I just want to say right now: I take all the credit.
It was a little over two years ago, Sebastian and I met in the Magnet Summer Intensive. I was right out of 401 and Seb was right out of UCB 301 and we both felt like losers.
I was 70 pounds heavier and felt so crappy about myself and not passing 401 that I was brooding and always down on myself and Seb was feeling lost after a 201 and a 301 where he hadn’t been invited to join the practice groups people had formed in class.
We were fast friends as we had both done UCB and we loved the other people in our intensive: Tara K., Matty T, Pat May, Shacottha Fields, James Coker, Ray Munoz and others. We were both scared shitless but we both thought each other were pretty funny (though I’m sure Sebastian would completely deny his end).
We took all our level 4s at the Magnet together, I became an intern, we both started doing The Circuit, the Magnet’s student Harold teams, and whatever Sebastian had turned on and a lot of people came up to him after show congratulating.
Still he somehow looked up to me for a while with all my confidence, anger and improv nerdery. I formed an indie team Orange Augustus out of a practice group and Seb was the first one I asked.
Sebastian started really killing it at the Magnet doing Level 5 and 6 and I didn’t get in so I headed back to UCB and after struggling through another couple 401s found my groove and passed.
I dragged Sebastian along when I started taking classes with Gausas. I encouraged him to go back to UCB even when he was scared since he hadn’t been back in so long. After he didn’t pass his first 401, I still insisted to him that he was good enough for there and told him to take class with Will Hines who could teach him something different.
He got on a house team at the Magnet and was doing great. I encouraged him to do an internship at UCB and introduced him to the coordinator. Slowly but surely, he got comfortable at UCB, just being the funniest guy in class after class, first Will, who took a special shine to him, then Nate then Performance classes like Form 56 and The Play. People started to know who he was, congratulate him as they saw him around.
He got a callback for Harold his first audition he felt great about, but he didn’t get on. Was he imagining that he had done well, he asked me. I told him that if he thought that, he probably had.
He survived a round of cuts at the Magnet and started doing sketch shows there, which he excelled at and student shows at UCB, where the teachers loved him. He really wanted to try Maude, worked so hard on his three minutes and didn’t get on and I told him I thought he was ready even if hadn’t got on.
The reason I share all of this is not for my own glorification (though I admit having some fun taking credit) but to show you this is a person who struggled, a person who was unsure.
Because when you see Sebastian like I did on Wednesday in class with him, just nailing every scene (“I have Michael J. Fox disease!” was a recent line in class.), it’s easy to think of it as a foregone conclusion. “Oh, he’s just the most talented guy.”
But the truth is this is the guy left out of the practice group, the guy who had to take 401 over, the guy who wiped toilets at UCB while on a house team at another theater.
I think people love Sebastian now because he’s so talented and funny and a nice guy. But I think he’s the coolest because he works the hardest. Because, as his friend, I’ve seen him keep on facing those challenges, those self-doubts he faces and rise to them. I think he’s the guy who works the hardest of everyone I know.
Other than me that is! Who is great!
So now I hope that, since he got placed on a UCB House Team in their most competitive audition ever, he will not find an excuse to feel bad for a couple days.
And I’ll still come there to see my friend who coached me through all my own bullshit, who reminds me to feel good throughout my failures, who’s honest with me and supportive, who thought I was funny enough to do teams with back almost three years ago today.
I love ya buddy. Congratulations, and this I mean: you earned it.