Monday, 23 January 2012

Location Location Location

I was all set to write about this rather upsetting news...

But I realised I've been a bit ranty of late about the extra opportunities I think boys have. And I also reaslise that I often come across like a bitter little actress who should probably just get a sex change and quit whining. And finally I'm pretty sure, due to the increased amount of ranting I've been doing of late, there's probably a large collective sinking of hearts when you all think I'm going to embark upon another blog where I desperately try to get my point across in five paragraphs or less.

So I'm not going to blog about that as I'm fairly sure you already know my thoughts on the matter and, if you don't, they ain't great. Let's just leave it at that, eh?

Instead, after seeing a conversation on Twitter over the weekend about audition locations, I thought I'd add my thoughts. Now, on the whole, I've been lucky when it comes to the places I've auditioned in. I had no idea London had quite so many church halls but, thankfully, most castings I've attended have been in spacious and suitable rooms. Thankfully, most people in charge of these things realise that you need a space that is open, airy and is in a location where people don't need a degree in map-reading to find. But of course, there are a few people out there that get it wrong. Sadly some people think that any space is suitable for you to sell your acting wares and here are a few of my very worst...

I've written before about the awful experiences of auditioning in a director's basement where I performed an excruciating version of 'Happy Birthday.' If you've yet to read about my woeful time, you can have a gander here...

Now that was mainly about my inadequacies as a performer but the ridiculous location really didn't help. I'm always dubious about auditions held at someone's house and, really, if I was a sensible actress I'd never attend them. However, I do always make sure that I let someone know where I'm off to and I make sure that I've written a little stack of goodbye letters to my nearest and dearest just in case. But what I often find with auditions that are held at someone's lovely little home as that they don't bother to tell you beforehand that you'll be spending the afternoon in someone's abode. Many a time I've been wandering up and down residential streets, convinced that I must be in the wrong place until I see other confused actors all doing the same thing. And auditioning in someone else's house is awkward. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't know what the director's children look like before they've even had a chance to hear me stumble through their poorly written script. Of course, the above audition took it one step further and I was lead down to his cellar like the victim in a low rate horror film. If it was in a film, I'd have been screaming at me to just get out of the house and run. But of course, I just happily followed like the desperately out of work actress that I am.

Next up is the outdoor audition. Now I've only had to do one of these but I imagine the experience is generally the same however many times you find yourself in this situation. The director had mentioned before meeting him that there might be a very slight chance that we'd be auditioning outside but he was pretty sure he'd be able to get an indoor space. I don't need to tell you that, of course, he didin't. Instead I had the wonderful experience of auditioning in the middle of Hyde Park under the watchful eye of many a tourist and countless people desperately trying to seek out a bit of sun on their lunchbreak. I can't imagine my over the top storytelling managed to make their holiday or precious thirty minutes away from the office any nicer. And it's only when you're outside, being watched by people who have no idea what you're up to, that you suddenly become very conscious of how ridiculous how you look. I was instantly very aware of how my I flail my arms about and everything I said seemed far louder than it should've been. Amazingly I got the job although I wonder how much of this was to do with my talent and more to do with the fact that are very few actors who would put up with such conditions.

However, top of the list is an audition I attended a few years ago for a show that was going up to Edinburgh. It was all about arranged marriages and I was up for the part of a woman who had attempted to burn herself alive. The audition was being held at a church hall in west London and I spent my whole journey there psyching myself up so I was ready to portray the character with the correct amount of dignity. I arrived at the church hall to find a note taped to the door to say that the auditions were now to be held around the corner in McDonalds. I re-read the note several times, convinced that there must be some mistake but no, it most definitely said McDonalds. So off I went, suddenly wondering what I was letting myself in for. I arrived and it was absolutely packed so I had to hang around outside while the auditionee before me finished up. I stood there, just a pane of glass between myself and my rival, and it's the closest I've come to just walking off. But of course, I didn't. Obviously I knew deep down that one day I'd want this anecdote for a blog about my pathetic career. I was finally called in (I say "called in" but they actually just made a sign through the glass which I presumed was my cue to enter.) I sat, and over their Cheeseburger wrappers, I pretended to be a suicidal wife. It was completely impossible and I was actually pleased to see a few weeks later that the director had actually ended up casting herself in the role. Clearly I wasn't the only one who struggled that day.

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