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The Good, The Bad and The Normal

I got to audition on the Paramount lot last week and it was terrific. A little backstory - I told my wife my goal was to work at Paramount this year. What constitutes work is pretty fluid, but generally it means getting paid to act! Huzzah!

NCIS called me in for a small part in one of their upcoming episodes. The character was "upscale" "possibly European" "expert on classic cars." I got it in my head it also said "trendy." It didn't. Nevertheless I associated trendy with arrogant. Who are the most arrogant Europeans I know? The English. (No. The French are rude, not arrogant). In I went in my trendy upscale attire with a polished English accent and polished endless hope.

Not coincidentally, the guy in front of me, and the guy in front of him at the guard station were all here for the same reason. And the same part. Well, that's Hollywood.

It's ironic that of all the days to get a network audition it would have to be the same day I'm scheduled to work on the cool project. Fortunately, my call wasn't until 2:00pm and the audition was at 12:45pm. No problem. I can make it all the way to, say, Marina del Ray before 2:00. And I'd better.

When I arrived the auditors were ripping through the early twenties male and female parts also casting that day. "This is great," I thought. "I'll be out of here in no time." One after the other in they went, out they came. Not a minute between them. Then, it all stopped.

The assistant emerged and went the other way. The camera guy came out and went to the bathroom. Everyone in the hall collectively swallowed their anxiety. And all the while the clock was ticking. Did I mention it was 12:15? Lunch time. "Oh, God. Are they at lunch? What time is it?"

Anxious moments passed and no flutter of action from either side of the aisle. Sometimes acting is about appearing calm. This was an acting moment. Deep breath, I said. God's got this.

After an hour and a half that was really five minutes, they both returned. She scribbled the names off my sign in sheet and made me feel a whole lot better. As she retreated to the audition space with the guy two in front of me, I exhaled.

We all have the same lines, of course. And I noticed the guy up next standing near the door. Hmm. When he went in I did the same. And I could hear him. Thank goodness I'm following this guy, I thought. (Is that judgmental? I mean it to be a comment on his performance).

In I went, stood before the camera and started. Then stopped when I buffaloed the first line. Started over and did everything I wanted. Then left. Two minutes, no more. A network audition.

I felt a little superior leaving because I was off to a paying gig. So what if this one goes south?

Like I said, God's got this.

I made it to Marina del Ray by 1:30pm. Had a good chat with the director, producer and engineer before going into the voice over studio. Like any boy scout, I turned off my phone so as not to ruin a good take. When we broke for five, I saw that I got a call back from NCIS. Tomorrow at 4:45pm.

My stomach was jumping the rest of the session. It was a good one too. Not bad for a day's work.

The next day I show up at the same place, right time, ready to go. Who's there but the guy who went in front of me. Shows how much I know. Anyway, we go through our paces and I'm in front of the director, the guy who auditioned me yesterday and a couple others. Here goes. I rip it off, perfectly, though a quick nod and "thank you," was the extent of my feedback. Hey, prepare for anything, expect nothing. Right?

Still, I could feel good today.

On my way to the grocery store a few hours later my agent calls. He tells me I'm casting's choice. Wow. NCIS. This is going to be great. "You'll go in front of the producers next week," he says. I figure, just don't swallow a cat and the part's mine.

Saturday came, Sunday went and Monday I was out and about when my phone dings. "They released us," my agent writes. I love how he's on my team even when we I don't get the part. "Did they give a reason?" I ask. "They went with and older looking guy."

Damn. I could look older. But, what's done is done. Then I remembered God's got this. So, I'm excited to see what comes next. But, man. I thought I had what came first.

That's showbiz.

On a different note, the cool project thinks they'll announce next March. If they do I can tell you what it is. So, stay tuned.

 

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Los Angeles, CA, USA

©2018 by Alistair McKenzie