A Very Public Breaking Point

Inspired by the response my last post had, I thought I share another, more hilarious audition tale with you. I like to refer to this one as, The Tale of the Exploding Man!

It was one of those castings where your agent calls you up, you look at the breakdown (character brief) and think…”Erm?! I don’t suit this at all”. It was for a commercial too which, as I explained in my previous post, isn’t always plain sailing! I went along thinking the chances of me landing it were about as thin as a model at Fashion Week and I casually chatted to the other actors around me and gave the script a quick read.

Very unusually for a commercial casting, we were actually sent the script the night before and I’d had a read to see that mainly the two male roles spoke and us ladies were…fillers! However, on the day, the script we were given was entirely different and more scenes had been added. A couple of people asked if this is what other people had been sent the night before too, which everyone replied, “no” and smiled knowingly at each other that the script had just simply been changed overnight. No one really cared about it. It is the most common “problem” for actors to be auditioning with scripts they have seen just moments before.

Then, in comes the man…there is usually always one at every casting. The really LOUD actor who wants everyone else to notice them. He made a real song and dance out of the simplest of tasks; taking off his coat, finding a seat, filling out his form, it was all very dramatic. However, his look suited the breakdown to the ground; he was every bit the nutty professor with crazy big white hair and a monocle! The rest of us fell silent and went back to reading over our scripts, smartening up our hair or applying the last of our make-up.

After a few moments the man asks the group if there are any other copies of the script? I show him mine and he studied it for a moment, looked back at me and said, “No, the one they sent last night was different. That is what I am auditioning for.” I smiled and said, “Yes, I think they’ve changed it overnight. This is the new script.” – He blankly stared at me. – A few seconds went by. –

Then, out of no where, this man screams…and I mean SCREAMS! Everyone’s jaws were on the floor as we listened to him begin to rant and rave! He went on for a good few minutes, swearing every second or third word about the fact that he had stayed up all night learning his lines! He had cancelled work, cancelled a doctor’s appointment, and changed “everything” in order to be off script and word perfect…

When he stopped finally, the casting director came out of the audition room and politely asked if we could keep the noise down as every word could be heard. His face went very red and I thought to myself, you might as well go home now. A male actor offered up, “Never prepare too hard for commercial castings mate, they always change stuff” but it came out more sarcastic than reassuring.

Looking back, I feel quite sorry for him. Every now and then we all have that moment where the industry just chucks that final straw at us and we break. His look suited the job so perfectly, he had probably laid a lot of hopes on getting the part and done as much preparation as possible so that it would happen. Sadly, at a casting in earshot of the people you are about to audition in front of is absolutely the worst place for you to show your frustration.

I got lucky though and landed the job! I think the exploding man made me realise I could stand more of a chance than I thought…

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