Sunday, February 17, 2013

#6, #7, #8. CP Casting Revisited

An open casting call. "Some projects will be paid work and some projects will be non-paid work."

Alright, that's pretty broad, but sure. I don't remember any recognition from my last audition with C.P. Casting, but I wanted to try and get in front of one of the bigger casting directors in the city again.

They distributed four monologues to choose to audition with.

1. Good Will Hunting. I still haven't seen this movie, but I assumed it was Matt Damon talking, and I figured, "I'm not Matt Damon."

2. The Hangover. Haven't seen this, either! It's when Zach Galifinakis' character cuts his hand open. I thought, "This would be funny if I were Zach Galifinakis."

3. Something with a guy named Harry talking to someone else about a woman named Helen. I was almost certain it was from When Harry Met Sally, since it was a monologue from a movie about a relationship.

4. A character named SERGEANT. I skipped right over that one.

So I went with number 3, though number 2 was close. The thing about both monologues is that, in theatre, they would be pretty lousy audition monologues. One involves reading a speech from a note, and other is an account of something that already transpired. Neither are particularly in the moment.

I went with Harry because, ultimately, even if it's just me talking to someone about about me talking to someone, it does involve navigating through a tense situation.
So I go to the door, and there were moving men there. Now I start to get suspicious. I say, "Helen when did you call these movers?", and she doesn't say anything. So I asked the movers, "When did this woman book you for this gig?" And they're just standing there. Three huge guys, one of them was wearing a T-shirt that says, "Don't fuck with Mr. Zero." So I said, "Helen, when did you make this arrangement?" She says, "A week ago." I said, "You've known for a week and you didn't tell me?" And she says, "I didn't want to ruin your birthday."

I worked pretty hard on this one. Even if it wasn't something I would've chosen on my own, it was the best of all the options presented to me, which meant I didn't have to second-guess myself on whether or not it was suitable. I could just work on it.

I took it off the page. I divided the beats. I Meisner'd it. I redivided the beats. I did it while I held a Jingju Peking opera pose atop the hill overlooking the Frog Pond skating rink in Boston Common.

If I put in the work, I wouldn't be disappointed with the results.

Auditions were at the Paramount sound stage at Emerson College. If I remember my time at Emerson, I'm sure exactly three students have ever used it.

I filled out an information sheet. On the back, it asked if I were interested in being cast in films by students from Emerson College.

Ho, boy. I figured the non-paid work would be for student films.

In a lot of ways, I found the theatre department and the film department at Emerson College were complete opposites. Theatre focused on artistic expression. Film focused on technical know-how. And never the twain shall meet.

But I've found even the technical skill to be lacking on so many of the sets that I've worked on. It's usually a mystery as to what half of the people are doing there - presumably suckers asked by their friends to lug equipment to and fro, waiting for nothing to happen the rest of the time.

And the shooting schedule. Is the shooting schedule something that film students are taught to make in school? They should all get their tuition back, because I've never known a shooting schedule to actually make sure anything happens when it's supposed to.

And in the case that everything remains technically sound during production, you're still at the whims of the story. Even Hollywood productions can barely handle maintaining the integrity of the script, if the script has any integrity to begin with.

PROTIP: Before you accept a role in a student film, ask for a copy of the script. If it's not a good role for you that makes you look good, tell them you're busy.

I've always wondered how student films recruited the services of casting companies. Money? In-kind trades?

Oh. Uh. Anyway.

Those running the auditions outside of the sound stage were doing pretty well keeping things on schedule, making sure someone was always in the room auditioning. I took a whizz, did some jumping jacks, and got in line when my turn came up.

"Alright," I said to myself, "Control the room, find your mark, and find the spot on the wall above the casting people's heads where the imaginary person you're talking to is."

When I stepped in, I was silently pointed toward a director's chair just beside the doorway. When I looked on the stage, the guy in front of me was there, giving his audition. Seemed as though this is how they did things so speedily. It was big enough within that he didn't seem to notice me.

Normally, watching somebody else audition psyches me out. And I realized quickly that he was doing the same monologue that I had worked on. What cruelty, to subject me to another actor's choices right before my audition!

But then,

I thought something I tend to never think about other actors.

Nothing against this guy. But he had definitely either 1) seen the movie or 2) was a staunch theatre actor. At least, he didn't seem like he was giving a film audition. It was too much.

Understand, I am rarely ever the kind of person to consider myself at all superior to someone else in any way. But being able to sit and watch this guy's audition made me feel complete confidence in my choices.

When he got up, we passed each other, and I took his place in a chair on the sound stage before several long tables with people of all shapes and ages seated behind them.

Carolyn Pickman - the CP in CP Casting - told me to slate to the camera and then direct my audition to the reader, a young bearded gentleman seated in front of me.

And I did. I felt good. Measured, natural.

And I looked at the reader - the person whose job it is to look and listen to the person auditioning - and I was super glad he was there, because my monologue IS about telling another guy what happened between a woman and myself.

But he kept... looking... at the door.

Just like... really quick and obvious glances at the door. Like he was expecting someone.

In the back of my mind I was like, "Oh, man. Some guy asked this guy if he wanted to be a reader, and he didn't know what that meant." Fortunately, I was still auditioning with the front of my mind.

When I was done, I said Thanks and headed for the door. Carolyn said something along the lines of, "Good job."


I hope CP Casting's professionalism reflects the work ethic of the student film production teams.

I also hope they don't notice that the cat sneezed on one of my headshots.

2 headshots remain.

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