Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Just rode my bike in the pouring rain to an audition, only to find out that I had been given the wrong date: they are actually tomorrow.

Of course, I can't make it tomorrow: I moved everything to tomorrow so I could go to the audition today.

This made me look back and realize: every audition I've had lately has been a train-wreck, or a failure, or a complete waste of time.

But as actors, we are grateful to even be AUDITIONING, to be thought of AT ALL, so we forge on, eternally hopeful.

It's like making a living out of scratch tickets, some cosmic lottery.

Which is why I think only a very magical thinker would ever hope to believe that they could make a steady living out of doing this, without going bankrupt or crazy.

But I think actors ARE magical thinkers, which is why I like them.

The audition process is such a flawed system to me: I find it impossible to show a director what I can do (or even NOT do) with a role in 2 minutes.

Some people are REALLY good at auditioning. I am TERRIBLE at it.

Some actors enjoy auditioning. I dread it.

A lot of times, it just boils down to luck, or connections, or some random thing.

The biggest film role I ever got (Roger in "The Red Right Hand", this horror film set in the 70s - Netflix it! I play a gay vulcanologist with a dark past and HUGE bell-bottom slacks!) was TOTALLY random.

The day before the audition, I was doing a show in Wellfleet, and I was swimming in one of their ponds, and I got this nasty eye inflection from the algae or something, and I couldn't wear my contact lenses, because it was too painful.

So I wore my glasses.

Now, they always say (and I don't know who "they" is, really) to NEVER wear glasses to an audition: they might not be right for whatever character you're reading for, and they cover your eyes, somewhat, which isn't great on film, etc, etc.

But I had no choice. So I wore my glasses and got the part, and afterwards the director told me: "You know, you were the only one who wore GLASSES to the audition, and I just thought to myself: "Of course! Roger wears GLASSES!"

It was like this epiphany he had, over my glasses.

So, I got the part because I had an eye inflection.

All this just to say: you never know. It's completely random.

My favorite terrible audition was for a Boston casting agency (which will remain nameless, but they do all the local casting for the big movies that come to town).

I don't remember what this was for, exactly, but my audition was at 9 am, as that was the only time I could go (had to teach a class at 11pm).

I rode my bike in the freezing rain (it's always raining when I have to do these things) and got there early, like 8:30 am (which is REALLY early for me, as I typically don't get to bed until 2am).

I had the side, which was literally one line. I swear, my dry cleaner could play this part.

And there's other people there, in the unheated, drafty hallway, waiting.

But no one from the casting agency.

We wait and wait.

And wait.

Finally, an HOUR AND A HALF goes by, and now I have to get to my class.

I leave my headshot and resume on the table by the door, with a note saying how sorry to have missed you, maybe I could come back later, blah blah blah. I leave a message on their machine as well, like a responsible person. I never hear back from them.

A few weeks later, I bump into one of the actors that was waiting in the hallway with me and I asked him what had happened.

He told me that the kid running the auditions (and really, it was some KID, like 20 years old, who was apparently just supposed to tape us reading our lines into a video camera) had OVER SLEPT and that was why he was late (it was another HOUR after I left before he showed up to the agency).

So, he was about THREE HOURS LATE. And we all just stood there and waited.

Because when you come right down to it, really, we are powerless.

They have us, and they know it, and they can treat us like cattle, because really that's what we are to most of them. And, unfortunately, we come to expect that.

I never heard back from them, either. Not an apology, or an offer to re-schedule, or anything.
That's the really demoralizing part: I felt as though I wasn't worth calling back.

I was a dime a dozen to them, so there was no need.

Because they knew that the next time they called me, IF they called me, I would be crawling back on my hands and knees to do it all over again.

And that's when a little piece of my soul dies.

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