For whatever reason, I've only recently become aware of HBO hit series True Blood, set in the deepest of the Deep South, and following the adventures of Sookie, a telepathic waitress played by Anna Paquin (Remember the little girl who won an Oscar for Jane Campion's The Piano? Well, her.) and her rather dishy lover Bill Compton, who happens to be a vampire. (Yes really. With retractable fangs and everything.)
Bill is played by British actor Stephen Moyer. Stephen studied at LAMDA and one of his tutors there was Brian Astbury... who also happened to be one of my tutors at East15. And there's our one degree of separation!
I often fantasise about appearing on a US hit TV series. In the meantime, I get to go to auditions like the one I had yesterday, for a corporate video. (For those of you who are not in the Industry, a corporate video requires the same amount of filming as a commercial but because it is not broadcast, the actors only get paid the shooting fee, which is a lot less - at most 20% - than the usage rights for broadcast....)
But I'm a trouper. If your agent sends you to a casting, you go, whatever the part, whatever the gig. Because every casting is an opportunity to get on people's radar. So off I went to the casting studio, braving the cold and the rain and arrived to find a waiting room drowning in actors and mountains of bags and coats. It looked like those pictures of the Eurostar terminal last Christmas. It smelt of wet clothes and wet leather. And that indefinable film that always hangs in the air whenever actors gather in numbers: I call it the smell of desperation.
I wasn't desperate, just a bit miffed that the 3 other castings taking place there were for 2 feature films and a commercial for Microsoft. Why not me!!! The answer was staring me in the face. More precisely, I was doing the staring.
There was a posse of young girls wearing more make-up than Jordan (they always do!) chatting away excitedly about their recent and current film roles. It turned out that they were all ex-classmates and going up for the same title role in this big feature. (No corporate videos for them then...)
There was a rather bloated and ragged looking older woman who occasionally sniffed the contents of a small glass capsule (probably lavender essence or something to clear the sinuses). She kept blowing her nose and sighing. In between the sniffing and the blowing and the sighing, she was going over her script. (No corporate video for her either...)
There were 20-30something women with long hair and lanky men who were called in to audition in pairs for a big American brand. You could smell the money.
And then there was me and one other rather snooty girl who from the moment she strutted in looked down her nose at everybody. I know enough now to read it as nervousness and insecurity. As it turns out, she was called in right before me.
Even though I am not a teenager, or an old hag, or sport long hair, part of me was still silently screaming "Why not me?" "Pick me!"
Anyway, it was a nice audition. Nice people. We had a laugh. We had a chat. I hope I get it. It's always the way, no matter what the job is, once you've auditioned for it, you feel like the part is well... part of you, that it's yours, like a birth right.
Of course, the right approach it to take each audition as it comes, and then forget all about it. But I'm too sentimental, I get attached.
So bite me ... I hope I get it.