Friday, 29 April 2011

It's hot and crazy in the kitchen - the sequel

Well what do you know? As if to prove the point that you can never tell with auditions, my agent called to tell me I had landed a recall following last Friday's disastrous casting session. "The problem is... they won't pay you a recall fee." When have any of them ever paid me a recall fee? "That's fine." "Oh and they've pencilled you for the shoot..." Pencil shmencil...

I'm kindda cranky this week. He would go as far as to say 'she's a bit feral'. It's a hard one to diagnose: a sense of general blahness rather than anything specific. At first I blamed it on the general social malaise (are we or are we not still in a recession?), then I blamed it on the three day week effect (this is our second 4 day weekend in a row) which has meant cramming in 5 days' worth of 'stuff' into 3, then I thought it might be due to media overload I wish them well but enough already with the Royal Wedding. Then I remembered.

Firstly, I've just bleached my teeth. This makes me toothy for a day or two. As in on edge. I manage the sensitivity with 12 hour ibuprofen, but I may need to shift it up a gear and get some Ritalin to get a handle on the mood swings. Secondly, I'm on a bit of a diet so I'm not thinking straight.

Where was I going with this? Audition recall. Just to refresh your memory, last Friday's audition was tragic: I had a barney (that's a quaint British word for altercation) with the girls on reception, then I yelled at the casting assistant, and finally had an emotional melt down with the casting director. Me, I'm all for second chances even if they aren't paying me a recall fee so I figured I'd go and knock their proverbial socks off at the recall.

It was being held at the same location (but of course) as last Friday's audition. I decided to give myself plenty of time to get there so I could stay nice and chilled. So I cleaned the house, stopped by the post office, walked all the way over to the butchers, dropped in on the chemist, picked up some groceries and then dropped everything back at the flat before heading out, which left me just enough time to rush out again and catch a tube (subway) to the audition.

I got there with 10 minutes to spare. After struggling with the glass front door like an imbecile (they buzz you in but the door always sticks so you end up making faces at the reception people to indicate that you're pushing but it's not working and they make faces back mouthing the words 'just push' and then just as you're about to give up and go home the door magically flings open and you fall in, powered by your own exertion.) I stumbled into the foyer.

Me with an engaging smile to the new girl on reception: "I always struggle with that door for some reason! Please don't call security, I'm harmless. Hi, I'm Isabelle Gregson, I'm here for the recall."
New girl: "What's your name? Oh sorry, you said. Please sign the ledger."

I obliged.

New girl: "Just take a seat."
Me: Here we go again... "You mean up here?"
New girl: "Yes."
Me: "Not downstairs?"
New girl: "No. That's right. Just sit right here." She pointed at the couch.
Me, with a broad smile: "OK."

Even though it wasn't ok - obviously - I settled on the couch and immersed myself in the paper I'd brought with me.

"Oy. Oy!"

I looked up to find the new girl's side kick on reception waving at me, a bit indignant.  "Yes you! You can go downstairs now!"

Determined to avoid any repeat of Friday's performance, I swallowed my pride, dismissed various murderous thoughts, smiled some more and headed down the stairs.

There were five people in the waiting room. All adults. No twins. To my relief, the young casting assistant from Friday wasn't there. She'd been replaced by someone a bit less impressionable and better organised.

Unflappable casting assistant: "Please fill out this form."
Me: "Hi, I'm Isabelle Gregson... don't you need to check my name off on your list?"
Unflappable casting assistant: "No. Don't tell me how to do my job. I could break you with my thumb. Just fill out the form and bring it back."

I smiled, took a seat, put my paper down on the chair next to mine and filled out the form as instructed. She took my mug shot and gave me a sheet with my name written on it and the number 32. (It turns out they'd abandoned the first come first serve system and were instead sticking to appointment times.)

I sat back down, went to grab my paper and realised that the guy one seat over had taken it. He wasn't being rude. He'd assumed it wasn't anybody's. So I didn't say anything and waited my turn. But waiting is harder without a paper.

Number 29 was called. Some more people came in. Then it was number 30's turn (who happened to be the guy who'd stolen my paper). I grabbed my paper back.

"I'm really very sorry but I've only got like just a wee minute so if you can squeeze me in next that would be great!"

Me and everyone else looked up at the tall and rather skinny Scottish guy with an incredibly whiny voice who'd just come into the room.

Unflappable casting assistant: "Well, these people (pointing at the five of us) are in front of you."
Whiny Scottish guy: "It's just that I don't have much time..."
Unflappable casting assistant, with a slight edge creeping in:: "Well, if someone's happy to switch with you that would be fine but otherwise you're going to have to wait."

Nobody offered to switch places.

Whiny Scottish guy: "Oh I don't want to p*ss anybody off..." but of course not, you just want to jump the queue.

Just then the door open and the casting director came out calling for number 31.

Number 31 to whiny Scottish guy: "It's my turn but I could switch with you if you'd like."
Whiny Scottish guy: "Well as I said I don't want to p*ss anybody off..."
Casting director interrupting him, to her casting assistant: "Wouldn't that throw your numbers?"
Casting assistant picking up on the hint: "Well, yes. It would."
Casting director to whiny Scottish guy: "It's going to mess up her system. What time do you have to leave?"

This went on for another five minutes. At least. I remained ensconsed in my paper, suddenly consumed with interest by the article on wedding party dresses and the fact that the colour yellow is on trend for the summer.

"Number 32!"

I sauntered past the casting director into the casting room. Sadly Fred wasn't there. His replacement (I use the term loosely), a nervy little guy with corkscrew hair raced out of the room with an "I've got to pee!".

The carpet and small round table were covered in flour (presumably from the chef auditions). I stared at the mess. A disembodied voice reached me from the back of the room. (Without my glasses, I'm terribly short sighted.) "Hi, I'm Stanley, I'm the director." Oh my goodness the director thinks I'm ignoring him. "Hi Stanley. I'm so sorry: everything's a bit of a blurr without my glasses." I could just about make out another silhouette next to him which I assumed was the client. I tried to gauge whether the casting director remembered my outburst (casting directors remember everything) with some friendly small talk. "How did you go with your bread dough?" The director groaned. Casting director with a hearty laugh: "Oh it well really well! Although this one chef told me it was a pretty bad dough."

We grinned at each other for a while until Fred's replacement popped back in the room with an empty bladder and clean hands.

We did the whole audition over again, just like on Friday. No reaction from Stanley or his shadowy off-sider. Then he had me try it in a completely different way. They had a little chuckle over my performance -  I remember thinking "that sounds like a good chuckle" - then the shadow next to him leant over and whispered something. And then it was thank you and good bye.

Will I get it? Who knows? Does it matter? Not really. The money (about a 6th of the big money job) would pay for a few cases of chocolate but I couldn't eat them because I'm on diet. I could always put it towards next month's rent.


DeeLynn said...

Isabelle, I can't help but think how brave you must be when I read one of these blogs. My shy nature would never allow me to audition so bravely which makes it fun to live vicariously through your wonderful writing.

MuMuGB said...

I am glad that you got the recall...and it seems a good sign that they laughed! You look v skinny (especially compared to me) so I am feeling really bad about the diet. Anyway, keep us posted and good luck!

Kenya D. Williamson said...

It's always good to keep a roof over your head, Isabelle. Years ago, I left a movie audition and cried in my car -- thinking I'd blown it. A few days later, I got the call. I hope you get your call too -- without any tears or need for Ritalin. ;)

Elizabeth Young said...

I am convinced that actresses have one of the toughest jobs in the world! I never knew they had to go through so much, just for a chance to perform. You are one tough cookie, or should I say biscuit?

Em-Musing said...

Yes, all the fuss. What a waste. They probably liked you enough the first time. Anyhoo...speaking of fuss, check out my blot where I "fussed" with a hat for the royal wedding. I know you're tired of it, but I watched for a few hours before I had to get some things done.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Chocolate is good, but I have to agree that rent is better. Hope you get the part!

Anonymous said...

Isabelle, this is so nerve wracking.I admire you all the more for it. Break a leg (is that expression used in England?) I'm thinking of you...

Deborah Lawrenson said...

We're all rooting for you, Isabelle. In fact, if you don;t get this one, I think you'll have to tell us exactly where these casting people are, and we can go and have Words...

Ebendy said...

One thing i know for sure is that know effort goes unrewarded. Your rewards will come abundantly whilst you never give up.Wishing you all the best.Great post.Keep it up.
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Anonymous said...

Whether you get it or not, it was entertaining to read about! You are living many women's dream, and then you let us all live vicariously through you!

Cathy K said...

I'm with Elizabeth, you are indeed one tough (chocolate) cookie!

Anonymous said...

I giggled as I read this - you are a terrific story teller!

Auditioning sounds so hard - you are so brave! I really hope you get the part.

Fi said...

Excellent post. Good luck. If nothing else it would be a job on your cv (plus chocolate or rent money).

Claire Vorster said...

I'm with you on the 3 day week, can we all move on now thing Isabelle :)

Whenever you write about these auditions it sounds like Kafka to me. Do you think he knew?

Really hoping you get the gig.

C x