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1:03 am - Thu 6/05/03
Auditions/Castings/Whatever You Call Them

Auditions/Castings/Whatever You Call Them

A lot's happened over the past couple days...


I had a casting for an HBO promo at Ross Lacey (For the uninitiated, a "casting" is an audition; Actually getting cast is called a "booking").

The copy for the promo consisted of three short "water-cooler conversations", all written for three actors. Nothing too witty, really, just a couple simple lines in each "conversation". Something to indicate how, all over America, people are wasting valuable work time discussing what they saw on HBO the night before.

I was called in to read within five minutes of my appointment time, along with two other actors, a Japanese woman and an African-American man, both of whom were about two feet shorter than me.

Quickly, it became apparent that neither of them were native English speakers; They both had fairly heavy accents, and had a hard time understanding what, to my mind, were pretty basic directions from the casting director (I remember the woman had to ask a couple of times which character she'd been asked to read).

We read two of the three "conversations"--doing two takes of the first one--but it didn't matter, cause none of it worked anyway. I felt like I was trying to do what I was doing in a vacuum; My "scene partners" pretty much sounded like they were reading lines, with some difficulty, off of cue cards.

(It reminded me of my early days in community theater, at auditions where I'd sometimes be paired with someone who not only couldn't act, but couldn't even read all that well. Fortunately, that seemed to stop happening when I became more established in Lansing theater.)

It was sort of funny, in a way. I even thought, for a moment, that I was the victim of one of those new "Candid Camera"-type shows, but no such luck; It was just me caught in a bad situation (It was all I could do not to approach the casting guy afterwards and say "Can I go again, with English-speaking actors this time?").

So I'll be pretty surprised if anything happens with that one...


I had two auditions early afternoon, one for Fantastic Sams (At Mary Claire Sweeters) and the other for the Kids WB (At Chelsea Studios on Ventura Blvd).

The Fantastic Sams one was pretty straightforward; I was a minister, marrying a young couple (I start the ceremony, then say "I need a haircut..." and walk off, I guess to go to Fantastic Sams, leaving the young lovebirds dumbfounded).

There wasn't any copy, so I had to improvise the "Dearly Beloved" stuff

So I did--"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here, in the presence of God, blah blah blah..."--and when I said the "I have to get a haircut..." line, I said it as if I were suddenly aware that a roomful of people, not to mention "The Man Upstairs", were looking at me, and I was embarrassed to not be looking my best.

That seemed to make comedic sense to me, but the casting director didn't like it; We did another take, and this time he directed me to say it as if I was just saying it idly to myself as I walked off (He also wanted me to walk directly between the couple the second time).

Then he filmed the couple's shocked reaction from another angle, and we were done.

The best feeling I ever have walking out of these things is "There's no reason I couldn't get called for this one", but unfortunately, I didn't have that feeling this time out; I think I did okay--not great--but beyond that, I just saw a number of guys out in the lobby that I would have cast as ministers before me (I also regretted my recent haircut. For that matter, I regretted my balding pate; "Fantastic" or not, there's only so much anyone can do with my hair at this point).

I had to go immediately from that audition to the Kids WB one, at Chelsea Studios on Ventura.

As I always am every time I have two auditions the same day, I was concerned about being late, but I got there fine-I even found parking right in front of the building (At Mary Claire Sweeters, I almost had a dust-up with the parking lot attendant, but more on that another time).

I went in, and changed from my minister outfit to a more casual, WB backlot worker outfit.

There was also no copy for this spot. Basically, they needed guys to play WB workers, who were getting the backlot spruced up for some red-carpet affair starring the WB's stable of animated characters.

Four of us were called in, and given the direction that we were to be working, then look into the camera, excited, as limos pull up with Bugs Bunny, Storm and Rogue (From the X-Men), etc and so on.

The casting director gave us a very lengthy, elaborate explanation of the scene, and what he wanted us to do, but of the four of us, only me and an African American guy seemed to "get it" (The other two guys were obviously annoying the casting guy by not doing what he'd just spent ten minutes asking them to do).

All the time, there was a woman in the room as well, typing on a laptop. I don't know who she was, exactly, but when it was my turn to do my thing--we were called out individually, then at the end, were all in the scene together--she made some kind of affirmative noise, which I found encouraging, since she didn't make an affirmative noise when anyone else did their thing.

I left feeling more hopeful about this one, since I knew I'd had the right idea, and had been told they needed a number of guys.

But we shall see...

Wow...this has taken me forever to write, for some reason, and I'm nowhere near done. Crap...!

Anyway, more to come...


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