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Posts Tagged ‘Casting Directors’

For Part 1, click here: http://wp.me/pFrOn-ao

It’s Wednesday. 5:00pm. I am sitting in a waiting room with a handful of actors. This is the second callback for the commercial we are all vying for. There are eight of us in the room. They will choose two for the commercial. Four dogs, one bone. Let the games begin.

I am paired with a guy who looks about 10 years older than me.  I ask him if he wants to run lines together while we wait. He says no. We are teammates. But we are also competing against each other. Its awkward.

Our names are called. The client is in another room watching us on a TV feed. We run the scene once. Its stiff. We run it again, its loosening up. We run it again, its good. We switch roles and run it 3 more times and it feels great. The director is laughing. I am smiling as we step out of the casting room.

They have asked us all to stay in the waiting room so they can see some alternate pairings. What started as an audition for 80+ actors was cut down to a callback for twenty. Now there are only eight.

And then, the moment. A door opens and one of the women from casting comes out holding a piece of paper. “Anthony, are you here?” My heart races.

“Yes.” I reply.

“OK, you can go home. Sorry about that. You were great. It has nothing to do with you honey.” She smiles and I know her words are sincere. And then there were seven…

I’m not going to say it doesn’t hurt. It does. But there is a scripture that says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Who knows? Maybe the casting director will remember me and bring me in for something even better. Here’s to being an optimist ;o)

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It’s Monday. 2:30pm. I am sitting in a waiting room for an audition, hoping to land a role in a television commercial. It’s about 2 guys on a lunch break and the dialogue is quick, witty and fun to play. That is, if you are given the right scene partner. I am paired with an actor from The Second City who is absolutely brilliant. Happy day. We step into the audition room, stand on our marks, and then we play. And man did we play. We had the casting director laughing out loud. I walk out of the audition room with a smile that will linger at the corner of my mouth for hours. I am told that callbacks are happening on Wednesday. That means they will be making calls tomorrow. Nice. Here’s hoping for a call from my agent first thing Tuesday morning.

It’s Tuesday. 6:00pm. My agent hasn’t called. I am still holding out hope. My phone vibrates. I see my agent’s name. I tentatively press the ‘accept’ button and say “Hello?” as if I don’t know who’s calling. My agent tells me I have a callback on Wednesday at 2:35pm. Nice! The lingering smile returns…

It’s Wednesday. 3:10pm. I sit in a cramped audition room alongside 12 other actors with more arriving every other minute. We are told that there will be another callback today at 5:00pm for those of us they want to see again. My scene partner from Second City is here… maybe we’ll be paired together again. Not so. I go into the audition room with another actor that I just don’t vibe with. We do the scene and it is flat. There are no flashes of brilliance. No chemistry. And no laughs from the director. He thanks us. I leave. So does my lingering smile.

I walk down the stairs and into my car. Rejection is a part of the business and I have learned not to take it personally. Just as I am about to turn on the car, my phone rings. It’s my agent. I have a callback at 5:10pm. I will never understand this business.

It’s Wednesday. 4:40pm. I sit in a coffee shop writing a blog so I won’t think about what is going to happen in half an hour. I turn off my computer and prepare to head back to the audition…

I hope this story has a happy ending…

For part 2 click here: http://wp.me/pFrOn-aL

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I didn’t get the part. It is Saturday. The Sabbath day. Time to let it rest. It has been 5 days… it is dead. There will be no funeral but I will wear black for the next week. I searched istockphoto for the saddest picture I could find. This is me. A broken man. If by chance you are a Casting Director or a Hollywood Producer… call me. One phone call can change an actor’s life.

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I’m a Christian. And being a Christian and being an Actor sometimes lands me in interesting dilemmas. Like the time I was approached to play the role of Adam in a stage play about the Garden of Eden. Where’s the dilemma in a Christian playing a biblical role, you ask? Well, I had to be naked on stage for 3 acts and then wear nothing but a fig leaf for the 4th!

So recently I entered into an interesting Christian/Actor dilemma:

To pray or not to pray, that is the question.

When I have an audition, should I pray to get the part? Sounds simple enough, but the philosophical, moral and theological implications of this little question are really quite profound.

Now up until very recently, I have prayed earnestly that God would grant me a certain role. When my wife and I were up for consideration for a film together (click here for the story) I was praying like a Pharisee! I was begging, pleading, asking for favor and claiming every biblical promise I could think of.

We didn’t get the part. And I will thank you for not bringing that up again.

But truth be told, there is something about praying to land a role that just doesn’t sit well with me. Why, you ask? The answer has to do with the film Bruce Almighty

Remember the two rules Morgan Freeman gave Jim Carrey as he became God in the film?

1. You can’t mess with free will.
2. I can’t remember the second one so read the first one again.

Does God mess with our free will? I don’t think he does.

This belief is fundamental to my faith structure. I don’t see God as a puppet master pulling all the strings. I do not believe that everything that happens is God’s will. Think about it- Jesus taught his followers to pray: “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” If God’s will was being done on earth, we wouldn’t be praying! And note that God’s will for humanity involves acts of kindness, justice, love and compassion- all acts that require the free will of man to activate.

I believe free will is too sacred a power for the Sacred Power to meddle with. Love- the most noble purpose of religion- can only be born from free will. God has given us the ability to unleash evil on our neighbour- violence, hate, injustice and malice- all in hopes that we would choose love. He has given us the tool of free will knowing it can be used as a weapon.

With the sacred power of free will in mind, I ask one parting question:

Who decides who will star in the new JJ Abrams movie? The answer should be obvious… JJ Abrams. He has free will. It’s his decision. In light of that, I humbly say:

JJ- pick me!

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Most actors, including myself, LOVE acting but HATE auditions. The audition circuit is like going to job interview after job interview- it’s just not fun. But I learned something from the star of the movie “The Notebook” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife”. Rachel McAdams is said to give some of the best auditions in the industry. I heard her say in an interview recently that she LOVES auditions. She what?! She loves them because they give her a chance to do what she loves most: act.

Then a friend of mine who is a brilliant pianist told me a cool story… He told me that when he was growing up he would play piano in these big competitions. He always looked forward to them because it meant a chance to play on some of the nicest pianos in the world. At the competition all the other performers were intimidated and shaky and would often make clumsy mistakes out of sheer nerves. He always played his best in these environments and he usually came in first or second place. “Some of those other competitors practiced more than me… they might have been better then me… but they were so uptight that their gift couldn’t shine.”

So that got me re-thinking the audition circuit. I promised myself that the next audition I had I would ENJOY. I would see as a chance to have fun doing what I love!

So yesterday I had a voiceover audition downtown… The audition was for a General Motors Car Commercial and it was about the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. They wanted me to sound “young, fresh, urban and hip” and I read with another actress who was using a Parisian accent. Interesting huh? Hip Hop meets french toast. Anyway, I really had fun with it. I enjoyed myself.

So here comes the really cool part… as I was writing this blog (no joke) my agent called and told me I got the part!!! How cool is that!? And it may even become a campaign with a number of spots! I don’t want to count my chickens before the eggs are hatched though… I’m just happy to have this one! Whoo-Hoo! Thank you Rachel McAdams! And thank you to my pianist friend, Michael.

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So my agent calls the house today… now whenever my agent calls the house there is a bit of a to-do around here. You see, before my agent was my agent, my agent was my wife’s agent. Yes, my wife Susie is in the biz too… She got signed with this agency 2 years ago and then referred them to me last Christmshockedas. All that to say, whenever our agent calls the house we both scramble for the phone. Admittedly, anytime I answer the phone and my agent asks for Susie, I sink a little. That may seem selfish… but when you’ve just had an audition that went really well and you see your agent’s number on your phone it is hard not to get excited.

So today something happened that has never happened before. Susie got to the phone first. I wanted to hear “Yeah, hold on, he’s right here.” But I didn’t hear that. I heard Susie say “Ok that’s great. Tomorrow. Perfect.” She sounded really excited. She comes running up the stairs with a huge grin on her face. “Anthony! You’re never going to believe it. We have an audition… together! As a couple! For a film!!!”

I am not a teenage girl yet I feel the only expression that fits here is… OMG!!! Auditioning for a film together?! That is amazing! I can’t believe it! Our agent sends us over the sides (that’s the excerpt of the script they want you to read) and we read it over together. We practiced tonight and it was so much fun!!! It’s a short scene but it’s really cute and it would be such a joy to act with Sue in a film. I know you aren’t supposed to get your hopes up but I REALLY HOPE WE GET IT!!!

I can’t believe it! (Part 2)

An update- Susie and I had our audition together today…

We arrived 5 minutes early. We wanted to be earlier but then: have-you-seen-my-black-shoes, do-we-have-water, does-this-colour-bring-out-my-eyes, what about my hair, where did the kids put my black shoes!?, oh-vitamins!, did you make oatmeal for the kids?, a phone call, OK-I-found-one-shoe, where’s the tweezers?, let’s-go-over-our-lines-again, just-wear-your-brown-shoes, how’s my hair…

And not all of that was Susie…

We arrive at the location and enter an empty waiting room. We sat down and went over our lines again. We had practiced the scene together dozens of times with measured pauses and choreographed glances… it was fun. We were excited. So you can imagine our surprise when the assistant casting director came out and said “Anthony, we’ll see you now.”

I am not a teenage boy but I feel the only expression that fits here is: Huh?

What?! Alone!? I staggered into the audition room. The assistant casting director read Susie’s part. I tried my best to emulate what we had practiced. She said “Thanks.” I said, “We practiced together… do you think we could-”
“Oh no.” she said, cutting me off, “You’ll shoot yourself in the foot.” I still don’t know what she meant by that. I walked out of the room and Susie walked in. She came out looking a little shaky. We walked outside recounting our individual experience and expressing our disappointment that they wouldn’t see us together.

In the car driving home (actually it was lunch at Lettieri first… an unexpected lunch out together- bonus!) we both said we would be thrilled if either one of us got it. And we both meant it. But nothing would thrill me more than to share the screen with the love of my life…

Here’s to being an optimist…

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