I particularly like the large "audition" followed closely by "rehearsal rehearsal rehearsal." Isn't that the life of a professional auditionee?
Man, man, man! Yesterday was one heck of a day.
I awoke at 5 AM, was dressed as an MIT student and out the door by 6:15 AM, backpack, hat and all. Despite recent troubles with the MBTA, I was willing to give it a second chance notwithstanding the bizarre route map provided. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did the designated bus arrive, but I arrived at my destination early. I checked in and took a seat with the other "MIT students" and "MIT professors". I elected to wear one of my engaging, nerdy T-shirts:
It's not unlike nerdy shirts I've seen at MIT previously. (One of my faves.) Howevever, my shirt was deemed "too bright" for the shot; I took it off to reveal the turtleneck beneath. Moreover, while the description for wardrobe read:
"Beginning of Fall weather, similar to now. NO SHORTS OR SHORT SLEEVES. NO WINTERY LOOKING CLOTHING (heavy jackets, vests, etc.) Light sweaters are okay...We suggest wearing 2 layers"and since autumn had begun only four days prior, and especially since everyone had followed the direction provided, of course we were all dressed incorrectly. We had to remove all coats and secondary layers. People in t-shirts were highly desired. When it's 57 degrees outside, we all enjoy wearing as little clothing as possible, I know. I was asked if I had another wardrobe option other than my cute t-shirt and the close-fitting turtleneck I had on. I didn't, so they settled for my turtleneck. Once we got to set, the shot was very quick (thank goodness! I was a popsicle!) and we wrapped in less than two hours, leaving me much of the day to rehearse and get other tasks and errands completed.
At rehearal yesterday evening, I was in great voice even though I'd awoken so early. I felt very confident in my singing which worked to my advantage, I think, as I was given a last-minute solo in an impromptu quartet to be performed Sunday. However, the director seemed totally out of sorts and in some kind of weird funk, which left everyone in the ensemble perturbed. Nothing we could ask/do/sing/suggest was deemed appropriate or was well-received. Quite a few of us were barked at in a harsh tone. It was quite frustrating and I left rehearsal rather angry. Hopefully the director will get all quirks resolved prior to Sunday's performance.
After my last post garnered so much attention, I thought I might give the MBTA one more chance. Tomorrow I'll be working on the Nicolas Cage/Alex Proyas project, Knowing. So, once again, I went to the MBTA web site to use the practical trip planning tool to scout a route to one of the locations.
This is part of the map I was provided:
Do you see a problem? I do. Some might think this is the route of a subway train. It's not. It's the route of a bus. Apparently, it might take a hard right, plow through the BU campus, cross a major thoroughfare and ford the Charles River. Should I be concerned for my safety? Perhaps this is a new way to keep MBTA vehicles on schedule.
My call time is early tomorrow and I'm planning to leave earlier than necessary to get there. I'll let you know if I arrive on time.
This morning, I utilized the online trip planning tool at the MBTA web site to plan my route to an audition for a print campaign. I wanted to travel efficiently from point A to point B. Unfortunately, things did not go as scheduled.
The train I was to catch came late. When it did arrive, it got me to my stop quickly. I hastily walked three-quarters of a mile uphill in heels to the audition location. Why? Because the scheduled bus I was to board did not arrive. Three buses "NOT IN SERVICE" did pass me while I hustled on my way, though. I arrived rather warm and late. Too late. I would not be seen. I could not audition. I was permitted to leave a photo, but inside, I was fuming.
Could it have something to do with the conversation I overheard last night while on another bus? The driver was chatting to a friend, both apparently unaware that I remained on the bus alone and very quiet.
"They're trying to organize a work slowdown," he said, "instead of a strike."
"Yeah?" his friend nodded.
"Yeah. You know: make sure everyone pays; don't depart until all the passengers are behind the line; drive below the speed limit--all to make everything run behind schedule."
Could it have begun so soon? I had relied upon the schedule provided to get to my audition in a timely manner. What folly! I had depended upon the MBTA! I depend upon the MBTA.
What is to be done, MBTA? Will you do anything? Can you do anything? I'm waiting.
Today was a curious study in music and life.
This morning, I celebrated a life-to-be and one of my dearest friends. She's someone with whom I've sung and performed professionally, and with whom I share much. Her baby shower was a lovely fusion of musicians and laughter and gifts and friends and food, filled with memories of events that were and conversations of those special moments to be. On my way there I was serenaded by a homeless man who wanted to sing just for me. I obliged him.
This evening, I celebrated a wonderful life-that-was: that of my voice teacher Helen Hodam. A memorial concert and reception were given in her honor at New England Conservatory featuring several of her former students. I was not one of them. Again, it was a lovely fusion of musicians and laughter and gifts and friends and food, filled with conversation and memories of events that were. I cannot deny there were some tears shed, as well. The concert (given in her preferred recital hall, and appropriately so.) was concluded by the playing of one of her own recordings. The song was Loch Lomond and was recorded in 1947 when she was 33 or 34 years old. (She was an old woman when I began my studies with her, you see.) Despite the scratchy static that was part of the record, her tone was clear, her diction crisp and her line musical, as she wanted that of all her students to be.
I am proud to be a part of these two distinctly musical lives.
I must admit, I'm having a difficult time coming up with something to write about. (Yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition.) My life these past few days has been suffering a dearth of audition-related events. I did get an email about auditioning for a feature film shooting in the area, but they were seeking scullers and were requesting an emailed photo ("with boat would be great"). I don't row and I haven't got a boat. I was also asked to bring my child to an audition. I haven't got one of those, either. I suppose I could have borrowed one, though. I've been learning a great song by composer John Hilton, which will probably be performed in several weeks. That's something to look forward to, I suppose...
So, more than a year ago, I auditioned for Kate Hudson comedy Bachelor No. 2 (now called My Best Friend's Girl). I even got a callback. Sadly, I was not offered a role. However, as the movie will be coming out in less than a week, the airwaves have become plastered with commercials for it. Just yesterday I saw this spot and I'm sure this is the L.A.-based girl who got the supporting role I auditioned for (and really, really wanted):
This past Sunday, while working at Old South Church, one of the hymns I had to sing was Thomas Troeger's setting of his text "Praise the Source of Faith and Learning" to Rowland Prichard's Welsh tune Hyfrydol. As I was singing along I found the following verse simultaneously curious and thought-provoking in light of today's history:
May our faith redeem the blunder of believing that our thought
has displaced the grounds for wonder which the ancient prophets taught.
May our learning curb the error which unthinking faith can breed
lest we justify some terror with an antiquated creed.
While working for Walt Disney World entertainment, one has opportunites to work what are called "specials". These are specially-arranged meet-and-greets for all sorts of groups and people: a birthday surprise; a corporate event; a hospital visit; a Disney Store opening. One day, I became part of a seemingly unscheduled special.
Allen, our escort that day, came to us between sets and indicated that we'd be doing an extra set during our lunch. He explained that our set location would be closed off for just a few guests. We dressed, walked out and were astonished. There, standing before us, were six or seven of the most delicate looking children we'd ever seen. It took me a minute or two to decipher why they looked they way they did: very sparse hair; short-statured; petite facial features; tiny voices; all with walkers. These children had progeria.
We were very playful yet delicate with each and all of them, taking as many photos with them as they liked and signing as many autographs as they wished. At one point, I grabbed Allen's hand and dragged him offstage. I had begun to tear up, but didn't want the guests to know. It was strangely overwhelming for me to see these children. I had a quick little cry backstage and went back out to finish the set.
For 12 hours yesterday, I played a prop. I've been a prop before. At my high school we did an avant-garde production of The Crucible (read: we had no money). In one scene, when I wasn't playing Mercy Lewis, I played a tree in the forest. Some of the other actors helped populate the forest, too. Yesterday was more exciting--I was a moving prop. A commuting businesswoman, to be exact. I'd put myself on a list to be considered for some background work on the new Mel Gibson movie being shot in the area, Edge of Darkness, since I had the day open. I hardly ever do extra work, but a little "mad money" is good every now and again.
Conveniently, as I mentioned previously, I was called to work. Great! One of the downsides? I had to get up at 3 AM. Yes. You read that correctly. 3 AM. My call time was 5 AM, camera-ready and with props in tow. So, after about 4 hours of sleep, I got up, made up, dressed up, collected my previously packed bags and made my way out into the remnants of hurricane Hanna which would hit the Boston metro area off and on all day.
It was a long day. And I have to give it to the PAs: they did a good job wrangling 300 people in a public and active train station. However, the weather (84 degrees and humid), the number of rehearsals per shot (10? 12?), the number of takes per shot (15? 18? 23?), and the fact that we were dressed for a cold and wet autumn day (I was wearing a collared blouse, a cashmere sweater and a trench coat) made it almost unbearable. I was hot. And I don't mean sexy. We were all hot and it was visible on everyone's faces. Even Mel Gibson was shvitzing. (Is that ironic?)
However, I think most things went well yesterday. The CD had called for professionalism; everyone was professional. The director had called for a quiet set and everyone was quiet. I was a tired girl at the end of it, though. Being a prop is not always challenging and it can be very repetitive. There can be very little acting involved. But once in awhile doing so is a nice reminder of where nearly everyone starts: as a nameless, faceless, sometimes blurry or unseen individual at the bottom.
Slightly scary self-photo taken in the dressing room for a recent green-screen, industrial video shoot. See the concrete helmet-hair? Even the hairstylist apologized in advance for what she had to do. Good for the green screen, but abysmal for the appearance.