I have a cold.
Sniffly. Stuffed up. Sinus pressure. I am tempted to go back to bed. Oh yeah, it’s not the ideal way to start a new week. But we forge ahead, right? Especially when important acting-related business comes our way unexpectedly.
In the midst of dealing with my cold—and hoping it’s gone by tomorrow so I don’t sound disastrous during a big live audition in Dallas—I get an email from a contact in Canada. She’s got a 2-day summer gig in Houston and needs an actress to play one of the roles. Before even responding to her email, I’m on a mission. I start contacting the people on a short list of actresses I would recommend for this particular role. Via email. Via text. Via Facebook if I don’t already have her phone number or email address.
Some of these actresses submit a headshot and resume even before I finally reply to my contact’s original request. One of them, who shall remain nameless, asks me a lot of questions about which resume and headshot she should send. I like them both but she’s looking at the camera in the second one so I tell her to use that one. I answer every other question quickly to expedite her submission. Even while wanting to be in bed, I’m feeling the adrenaline from getting as many options to the contact as possible in a short amount of time.
The whole situation reminds me of what I heard from casting director Paul Weber in Austin just yesterday. At one of the SAG Foundation workshops at SXSW, he made a comment about timing that I had never thought about. Imagine the casting director of a project you submitted to is watching your audition tape at 3 am, he said. Now I’m picturing someone who is exhausted, hungry, and maybe grumpy. It changes everything, doesn’t it? Suddenly you realize you may not always get the undivided attention of a person at their physical and mental best. On top of that, this person may be facing a major time crunch to get through this casting process. Perhaps the last 90 seconds of your 2-minute audition go unwatched. Or maybe it’s your demo reel getting watched instead at that late hour and it gets stopped after 30 seconds.
Casting doesn’t come with convenience. It’s ugly at times. Desperate. Sick with a cold or even worse. But each person involved in the process is working toward finding a solution or providing one. As actors, we’re the solution providers so it’s helpful to remember the bigger picture here. It’s not about our ego or building our career. Casting is about solving a problem for the production, no matter what variables get…achoo… thrown in.