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Good Work Hunting

It was a good weekend. Actually, it was a good week. I like good weeks.

Monday last I auditioned for Center Theater Group here in Los Angeles. It was a unique morning.

The audition was what is known in the business as an "open call." Most of you have probably heard of it, or even experienced it. In an of itself, no big deal. The doors open at, say, 10:00am. Everyone in line shuffles through the doors and the casting director sees as many as he/she can. In theory, this one was just like that. Except it was wasn't.

I knew downtown LA is tough on parking. So, I scrambled out of my routine at 7:45am and hustled to West Temple Street. Easy. Traffic was good, weather was good (as always) and timing was good. Except that it took me half an hour to find a decent lot six blocks away. Still, plenty of time, I told myself.

I crossed the street to two individuals standing at the locked glass doors to the Music Center rehearsal hall. "Is the the audition line?" I asked. "Yes," they replied. "Did you sign the sheet?" "No. I thought we did that at 10:00. Thanks." There, on the door, was a yellow legal pad sized sheet of paper with nine other names. Great, I thought. They're seeing the first twenty-five. I should be in. I signed and stood third in line.

That sheet of paper comes around in a couple of minutes.

Leaning against the concrete building, working my prepared monologues over in my head until it was no good going over them anymore, I watched as the line grew and grew. Pretty soon there were about fifty people waiting to get in. Pretty standard stuff.

Finally, around 10:00am, a winsome English fellow grabbed the sheet off the door and called us all, en masse, through the double doors, through the lounge and back outside to a break area with artificial grass and tables with rain umbrellas. (It's LA. It wasn't raining. They're probably sun umbrellas). Wanting to save my exposed scalp from the sun, I elected to sit under an umbrella at the front table.

The winsome Englishman then said he could see only the first thirty. Equity first, Eligible Member Candidates (EMC) second then everyone else. All in the order of arrival. Just so you know, there was a lot of rankering about arrival since a bunch of people didn't know to sign up on the yellow piece of paper on the glass door. Anyway, he said, "You figure it out," and set the roster in front of me. I grabbed it thinking, "At least I'll get in if I can sign up in a hurry." That, tacitly, put me in charge. Whoo-boy.

Since I found the call on the Equity site I assumed everyone was Equity. Not so. In fact, most weren't. But, Equity put me in the first group. Not wanting to shirk my "responsibilities" I read through the list three times until everyone from top to bottom signed the actual roster. Not a bad way to distract one's self from inevitable nerves.

I went in, auditioned second, nailed it (I say this because that's how I felt at the time. I still think I did pretty well), then left feeling pretty good about myself. I like to call it an "introduction" audition since there was no actual part for which anyone was reading.

Fast forward to Wednesday last and I get an email from that very same Englishman asking if I can read for a part in a movie he's casting. H**l yeah, I said to myself. Can I be there Saturday at 2:30. Same place? H**l yeah, I said. It's good to be asked, you know?

Saturday afternoon I circled the block looking for parking. There, big as life, on street at a meter! Hallelujah! I slide my credit card, added time and noticed only as the authorization was fading into acceptance that it cost half again as much as parking in the flat rate lot! Word to the wise, park in the lot. Sheesh. Oh well, I had an audition. Nothing was going to ruin the next hour.

The casting director remembered me from five days before, which doesn't sound remarkable but is actually pretty cool. In most auditions one gets a "Do you have any questions?", then a "Whenever you're ready." That's pretty much it. This one was very congenial. Almost theatrical. Well, I read the part. Took some direction and read it again. Which, in the end, is about all anyone can ask. I felt pretty good about it, but one never really knows. Unless, of course, one gets another call for another audition!

It was a good week. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

Blessings all.

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