Which is nice, as I haven't had one of those in a very long while.
SO! Because you helped me weather the bummer storm that came in so abruptly, here is some sunshine that you helped bring!
First off, the role of Grace is "An Ellen Page/Rachel McAdams type" and one time, years ago, I was on set of a little horror film where the director complimented me and said, one day, there will be breakdowns looking for an "Elle" type. Wasn't that nice? Because when you're submitting for roles where the producers and director already have a famous person in mind, it's hard to compare. For instance, I don't really look like either of those women, and I'm also not nearly as charming. I tend to stick my foot in my mouth. A LOT. Have you noticed yet?
I get to the audition, which is being held at a loft just outside Thai Town. And man, that side of Hollywood is actually really nice. And the weather has been really beautiful, so it was a crisp, clear day, and I wore a dress (!) with my face and hair all done up and I got to say, even I was a little taken aback with how freakin gorgeous I looked. I was a fat awkward teen, so I look at my adult self all put together and go, wow! Let me, I'm not used to it.
I get to the audition space, and all around me are beautiful women, auditioning for the same role I am. I always check out what the other girls are wearing. I'm a bit clueless when it comes to trends, and other girls have such awesome footwear! At any rate, I sign in and I notice that one of the scenes I prepared, the monologue, had been revised with a gigantic cut. A cut I thought was such a shame, because it was just so sweet! The whole thing is "Grace" giving a toast to her fiance at their engagement party, and she goes on about how no one else had ever compared to her intended. It was so good! The cut was Such a bummer! [The film is a romantic dramedy; I believe they described it as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," meets "Memento"]
I'm confident, I feel good, I look good, I am ready to go! Girls are coming and going pretty quickly; an efficiently run audition are the best kinds. Especially since I only had an hour and half before needing to be at work.
I go upstairs to the audition room, and there's my old coworker and friend Dave, and TJ. They are excited to see me! Ah, that felt good. And Dave gets up to hug me, and TJ gets up to hug me, and they then introduce me to the camera operator and say he deserves a hug too. Hugs all around! It was so awesome. In auditions, when you meet casting, you NEVER touch them. There needs to be an air of detachment, plus, think of all the germs. So yeah. hugs! yay!
There was some small talk. I said I could also straighten my hair in case the director didn't like it. (Mmm, tasty foot! Why did I say that? I need to wait for them to address it: I might've created an issue out of something no one paid attention to in the first place!) And then I mentioned that I was so sad about the cut in the monologue because -
"then keep it. Do the whole thing." They said.
Woo Hoo! Some of my best emotional transitions were in that section! The words created a fantastic emotional arc that I just flowed away on.
I did my monologue.
Like I said, it was a speech to the character's fiance, and TJ is playing the fiance in the film. I got to direct everything I said to the actor who is going to be playing the character. [The business person in me loves this because the lead actor/producer got to see instantly if/how much chemistry we have, and if I could work as his romantic interest. Score. The person person in me just loves how great TJ is as a person. It's so easy to act like you're in love with a person you feel is one of the best humans out there. He reminds me of a certain mythical bird I know...]
I started and ended my monlogue with a small trick I had learned in acting class (Thank you KK and JimB!) and then I was finished. I have to paraphrase because I have forgotten actual words. But I'm pretty sure Dave said, That was amazing, and that TJ said the same thing. [I did for sure know that they did NOT say, "that was great. thanks."] If you remember from my last post, I had wowed these guys four years ago with a monologue I had done. I was under a lot of pressure to recreate the Elle Magic. I want to say I succeeded.
"What other scene did you prepare?" TJ asked. I told him. He asked if I could do the other one. The one where Grace is drunk. THE HARDEST OF THE THREE. The one I hadn't even bothered highlighting or learning. Gulp. Sure, I can learn it! He gave me some direction to go with it (thank God!) and told me to take my time. And then (sigh. heart. smiley emoticon) he went on about how great my monologue was, using actor terms! For instance, he loved my "specificty," my "intentions," and my whatever the heck else he said because I was feeling super awesome and could barely process that the producers of the film want me TO DO A SECOND SCENE. None of the other girls who had gone in before me were given the priveledge. And their footwear was way more stylish!!!
I go downstairs, plop myself down, and the girl next to me whispers, "so you made it to round two, eh?" "I guess so!" I said. I should've said, hey, I've known these guys for years, so don't psyche yourself out, but I was on retard mode and needing to focus to get this next scene down.
I also have my work clock counting down. The pressure is on.
I figure some things out, stress some pronounds, highlight my lines (ALWAYS carry a highlighter with you, struggling actresses, because stuff like this happens!) and ask to go once I'm ready.
I get up, I go, I do the scene. "That was really good," Dave said. TJ takes a breath. "Something's missing." he said. I completely agreed. As did the Camera Op. "I mean, yes, it was good," TJ continued, "But give me a second." He paused. Thinking.
He gave me a direction. It was simple: Be more drunk.
I got it. I knew exactly what he needed. I redid it. And I could see them smiling and nodding when I flung an arm here, and puntuated that word stronger there, and wiped my drool off. I finished and they were very happy. More compliments I can't remember, with TJ parting with "We'll be seeing you soon. Thank you."
So then I walked back to my car, blasted Britney Spears and just tried to take in all the awesomeness I was feeling. I got home and ran around my apartment in cirlces, yelling, "Yay me! Yay me! Yay me!"
I don't care that they are apparently holding auditions for the same character for the next six days straight, and that I am competing against every single actress in LA - I did a kick ass audition for two people who have liked me and remembered me and WANT to work with me. There are a lot of factors that have to line up for it to actually happen: I have to "look right," "be the best actress," "have the most chemistry," and have the entire producing team and director want me (the director being the same one who didn't see the Elle Magic four years ago) and be the best out of around 150-400 other girls auditioning for the same role with more credits than I have.
One of the things we Struggling Actresses have to remember is that One Audition Can Change Your Life. Because yes, I'm "an Unknown," but wouldn't it be grand to have people say, "aw yes, this film was the one that launched Elle's career."