Last Friday I had a commercial audition. They were supposedly the callbacks, and we were to arrive sometime between 4pm and 6pm. So, I got there at 4 on the dot. There were already about 15 others signed up when I arrived. Sort of surprised, but, whatever… signed in on the sign-in sheet and waited for further instructions. It was one of those annoying auditions where you don’t actually say anything, you just react to voice over text that the casting assistant or whoever reads aloud to you. So as you wait you don’t even have some sides to go over. There’s really nothing you can do but wait. Thank god for iPhones, right?
The first few pairs go in (the commercial called for a young couple), each pair taking about 5 minutes. When the director and casting people realize that they had a lot of actors to go through they tried expediting the process by pairing us off ahead of time so we were ready to go in when called. Well, then chaos ensued. There were twice as many women as men, which posed the problem of how to call people in. Instead of figuring it out, however, they just started plucking people out of the crowd and pairing them together according to “ethnicity”. Well, I’m sorry, but what’s the point of a sign-in sheet? Or arriving early? I’m not about to elbow my way past my fellow actors just to get my 2 second shot at selling a medical tube you spit into. Maybe I have the wrong approach, but that’s not the kind of aggressive I like to take on.
I finally got paired to an African-American man, along with two other girls. (At this point they were tripling up, there were so few men). But then, this African-American woman waltzed in at around 5PM and immediately got paired with him and called into the audition room. I was left sans partner, and a tad confused. I asked the casting assistant about getting a new partner and she just said to hang tight. Ok. I don’t want to be a pain in the ass. I also don’t want to completely waste my afternoon, however. I mean, if they are supposedly pairing by ethnicity, I thought as I looked around the room filled with anxious, insecure, overly confident, stressed and cool-as-a-cucumber actors, then maybe I should just leave. Call me blind, but, I don’t see any half-Japanese, quarter-Irish, quarter-Hungarian looking men out there. I politely waited nonetheless.
Then I noticed a huge line that started appearing out of nowhere, from the audition room door out to the entrance of the building. Shit. Am I supposed to be in that line? No one said anything. Did I miss something? I’ve been here the whole time. Maybe they don’t have an appointment. Maybe they haven’t signed in yet. What is going on!? Again, politely as I could, I asked the kind casting assistant (I felt bad for her, she was clearly stressed) if I needed to wait in this mysterious line… She reassured me that she knew I’d been waiting and that no, I did not need to stand in that line. Well, now it’s like 5:30PM. Check my phone. Chit chat with the actors next to me. Check my email. Chit chat. Check the clock. 6PM. The casting assistant walks over to me and says that yes, maybe I do want to get in the line after all. Great. Now you tell me. Then, she makes an announcement that, due to time restrictions, the director will be seeing 3 couples at a time. So, that’s 6 people in the room at once. That’s when the line started moving. I go in, do my bit, which takes about 5 seconds, literally, and walk out. Thank you. Goodbye.
Lesson learned? PATIENCE. This experience greatly tested my patience. And in a way, what it was, really, was a smaller example of this bigger picture: a successful acting career will take great patience. It’s all a game of hurry-up-and-wait. And that’s okay. You breathe. You find other things to do in the meantime. You accept it for what it is because what it is aint gonna change. Granted, not all auditions are like this and hopefully not every little step towards my goal wont be like this either. But, if it is, no big deal. A 3 hour commercial audition? Just a bump in the road. One day, I’ll look back on this and laugh.