I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!

I've just completed a shoot for a spot for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. It's a brief spot about hiking and the majority of it will include the back of my head. (My hair looks quite good, though!) I had a great time and met some terrific people. However, events leading up to the shoot weren't so great.

The day began in a promising way. The talent (that's me) hadn't been provided with directions to our location, though the address of the Berkshire location had been provided, along with a call time of 1:00 PM. So, Google Maps to the rescue! After scrutinizing the map, collecting my hiking gear, fueling the car and adding some oil, I was on the road. I'd given myself an extra 45 minutes to get to the location, just in case something came up, but so I could still arrive early.

Well, along the way, I hit two HUGE traffic jams in which I moved at a rate of about 2 miles an hour. There was no road work, no accident, no closed lanes. I still don't know why the traffic was backed up. But, I wasn't worried--I had that built-in, 45-minute buffer.

At 12:55 PM, I exited the Massachusetts Turnpike knowing I was still several miles away from the location. So, I called the production manager and left a voicemail message indicating that I had gotten caught in traffic but was only about 20 minutes away. Or, so I thought. Unfortunately, I got turned around and then lost. After 20 minutes of driving around and asking for directions, I had to call the production manager to state that I was lost and that I would be more late. One more stop for directions put me on the right path and, as I was pulling into our location the production manager called me to find out my status. I indicated I was only minutes away and he seemed contented. I gathered from his tone that the entire production was holding due to my tardiness. The time was 2:00 PM.

Hastily, I parked, ran in, greeted everyone, apologised for my lateness and changed into the outfit wardrobe selected from my hiking clothing options. From there, the day went smoothly, but I still felt this aura of shame floating over me. I hated being late. I'm not a late person by nature. I didn't want this to reflect badly on me, badly on the casting company, or badly on other members of the acting profession. I realise that I could not have controlled the traffic and that even people with the best of intentions get lost from time to time, but, man! It sucks to be late.


If it's meant to be, it's meant to be

I've just taken a phone call from a good actor-friend of mine who is working on a film with major prospects: it has a great up-and-coming director; there are amazing opportunities for major bigwigs to see the completed work; an excellent cast is on hand, including my actor-friend (we'll call him Bill). It seems an actress with a major part has pulled out, though, and Bill has recommended me for the part! How exciting! It was so thoughtful of Bill to think of me on such short notice.

However, a few things have to fall into place in order for this to happen:
• The project is quick-shooting this weekend and my weekend is already a bit crammed with previous engagements and some singing gigs.
• I would only have three scenes to shoot, but some major direction to learn.
• There may be some contract issues with which to contend. The director is making some calls.

I have to keep reminding myself that if things are meant to happen, then they will happen. But, geez, it would be fun to work on this.


Puppet at your service

I just returned from auditioning for a role in a healthcare company spot. I'm not certain if the project is an ad or an industrial, but I know it's definitely a one-day shoot sometime next month. Auditions are strange when they're not for major projects like television dramas, sit-coms, or feature films because you never know what they're going to ask you to do when you walk in.

Today, I was paired up with another actress whom I'd never met before. She was quite friendly, and we'd had a good time in the waiting room watching and listening as one casting intern called an elderly woman and asked her to attend an audition. It became evident that the woman on the other end of the phone was hard of hearing when the intern kept saying, "Marie*. No. My name is Mah-REE. Yes, my name is still Marie." Everyone in the room had gotten a good chuckle and a few tears of laughter out of that when the other actress and I were called into the audition room.

We were told that this audition should show friendship, facial movement, compassion, hugging and expression. So, she and I promptly concocted an entire conversation, a history of friendship, and we gabbed about the imagined as though it were real. Hopefully we captured whatever it is they're seeking.

In other instances, my more unusual (and often line-free) auditions have consisted of:

• waving
• smiling
• pretending to drive a car
• watching a two-year-old throw a telephone handset into a garbage can
• hiding under a bedsheet and appearing "sheepish yet surprised"
• looking wistfully through an imaginary window
• miming

I have a sneaking suspicion that this gig--should I get it--may not be my big break. It could be fun, though.

*Not the real name of the intern.


Spam I Am?

A few years ago, I did some print work as part of a one-time gig for a company called Creative Playthings, which specializes in commercial and residential wooden playground equipment. Today, I received an email message from the company. That's odd, I thought, I've never received email from them before. Perhaps they want to work with me again.

Upon opening the message, I realized that this was not a work request. Rather, it was advertising an upcoming sale of jungle gyms. And, in fact, I am in the ad as the "mom" pushing the three children on the tire swing. (See my red hair?)

I don't think I'll be purchasing a jungle gym anytime soon.


I am woman! (Part 2)

So, yesterday I auditioned for The Women. I prepared the two small parts I was assigned and the third (with which I really identified), and arrived early for my audition.

As the only one in the waiting room I figured, surely, I would audition soon. 35 minutes and 7 people in the waiting area later, I was called in. Soon, the tardiness of the process became clear: the Associate Casting Director (ACD) was running the show, and it seemed the CD was observing the process. The ACD seemed a bit nervous and a bit disorganized, as I had to provide him with my audition copy when he did not have his own. Nevertheless, he was very professional and clearly knew how to run the show.

The two bit parts were recorded twice. I conveyed that I had prepared the third role when it was explained to me that the writer had envisioned "a younger, a much younger person in the part." (Now, it should be relayed that this particular character's scene is constructed to show up the women of age by portraying youth and brains in a lightening-fast package of honest brilliance.) I, knowing the actresses who would probably be playing the older women in the scene, began to wonder: how old must I look? Do I already look so old that I could not play youth? It cannot be that bad; I am still mistaken for a college student. Does the writer picture a high-school student in the part?

Maybe I should be considering Botox...


I am woman!

Today, while I was at the zoo viewing some flamingos, I received a phone call from a local casting director asking me to audition tomorrow for another upcoming feature film. This project is The Women, an adaptation of the Clare Boothe Luce play, and will purportedly star Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Annette Bening and Candice Bergen, among others. (Wow!) I've been given two brief roles to prepare, but I think I'll prepare a third. I can identify with the two I've been assigned, but I've discovered another character whom I really understand. So, if there's a chance to present her as well, I'll definitely spring for it.