I just got back from one of my worst auditions ever. I would be loathing the world right now if it weren't such an inconsequential film and the situation hadn't been so hilarious. It was for a USC student film and was supposed to be at 965 Fair Oaks Blvd in Pasadena. No problem, I'm on my way.
So I'm driving along, getting extremely confused for several minutes trying to find 565 Fair Oaks until I realize I've dislexicized the numbers. RARR! So I find 965. It's...hmmm, that's strange, it doesn't LOOK like a screening room...it looks more like a warehouse. I reach for the door handle and *SNAP!!*, it breaks off in my hand. Err...ok...I ring the doorbell as a freaky dude who looks like Flea but with double (if that's possible) the amount of tattoos. He grunts, "You aren't going in THERE, are you? Only CRAZY people go in THERE!" This is when I start looking around for Jamie Kennedy or something..."You'll have to take off your clothes to go in THERE..." the dude screams as he bikes away.
I check my notes. 965 NORTH Fair Oaks Drive. This is 965 SOUTH. Oy. I get back in my car, having narrowly avoided some sort of Black Dahlia death, and finally find the right place. I walk in to the waiting room to find a group of the requisite Nerds waiting for their audition. There is a dude with bright red hair who, I kid you not, is wearing a dress shirt with Jack Skellington heads all over it and tap dancing around the room. A girl next to me says, "Jack Pumpkinhead! I love him! That is one of my most favorite movies in the whole world! I've seen it like 60 times. I love Jack Pumpkinhead." Uh huh, lady, and that's why you don't know his proper name. Then she starts rattling on about how Eugene Levy's performance was terrible in "A Mighty Wind," and that's when I turn my ears off. Why are actors so freakin weird? Have you ever noticed that they wear their character dance shoes to every audition, even when dance is not involved at all? And the women wear those thick flesh colored tights. UGH! Annnyway...
The film is a rock musical and they want us to sing a Broadway/Rock song and do an "Upbeat!" monologue, and there'd be a piano with accompanist. The woman tells me that the music will be in the style of the musical Rent.No problem. I've been IN Rent. I AM Rent. This is cake. These are college students.
I go in and the room looks just like the "audition" room in Boogie Nights where Dirk shoots his first scene with Amber Waves. The walls are paneled in that plastic wood, and there's a ten dollar Casio on a folding table, with a tiny girl behind it. I hand her the sheet music, and she says she's never heard of Rent. !!!??!?!?!??!!! Fine . I do my monologue first. It's witty, it's entertaining, people usually laugh when I do it. Not these kids. There was not a smile to be found, and I felt my words sinking into the orange shag carpet. Yeesh. Fine, I'll blow them away with my voice...
The accompanist can barely play the melody. She's trailing. You can't trail with this song. I'm trying to belt, conjuring past glory with this character, and the room is melting around me. I start floating outside of my body, and look down at myself from about a foot above. "Look what you're doing, look what you're reduced to. You are biffing a song that you sang for thousands. Jonathan Larson is laughing at you." And that's when I started laughing too. I just laughed, finished the song as best I could (the accompanist had kind of given up), and I left. It just did not matter. I'm sure they thought I was nuts. I heard them saying a very flat "thanks a LOT..." as I walked out and I just laughed back. It's so strange how your dignity can just be stripped away for the stupidest reasons.
Acting is funny. It's humiliating, and you just have to take it. And I take it. I don't know why. Perhaps I'm sadistic. Perhaps I'm just continually fascinated by the madness. Now leave me alone, I've got a headshot mailing to do.
"What is this 'RENT' that you speak of? I am new to this 'musical' concept and am attempting to manifest a 'low budget student film' for the consumption of my planet-mates back home on Qxtr785. It will 'rock' as you Earthlings say and entertain my war-like compatriots while they prepare to destruct your dwelling places. Your 'monolouge' did not make the 'sense' to me. We will run it through a earth language sense making machine later. We will attempt to play 'notes' on this 'piano' while you make the high mouth sounds... No, we do not compute together. The 'laughter' sounds dismay us. I think this 'piano' is not speeded the right way. But 'Thanks A LOT'. Send in the next humanoid." tifanie | 07.16.03 - 12:41 pm