Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Audition (not the Takashi Miike film)

5 September 2007

Before I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be an actor. I've been paid a heck of a lot more for my acting than my writing, but most of the time I feel I barely qualify for either one.

I don't go to a lot of auditions, in part due to the fact that I'm so unattractive John Merrick once did a spit-take when he saw me, and in part due to my lack of confidence.

Last night, I heard there was an audition I might be right for for a low budget film. I got the character breakdown, a couple of sides, and the first fifteen pages of the script.

This morning, I read it all through. It wasn't terribly well-written (for example, the main character, Brian, briefly gets referred to as Sean), had the kind of typos I should be paid to catch and correct, and I couldn't tell what the genre was. Because Horror is my thing, I kept interpreting what I was reading as ominous, putting a sinister spin on lines that would be innocuous in a Romance or Screwball Comedy or Coming of Age story, any of which this script might have been.

I had nothing better to do, though, so I figured I'd at least consider going to the audition. I had lunch with tyranist and told him about it (and the fifteen pages I had read). He told me to go for it (though by the time I told him about it I had decided I was going to go unless he told me not to), since I have very little left to lose.

During the drive to the audition, though, I got a wee bit nervous. An audition is like a blind date, in a way. You don't have to be Nostradamus to predict that I'm not much good at those either.

I got to the audition and found only three people in the waiting room with me. One was a very young-looking girl, one was a woman I barely saw because she went in to read just as I got there, and another was there to welcome us and give us the sides if we didn't already have them. After a while, a fat kid and a twenty-something, handsome guy showed up. I put my name down on the check-in list, and sat waiting, reading over the pages I had read over several times on the drive over.

After a minute, I asked the girl if she was reading for Hillary (she was), since the sides I had most scrutinised was a scene between Brian and Hillary. She was, and I asked her if she wanted to run through it with me. We got one line read (hers), and the director came out and said he was ready for us. He asked us if we wanted to read together (which would've been lucky had we gotten a chance to do the scene in the waiting room beforehand; I guess I should've moved faster), and we did.

The writer/director was a young dude, the kind of guy who would've mentored me in high school, telling me why a Sega Genesis was better than a Nintendo, explaining what a clitoris is, and giving his theory that Batman is actually crazier than the villains he fights. He asked if we had any questions, and I told him, "Yeah, I wonder what happens after page fifteen and if I was meant to be afraid when I read it."

He answered our questions (the girl had a couple of good ones). I was happy to hear the plot of the story and to find that it was indeed Horror.* He had a camera set up in the room, as well as a couch (presumably for when pretty girls auditioned on their own), and asked us to say our names, give our representation (if any), and the part we were reading for.

The girl had brought a head-shot and resume, and apologised that the photo didn't look at all like her. I didn't bring a head-shot and resume (yeah, I've gone to that many auditions), and apologised that my (non-existent) photo REALLY didn't look like me. Then we went through the scene.

We did it twice, and he gave her all the direction (either I was that great or he knew just on seeing me that I wouldn't be getting the part), and well . . . I don't think I sucked, but I certainly didn't nail anything. It wasn't even nerves, really, since it was just the director and a video camera on a tripod in the room, and he seemed like a friendly, unassuming guy.

As I walked out, I told him I hoped he had a bit part for me, since I really wanted to know how the story came out (I don't really care, to be honest, but it seemed like a productive thing to say), then hit the bricks. The girl stuck around to read with the Twentysomething Stud, so I couldn't even talk to her about it. I had spent more time walking from the parking lot to the building than I did performing the scene, but that's longer than my last audition in Los Angeles lasted.

I've been an actor for a long time, but I don't audition well. And I certainly don't know whether I've got things or not, walking out. The last audition I went on, I had a pretty strong feeling I'd gotten the job. And then never heard from them.

On this one, I'd bet Steven Spielberg's favourite hat that I didn't get the part. And I'd bet his eighth-favourite hat that I don't get called for any supporting parts either. That's too bad; I really miss movie sets.

Oh yeah, and money.

Rish "Master Thespian" Outfield

*Though you would probably call it a Thriller. And then you'd be calling your mommy to tell her about what I said to you.

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