"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Monday, March 9, 2009

That Callback that Never Was

Thankfully, LA is actually quite the small town. For instance, people really seem to stay in the 10 mile radius that is their neighborhood. I've seen the same woman at my gym, at Fryman Canyon, and at Trader Joe's. I almost feel as if I should say hi to her, but we've never exchanged hellos or names. I give her a small nod, as in "Hey! We're neighbors but don't talk because we live in a suburb, and people in suburbs do not talk to one another as they pass by, but I'll acknowledge you because it'd feel weird if I didn't and I'm a bit neurotic having lived in LA for several years now!"

So at my audition the other day , who do I run into but April Wade! It was so nice to see her! Especially because the audition was running way late and now we both had someone to talk to! We actually had the following day set aside for us to get together to find places for our Festival screening preparty happening next month, but we both weren't expecting to see the other and we both thought of the other when first reading the sides. You could say we're the same type, however she's quite a bit edgier than me. Curly hair just isn't edgy.

At any rate, she went in ahead of me and when she came back out, we chatted some more. Good times. And this will be very relevent later on.

I do my audition and at the end of it they told me, "You are definitely getting a callback!" The Hallelujah chorus switched on and I was very happy. "You're available for callbacks tomorrow?"
"Yessir! I am!" I hugged myself in proud accomplishment. "Great!" They said, "We'll see you tomorrow!"

I go to work, come home, check my phone and emails. Nothing. Well, that's weird. I mean, normally, one gets a phone call or an email with the official callback notice and a time to, you know, come back.
But I figured there was some miscommunication. Perhaps they had already thought they had given me the time to come back. It happens. Auditions are a very long, long process. Because this particular web series was non-union, I can guarantee there were a lot of inexperienced actors who were not up to snuff. Going for a 9 hour auditon day, like they did, is taxing on the body and mind. Especially the mind. Cause when we actors are bad, we think we nailed it. And we're a sad thing to watch.

I find the original breakdown and send a text to the casting director asking when callbacks are and apologizing for texting at 11:30pm.

The following morning: nothing. That's strange, I think. So I go through my emails and find the director's email. Oh damn, it's one of those gmail accounts especially created for this casting project. How do I know? cause it's CastingAnna@gmail.com. Damn it. That means the director might not even check it, but I sent an email out anyway saying how much I really want to read for him again.
Two hours later, nothing.

Finally I think, well, heck, I'll just CALL the casting director (it should be noted that she was most definintely not a casting director but rather a friend who was helping) knowing that she'd be busy auditioning people, but sure she'd find a minute to check her voicemails.
But I get her directly.

When you are in LA and you have a cell phone and a number comes up you don't know, do not answer your phone with "Hello?" It's unprofessional. You say your name. "This is So-and-So." Because we don't know it's a cell phone and it annoying to have to ask if it's you. But I knew this was her cell phone because she had an out of state area code. Be professional!

This is our conversation:
"Hi So-And-So, this is the Struggling Actress. I auditioned for you yesterday and was told to come back to read again so I was wondering what time callbacks are."
"Oh. Scott made a mistake. He didn't mean to call you back."

I was quite taken aback. The guy who TOLD me I was DEFINITELY called back had suddenly rescinded his offer?
Doubleyou tee eff?!

Now, I know she had no idea who I was as they saw around 100 people yesterday, all with similar names like, "The Pretty Actress," "The Actress/Producer," "The Singer/Actress." There's no way she could have remembered who I was. But I was so taken aback all I could say was, "He didn't? Oh. Okay. Thank you."
Cause I wanted to say, YES HE DID, YOU IDIOT! I even wanted to pull a diva "Do you know who I am?!" thing, but without all the entitlement and all, cause I know she didn't know who I was and actually did need clarification.

Oh man, was I upset. It was like being promised a fancy special birthday party at Disneyland with only your family and friends and getting there only to be taken inside to a gynecologist's office instead and getting your family and friend's fingers up inside you. Not exactly the happiest place on earth.

Now, remember when I told you April and I were supposed to be out location scouting today anyway?
So when she asks me how my callback was, I told her I didn't have one and went through the whole story.

Turns out, she had some inside information:
She was out at a bar last night for a kickball league afterparty and three people kept pointing at her and waving. She assumes they know her boyfriend because everyone knows her boyfriend, but no, they mean her. They finally go up to her and say, hey, great audition! You had a really great audition today. And she thanks them. She mentioned me. She said, "Hey, I know you're calling back my friend tomorrow. That's so great." And she told me that they just looked exhausted after she said that. They told her they saw over 100 people and they were so tired. They weren't sure they were going to even have callbacks the following morning, because they had no time to go over the tapes they made of everyone's audition and they were absolutely spent.
Plus, when I had my audition, one of them had mentioned to me that they were waiting on a phone call that day to see if he was going to be shooting something in Tahoe for the next three weeks, leaving in three days.

So that put everything in perspective: A non-union production has no money. Half the time, the only thing they DO do is auditions, and it never goes anywhere as the production just falls apart.
I'm not saying this production fell apart, but who knows? Perhaps it's their first major production and the whole process became overwhelming because they ddin't expect it to take as long as it did. Casting can be quite arduous. And most auditions don't have call backs the following day; there's usually a day or two lull in between so that the producers and director can get their final approval on who is returning and who isn't.

What this was, however, was a huge letdown.

This actress will continue to struggle.

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