Friday, 18 March 2011

Come a bit closer, my Puff Adder wants to say hello...

I’m not good when I’m hungry. Or hormonal. Or both. The Puff-Adder, as a good friend of mine christened it, is my small, green and deadly Familiar, with a lightning strike (and telescopic fangs). According to this same friend – who is still very much alive and kicking no doubt saved by his well honed survival instincts and some life saving tips from his ex-Special Forces mates – Puff Adder is quite easy to spot. Apparently, it’s all in the gaze: my eyes narrow, my nostrils flare, and KAPOW! Too late, you’re dead. So if you’re clever (or know me well), you track it and make sure to retreat in time to safety. I just think of it as letting off steam. But apparently, the strike is lethal. Very few have recovered, and of those who have I’m told none ever made a full recovery.

What do I have to say for myself? Hey, I can’t help it, I’m just built that way.

So anyway, me and Puff Adder had another audition today. (Puff Adder doesn’t care for auditions but was looking for some fresh kill so happy to tag along.) I wasn’t too keen on going: a) it was for an ad for an industry that I don’t particularly respect b) the pay wasn’t great c) it was a bit of trek to the casting studio, and d) the casting breakdown was uninspiring. Plus it was raining and very cold. (Can you hear it? The unmistakable impatient tapping of a fang on the keyboard…) Still, I’m a professional so I decided to go, but not before first breaking my #1 rule of auditioning:

No Cardio Workout BEFORE an Audition – EVER.

Hey, it was early. I went to Zumba. A whole hour of it. Then I rushed home, put on my casting face, wrestled my hair into the semblance of a hair style and then, rather than eat a very early lunch, I made the executive decision to wait until after the audition to have some food. Big mistake. Big mistake.

Hunger is food for the adder. The apprehension of hunger is food for the adder. With that in mind, I thought about grabbing a small skinny decaf cappuccino ‘to go’ from Taylor St. Barristas who – for the record - make the best coffee in the Square Mile (the equivalent of New York’s Wall Street) but it required a walk through a busy train station and I thought “let’s just get this audition done over with, I’ll grab a coffee on the way home.” Big mistake.

So, good and hungry and tired from Zumba, I got to the audition nice and early. Well, I don’t know about nice but early at any rate. The casting studio was like rush hour at Grand Central Station on the first day of summer vacation. People milling about, people talking loudly about stupid things, people laughing (laughing! I know can you believe it…), and the overworked casting studio bods dragging their feet wishing we’d all just go away.

I didn’t rise to any of it, instead I took a seat, and calmly filled out my casting form (Hey You! Mr. Big Knob advertiser! I don’t care what you threaten me with - in this case not considering me for the part, pah! – I don’t sign any release form or anything until my agent’s Ok’d it. And I’m not telling you my age. I’m obviously legal. So let's leave it at that and agree I’ll be whatever age you think.)

After a while I got called over by casting studio bod #1 to hand in my form and have my mug shot taken. As instructed, I stood against the white wall holding a piece of A4 paper with my name on it. I stood there for a long time. Such a long time actually that the puff adder who’d been quietly napping in my bag decided to come over and check out what the hell was holding things up.

Casting studio bod #2 endlessly fiddling with his camera: “You can relax, it’s going to be a while…”

“Oh I am relaxed…”

After that, I made sure to stare out the window so that my gaze wouldn’t incinerate him. Finally, he was ready. After a small ‘click’ of the shutter (which probably saved his life), I returned to my seat to await my turn to audition.

“Regina!” (Pronounced Reg-eye-na and rimming with angina as well as a female body part.)
No response.
“Is there a Regina in here?”
“It’s pronounced Regina (pronounced Re-gee-nah) but you can call me Gina for short…”

There was a politely stifled giggle from the peanut gallery as we all wondered why she didn’t just go with ‘Gina’ and save herself the trouble.

Time goes by so fast when you’re having fun. All of a sudden it was my turn to audition. I got called in, along with 3 other people. (I’ve auditioned in pairs before, but a quartet?) It was me, a cool guy called Lace, another girl whose name didn’t stick and… Reg-eye-na. True to form, she didn’t budge.

“Reg-eye-na?”  Me to the casting director: “She won’t come if you call her that. You have to say Re-gee-na or Gina for short…”


Still no answer. Honestly, what a twit. Puff Adder wanted to finish her off right here and now but someone went and grabbed Re-gee-nah, before the fangs could reach – even though I could sense them willing themselves to unfurl just that little bit further.

In we went. There was a wall of people. Chirpy casting director: “Hey everybody, this is Lance, Isabelle, thing, and Reg-eye-na.” Pause. “Sorry, that’s Reg-ee-na.” “Or you can call me Gina.” Oh shut up!

We said our names to camera. Showed our right and left profiles. Hands: palms and backs. Then 'to break the ice' we were asked to say something about ourselves.

Regina: “I’ve been in the business for 20 years and I still love it!” Oh yeah? Well I’ve known you for 5 minutes and I want you dead.

Then we said our lines. (I made sure not to stare down the barrel of the camera to avoid killing the friendly operator.) Everyone else but me got asked to repeat their lines - which I took as a bad sign. Thankfully we were ushered out before the fangs had a chance.

I left the casting studio and made my way back to the tube (subway) station. I grabbed a coffee on the way and the ride home passed without incident. Lunch was great. Sanity restored. Several meaningless deaths and other mangles avoided. Puff Adder back in her basket.

On a cold and rainy London Friday afternoon, life sure doesn’t get much better than that.


Cathy K said...

Hilarious, but wait, you don't have a virtual Puff-Adder hiding in your posts do you? I shouldn't run screaming back to my own blog, should I?

Your snake sounds particularly nasty. A couple of years ago I found myself staying at rather remote retreat in the mountains near Camiore, Italy. What should come out of the woodwork and rear its dangerous head and slippery cold-blooded body? A viper, that's what. And he left behind bits and pieces of what was once a small white kitten. Brazen as can be on the trail behind my house. Needless to say I put away my lovely Italian sandals and strapped my trembling feet into my utilitarian hiking boots, much to the amusement of the local folk...

Anonymous said...

You made me smile at first, then laugh out loud. I wasn't afraid of your Puff Adder but I was ready to "kill" Reg-ey-na.

Anonymous said...

I got a kick out of this, mostly because I could relate, although mine isn't a Puff Adder (not sure what it is--maybe I need someone to point it out. Second thought, nah!).

I'm just impressed that you can do the auditioning and have all of this wonderful talent in the first place.

Did you know that Puff Adder was a comic Super Hero? Of course, he was on the side of evil, but he could raise his weight to five tons and spit poison out of his neck. That ought to come in handy when you're running late for a casting call and need to reserve a few extra seats around yourself or flatten the road a bit. ;)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

LOL!!! I'm so glad I was reading this in my room and not out in public. People would have been wondering why I was laughing like a complete idiot. *Offers Puff Adder a brownie and coffee peace offering...from a safe distance." ;-)

Anonymous said...

Lol! Now I know what a puff adder is, and believe me, there have times I've experienced having one with me. My sister's name is Regina though I don't think she's the same one as the one in your story as she's not an actress, but a reporter. In grade school the kids would deliberately pronounce her name incorrectly and she hated it. But she did embrace the fact that her first and last names rhyme. I would've hated that!