The agent just called. Last minute audition for a commercial. I’m notified that the audition is to take place in two hours. I can’t help but wonder how on earth they get enough actors to show up. How can people just cancel their day or get out of their “day job” to go to a commercial audition so last minute? Then I remember I live in L.A., where most people would sell their souls to be on TV, and it makes sense. I wasn’t going to go because I had a full day planned, but my manager gave me a reality check.
“I hate commercials,” I tell him honestly.
“Well, Alice…if you book just one you could make enough money to open more orphanages and you won’t have to wait tables.”
Good point. My manager’s always right. I hate it when that happens. I hang up the phone after agreeing to go. But still. I can’t watch commercials. I try. But it never works out. I simply loathe them. The awkward actor spitting out “funny” lines while some famous product that no one needs is advertised. No thank you. And the auditions for commercials are always far worse than the commercial itself.
It’s always the same. At least a hundred desperate people trying to be funny in a florescent-lit office room where a guy in Chuck Taylor’s spouts out “acting” notes. Sorry to be such a snob about commercials, but this is how I feel.
I keep in mind the reason I’m at the audition (money for more orphanages, money for more orphanages) and walk in. A hundred women in mini skirts lean against the wall fiercely going over their lines. I didn’t get the mini skirt memo, as I adjust my jeans and pick up a copy of the scene. The casting director with a bobbed hair cut and green polo shirt explains we are to say “pig” and then make the noise of a pig. Then say “donkey” and then make the noise of a donkey. Then say the word “rooster” and then make the noise of a rooster.
So I left.
I crossed my name off the sign in sheet and went to Starbucks.
Admittedly, I’ve never just walked out of an audition before, but I was not going to make those noises. I don’t care how much money they would have paid me. But don’t get me wrong; I’m one for weirdness. I’ve done improv shows and have been known for making up my own comedic lines in films that the director ends up using.
Convinced my manager was going to fire me, I told him the truth. To my surprise he laughed and had my back. So at the end of the day, I’ve learned it’s OK to not do things you don’t like. Some women won’t go topless; I won’t make animal noises.
Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.