Thursday, 24 November 2011

Fateful Decisions

As promised, today’s blog will be what Tuesday’s should have been about. 

On Tuesday, I got to thinking about the first audition that I found for myself. I’ve never been particularly good at asking other people for help so although I love the kind of castings that an agent can secure for you, I love being able to find my own work. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction in 2009 when I worked out that I made more money from the jobs that I got myself than the ones that my agent got for me. I mean that may have more to do with the fact that my agent was hugely useless and would regularly put me up for roles that were a dubious match for me at best. The best was probably when I was put up to play a 40 year old Indian businesswoman. There is many a day when I’m not looking my bestest but despite the crisp and wine based abuse I regularly put my body through on a daily basis, I somehow look slightly younger than I actually am. So, imagine my horror when, at the age of 24, I read the casting brief in the waiting room (my agent wasn’t one for helping make sure I was prepared beforehand) that I was up for the role of someone 16 years older than myself.

So you can see why I was happier to be looking for stuff on my own but of course, at this early stage in my career I didn’t realise how incompetent my agent would very quickly become so I thought that auditions secured by myself would be extremely few and far between. It was for a rehearsed reading which was going to take place at a very well known theatre and the director had already secured a lot of important sounding people to attend. The role was so up my street (Middle Eastern role falls in love with someone who her family don’t approve of and she’s forced to marry someone else) that I’d already bought a house, a hotel and was charging people all the Monopoly money they’d ever owned just to step foot there. 

The audition was so far up in north London that it’s where the accents start to change and there’s a definite Midlands twang so I set off with a map in hand (this was before phones could be trusted to tell you where you are) and was very excited about what was ahead. The audition was a good twenty minutes from the nearest tube station and as it was a nice day, I decided to shun the bus and walked there instead. I got to where the road that seemed to match the address I had scrawled on my map but it looked like a business estate so, as I was still a bit early, I had a bit of a wander to see if there was any other roads nearby of a similar name. I scouted around and found nothing so decided that the business estate road must change the further you got down so off I went. But instead of getting better, it just got worse. I started passing saw mills and quarries and all matter of scary looking places until I got to the number that I was given. I expected to see a little office maybe but instead I was faced with a factory behind a very tall, locked fence. The only living being to be found was a mean looking dog who was patrolling around and although I’ve seen some vicious looking professionals in my time, I’m pretty sure he was nothing to do with the casting. 

I went across to the building opposite to ask if they knew if I was in the right place and they confirmed that the address was correct. I tried calling the director but it went straight to voicemail so I left a message and carried on wandering round. As I meandered about, I passed the same girl a couple of times and we finally discovered that she too was there for the audition and had the same problem as me. We waited around for another thirty minutes, leaving several voicemails and text messages with the director until we decided that enough was enough and made our way home.
When I got home, I complained to the company where I found the casting and they promptly contacted the director and suspended their account until they had a full explanation of what happened. I emailed the director to explain that both myself and another actress had waited around a good hour overall and that I would like an explanation as to what happened. But of course, I heard nothing.

About two weeks later I got a call from my agent and the director had been in touch to ask if I’d go back and audition. I was dubious but my agent promised to cover my travel expenses if they pulled the same trick again so off I went. It was in the same place again so I can’t say I was feeling particularly confident but thankfully I arrived and the factory was open and it turned out that we were auditioning in the narrowest office known to man. The factory was working too so we had to shout above the din of whirring machines and an alarm which went off every twenty seconds. The director explained that they’d had to cancel the previous audition because they’d had an argument with their partner and the said partner had destroyed their phone so they were unable to contact anyone to explain that they were unable to hold the auditions anymore. Somehow, the cynical raise of my eyebrows and my sceptical silence didn’t put off the director and I ended up getting the job. However, my phone decided to not tell me for two weeks that I had any voicemails and as the director clearly didn’t understand the notion of trying another method of contact, the job ended up going to someone else. Think it’s safe to say that fate was clearly working overtime for me and succeeded in getting me as far away as possible from a project that was clearly doomed from the start. Now if only fate would set up its own agency….

No comments:

Post a Comment