AT LAST

Six months, to the day, since my last show closed.

94 audition request e-mails sent out.

39 auditions for film, television, and theatre.

5 callbacks.

And finally, finally, FINALLY… I have been cast! (I know that technically I have the staged reading, but I don’t count that, since I didn’t audition for it.)

Last night after work, I headed to my first reading rehearsal. It is exactly as I expected it to be: not that great. The lines feel awkward in my mouth, the director is so awkward that he makes me feel awkward, and it’s a bit disorganized. However, it’s acting, and I felt so much better after we read through it just because I was acting, even if the script from which I am acting isn’t awesome. And, as I’ve been told before, I need to calm down about my approach to readings. I see them as productions with a visible script, but most people see them as informal presentations.

This staged reading falls in the middle of the spectrum as far as the readings I’ve been involved in go. The first staged reading I ever did was at a professional theatre (though the reading itself was not one of their official presentations) and it was terrible. The play was super long, super terrible, and it wasn’t even a play, it was a musical, and after having the script for (I am not kidding) half an hour, we were supposed to know all of the songs by heart… except that the director wouldn’t let us touch the piano. The whole reading was a joke and people walked out of it. I did a different reading last summer in Philadelphia which was very informal but really fun. I got the part by default; my friend Kara was originally cast but then got a bigger and better part and suggested that the director cast me in her stead. The director, as well as the other three actors, were all graduates of my university, I knew all but one of them, and it was a great time.

This one will most definitely not be as torturous or terrible as that first one, but the second one was so nice that I don’t think this one will measure up. The director’s a bit nervous, but while one of the other actresses is very derisive about it (when we stood up to start rehearsing, she whispered in my ear, “If you’re used to real acting, you’ll be disappointed with this.”) but, while I find it uncomfortable, I’ve been the nervous playwright. I’m still the nervous playwright. I get it. Plus, even if the play were worse than it is and if the director were so nervous as to be incapable of speech, he’s self-producing something of his, which takes guts. So while I might not like his script, I’m going to treat him with respect because that’s what professionals do, and I consider myself a professional.

The script’s pretty short, so we were dismissed earlier than we planned. I drove right to my audition for a student film at one of the center city universities here. The director let me in and took me to the audition room, where four other people waited with a camera and a computer. I hadn’t been sent any sides, so when they handed me the script, it was the first time I’d seen the words. They gave me a second to look them over and then I read with the script supervisor. The first scene was a voice-over part, the second a dialogue with my character’s best friend. I got some nice reactions from the people in the room, and the supervisor gave me some direction and we did the dialogue again. We moved onto the third scene next, in which my prospective character had no lines. A weird thing happened during this scene- they gave me the direction and I understood what they were asking, but the conscious part of my mind was out to lunch. But there’s this unconscious part of my mind that has saved me innumerable times- remembering lines I’ve otherwise forgotten onstage, delivering song lyrics I’m desperately reaching for to my mouth during college auditions- kicked in again. All of a sudden the scene was over and I knew I’d done what they wanted, when they wanted it, but my conscious mind was going, ‘Wait, did the scene start? When was I supposed to give the camera that look? What just happened?’ After I did the voice-over part again (no direction), I was done. As the director walked me out, we were chatting about how much we liked Old City and living in Philadelphia and then the director said the cruel words, “Your audition was really great. You’re definitely in my top two.”

While these words are, of course, very nice and complimentary on the surface, after nearly forty auditions, most of which have gone very well, I’ve started wishing that casting directors/directors wouldn’t tell me how good I am at their audition. I can’t count the number of auditions I’ve been on in the past six months where I’ve been told in one way or another that I’m great or perfect for the part or that they’ll definitely be contacting me, all of these words accompanied by a “You’re the one” smile, and while it’s always nice to hear those things, it makes the rejection even worse. Your hopes go up that much higher, and when you never get that call or your name’s not on that cast list, the dejected thoughts are even worse than they would have been ordinarily. Because if I’m great and perfect for the part and you want to call me… what did someone else do that made you choose them over me? I’ve been an actor long enough to know that it could have very little to do with talent, but no matter the reason, I’m still not cast.

But even with all of this, when I was told that I was in the director’s top two, it made me happy and hopeful. He said I’d know whether I had the part within 24 hours. At 10:28, my phone was lying on the floor, charging, and, unbeknownst to me, silently ringing. The caller left a voicemail, but Hurricane Sandy wouldn’t let the connection go through. I actually thought the call was from another director at the same university about another audition, so when Andrew, the director of last night’s audition, answered, I was shocked. He said that they loved my audition and they’d love to have me. I squealed a lot and said I was very excited, and right before he hung up, he said, “You’re a really great actress.” It’s really, really nice to hear that sometimes, especially because, to be honest, I don’t think I’m a great film actor. I like film acting, but not as much as theatre. Theatre is where my heart and skills lie… but I do love a spot of film work when I can get it!

The film’s not very long- only eight pages- and it will take two days to shoot. Because I have the lead (eeee!), I will be on set for the whole shooting time. I’ve worked with this school before, and it was a really great experience, so I can’t wait to work with them again.

It’s amazing how a part in a two-day shoot for a student film can reestablish your sense of self-worth 🙂

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Katie
    Oct 29, 2012 @ 20:06:46

    Yay!

    Reply

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