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1:49 am - Fri 3/18/05
Four Years In, And I'm STILL Trying To Figure Out How To Do Commercial Auditions

Four Years In, And I'm STILL Trying To Figure Out How To Do Commercial Auditions

Thurs 3/17/05 (11:35 p.m.)

Pretty good week for auditions–I had the AARP callback on Monday, an audition for Miller Genuine Draft yesterday, and one for 1-800-The-Law2 today.

Unfortunately, while it was a good week for auditions, it wasn't that good a week for doing well at auditions; The only one of the three I felt totally okay about was the "Law" one today (Which of course, which was the only one of the three that was non-union).

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I let myself get "invested" in booking the AARP spot, so when I didn't, I had a pretty grim evening at the bookstore afterwards, as I checked my voicemail every five minutes, hoping to get "the call". It was an evening where I wasn't just disappointed about not booking the gig, but an evening where I was frustrated and depressed about the state of my life, and panicky that I'm never going to book enough gigs to have an actual career out here.

And not to be a big whiny baby about it, but the callback felt so...unfair; they ran out of women to play the "homeowner", so some guys who auditioned got to read with an actress, while other guys had the lines read to them by an assistant (I was in the "other guy" group).

I have a really terrible, amateur-hour habit I absolutely have to get rid of: If someone is reading the lines off-camera, and I'm supposed to be playing to the camera, I have a hard time not looking, instead, at the person who's reading the lines (During the audition, I started out playing to the camera, and didn't realize till we were done that as things progressed, my focus had drifted to the assistant). I had a similar problem for a time when I first started doing theater–You have to "cheat out" when talking to other characters on stage, so the audience can actually see you, but I tended to not want to do that, because "it didn't feel natural" (Well of course, it isn't natural, but you have to make it natural. It's called "technique").

(Another thing that's strange for me–When I've memorized the lines in a spot, I'm thrown by a cue-card being in my sight-line. I can't exactly explain why that should be the case, but it is.)

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The Miller Genuine Draft audition reminded me, once again, of how quickly the ground can shift under your feet at these things...

I'd thought I was going in for the "Hero Guy"–I think it's funny how I always think that, till I find out otherwise–but turned out I was just one of the "Elevator Guys" that "Hero Guy" interacts with at one point during the spot.

But just as I was getting over my disappointment, and seeing the bright side of being one of three possible "Elevator Guys"–Suddenly, I had much better odds of booking the gig–the casting director decided he wanted me to be "The Boss" instead.

Now I see a lot of things when I look in the mirror, but "The Boss" isn't one of them. And it's a view of myself which seems to be supported by my never having been cast as "The Boss" (Technically, I was "The Boss" in both the HBO "Watercooler" spot and the Time-Warner "Dish Police" spot. But I was all but cut out of the HBO spot, and at no time during the "Dish Police" spot do you see me actually interacting with anyone as "The Boss").

When my time came, I had to ad-lib a little "bit" with the "Hero Guy", and when we did it, the casting director gave us both some adjustments, and had us do it again.

He instructed me to be gesturing broadly when "Hero Guy" touches me, and I freeze in place. And he told "Hero Guy" to touch me sooner the second time; but I didn't know when he was going to do it, I wasn't ready when he did, and he ended up "freezing" me before I really did much of anything, "broad" or otherwise.

I was so upset about it that I did something I've never done–As soon as I could, I sidled over and asked the casting director if I could go again with a later group (We were being called in in groups, to enact various scenarios with the "Hero Guy"). The casting director, not unkindly, said that it was fine, that if it hadn't been he would have had us do it again, and shook my hand.

But I think he was bullshitting me (They don't have time to do take after take so everyone can be seen to best advantage); I'll be surprised if I even get a callback from this one, and that's disappointing–Beer commercials are funny, and get a lot of play, and that's exactly what I'm looking for right now.

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The thing today, like I said, was a non-union thing: I was a cheesy/sleazy magician, pulling $2 bills out of a hat (I guess in lieu of the decent insurance settlement you'll get if you call 1-800-The-Law-2). The casting people didn't even bother to hide how lame they thought the spot was.

I'll actually be surprised if I don't get a callback for this one, because I thought I looked good (The best of the guys I saw in the lobby), and I thought I had a pretty good rap as well.

(More than anything, I was happy that my cheap black suit, when you add a white shirt and a black bow-tie, can double pretty effectively, at least for audition purposes, as a tuxedo.)

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So really, not just a good week, but a good month for auditions (And there's still almost two weeks left). So it's very frustrating to look at those auditions marked on my calendar, and see how many of them didn't go as well as I'd hoped.

Not getting the auditions is one thing, but getting auditions and then not making the most of them...well, let's just say "This can't continue to happen".

 

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