High risk, high reward

They say that high risk means high reward, and I am not sure who “they” are… but “they” are right. It all started with a phone call.

I check my phone and I have an inbound call from Moore Creative Talent. Carol tells me, “Greg I have an interesting proposition for you.” I had been submitted for a reoccurring character on an episode of NBC’s “Chicago Fire” and that if I was interested I need to find my way to Chicago in three days for the audition. High risk, high reward, I kept thinking to myself. Tickets were booked, friends were spoken to, and couches for sleeping were arranged.

I would be auditioning for the biggest casting agent in Chicago, Claire Simon. Needless to say, I was nervous. Between the money spent on the plane ticket, my food and everything else, this was one of those ‘I gotta ace this one’ moments.

From my perspective, the audition went well.   I was informed that the next step is being called in to meet the director the next day.

I didn’t get a call; I was devastated.

I tried to talk myself out of the depths of despair but I came to the conclusion that I sucked. Claire hated my audition and that was that. Then my cell rang.  Moore Creative.  The fact that I had one extra day in Chicago was turning my luck around.  Claire Simon wanted to see me again for a different role in a different show, Chicago P.D. just two hours before my flight was to leave, during rush hour traffic.  High risk. High reward. 

It was tough but I made it.  I sat in the waiting room of the audition with my luggage and boarding pass thinking, ‘Claire didn’t hate me.  I am getting another shot.’  This time though, I wasn’t going to get my hopes up. I did the audition and headed out for my flight. As I am boarding the plane, I get yet another call from Carol, “Greg, you are currently on check avail for this role. We should know tomorrow. “

I didn’t hear back the next day. Keep in mind it was shooting the following week.  I was devastated and seem to be getting quite good at that part.

Saturday inched by.  I was drowning my sorrow in a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza when my phone lit up with a text. “YOU ARE STILL IN THE RUNNING.  WILL KNOW MORE ON MONDAY. “ I was back on the roller coaster.

Monday morning at 9:30am came with this phone call.  “Congratulations! You booked the part! They need you in wardrobe in Chicago by 3pm tomorrow!  I was speechless but leaped into action mode to make this happen.  The high risk had indeed paid off.  I was booked as a guest star for a week on Chicago P.D.

The week leading up to booking the role was one of the scariest, exciting, unbelievable, gut-wrenching, exhausting (both physically and mentally), and at times devastating. Despite all of that, I would endure it all again, over and over, just to be on set for something like this. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. From wardrobe, finding my trailer, makeup and hair, meeting the director and talking to him about the character, hanging out with the cast of the show, watching them smash a snow plow into a Ford Excursion, to the six tent breakfast craft service station complete with everything from cereal to a man making custom omelets… it was unreal.

My episode of Chicago PD airs on Wednesday, October 28th, (the second episode on a special two episode night!) emphasing the most important lesson I learned from the process of auditioning is…Sometimes you have to take a chance on yourself, because if you don’t, nobody will. High risk, high reward.

~Greg Berman


Greg Berman with Director, Lin Oeding