I received an email that I had an audition for a tv show. I had three scenes, I was playing a stewardess, and all you need to know is that the plane went from being okay, to something going wrong, to the plane crashing. With the three scenes being so extreme, in my smart actor head I figured that they would shoot the audition one of two ways.
My set up was simple and specific, you cannot walk in and out of frame nor can you turn your back to camera. Those are simple and basic rules for an on camera audition.
I figured that casting might decide to keep the camera rolling and shoot it out as one continuous scene. So, I figured, once I shot the first scene which was simply exchanging flirtatious pleasantries, I would take a moment to improvise by adding in a few lines to get me into the chaos of the second scene (plane crashing) which I could turn in to because that character was set up on the right side of the camera.
The reader was on the left, so after delivering my lines on the right, I could then turn back to my camera left and engage with the reader for the final scene.
If they didn’t shoot it like Example 1 then they would shoot from scene to scene. Which means that they would start, stop, start, stop, start, and stop.
I arrived at my audition. I was brought in to the room, feeling good, feeling ready; when I was introduced to the casting director she was on her phone. She did not look up or acknowledge my presence in the room, and left the room for my audition to go listen to her voice mail, which meant she wasn’t going to see my audition. I felt disappointed, this was the first time I had gotten to audition for this casting director, and like everybody I wanted to leave a good and lasting impression.
However I’m not the first actress this has happened to, nor am I the last. The director flew up from his chair and ran around to shake my hand. I felt like I was on the Price Is Right! I slated, cracked a bad joke, and then the audition happened.
The director went to sit back down, and the reader was sitting on the other side of the room. They were still laughing at my bad joke until they weren’t and from here my friends we go.
INT. Audition Room
An overzealous director and me, an enthusiastically confused actress.
DIRECTOR: So, do you know what we’re doing here?
I look extremely confused but try to mask it and turn it back at him with an intellectual question.
DIRECTOR: Do you know what you’re doing here, what we are looking for?
I am still confused, so I come to the only conclusion that he must be referring to the character breakdown my agent sent me.
ME: A red headed, bubbly young……
The director cuts me off with a smile.
DIRECTOR: A stuartist.
I let out a huge sigh of relief; Thinking why didn’t he just say so in the first place. Talk about trick questions!
ME: Yes! Yes, I do know what you are looking for.
The director still very excited!
DIRECTOR: Okay, so move back. Move all of the way back in to the corner.
I listen and move back Geisha doll style.
DIRECTOR: Okay good, so you have a cart.
I think yes when I am on set I would, I actually visualized myself on the aircraft for a moment.
DIRECTOR: You have a cart.
Thinking to myself, I just said, ‘yes’ and wondered if this was another trick question? I react with a somewhat convincing smile.
He was still smiling on the outside, but there was no smile on the inside.
DIRECTOR: YOU HAVE A “CART!”
End Dialogue – Continue Story.
All of a sudden I threw my arms up as if I did have a cart! I actually mimed my way through an audition! I had no idea what was going on, I had never been asked to do such a thing.
From there it just got worse, he started adding in lines after my scene had finished, I couldn’t hear him plus I had no idea what he was doing, he wanted me to fake fall, so I just sort of threw myself to the ground and hoped for the best.
The audition finally came to an end, but the director seemed even more gung ho, ran up and thanked me again! I was laughing in a controlled yet hysterical way at this point because I wished I could have just watched me audition. I couldn’t tell if this was the worst audition I had ever done, if this was a joke or what! I do know that if I had witnessed what I just did, I would have been killing myself laughing! Talk about a new sketch for Saturday Night Live!
After leaving the audition that day I didn’t feel bad. After all, I did listen and so therefore I did do my job.
Maybe my freak flag was flying, but as Liz Lemon would say, ‘HI-5 to a Million Angels!’ In regards to getting on my mat…let’s just say my form of yoga that day involved treating myself to a mani/pedi with a little retail therapy on the side!