Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My first casting session

It's supposed to be the actor who's nervous at the audition, not the casting director. But there I am, running around like Mike the Headless Chicken when the First Girl comes early. Her audition was supposed to be at 2:15, moved from her original time of 4:15. School lets out at 2:09 on Tuesdays (I know, it's a weird school) so I have to set up the camera, the chairs, the signs and get myself together for my very first casting session in just over 5 minutes.

Then First Girl shows up at 2:00 wondering why there are teenagers in the audition room.

So I am frantic putting everything together and since she had changed her audition schedule Lead Actor wasn't scheduled to show up until at least 2:30. Since I had somehow overlooked her when sending sides out I give her the script and let her peruse it while she waits.

And waits.

And waits.

I call Lead Actor, who was cursing the existence of traffic on the 10.

So we wait.

He finally arrives at 3:22.

They read. The girl has clearly not been to a lot of auditions. I don't know that because I'm such an expert, I know it because Lead Actor will tell me so after the audition. She is cute and makes a few choices I like, but all in all doesn't have the spunk I was looking for. Very nice, though, and remarkably patient considering. I hope she does well and learns from her experience with me the way I learn from my experience with her.

I redirect her to pick up the pace a little, but all in all I don't have much else to say, and when I don't have any questions for her she looks terribly disappointed but says she enjoyed meeting us and goes on her way.

By this time I realize my next two girls are late.

So we wait.

And wait.

And it's pretty obvious they are not going to show.

It's 4:30. The next girl is at 5:35 but I had a feeling she'll show because she emailed me questions about the script last night.

I realize I don't have the key to unlock the room once I leave it, so I send Lead Actor with a $20 to Pollo Loco where Emily the big spender buys him dinner by proxy. We discuss his character over tacos el carbon and he has some excellent suggestions on how to read a particular line he doesn't totally get.

I will defend his honor any time, anywhere. That man is a damn fine actor.

At this point I start to realize how cold it is in this particular classroom and I'm wearing spaghetti straps so I'm tweaking like a junkie selling one torn flip flop for $5 on the Metro. That's exactly what you want out of your director/casting director/producer/English teacher.

5:35 rolls around and Second Girl is having trouble finding the school. I give her directions and lead her in and we introduce ourselves and it's very professional and she reads and I ask her to be a bit meeker and she reads again and it's all very fine, although I'm not sure she was quite meek enough but I'll have to watch the video to be sure.

It was also Second Girl's performance that helped me realize what was wrong with First Girl. I feel like my directing ability is improving already. If nothing else I should audition more people just to practice telling people how to alter their approach.

After Second Girl left we cleaned up and left so the adult parenting class could come in at 6. Thank God the girls after Second Girl also canceled or I would have been really embarrassed.

And that was it. In retrospect I could have done the whole thing at my apartment after all. More people probably would have showed, too, since they wouldn't have had to trek downtown on the 10 to a high school in an iffy neighborhood, a high school so new GPS has no knowledge of its existence thus virtually guaranteeing you will get lost somewhere in a street where MS13s patrol the sidewalks looking for people to decapitate in some sort of gang initiation.

Tomorrow two, possibly three girls will come over to my place to read. I think things will go a bit better. At least, I hope they do.

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