Wednesday, September 16, 2009

#3. RPM Casting

Auditions for the roles of several college students for an untitled Columbia Pictures film shooting in the area.

How much competition do you think there would be for the role of MALE STUDENT BETWEEN AGES 18 AND 22 in the city of Boston?

Auditions were held atop that very sign.

The Bayside Expo Center. If nothing else, it's nice that a lot of these auditions take me to places I'm not sure I would ever visit otherwise. Like Dorchester.

I'm not even really sure how I would've gotten into the building if some guy with an ID card wasn't passing by. Thanks, guy.

From the first floor all the way up to the fourth, there were printed sheets reading "COLUMBIA PICTURES AUDITIONS" with arrows drawn beneath the text, pointing in directions based on their positions against the wall. Some arrows merely pointed in the direction of other arrows.

I was finally led to a large, empty conference room with a long table and several chairs. There was a sign-in sheet, an audition form and several character sides on the table.

So I sat down at the head of the table to fill out the form.

I explained that I was merely an actor, just like her. I then moved to an adjacent seat.

I pointed out the sign-in sheet and audition form, which I then noticed had room for a photograph on one side.

"I dunno what that's for," I said, "but I have a headshot in case."

"A headshot?" she wondered, looking at the form. "My agent didn't tell me to bring one of those."

I laughed to myself, because I did not need to hire an agent to tell me to bring my headshot.

After reading over the sides in silence for a bit, someone came to ask for my headshot and audition form, and brought me into the room across the hall.

I thought I handled myself pretty well, etiquette-wise, saying things like, "Would you like me to slate?" and "Where should I read to?" Thanks, Ken, for teaching me how to pretend to be professional!

I auditioned for a simple DV camera. I kinda thought a casting company would have a nicer one.

The woman with RPM Casting was quite nice and very encouraging - all givin' me directions and telling me I did a good job after each take.

That was nice of her, because I didn't do very well.

Sides for film are almost always taken from the script with the barest amount of evidence for you to figure out the context of the scene. It's difficult to get a hold on the character - you're left to fill in a lot of blanks all by yourself.

The best strategy for finding the right action out of an infinite number of possibilities is to be open and at once focused; easy, but decisive.

That is to say: go with your impulses, because without any time to work on the material, it's the only thing you can trust. It helps to go through the lines out loud, taking them off the page, even if it's just once.

Unfortunately, I didn't do that. Once Rachel came in, I was too nervous to try. I figured I'd look like an amateur if I couldn't preemptively make all the right decision in my head.

Listen to me: this is a stupid thing to do, and you would be stupid to do the same. The most amateurish thing you can do is assume you can ease by without doing any work. Anybody who would be embarrassed for you isn't a real actor, anyway, since they obviously don't understand how it works.

That's something else I learned from Ken, my screen acting teacher. Win or lose, you'll feel like shit if you don't do your best.

Because, man, you never know what you're gonna get.

7 headshots remain.