Friday, 31 January 2014

Poor Misguided Fool

The joy of writing about casting calls is that it gets me thinking about my own experiences and, occasionally, I allow my mind to go back to my very first audition. It's a memory that my brain is so desperate to bury among with the time I accidentally called Holborn Police Station about vine leaves. But before it gets suppressed, here it is... 

My first audition was one of sheer excitement. I’d only left drama school a few days before so I was on Cloud Nine Hundred and Nintey Nine. Getting that call had me dancing around the flat on my own for a good three hours later. It was only for an advert for a train company which is owned by a certain hot air ballooning trazillionaire and the role I was up for was so insignificant that it was merely known as ‘an It Girl who's been shopping.' Now I'm no It Girl. Girl who works in IT? Yes. Girl who is related to Cousin It? Most definitely. But It Girl? Nope. The brief was that she was a woman who was loaded down with designer shopping bags and my agent told me that it was therefore necessary that I took as many fancy looking carrier bags as possible for the casting. As it was my first one, I presumed that this was the done thing. No one had told me otherwise and I trusted my agent in the same way that I trust my mum, my dog and David Attenborough so off I went in search for as many bags as I could possibly find. 

The casting was the next day so I headed off nearly two hours earlier than I needed to in fear that a natural disaster would start a bomb scare which would then trigger the whole of the UK’s transport system to go into meltdown. Of course, as the casting was only half an hour away, I found myself with 90 minutes to suddenly kill. I went to Starbucks and two coffees later, my brain was spinning, my heart was providing the beats for a whole night of drum n bass and my feet were practically doing the quick step to my audition. I turned up at the audition covered in sweat, my meticulously straightened hair now a frizzy disaster and enough shopping bags to make Bond Street blush. And I was stuck. I had so many bags that I couldn’t get through the door.  This door was my entrance to the acting world and I was wedged in it.

I was faced with an army of women who all looked a little like me but, lo and behold, none of them had stupid agents who had told them to turn up to the casting looking like a upmarket bag lady.  I imagine I painted quite the picture to these other hopefuls. There they were all calm and composed while I was there like The Littlest Hobo on speed with my wild eyes and empty shopping bags. 

I was finally called in and I decided that seeing as I’d been dealt this horrible hand, I might as well go for it. I could have left the bags in the waiting room but I’d brought them this far so I thought the best thing would be to lug them in with me. But, of course, I got stuck again. The casting director glared at me, a pitiful ball of sweaty frizz that was clearly brought here just to ruin her day,

“Leave the bags at the door please.”

Prop-free but still soaring high on caffeine, I buzzed into the room. Name given to camera, profiles shown, jittery hands involuntarily waved in front of the camera and we’re ready.

“So, you’re on the train home and, as you glance out of the window, you realise that the train is being chased down by Red Indians.”

I bite my tongue, partly due to political correctness but mostly due to the fact that the caffeine flying through my veins has made me lose control of nearly all my bodily functions.

“Now, obviously, you can’t move. So, you need to show the fear just in your face. Ok.”

I give what I think is a wonderfully subtle performance. Like something Olivia Colman might do.

“No, we need more than that. You’re being chased by Red Indians. You need to be terrified.”

So I go for it. Like something Lee Evans might do.

“That’s better but now give us that without moving a muscle. Show us that fear through your eyes.”

My caffeine kick now at its peak, my eyes go for it. I open my eyes so wide that I’m pretty sure I can feel my eyelashes brushing my forehead. Like something Nicholas Cage might do.

“Right, well, thank you. You can leave now.”

And that’s it. My first ever audition is over. I pick up my depressingly empty bags and head back out into the world. My eyeballs actually ache. I didn't get the job. 

1 comment:

  1. I would love to have seen that :) Hope you thanked your agent profusely for their words of wisdom.