I’ve signed. I actually signed a
little while ago, but I didn’t really know if it was interesting enough to
deserve a mention here… I now bring it up because it’s allowed me into the
casting rooms, and occasionally living rooms, of an interesting group - the casting directors.
We’ve had a few casting directors
come into school to talk to us over the last few terms and they’ve all said the similar things.
Things like: “We’re here to help you” or “We want you to get the job as much as
you do”. I’m sure this is true for the majority, but once in a while you have
an experience that reminds you how challenging the industry can be for
I would love to tell you who it
was I met, and what it was for, but for the sake of professionalism I
shouldn’t. Needless to say, it was a meeting for a small part in a fairly
popular, fairly new comedy show. As happens, I wasn’t the only one auditioning
for the part – I don’t know how many people they were seeing, but I would
imagine quite a lot given that I knew most of the people in the waiting room
either from my own year, or the ones who graduated last year.
Before I even got into the
audition room I was thrown by one graduate telling me that he’s had so much
work since he left “though it might sound stupid”, (and yes, for the record, it
does) he’s actually in need of a holiday. Apparently going from West End show
to West End show is tiring. It’s actually perfectly reasonable to want a
holiday - I’m just jealous.
When I got into the room I
dutifully read the part I had been told to prepare, as well as I might’ve hoped
to. As soon as I had finished, the casting director, who had yet to speak to me
other than to say hello, picked up another script from the table and passed it
across to me. “Here” she said, her voice an unusual sound in the room “why
don’t you have a read of this part instead? This character’s a bit more obviously
I took the hit, and quickly
flicked through the script, for no more than five minutes, before going on
tape. Apparently she wasn’t interested in preparation. Nor was she interested
in the scenes at all, but asked me to deliver all of the characters lines, in
order, to camera, no matter how far apart they came in the script. Someone with
self respect might’ve protested, but being new, inexperienced and feeling under
confident I became a number on her page, as I sold three years of training down
the river and played ‘camp’. I left the building feeling like I’d lost any
integrity I might’ve had.
It’s an odd one, because you
can’t really do anything about it other than hope that one day you’ve got
enough clout behind you that you don’t have to put your self through cattle
calls; but then maybe that’s what keeps it fresh. Kerry Ellis on The Voice last
weekend was a surprise, but what a brave (and humble) move from her. She saw an
opportunity and was prepared to take a public knocking for it, and good on her!
Luckily I’m still at a stage to
be able to write off bad auditions as ‘good experience’… but with graduation
looming I’m not sure how long that’ll last!