8:26 am - Wed 1/08/03
Had a commercial audition yesterday, for Ace Hardware.
It was another audition where I just didn't get it done (And I gotta tell ya, I'm getting pretty tired of feeling that way!).
The set-up for the commercial is that a couple's cuckoo clock, instead of cuckoo-ing, suddenly starts criticizing the room decor (And of course, if your cuckoo clock starts telling you your place looks like shit, where do you go for a quick fix? Well, according to this commercial, you go to Ace).
The casting agency was in Sherman Oaks. Not trusting Mapquest's estimated travel time, and not having driven there before, I headed out very early, getting there 45 minutes early for my 3:45 appointment (It ended up being a very easy drive).
There was another commercial auditioning at the same time, I think for Dodge trucks, so there were all these "construction workers" in the waiting room, along with all the middle-aged men and women there for the Ace spot (Oddly enough, since they were looking to cast a couple, there were actually only a handful of women there).
While in the waiting room, I looked over the spot, and thought, as I have before, "There are things in this commercial I'd do better than the thing they're asking me to do..."; At the end of the spot, there's a cut to a guy from Ace Hardware, saying their motto ("Ace--The Hardware Place". Or "helpful place". Something like that). And at the very end of the spot, there's a voiceover tag, repeating the motto, just in case you missed when the guy said it two seconds earlier.
I found myself thinking again that I need to figure out how to get into voiceovers (As with everything, the basic problem here is m-o-n-e-y; I'd need money for a class/workshop, and money for a demo reel).
Anyway, I was called in, with a woman I'd briefly chatted with in the waiting room (Who complimented my headshot. Hers, on the other hand, looked too "touched up"; She was an attractive woman, but she looked quite a bit older and more worn than the headshot, which is a definite no-no).
After the casting director told us the premise of the commercial, gave us an idea of what he was looking for, and gave us reference points for where he wanted us to be looking, he turned on the camera, did a fairly bad, flat reading of the cuckoo, and my partner and I did our best to first look dully surprised, then insulted by this gay interior decorator cuckoo clock.
No rehearsal. No chance to talk about it. No second shot. Just shoot, thank you (Actually, I'm not sure we got a "thank you"), and we were out the door.
And just like a number of times before, I left feeling like there was nothing in what just happened that gave them any sense of who I am or what I can actually do.
Again, I don't understand how casting people get what they want from this process. It's not "actor friendly" at all.
But that said, commercials get made, and actors get cast in them, so there has to be a way to do this. Other people do it, so there has to be a way for me to do it.
And I'm going to figure it out...
I have two student film auditions coming up, on Friday & Saturday.
I'm pretty sure they'll be more satisfying audition experiences. And to be honest, I'll be surprised if I don't get one or both of them.
Unfortunately, they don't pay. And I'm a little bit concerned about potentially exhausting my goodwill with Borders over projects that don't pay. But that said, I'm thinking the student film thing may be the way for me to go right now; I can get "on camera" time, make whatever mistakes I'm going to make in a relatively "safe" environment, and if the film is good enough, or I'm good enough in it, start compiling a "reel" to send to theatrical agents.
One of the hardest things for me out here, beyond the whole "money issue", is that there is no single way to do this. So that being the case, how do you decide what to do when nobody agrees on what you should do, and you don't have money to do the things you think you should do anyway?
I'd better change the subject here, before I start flipping out again...
Yesterday, I started looking over old journal entries, for something I might be able to submit to Personal Journaling (They accept three types of "reader submissions"--Ideas for journaling, essays on "the journaling life", whatever that is, and "favorite journal entries". They pay $50 for the ideas, $200 for the essays, and $100 for the journal entries).
There's nothing I've looked over so far that I think could just be sent out "as is"--and a lot of what I write isn't Personal Journaling material (They seem to be big on uplift, and a lot of my entries are too depressed and "angsty" to be very "uplifting")--but I was actually encouraged by some of what I looked at; I have entries, or at least parts of entries, that I think are quite funny.
There are also entries, where I'm trying to pull myself out of whatever emotional hole I've dug for myself, that are at least as insightful as the majority of self-help crap out there.
I sort of like the "Electric Horseman" entry (If I submit that one, I'll cut if off at "I even get the girl").
I also think I could get something from the "When The Bright Is Not Enough" entry--I laughed again when I re-read it--and with some editing, I think I could send the "Dancin'" entry out as a piece all by itself (I like that one, because it has elements of nostalgia, memoir, and self-analysis. It seems particularly "full-bodied").
And here's where you come in (That is, if you'd like to come in); I know you all have better things to do than to pore over my old journal entries for potential "keepers", but if you're reading this and it makes you think "Hey, I liked that one entry you did...", could you let me know? I'd appreciate it (Who better to let me know what constitutes "good writing" in here than the people who've been reading it?).
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