Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where's the Respect?

Sometimes I feel like actors are seen as an afterthought in the grand scheme of "Show Business."  Today is one of those days.  I'm grumpy, and about to rant for a bit.  Feel free to comment afterwards & tell me if I'm way off-base. (Gently, please.)

Yesterday, noon-ish, my manager called and emailed to let me know that I was going to have an audition for today at noon-ish.  2 lines in a feature film.  Audition was near Hollywood.  Cool.  "I'll be ready, and I'll be there."

This morning at 1:30AM, my agent emailed me to let me know that I have an audition today at 11:30AM, in Burbank.  It was a great guest-star role for a hit show: 5 pages, 3 scenes, and a lot of heavy emotional stuff.  Apparently it came in after hours and she didn't see it until 1:30AM.  If I weren't a night owl, and hadn't checked my email at 2:15AM (I was about to go to bed), I wouldn't have known about this 11:30AM audition until I got up at 9AM.

So NOT cool.

I don't know exactly how this situation was created.  I don't know exactly what time casting received the breakdown, what time they sent the notice to my agent, and I certainly don't expect my agents and manager to work all night long - they have personal lives too.  But what kind of on-camera performance am I supposed to give within these parameters?  How does this allow actors to present their best work?

I emailed my agent to let her know that I needed a later time, but that I would be there, then I worked on it for about a half hour before going to bed, got up at 9, got myself ready, and worked on it for another half-hour. Received a call at 10:15 or so saying that they could only see me at 11:30 because they were sending me right to producers.  That meant I had to call my manager & ask her to move the audition that had been scheduled 24 hours in advance.  She told me not to worry, that she would notify casting, and to keep her posted.

When is the preparation supposed to happen?  Now, because of this late audition notice, I'm making phone calls and watching the clock, trying to work on my scene while driving, and none of this is conducive to doing good work.  Upon my arrival, I am tempted to ask the other actors when they received their scenes, but I refrain; if they say they got them yesterday, it will only make me feel worse.  So I focus.

Then I notice something on the script that I hadn't really had time to suss out before.  In the first scene, I'm supposed to be distraught.  Clearly that's something I need to know.  And even more importantly, something I need to feel.

I did the best that I could, but it felt more like a cold-reading than anything else.  There was no real emotion, and in the middle of it, I just wanted to apologize and leave.  This is not the level of work that should be put in front of producers, and I don't even know if that office will call me back.

Here's my issue: It is sooooo important to maximize every opportunity.  I look at each audition as a chance to act, and to be a ready solution to the challenges of casting.  A situation like this does a disservice to all involved.  This is one of those areas where art and show-business do not go hand in hand.  Maybe I should have just said "no" to the audition.  I don't know.  I just have to let it go.

Thankfully, the second audition went very well.

--Nicole

2 comments:

Minou said...

Ugh - sounds awkward! I totally understand your frustration. You're a pro and you take this business serious. How could you not? It's your LIFE!

That's what I read between the lines (if I'm wrong, sorry):
You're angry at yourself for not taking the right to put that late audition down. It didn't feel right but neither did you want to disappoint your manager nor yourself.

While reading I would agree. You should have said "no".
It's not the way you wanna present yourself out there in the business. And you're right about that! You know how to give your best and you know what you need therefor. Time for preparation, calmness and again... time.

You gave your best under the prevailing circumstances and that makes you also a pro. Be proud!
And for the next time. Listen to your gut feeling. Take the challenge or not. It's up to you:-)

Hope, that helped a little bit!
Hugs, Julia

Nicole J. Butler said...

Hey Julia --

You're right. Now that I've had a couple of days to calm down and think about it, I should have declined the audition. Having no audition is better than having a bad audition. Lesson learned.

Thanks, Lady!

--Nicole