Friday, November 30, 2012

Audition: "Russian Type"

I'm not Russian.  And if I were left with nothing but my own opinion, I also would never have considered myself as a "Russian Type".  But thanks to my Facebook friends (who've commented on my look since I've grown a beard)...
I now consider myself to look like a Russian.

Why am I thanking my Facebook friends for that?

Because I recently submitted myself for a role in a commercial where they were looking for a "Russian Type"...

And I got called in for an audition.

It's the first time I've gone up to Hollywood for an audition in a year.  Exactly a year, as a matter of fact.  I just found that out when I checked my calendar today to answer the question, "How long has it been since I went up for an audition in Hollywood".  The answer was one year...

To the day.

That bit of numerical freakiness aside...

Did I mention that I got called in for a role where they were looking for a "Russian Type"?

I've submitted myself to a number of roles in the past year where they were looking for guys in my age range...

And I didn't get called in.

But then I got called in for a "Russian Type"?

The reason I'm making such a big deal out of this is because I think I've done a pretty decent job over the years of knowing my "type" -- based on the results of the stuff I've submitted myself for.  That is, I've submitted myself to a number of roles over the years, and have been called-in for a decent percentage of those submissions.  That would indicate that I've got a handle on my "type", right?

I suppose not knowing that I looked Russian doesn't mean I'm totally clueless about my "type".  It just means...

I wasn't seeing _every_ type.

So, maybe it's a good thing to listen to other people sometimes.  Not all the time, mind you.  That would be enough to drive you crazy.  But there are some good observations coming from outside of your own skull that may lead you places you wouldn't have thought to go on your own.

At this point, you may be thinking...

Looking like a Russian is one thing.  Sounding like one is another thing altogether.


Point taken.  Just because I now look Russian, that doesn't mean I automatically sound like one.  The beard doesn't come with magical powers.  Not that I'm aware of, anyway.

Which brings me back to your point...

Can I do a Russian accent?

Well, I may not be at the level of Meryl Streep...

Or of an actual Russian...

But I can do something in the vicinity of a Russian accent.

And for commercials, I figure "in the vicinity" is good enough to be in the room.

Speaking of actual Russians...

When I was waiting to audition yesterday, I overheard a few of the other actors talking to each other...

And they were actually from Russia (or some other Eastern European countries).

Either that, or they were method actors not wanting to break character.

At first, that did throw me off a little bit.

Not much... but definitely a bit.

It shouldn't have surprised me -- I just hadn't thought about who else would be waiting in the hallway.  So when I was sitting there, doing my best to relax and wait my turn, it was just a bit off-putting to know that the director would be observing me immediately after a number of actors who weren't "doing" an accent.

Then I reminded myself that there are many times when people are hired to "do" accents.  And in each case, I'm pretty sure there were actors from the actual country with the actual accent that auditioned for the part.

"It's not all about whether or not your accent is real", said the little voice in my head.  "It's about whether or not you're the best one for the role."


That's always the case, isn't it?  Unless, of course, your mom's the Producer.


Believe it or not, whether or not I get the job is beside the point.

The main point (see "the thing I enjoyed the most") about yesterday was the risk-taking involved.

I took my not-quite-Meryl-Streep-quality Russian accent into a casting office in Hollywood, and let 'er rip.  Win or lose, I took the risk.  I put myself out there.

And it felt good.

In the end, I think that's mostly what this is all about...

Taking risks.

(And feeling good doesn't hurt, either.)