I should have stuck with my "NO OPEN CALL" rule.
Why did I decide to break my own rule? Because it was my agent that told me about it. Even though it was an open call, people were being told about it by their agents, so I figured it would be different from the normal open call.
At today's audition, it took over 2 hours to be seen (actually, that's short by open call standards)... and when I was seen, they didn't want to see me for the role I'd prepared for. That's part of the biz, right? But I think it's mainly part of the biz when you go to open calls.
It may sometimes be part of the biz when you're called in based on your headshot -- but not as often. Not if you look like your headshot -- which I do. If they've seen your headshot, glanced at your resume, and decide to call you in for an audition -- chances are, they'll read you for the part you've prepared for. When you're called in for an audition, somebody has picked you from the bunch based on your look. You've at least jumped one hurdle to get into the room.
They want you -- specifically you -- to be there, for a reason.
But for this audition, even though my agent told me about it, the folks making the film didn't see my headshot ahead of time. Had they seen it, they probably would not have called me in. At least, not for the role I spent all that time preparing for.
It's not just a "me" thing. They didn't see any of our headshots ahead of time. So many (maybe most?) of us would not have been called in for auditions had the production company filtered through our headshots ahead of time -- or had our agents only been asked to send a small sampling of actors specifically selected for the various roles.
Don't get me wrong. For some people, open calls are fine. And there was a time when I had no problem with them, either. They're part of paying your dues.
So, I'm not making a judgement call on open calls in general.
This is a personal choice arrived at after years of paying my dues.. and re-paying them... in various areas of the entertainment industry. My last straw (or should I say, second to last straw?) was when I auditioned for "Last Comic Standing" (2006). While I don't regret doing it, I swore that was my last open call. And it was...
So, today I'm reiterating my rule.
I spent time preparing for a role that they didn't see me for, and the role they did have me read for is a role that I wasn't interested in reading for when I checked the list of roles for my type. When I was deciding whether or not to go to today's open call, I specifically decided to read for one of the roles that was more interesting -- and would be worth my time. We're talking about an Ultra Low Budget project, so for me, it has to be a role of a certain size and/or interest to even think about getting involved.
Look -- I know I'm not in the big leagues. So, I'm not saying I'm above certain kinds of work. Oh, wait. Yes I am. I don't work for sandwiches... anymore. I don't work for free... anymore. And I'm not interested in working as an extra, or having one or two lines, on an Ultra Low Budget project.
What's the point of that?
To get experience?
Just to work?
I've worked in the entertainment industry for years in one capacity or another. I've got experience. I know how to work. And I'm a lot more selective about what I'm willing to leave the house to work on these days.
For one thing, I don't even need to leave the house to work these days.
Without leaving my apartment, I'm working 5 days a week a week making YouTube videos... all on my own... with maybe as much chance of getting seen as a minor role in a ULB film. And even if what I'm doing on my own doesn't amount to something, at least it's mine -- and I don't have to audition for it.
What really left the bad taste in my mouth after the whole process was complete is that they didn't even bother to put me on tape. The reason I know some people were getting put on tape is because we could hear them auditioning as we were waiting in line. They'd rehearse, then they'd get put on tape.
Now, I know that it may just have been that they were only putting certain roles on tape. I'm not "supposed to" second guess what they're doing. They might very well just be making notes for the tiny roles, and not putting them on tape, even when they like the actor.
But... well... the bottom line to all of this is that I'm going back to the personal rule I'd set for myself after auditioning for Last Comic Standing. No open calls. Period.
Even if my agent tells me about it. An open call is still an open call.
Getting cast on a project is hard enough, even when the Director/CastingDirector/Producer call you in because your headshot matches a look they're going for.
Walking in cold... sucks.
Plain and simple.
It reminded me of those comedy gigs where the audience doesn't know there's going to be a comedy show. Performing is hard enough when people want you to be there. It's miserable when they don't.
And I didn't exactly feel like I was wanted there today. I had the feeling that the small part they had me read for was simply going through the motions. I could be wrong, but that's how it felt.
In any event, whether I'm right or wrong about how they felt, I know how I feel... and it ain't good. Not heartbroken or anything. But seriously... it took almost 4 hours of my day for a local San Diego audition (counting getting dressed and drive time) -- and that's not counting the hours of preparation time over the past couple of days.
And it turned out to be for a role I'm not right for -- that I didn't even get to read for.
It feels like I just went to LA... for one of those freakin' comedy hell gigs at a sports bar -- which, coincidentally, is where the audition was held. In a sports bar.
Ah, the ironies of life.
I don't go out of my way anymore to do sports bar comedy gigs in LA or Orange County in front of people who are playing pool and/or watching one of the 37 flatscreen TV's -- but I end up back in a sports bar in San Diego auditioning for somebody who might as well have been playing pool or watching one of the flatscreens.
Will I ever learn?
I'll wait a while and forget how much this sucked.
WAIT... BZZZT! Timeout!!
That's setting myself up for defeat. I call a personal foul on myself!
I am NOT going to do ANY more OPEN CALLS. PERIOD.