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“I love Alice. I think she is lovely and unique and I will try to find something for her. On a gut level I didn’t feel she was the right match opposite the actor playing John. It is no reflection on her talent or beauty.”

I woke up to the above message in my email inbox. I’m sharing this not to toot my own horn (last week I was told I was forgettable). But since I live in an entertainment industry run town, other actors out there need to know that just because they don’t get the part doesn’t mean they sucked.

The casting director who wrote the message did so out of the kindness of his heart. Casting directors aren’t known for contacting the actor’s representation to compliment the actor they didn’t cast. There just isn’t time. But nice casting directors exist. This is proof.

I contemplate this question all the time: I nailed the audition… why wasn’t I cast? Then I start to wonder… maybe I didn’t nail it, maybe I’m delusional… perhaps I just… sucked?

I just had this particular audition yesterday. I read for a young Irish woman who was betrayed. I visited Samuel French and paid $25 for an Irish accent CD and set my CD player to repeat in my car all weekend long to perfect my standard Irish dialect. (My years studying phonetics in acting school totally out the window… who can remember phonetics?)

All weekend I work on this. Memorizing and scribbling the beats of the scene out next to all my lines (a technique I also learned in acting school), and even talking to myself in the mirror with the accent. I said a few typical Irish phrases, “Is it a liar you’re calling me?” With the accent in place, sounds more like “Tis it a liar yar callin me?”

I pulled into the pretentious, scary studio gate waving to the security guard who just gave me directions to the five level parking lot. After turning the same corner three times, panicking that I’ve gotten completely lost, I found the proper office.

Several girls, many of whom looked straight from Ireland from the while ankle socks to the red curly hair and pale skin, waited in the room. I look way more eastern European than Irish (I’m Polish and Czech).

I sit down accepting a bottle of water from the assistant, and smile at the other girls, nose deep in their audition papers, and wait to hear my name like I’m in the waiting room at a doctor’s office.

My name is finally called. The casting director greets me affectionately and compliments my acting. He remembered the last time I was in his office quoting the name of a TV show I auditioned for, which I acted like I remembered too.

I left feeling like I nailed it.

And then, no call.

I was so certain I nailed it. Better than anyone could have this time and still… no call.

But I did get this email reminding me how little power I actually have when it comes to casting. I wasn’t cast not because I sucked, but because I wouldn’t pair well with the other male actor. I was actually “lovely,” as quoted. And this was nice to hear, considering a casting director has never personally emailed my agent before with this kind of information.

It was a nice reminder that nice casting directors exist.

Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.

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Tales of a Toluca Lake Actress

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