1:29 pm - Fri 10/8/04
Tues 10/5/04 (2:19 p.m.)
Well, I did "have my act together" yesterday for the big Dramatic Audition thing, but sadly, it didn't matter...
I got there later than I'd intended–about a half hour before it was supposed to start–to go to the back of a line that was, at that time, about four city blocks long (I don't think I've been in a line that long since the opening day of ET!).
(The audition took place at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theatre, on Hollywood Blvd.)
There were mostly kids in line, but here and there, I did see some somewhat older, "character people" (I didn't see any men who looked my age, though, and only one guy who was definitely older–a really tall old guy, with long white hair and a full beard, who looked like a cross between Santa Claus and a Hell's Angel).
The guy right behind me in line, who had brought his teenaged son for moral support, was 38 years old, had just gotten out of the army, and was resuming his acting aspirations after years of taking a break to have a life (It was kind of odd–"Chris" was a stand-up comic, but really said nothing particularly funny during our time in line together. A good guy, though, and I was glad he was there to talk to. But anyway...).
Early on, I wondered nervously whether they'd even get to me before the day was done–At the very least, I assumed my entire day was pretty much "spoken for"-- but in fits and starts, the line moved relatively briskly.
And maybe midway into my wait, I found out why: One of the TNT people announced to us that the monologues we had worked on were actually for "callbacks", and that our initial "audition" would consist of saying one line in front of three judges, who would then pick two men and two women out of our group to go to "callbacks", where they would go on to do their monologue in front of three other judges.
I was definitely not happy about that–that's the kind of thing I want to know before I've been waiting in line for hours–but at that point, even though I thought it sucked, I didn't really doubt that I'd get past that "audition" and move on to the "callback".
To make a long, boring story short, I didn't move on to the callback.
When I finally got into the theatre, there was more waiting around, then a lunch break, and my group (Group "O") got called up shortly after that.
There was a table set up in this hallway on the second floor, and two easels, with posterboards of the four lines we had to choose from for our "audition" (Three lines from Jerry McGuire–two for women, one for men–and one line from As Good As It Gets, the "You make me want to be a better man" line that Nicholson says to Helen Hunt in the restaurant).
As I looked at the four lines, I realized that "my" line–the As Good As It Gets line--was, out of context, the worst one of the bunch. And honestly, I feel like that was an act of sabotage for any older character guy who would naturally choose that line over one of the female lines, or the "Show me the money!" line from Jerry McGuire. After all, Jack Nicholson's character in As Good As It Gets has any number of good lines (ex. "Go peddle crazy someplace else, okay? We're all stocked-up here."), that would have allowed for the "energy" they were supposedly looking for.
It was the only line of the four that was essentially a "straight line", a simple, heartfelt declaration (Which has very little dramatic weight if you haven't heard the monologue that comes before it). And in hindsite, I realized I should have went with my gut, gone "outside the box", and done one of the other lines (Which were all more "up-tempo" and "high energy"). If nothing else, I would have shown them that "Jim Knows Drama", and knew what they were fucking up to.
So anyway, they ran through the group of us, consulted their notes, then told us who would be going on.
And it wasn't me (It wasn't my line partner Chris, either, who fell into the same trap I did, and did the "You make me want to be a better man" line).
I was so angry/frustrated/disappointed/depressed afterwards, I can hardly describe it. Four and a half hours of waiting, mostly in the hot sun, in dress clothes, in order to do one-fucking-line.
I wanted to drink, and drink heavily, but decided instead to do the easiest, tastiest self-destructive thing I could do, and have a bacon-double cheeseburger at Jack-In-The-Box.
Writing about the experience now, I find myself getting angry and frustrated and depressed all over again. But it's over now. And while I'm getting pretty tired of having unhappy experiences, tired of being rejected without really even being looked at, like Gloria-fucking-Gaynor, I will survive.
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