What’s been going on in the wonderful world of auditioning, you ask? Let me see if I can highlight a few choice moments from over the past month or so for your reading pleasure… it’s time for the casting roundup!
The Modelling Casting
I responded to a casting call for a designer who was looking for some actor-y types (humans able to perform actions in clothing?) to model some couture bits for London Fashion Week. I sent them my headshot and measurements, and they subsequently called me in for the casting. Probably assuming I’m graceful, calm, cool, and collected.
In reality, I am much more like a ridiculous and quirky protagonist in a Hallmark Channel romcom. In fact, the whole ordeal could have been a shot for shot scene from a Lifetime Original starring Jennie Garth or Melissa Joan Hart. Or that chick from A Christmas Prince!
First, I stumbled (like, literally, I nearly fell down approximately 11 times) in unaccustomed heels through a park as I tried to follow Citymapper on an unlikely route from the tube to the studio. Upon arrival at what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse across from some council housing, I did another thorough Google background check to ensure that I was visiting an actual company and not a gang of murderers. Reconfirmed in the legitimacy of my mission, I sent B a text of my location (that I’m sure he picked up about 5 hours after my murder would have occurred) and rang the buzzer.
‘My name is _________. I’m here for the…. casting?’
‘Head on up to the third floor.’
Up the stairs I huffed, dragging my bag containing a hardback edition of the complete works of Shakespeare that I needed for a reading later that evening. By the time I reached the double doors of my demise, I was doubtless looking less than model-esque. It was very humid.
Push or pull, push or pull???? How do these doors open????
At last, with a great clatter I burst, new born, into a brightly lit open-plan Mac-filled office space. A sea of judgemental hipster faces turned to look upon me and what I’m sure was now my completely wild hair and overall frazzled appearance.
I’m here! I’m the model!
Next, someone took what I’m sure were some horrendous mugshot photos of me (full body as I awkwardly stood straddling my Shakespearean tome on floor, unaware that my legs were supposed to be in the shot), and then sneered, ‘There will be a fitting next week [looking me up and down again] for those who are…. successful.’
I get it. I get it! I’M NOT SUCCESSFUL! But please let me know when you are casting for the character of loveable Samantha, the clumsy intern who keeps dropping stacks of folders and running into filing cabinets whenever she encounters Marcus, a modern day Mr Darcy who works in her same office. I’m your gal!
The Cold Reading
To say that the reading in this audition was cold would be an understatement. It was icy cold. Freezing.
I was notified about the audition at 10pm the night before it was scheduled to occur. Oddly, they didn’t send any sides to look over in advance, but they did mention that you could arrive early to the casting and have a look at the script.
Okay, that’s fine, I’m good at cold readings!
I recalled that I’d also said I could do an upper RP accent… okay, it’ll probably be fiiiiiiine… I can sorta do that!
So the next day I showed up 30 minutes (thirty minutes!!!!!!) before my allotted time slot to give myself ample opportunity to assess for what exactly I was auditioning. I was buzzed into the studio by a Dickensian man (straight out of Venus’s taxidermy shop) who thrust two sizeable stacks of papers in my hands and was about to explain the process when… a lady (director? producer? lackey?) popped her head out of audition room and said, ‘We need you to come in and read right now!!!!’
‘Ermmm… my audition time isn’t scheduled for another 30 minutes?’
‘That’s okay, we will be behind if we don’t see you right away.’
That does not make sense.
‘Okay… but I haven’t looked at these sheets at all.’
Like, AT ALL.
So I go in, still wearing my coat and my bag, and the panel tells me I can sit or stand, whichever I think is right for the scene.
I HAVE NOT EVEN GLANCED AT THE SCENE (SCENES?!) SO HOW ON EARTH COULD I MAKE A CHOICE ABOUT WHAT FEELS RIGHT.
I decided to settle into a chair and at least make myself comfortable for this farce.
‘This character needs to have a very heightened RP accent–can you do that?’
‘I’ll give it my best shot.’
You stupid asshole.
I look down at the script (for the first time) and don’t see the name of the character I had been asked to play.
‘Um, so, which character am I supposed to be reading?’
‘Um, neither of these characters is named Clara?’
‘She is called ‘Izzy’ in the script.’
‘Okay, go on.’
Alrighty! So I launched in with zero concept of what this character is like/what her name even is and no idea what could possibly be happening in the scene. It was like being part of a fun choose your own adventure!
I decided to play Clara/Izzy breezy and carefree… an acting choice that I had to quickly rethink halfway through a speech where she was talking about her husband being killed the war.
Okay, grief and despair, grief and despair. Wait, keep up the RP! Hold up, what’s she talking about now?
This charade went on for several more pages until the person reading with me just stopped responding. Guess we’re done!
‘Okay, have a safe journey back home.’
And good luck getting a production off the ground in such a wildly disorganised and unprofessional manner!
The Body Double
I decided to sign up to one of the reputable extras casting agencies because I thought it might be a fun way to earn some cash when not working at the pub. You know, I imagined getting to wear a pretty frock and standing in the background on The Crown or something.
I was shortly alerted about my first gig offer.
It was to play a fully nude body double. Obviously.
I was horrified. Naturally.
But then I considered. It’s for a lead actress in a verrrrrry big deal show for a verrrrry big deal network. I do look an awful lot like her. The body is dead. No one would know it’s me! They’d think it’s her! A free trip! And a chance to work for my favourite provider of television that rhymes with ‘Jon Snow’!
Don’t worry, Mom, in the end I decided to decline the offer to disrobe.
But never a dull moment, eh?!
I know (I know!) I have never managed to stick to a consistent posting day for the past two years BUT … I’m going to try and catch up with you every Thursday from now on. We’ll see how that goes!