Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Dancing: Unexpected Edition

I've been whining all summer that my stellar auditions have not been bearing fruit. And it's true; while I have felt that my last four or five theatrical auditions were top-notch (and I don't often feel that way about my own auditions), I have failed to secure a stage gig. But I am doing the Happy Dance this week anyway, as a gig popped up from an unexpected quarter. About a month ago, I got a rare call to read for a low-budget, independent film which will be shooting in the Baltimore area in October. It is unusual for me to get calls for film auditions, though there is a fair amount of the stuff done in the region. Most of it is non-union, so I cannot be considered for those jobs, but even with the union projects, I tend to be ignored. (If you are interested, go here to read about my last film gig, where I shared a trailer with Kevin Bacon. Sort of.) I have never considered film work to be a viable part of my career, I've done very little of it. But I don't turn down any opportunity to read for anything these days. The casting office which was handling the project has steadily ignored me for years, so I really don't know why they plucked my picture out of their bloated files. Except I do: the scene needed four middle-aged corporate types. So, I made the hour-plus drive north to Baltimore, during one of our hottest days of the summer. Believe me, if your car has been sitting in the sun all morning, there is very little the air conditioning can do to make the interior comfortable, particularly if you are wearing a business suit, as I was. (It had been literally years since I was required to put on my many years that I had to let the waist out a bit. Thank you, martinis, midnight munching, and middle-age spread.) I didn't think the reading was any great shakes, but I guess the Powers That Be did, as I received a callback a week or so later. This was to be an unusual callback, at least in my experience of film auditions. The director, producer, and executive producer of the film were all in attendance, and of course, our audition was filmed. I say "our," because the director had six of us rotating in and out of the audition chamber, reading the five roles he was casting. I guess this guy wanted to see how we interacted with each other, and while this is pretty standard for a stage callback, it is pretty rare for a film audition. So, the six of us gents spent about an hour and a half reading this scene over and over again, playing different characters. This callback was weeks ago, and truth be told, I forgot all about the thing. As I said, film work is not a big part of my career, so I don't stress about it as I do my stage work. So, it was a big ol' surprise to receive word that I had been cast in the role of the leading corporate guy (he doesn't have a name, they call him "A"). I have very little information about the project at this point; the film is so low-budget that they have yet to hire production personnel who can answer some of my questions. I do know the entire film will be shot in about 10 days (it's that low-budget), but I have no idea how much of that time I will be working. Who cares? It's union work, and I can always use more experience on camera. It will certainly be the largest film role I have had, and perhaps I will even end up in the theatrical trailer of what is currently called A Modest Suggestion. Hey, it could happen. When I appeared in John Waters's Pecker years ago, I only worked on one scene, but for some reason, I ended up in the trailer, seen by millions of theatre-goers across the country. Can you spot me?