Archive for the 'auditions' Category

The Magazine Photo Shoot

Cranky recently did a photo shoot for a major magazine. Playing a mom of an errant teenager. Funny, the same magazine wrote a cover article about errant teenagers when Cranky was one and Cranky’s suburban town along with Cranky’s crazy friends were in that article. But I suppose one could write about errant teenagers every few years.

Anyway, the casting director said the stylist would be in touch about wardrobe. No word from the stylist for days. Then the stylist emails me the morning of the shoot and said to call her when I got up. When I call her, she tells me they were shopping until 11pm sorry she didn’t call, she is on the way to the shoot, she got some choices, could I bring some clothes, do I have khaki pants, they are thinking blue for me, yes going to put me in blue, do you have a blue dress, and , and how about nice jeans do I have a pair of those, and bring a bunch of accessories… At some point I just hold the phone away from my ear and let her go on.

Cranky has been through this before and has no intention of bringing the laundry list of clothes. Because I know. I know what will happen. Which does. When I get there, she hands me a blue dress with a price tag on it and says, “Go put this on.” And there is a mountain of accessories. There always is. No need to bring your best pearl earrings only to have them lost on chaotic set. No no.

In the photographer’s studio are three moms, three dads and three teenagers with their stage moms. One of them an uber stage mom who never stops talking about all the things her kid has done. She says she has a suitcase of pictures that she brings with her to show casting directors all the projects he’s been on. “That suitcase is heavy! There are so many pictures!” “How about just a resume? I suggest. She is living through the poor sucker. He looks resigned to it. On top of that, he is home schooled. No break from the constant fawning. I feel like telling him if he ever wants to feel like a normal teenager he can come and stay at my house and I will ignore him 22 hours a day.

There is talk on the set that this might be a cover story. So the “family” that the editors pick will be on the cover. Great I think. That will be fun. I am going to make sure my family rocks the shoot. Then I go into makeup. The makeup artist makes me look like Mommy Dearest. Frightening Cookie Monster eyebrows with a pale face. No mascara, eyeliner or lipstick. I frighten myself when I look in the mirror. When she is done I pray. Dear God please don’t let this be in the cover. Please don’t let this be on the cover. PLEASE NOT THE COVER!

Help! I’m Stuck In An Audition And I Can’t Get Out!

So after missing an audition I decide to turn over a new leaf. I will go to everything. I will not be judgmental.  I will have a good attitude. Well, that was my first mistake.

So when I get a call to go to an audition my attitude is so “good” I ignore all the usual warning signs. I am so into “getting out there” that I let it go that the audition is in an apartment building. Never a good sign. If they can’t fork over fifteen bucks an hours for a studio, fuck them. And when I ask, I am told, “Oh there are no sides. We are going to improvise.” Hmmmm. Again questionable.

But the new positive Cranky is looking on the bright side and ignores all this. The new positive Cranky is giving everybody the benefit of a doubt. The new positive Cranky says; “Sure!”   And I head uptown to 15 Central Park West for the audition.

Probably the fancy address helped to quell my fears. The presence of that many doormen somehow makes the possibility that I am going to see a psycho killer at home highly unlikely.

When I get there I CANNOT believe the lobby. It has a pre-war feeling and pre-war dimensions, and yet it is new. I ask the doorman about it and he tells me the building cost one billion dollars to build. “They used the same stone that was used to build the Empire State Building. They wanted a building that would fit in with the rest of Central Park West. Not like that ugly glass building next store that Trump built.” Its true this building is elegant. The Trump one next door doesn’t cut it. But if you‘ve ever watched “The Apprentice” and seen the inside of Donald Trump’s apartment, this is understandable. He has terrible taste the poor thing. I think his home décor style is called “Early Hotel Lobby.”

So I enjoy the walk through the lobby. I pass through the corridor that goes through the walled formal gardens. I go up on a spotless elevator. What the hell kind of independent filmmaker lives here? I wonder. What kind? The rich kid who lives with their parents kind.

I find this out when I enter the room.  It is a conference room that is available to tenants. I have to ask who lives here. “Oh, me and my parents,” answers the director.

So she explains the film to me. In it a woman gets followed home by some guy who then pushes her in the door and shoots her. I now realize I never got a script BECAUSE THERE IS NONE. She’s gonna improvise the entire film. I am not hot on that. You can usually tell by the quality of the dialogue when it is all improvised. And as a writer I always think things would be better if somebody wrote something.

So there is no script. The director then says we are going to improvise. She wants me to walk around the room like someone is following me.  Huh?  Walk around the room?  At this point I’m sure she must realize what I am thinking because I am absolutely sure I have a self-diagnosed condition called FACIAL EXPRESSION TURRETS. I can’t help myself really. Every emotion just passes over my face without me having a say in it. It is great for acting, but sucky in life.

This is when I need a strategy to get myself out of the room. A sure fire way to get out of there. But I AM STUCK IN THE AUDITION AND I CAN’T GET OUT. I may need a “Lifeline” device to hang around my neck with a button I can press to summon help.

She wants me to walk around the room? Which basically means circling the fucking conference table whilst looking over my shoulder. I mean you expect this kind of retarded shit at a commercial audition, but at one for a film?  No.

But I can’t get out of the room, so I do it. I avoid making any expression at all. I am not gonna do the Laura Dern in ”Jurassic Park” look. I feel like an idiot. I am circling a table. At one point I stop as if I am at a traffic light. My method training is surfacing willy-nilly. When I finish she says, “Oh, we didn’t want you to stop. WOULD YOU MIND DOING IT AGAIN?” Please Dear God Please God get me out of here. So again I am circling circling.

The feast de resistance comes when she tells me to now make believe that I open the door, some guy pushes me in, and then he shoots me. The only thing is, THERE IS NO GUY. Do I look like frigging Marcel Marceau? Can I push myself through a doorway? Can I shoot myself?

That’s it. So I look at the assistant director and ask if he can be the guy who pushes me in the door and shoots me. He looks real embarrassed. He’s embarrassed? I just circled a conference table for ten minutes!

They look at me like I’ve got some balls. When in reality, if I had balls I would have left fifteen minutes ago.

He blushes through the whole thing, which makes me superbly happy.

When I leave, I sit in the beautiful garden with the fountain that so looks like the afterlife. It is quiet there. Not an idiot in sight. I regain my composure. I decide to walk across Central Park even though there is a light drizzle. Again, I am alone. With the trees. With the plants. It is very quiet. I feel all right. I know Cranky will live to act another day.

A Cranky Confession

Cranky hasn’t written in AGES. AGES AGES. First, there was absolutely nothing going on in Cranky’s life. No auditions. No nothing. Then I got busy and had no time. Well maybe there was time. Maybe if I could stop watching “Real Housewives” (WATCH THEM FIGHT! WATCH THEM SHOP!) there might have been time.

So I will pick up life after the great hard drive crash of 2010. A little story that is so embarrassing I told my friend that I was too embarrassed to blog about it. “But your blog is anonymous!” she said. “I know,” I answered, “and I’m still too embarrassed to write about it.”

It all started when I got my computer back up and running and received three thousand emails at once. I did my best to weed through all the Smart Bargains and horoscope messages and find anything I needed to know.

I came across one with the subject: Audition. “Audition! I thought, “Audition? When? Thursday. Thursday? TODAY is Thursday!” I gulped my tea down and ran to get dressed. I stared into my closet in a daze trying to figure out what to wear. I came up with a salmon colored cardigan over a white shirt and a pair of jeans and beige flats. I felt smart. I felt springy. I ran to the subway with a smart spring in my step. The F train takes forever. All the trains are going in the other direction. COME ON! COME ON! I decide that if I am late I will not apologize for being late because it only calls attention to the fact that you are late. Finally a train comes and I jump on the last car, which I know will let me off by the First Avenue staircase.

At the station I bound up the staircase and run down the street. I find the address. There are three doors into the theater building. I try the first one-it is locked. The second – the same. The third – ah also locked. Huh? I go back and try the first. The second. The third. “How late am I?” I think. So I look at the printed email. Oh yes I am late. A WEEK LATE. The audition was LAST THURSDAY. The smart the spring? They’re all gone. I imagine someone from the theater seeing me and thinking that I am a mental case.

I need a cappuccino ASAP. I find a nice place that allows dogs, (only in the East Village) and I pet every dog that walks in for therapy.   It’s the best place to people watch. I realize the East Village is one of the only places in the world with octogenarian hipsters. My favorite of the day is the man with the grey ponytail who walks in with a cane covered in a mosaic of little mirrors.

The benches in front of the café are lined with people looking like a row of pigeons catching the sun.

Another octogenarian hipster comes in. He has the de rigueur grey ponytail. He is wearing faded overalls and a knit cap. He has an athletic physique. His body has an alertness, a quickness. I picture him standing and working on big canvasses. He does not go to the counter. He goes straight to a table and whips out a thermos of coffee and a book. A THERMOS. He’s not buying nothing. And because this is the East Village and he probably goes there every day, nobody says nothing. It’s so nice to be off the capitalist grid for a moment. I feel better now. At the rate I am going it’s nice to know there is a possibility of being an interesting octogenarian. Going to auditions a week late is not going to make any big success out of me any time soon. I should start collecting the requisite turquoise jewelry now.

The Weekend Audition Has Got to Go!

Today was not the best day I’ve ever had. I had to go to an audition. On a Saturday. I resent the weekend audition. I do. I know I am supposed to be dedicated and willing to do anything for an acting job blah blah blah but the weekend audition still burns me up.

So, I had planned out my day the day before. I figured I had just enough time to take my weekly African Dance class with the live drummer– which is one of my favorite things in the world. I was raving about it to a musician friend of mine recently who responded with; “Oh really? What region of Africa?” To which I responded; “The Alvin Ailey region I think.”

But I digress. So I had it all planned out.

But, when I woke up this morning the alarm clock said 7:45 – plenty of time to walk the dog, have a cup of tea, some raisin toast and a sit down to polish up the monologue they sent me, and go to class and make the audition. However upon entering the kitchen I learned it was actually 10:00 am and the battery on my alarm clock had died. NOOOOOO.

So no time for anything. Must walk dog. Must feed dog. Trying to get ready with a dog clamped on to my left foot. No time to discipline dog. My husband says this is why he is Alpha dog and I am not. I try throwing a toy in between putting on eyeliner. I try to throw it far enough to finish one eye. She’s back. Throw it again. She’s back. Again, back, again, back, again, back. I am sure as shit this dog is a terrier. I never wanted a terrier. But I love her now so it is too late. I get up to go to the closet and she latches on to my foot again so I have to drag her into the living room to get the silver coasters off the cocktail table. The silver coasters are the only thing that will stop her when she is in clamping mode. I have to clang them together. Repeatedly. My husband thinks I am a moron because being Alpha dog he only has to look at her.

After coaster alert I forgot exactly where I was headed in the first place.

I finally get out the door and when I am two blocks away I realize I forgot to put the monologue I was going to brush up in my purse. Too late to go back. Run down the stairs to the A train. NO A OR C TRAINS RUNNING AT THIS STATION says the magic marker sign. Fucking weekends fucking track work. So I run to the 2,3 three blocks away. Asking myself seriously if this is worth it. When I get there there are 10 people staring at an elevator with open doors that isn’t moving. Finally the other elevator comes.

I get on the train and I swear I am seated across from an actress preparing a monologue. I’m not kidding. She knows hers by heart. She obviously doesn’t have a terrier puppy. It starts annoying me. I want to close my eyes and meditate for a minute but I can’t look away. She is mouthing the words complete with much eyebrow raising and crazy intense looks and jutting of the lower teeth out of her mouth. And darting looks back and forth. I swear. The head- back and forth and back and forth. And now a crazy look. And now a pumping of the eyebrows. I look at a folder she is carrying and read the word “Shakespeare” upside down. Ah hah! She is doing bombastic Shakespeare on the 2 train. It is so fucking annoying to me that I can’t stop looking. And why is no one else noticing I wonder? Until a Hispanic guy with headphones gets on the train and sits down next to her. He notices the bizarre behavior. So he looks her up and down very carefully to figure out if she is a crazy homeless. When he decides she isn’t he sits back and returns to Ipod world. Fine. Fine. Leave Cranky alone in her annoyance. It’s so great to be annoyed with some one else. It’s one of those days. Everything is annoying me. When a man hits me with his Toy Are Us bag and an entire third grade class on a field trip gets on the car, I am so sorry I didn’t stay home.

I make it to the audition with ten minutes to spare. When I go in I ask if they have a copy of the monologue and they say, “No but someone left one by accident on the chair.” I realize yes I should have stayed home. And after I do the monologue and they hand me sides and ask me to read a scene I’ve never seen before with no preparation I am mentally kicking myself for skipping brunch with my husband and friends. And to rub it in, they have an actress there who has a part in the film read with me and she sits in a chair on my upstage left side, so I have a choice of relating to her and having the back of my head to the camera or having my face to the camera and looking like I don’t know how to act. But does it really matter anymore?

When I go to take the same train back there are no trains running at that station so I have to walk eight blocks weaving my way through slow walking lumbering tourists who are walking four across on the sidewalk. Times Square on a Saturday – thanks again screwy filmmaker.  The city needs to implement my idea of tourist walking lanes on the sidewalk. When I finally get to the platform the doors of the car close in my face.

But I’m home now. I’m on the couch. The doggie is on the back of the couch looking out the window her arm resting in what I call “Statesman Pose”. All is quiet and contentment now.

She does seem like terrier but I’m also sure she has a lot of poodle. Every dog now is crossed with a poodle. There are Cockapoos, Jackadoodles, Dachapoos, Labradoodles. Someday the poodles will take over the world. People will start having their offspring crossed with them. “What are you having? A boy or a girl?” we will ask. Oh, I’m having a Boydoodle. They are completely hypoallergenic and smarter than the average boy.”

Rescue Dog To The Rescue

I actually got a call from The Onion News Network again. Which is mind boggling after my last encounter there. The “Ah, that was OK, but could you possibly say some of the dialogue from the script?” moment I had with them. (See post August 19, 2009.)

So, good to know. The Onion News Network will give you another chance even if you are apparently totally retarded. So even though I was totally mortified and all it was no biggy in their minds. Which is probably the case in 99% of all life experiences for an actor. You could die and other people are like’ “Huh?”

This coincided with my husband and I fostering a dog. A pretty neurotic dog. Especially at first, and they called me on day three of dog fostering. All I could think about was whether or not the dog had gone poopy yet. Really nothing else mattered. Leave it to Cranky to get an anal retentive dog. “Please poop. Please poop. Please poop.” Was all I kept thinking as we walked around the neighborhood. If she finally pooped, I was gonna have a party. A party with a cake. A log roll cake with candles.

So I was obsessed with rescue dog and her pooping problems and everything else dimmed by comparison. So I never did get around to looking at the script. I never got around to washing my hair.

The morning of the audition I took foster dog to the vet across the street. She gave the dog a suppository. “I hope you have time to walk her around. You don’t want an explosion in the house,” the vet said.

I was supposed to be getting ready for the audition, but instead was circling endlessly around the neighborhood with little Miss Anal Retentive waiting for the poopy explosion. The poopy explosion that never happened. It was time to get dressed. No poopy. It was time to leave. No poopy. The audition is in ten minutes. No poopy.

I finally gave up and ran upstairs and threw clothes on and ran to the train. Thinking I could at least study the script on the train. Which I could have done really. If I had remembered the script. Oh well.

So I get there. And the elevator is broken. I have to walk up ten floors of stairs in sling back heels. I tell myself, “Just imagine it is two five floor walk-ups.” I once actually lived in a seven-floor walk-up. But that is another story. I still have nightmares about that apartment.

I finally reach floor ten. I am sweating. I am panting. I am late. I don’t know a word of the sides. And really, I am totally unconcerned. I am thinking, “You all think this is important? Rescue dog needs to poop. I just want to get this over with and go home and check on the poopy situation.”

So I grab a script. I learn the script. I give a great audition.

It was a case of Rescue Dog to the rescue.

I get a callback. I screwed up every way you can screw up an audition and I get a callback. Why? Because I DIDN’T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT. No self-sabotage was happening. I was not freaked out about being late/sweaty/unprepared.

Thank you rescue dog. Thank you for the Zen life lesson. And thank you for finally pooping.

The Absolutely Dreadful Audition

Got the below email from a fledgling director:

“From: Adam Drysin
Subject: Penny Dreadful Audition
Date: Oct 16, 2009, at 7:35 PM EDT

Hi everyone, thank you all so much for your enthusiastic response! Due to the sheer volume of actors interested (over 150 of you have already confirmed), I’ll have to send out a mass email.”

Dopey dopier dopiest – like I care how many people responded? Is there a difference between a laconic response and an enthusiastic one? Can you feel a vibe when you look at a submission-“Hmmmm this feels enthusiastic!”  Seriously?  If you asked any of the sheer volume of actors if they were enthusiastic about your project the most common answer would probably be; “Ah I dunno.  The guy sounds kind of lamo but I’m not doing anything else,  so what the hell.”

“Unfortunately, if you are unable to make it between 2 and 6 on this upcoming WEDS 10/21 I am currently unable to accommodate you. However, I will be looking to schedule a make up date in the coming weeks.”

Huh? So you WILL be able to accommodate me?

“If you have responded that you would like to come on Wednesday at a specific time, be assured that I have made a note of it and you will be seen before you have to leave.”

But not when you ARRIVE at your chosen time?

“Your presence is not unappreciated and everyone who comes to audition will be seen. I only ask that you be patient, since I am pretty much putting this whole thing together by myself.”

And I should care why? Thanks for warning me that you’re unprofessional and have no friends.

“Attached you’ll find a side to prepare- it’s a scene from David Mamet’s play Boston Marriage. I find I have the best results with casting calls when actors reading material I haven’t written.”

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP WARNING WARNING IDIOT ALERT IDIOT ALERT

“Looking forward to meeting you all, don’t hesitate to call or email me with any questions.

Adam Drysin

P.S. ALSO, please watch this video, it will give you a good sense of I do auditions…

(just kidding, but you should all watch it anyway because it’s great)”

Appropriate for facebook but for a casting email? Not so much.

OK, so after reading this email Cranky should have known better. Cranky should have skipped it. I shoulda stayed home. But no, Cranky went anyway. This is when I could use the actor HOTLINE.  I needed someone to tell me; “JUST SAY NO!”  But I went.   And of course it was a big mess. A green room full of actors where no one left. The NO EXIT of audition rooms.

So Cranky and another actress took matters into their own hands – we had a minor rebellion. We were free. For all I know those actors are still in there. Waiting waiting.

The story of what we found is in the email below that I wrote to Mr. Drysin the moment I got home.

“From: crankyactress
Subject: PENNY DREADFUL AUDITION – ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL
Date: October 21, 2009 5:40:19 PM EDT
To: adamdrysin@nyu.edu

Dear Adam -

I unfortunately attended the ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL PENNY DREADFUL AUDITION and waited and waited. I had to listen to two actresses talking to each other across the room about how they flushed their cell phone down the toilet and why they only did one year of the two-year conservatory program they were in. One of the stories involving bronchitis and mononucleosis and how she was told not to attend school with bronchitis but if she didn’t attend she would fail. Why why why do boring loud people always talk to each other ACROSS the room? So thanks for that Adam. I have a million things to do but I traveled to the village to sit in a plastic chair and listen to drivel.

There were ten actors waiting to be seen for your project. When another actress and I realized that the monitor had not called any one in for over fifteen minutes we decided we needed to figure out WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON. So we left the green room and searched the halls until we found the audition room. There was music coming from inside. We were not auditioning for a musical. We knocked on the door. There you and the monitor were. Listening to music. Having snacks.

You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.

When we asked, you said, “Ah, um, ah we were changing the tape.” In a video camera. Which takes all of two minutes. There is a myth that actors are stupid. You obviously believe this MYTH. So by then, with ten actors there and each audition taking approximately five minutes each, I would have had to wait about an hour. Nice.

You said you had a “big turnout”. The amount of actors who responded is of no concern to me. If you choose to audition 150 actors for a short film I suggest you figure out an organized way to do it or maybe narrow it down by half. Asking 150 actors to come between 2 and 6 is preposterous.

So bye bye Adam. We left.

If you can’t organize an audition what is your film set gonna be like? Time management is a huge part of being a good director. I know because I’ve worked with a lot of them. A lot of talented EXPERIENCED people who would never THINK of treating other people this way. I’ve heard NYU costs like 40,000 bucks a year. I suggest you take this money and open a small business and get someone organized to run it. You obviously have no respect for actors. And good actors are gonna walk away.

I have been in the First Run Festival. I’ve been in films that have been in festivals all over the world. I do my work. I prepare. I’m on time. I fix my fucking hair and put on makeup. I take my work seriously. I am continually working on my craft.

Do I wanna work with a JOKER? The answer would be no.

From,

AN ACTRESS WHO JUST WASTED A PART OF HER DAY”

The No Notice Audition

I got home yesterday afternoon after doing six loads of laundry at the local laundromat. The laundromat that uses all the machines to do laundry for people who have their laundry picked up and dropped off. Cranky used to be one of those people.

But tough times call for drastic action like doing your own laundry.

It’s not a people friendly place this laudromat. Because there is no room for people. It is so narrow that no matter where you are you are in the way. Putting your clothes in the washer- you’re in the way. Taking them out of the dryer- you’re in the way. Folding your laundry- you’re in the way. It’s so narrow it’s like a bowling alley lined with washing machines and dryers.

And everyone hates doing laundry, so everyone there is disgruntled. Especially the maids who are there doing other people’s laundry. So it was me and the maids yesterday. And Jose the laundry man. Jose, who used to deliver my laundry in better times. Jose, who looked at me like “What are you doing here?” when I walked in pushing my loser shopping cart. Jose, who had to explain to me, “Put quarters in three time.” When I put one round of quarters in and stared at the machine confusedly when it didn’t spin. Jose, with the huge sweat rings under his arms, because not only is it cramped, it has no air conditioning and maintains a steady temperature of 100 degrees.

So I spent the afternoon sweating like a bull and having people say; “Excuse me!” “Excuse me!” “Excuse Me!”

So even though I had spent three hours at the gym the night before, I did not wash my hair because I knew the laundry sweat sauna was on deck for the next day.

And I get home at three o’clock and there is an email from a casting agent asking me to come in before 7pm for a call for a print ad. Usually I would think, “Oh please, are they kidding?” But tough times require that Cranky tough it out.

So even though I have dirty horrible hair, blood shot eyes and am traumatized from the sauna/laudromat I have to go.

They say they want you to come in looking like a fifties housewife. So I get out the heat rollers I haven’t used in ten years, plug them in and hop in the shower. No time to wash my hair. Get out. Put rollers in dirty hair. Use half a bottle of Visine to remove the the laundry heat aggravation. Put on a blouse, a ton of pearls and red lipstick and pink blush only on the cheeks.

I run down to the elevator and practically run over my neighbor who is getting off. He says; “Hey Cranky! You look beautiful.” This is great because I was afraid I was looking like a dork. We all need someone to say we look good when we are on the way to an audition.

I get to the office and the audition is a three second mug shot session. “Stand on the T and hold your number near your face.” SNAP. “”Turn and face left.” SNAP. “Face forward and look proud and warm.” SNAP.

So snap I am outta there, and for six blocks I wondered if my proud expression was effusive enough. It’s hard to look proud. Was I proud of someone else? (I went with this one.) Or proud of myself? Or proud as in arrogant? I keep making the face I made for the last shot as I walk down the street. Does it FEEL proud enough? Do I look like a psycho walking down Sixth Avenue?

It’s amazing how much post audition analytical thought can be spawned by the three-second audition. Especially when things are slow. Especially when I am doing my own laundry.



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