March 05, 2005

Too Many Me's

When I was a little girl I used to stand in front of the mirror at my tap dance studio and imagine myself on stage before hundreds of people ~ I was completely thrilled with myself! My dance instructor had been one of the Radio City Rockettes and though long since retired from the troupe, she had each and every one of us students aspiring to follow our in her footsteps.

After eight years of tap and three years of jazz-interpretive, I decided to back away from dance and pursue other dreams. It wasn't until my mid-20s when I took a real interest in acting. I took some stage-acting classes at a local school on the Island then broadened my interest to camera acting (television/movie acting) in Manhattan. For a brief time, I thought this was something I could really sink my teeth into.

Some years ago, I answered an ad to audition for an upcoming soap opera. At the time, it wasn't set-in-stone as a full production and they were screening people for various spots. The one I was vying for was the lead (but of course!). I spoke to three different people on the phone who were each rather encouraging and suggested that I come to audition since I was precisely "what they were looking for." Having discussed the profile and physical description for the role they were looking to fill, I was told to bring another resume and headshot if I decided to attend. These phone conversations convinced me that I actually stood half a chance.

Auditions are grueling. You have to show up to the assigned location by 5 a.m. in order to get a foot in the door; then handed a number. They are sometimes held at barely-heated warehouses in midtown with horrific acoustics and with far too few chairs in the waiting hall. You are handed a script moments before heading to the shoddy "stage" area after which you are told to either return to the wait area or to "have a nice day." Returning to the wait area usually meant you'd better have packed a lunch because you're there for the duration. Sometimes upward of 200 people show up to audition and they're not completely through until 4 or 5 p.m.

This was my first and last experience with a live audition. After an hour and a half commute including bus, ferry, subway and tired tootsies, I finally arrived at the warehouse only to be met by 149 women who all looked just like me! It seemed surreal. There was very little height and weight variation, mild differences in hair shade, and damned near clone-ism in bone structure, eye color and nose shape! Egad. I caught myself looking around for Rod Serling until I remembered he passed on (I sorely miss this amazing genius).

To keep this post down to a quiet roar (lengthwise), I'll spare many a detail and cut to the outcome.

I did get my foot in the door - I did sit for hours in the near frigid waiting hall - I did stand before four men and two women in a dank warehouse with crap acoustics - and I was told to return to the holding area. I got a second read, this time bouncing lines to and from the casting group. Just like the little kid admiring herself in the mirror many years earlier, I just thought I was simply marvelous! And maybe, just maybe, I was. But I didn't get a callback. Drat!

Unfortunately, one of the other nearly identical competitors landed that particular role. I read somewhere that choosing the perfect candidate can be a difficult process, and sometimes it all comes down to who had the nicest colored blouse or hairstyle. You know, kinda like the way many Americans apparently vote in our presidents every four years.

The experience for me, overall, was a positive, interesting and educational one. I had no idea there were so many me's out there. Kind of puts things into perspective just a bit. But as I've quoted before, my grandfather used to tell me if I got a bit too cocky, "there's always going to be someone bigger, better and badder than you are."


Blogger Wally said...


Even some of the biggest producers have passed by the "shiniest Star!"
All I can say is, well; it's their loss!

10:52 AM  
Blogger Swifty said...

I'm afraid that's the way it is applying for any job. There's just no accounting for the 'taste' of the audtioners. If ever you've watched Pop Idol, you'll know exactly what I mean, when quite often the most talented aspirants get knocked back, to make room for more dubious artists.

Another cool and interesting post.

11:53 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Hi Carol,

Fun post! I could imagine the shock of seeing 149 women looking so much like myself.

I enjoyed this story.


2:27 PM  
Blogger pete said...

Hi! Just wanted to thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such nice comments. I will definitely be putting yours on my "blogs to come back to list!" I can't wait to hear some of your stories. Seems that you have had some quite interesting experiences.

Hope you have a great day!

P.S. Yes, Rod Serling WAS a genius!


2:47 PM  
Blogger John said...

I agree with Pete1016, Mr. Serling was a genius at what he did. Some of these Hollywood types may learn something from him. Too bad you didn't get that part you wanted... :(

9:38 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

My goodness.

149 versions of me would be quite frightening. Would we all call frogs green duckies? Would we all liven up parties by (without the help of any liquor at all) proceed to put 5 or 6 birthday hats all over our face? Would we all think that we were the Queen of the Universe?

All I can say is hey, they missed the mark when they didn't choose you. And yes, I am really that weird.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Sask 1 said...

Ah they might look like you physically Carol,but no way are they anything like you your original.Sounds like the casting directors passed by a star.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Crazy Dan said...

Hi Weary Hag, I found your blog while doing some research on soap opera auditions. I like your blog, thank you for sharing the information and keep up the good work!.
I'll be back to see if you have any posts about soap opera auditions

6:46 PM  

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