Friday, March 27, 2009
During a recent audition, the casting director commented on my footwear. "Nice boots," he said. "Thank you," I replied. Then he chuckled to himself for a few seconds and then began the scene. What the hell is that about? Obviously a private joke. He can't have been sarcastic. I mean, my boots were brown, very normal looking boots. You might laugh if they were clown boots, bright pink or very pointy. Haha. Very funny. Let's all take a moment and guffaw. But they aren't. They're common brown leather boots. So why the comment? Did he genuinely like them? And if so, why the laughter?
During another audition, I noticed, mid-speech, that the casting director was looking at a resume. (His assistant was reading opposite me) It wasn't my resume, mind you - which would have been nice. If he's not going to look at me in my audition, I'd rather he was looking at my resume than looking down his assistant's blouse. But no. He was looking at someone else's resume. I know this, because the headshot stapled to the back of the resume was very clearly not mine.
Now, to be fair, he could have made a mistake. The casting assistant did take 2 men in to the waiting area at the same time. (See? Some of you are confused already) Both of us gave her our headshots. (Stay with me) Then he called "Gideon" and in I went. (I know, it's dizzyingly complex) There's only a 50/50 chance of him picking up the correct resume. But when each actor's resume is attached to each actor's headshot, the odds have to improve, right? And when my name (like every other actor in this town) is printed in bold typeface on the front of the headshot which, coincidentally, also has a large colour image of, um, ME, you would think he could pick up the right one. Especially since the other actor had a shaved head! You would also think that he would quickly realise his mistake and either swop resumes or put the one down. But no - he continued browsing through the other guy's credits until I finished the scene. Sweet. Perhaps I was so dull, he thought he'd see who was next...
My other favorite is where I arrived to audition for a major series about a quirky detective. I arrive 10 minutes early, to find the office locked. I knock and knock but no answer. So I wait. In the sun. Slowly sweating in my "hitman black" sweater. After 20 minutes, someone saunters up and unlocks the door, but says nothing to me, the obvious waiting-to-audition-actor, brandishing my stapled sides (script). So, after a moment, I go through the door and sit in the waiting room. After another 5 minutes, the guy comes through with a sign-in sheet and says "I'll be with you in a minute; I have to make some calls". I sign in and wait a further 5 minutes, before he calls me in.
In the room, he asks what role I'm reading for and then pages through his file to the scene. Then he looks at me expectantly, waiting for me to start. I look at him. He looks at me. I remind him that he starts the scene. Oh. He starts the scene and remains, head buried in the script. I wonder where his reader is and where the hidden camera is for this "on-tape for producers" audition.
Midway through the audition, the door bursts open, and in walks a guy carrying a tripod and camera, no doubt for the day's auditions. He has a brief chat with the casting person, who suggests he comes back in a few minutes. The guy leaves. Then the casting guy says "okay. let's just take it back a couple lines..." And we finish the scene. Did I get the gig? No. Will I ever get back in to read for them? Unlikely. Because the guy won't remember me, as he didn't watch a second of my audition. However, my name will be sufficiently familiar for him to know that he brought me in - I just didn't make an impression, so he won't call me back.
Now, one could make the argument that I have every right to utter the following responses to the aforementioned behavior:
Scenario 1. "Excuse me. I'm glad you like my boots, but what's so funny? Do you think it will help my performance if you laugh at me for no apparent reason immediately before starting the scene?"
Scenario 2. "Excuse me. That resume you're looking at? It's not mine. I'm Gideon Emery. The name on the one you're holding is Not Gideon. He's still in the waiting room. Would you rather see him first?"
Scenario 3. "Excuse me. You're obviously a little rushed this morning. How about I come back later when you're all set up?"
Unfortunately, as an actor, you can't. Because if you do demand the same basic respect you offer them (being polite and courteous), you won't be seeing them again. Ever. Naturally everyone is entitled to a bad day. And not all casting people behave like this. Most are consummate pros. But it can be a challenge when you spend hours preparing for a casting, missioning through traffic, struggling to find a parking spot, only to have the person clearly sign the fact that they couldn't be bothered.
Sometimes I couldn't be bothered to blog. But I do. I suck it up and blog, people.
Because blogging is all that separates us from the beasts...