this place without the expectation of wheezing yourself to sleep that night, but as long as you’re fine with that, you’ll get what you came for.
Code red: You ad-libbed something derogatory at the end of your DraftKings commercial spot and now you’re blacklisted. Things are bad. Luckily there’s a 7-Eleven on the corner serving up the best three-day-old taquitos you should never have. You’re going to be tempted by the neon-red hot dogs spinning in your periphery, but stay the course. These taquitos are rock hard salt blocks and will clean you out like a Groupon rent-a-maid. And you deserve it.
Game over. Your inability to take constructive criticism ended with you sucker-punching a 19-year-old intern in the throat and now it’s time to leave. The city. Don’t even bother stopping at the apartment, just head right to the airport. And the good news is LAX has turned into an absolutely lovely food destination, with offerings from ink.sack, Loteria, and even Planet Hollywood! Plus if it’s midweek, one-way flights generally aren’t too pricey. Send us a postcard from Wichita.