The 2 ends of the auditioning spectrum

On Monday evening I auditioned for a national print ad for a skin care drink. This audition required women to be in a bathing suit for the picture and men in a speedo or briefs. Models would go in one at a time and be photographed in a secured, closed off area. So I waited about 45 minutes before hearing the production assistant, a pregnant woman in her late 20’s, come out and say “All the remaining men please come back with me.” Apparently, someone, I think it was her, had the bright idea to bring the remaining 13 or so of us on back, have us strip down and just knock out the necessary photos faster. The only way I can describe this to you accurately is to say there were 10 six packs in that room, me and 2 other guys. I can best describe it by putting Jabba the Hut, a Macy’s Parade balloon and whoever you choose fat to put here for the joke, standing behind 10 guys from “300”. Now I’m no slouch, but good gracious some people need a burger and fries. The first guy in the group to go up was a skater looking fellow, of the not six pack having trio, and wearing a thong. Yes. Thong. I have never heard a room go silent faster than at the very minute Tony Hawk drops trau to reveal the buttfloss. It’s awkward enough to be in just your boxer briefs (there, now you know) in a room with a dozen other guys, a photographer and a pregnant lady capturing this all and making sure your eyes don’t fall in the wrong place, but seeing this was….ugh. So he gets his pictures taken, quickly gets dressed and leaves the room with a loud, rhetorical “AWKWARDDDDDDDD”. No shit, really? Maybe because you’re wearing a t-back, you dolt. At this point, the wheels have come off. I’m now cracking jokes left and right and the whole room is laughing. One guy gets up to take a picture and he looks like a Roman statue. What do I do? Heckle him. “Eat a burger sometime. I can see your spine.” Fortunately for me he laughed. As it was closer to being my time to be photographed, I started singing “One of these things is not like the others…” (You know what song that is, it’s from Sesame Street. Now try not to get it stuck in your head.) More laughs from the room. I get in front of the photographer and he asks “What’s up?” casually, like this happens all the time. “Well, I can tell you thankfully what’s not up….” This is the only time the pregnant lady laughed or even acknowledged the guys in the room. Yeah, good times.

Today, I was in Austin for a director’s read for a reporter role on “Friday Night Lights”. Basically, a director’s read means it’s not an audition or callback, it’s straight to the director and casting people. The director of this episode is Seith Mann, who’s done some shows you’ve probably heard of. As I was waiting to go in I felt pretty comfortable. I knew (both) my lines and was confident that I could do this based on my years in sports casting doing the exact thing the script called for. I felt real good until Lewis Johnson of NBC Sports walked in. Lewis is the sideline reporter for NBC’s Notre Dame broadcasts and handled the same duties for NBC’s Arena League broadcasts last year. I spoke to him about a nasty collision involving a small kid at a Desperados game last year then we chatted briefly about some other sports related stuff and I was calm again.

I had a 3:45 audition, flew out of Dallas at 1:00 on Southwest, got there with plenty of time to eat lunch, study my lines and sign in around 3:25. They were auditioning moms before me so I was in the waiting area with a half dozen of them and noticed one mom had yet to go in. We all began talking about our travel to Austin and she said she had been at the production offices and waiting since 1:30. She had flown in on a 6 am flight from Atlanta and had no idea the offices were 10 minutes from Austin Bergstrom Airport. She said the cab driver nearly got lost and had no idea where she was going (it’s literally 2 left turns out of the airport). I told her should could ride back with me since I was headed right back to the airport. We both got called to the on deck area and I introduced myself to her and come to find out, she is also with my Dallas agent and is on the show “Army Wives”. Her name is Rhoda Griffis and she said that this Sunday’s episode of “Army Wives” is going to be a big one, and that they had been picked up by Lifetime for 22 episodes. Then it was time for Rhoda’s audition and I was on deck.

The audition itself was short, but I think it went well. They wanted to know if I truly had broadcast experience and we read the scene. That was it. I should know if I got it by next Tuesday, but the more important part was getting in front of Mr. Mann and Beth Sepko, the casting director who also handles a TON of movies. Had I blown the read I would be worried.

From there, Rhoda and I were off on the short 10 minute trip to the Airport. We had about an hour each for our flights so we had time to stop and get a drink and enjoy the live band playing in the terminal. Austin truly is the live music capital of the world. While we were hanging out, I mentioned my friend Glenn Morshower and she said that he is who was cast to play the husband of the role she auditioned for and one of the two reasons she made the journey, the other being to get in front of Beth Sepko. The hour flew by and I showed Rhoda to her gate and we exchanged contact info. Watch “Army Wives” this Sunday night on Lifetime, apparently Rhoda is the bi-atch and has it coming to her. :)

On the flight home I sat next to a culinary student named Laura who announced right before take off that she was a terrible flyer. So I spent the next 45 minutes keeping her distracted and laughing. She told me she was going to St. Louis for her cousin’s wedding and that she had been asked to help cater it. I offered her $5 to wear her chef’s coat for the duration of the flight and through the airport upon arrival in Dallas, but no luck. I bet that flight to St. Louis was long and boring, or at the very least quiet.

2 Replies to “The 2 ends of the auditioning spectrum”

  1. OMG! This is too hysterical!
    My new company was the host agency for that shoot! Small world…

    Some colleagues of mine were just perusing the audition photos and mentioned this product/concept. It sounded all too familiar so I came back to your blog—and yup! Sure enough, it is the same thing that you tried out for.

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