Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Audition or First Date?

Projects can be sketchy. When I first started submitting myself to projects, I avoided any requirements for nudity. Then I got used to changing in parking lots on set and went topless once or twice for a project. Eh. No big deal.

After that proverbial cherry was broken, I started submitting myself to 'nudity required' projects. One project was a feature film called "MENTAL ESCAPE." Of course, this just wasn't any nudity required footnote.

NUDITY: Actor will be completely NUDE in torture and rape sequences which may include camera angles both graphic and disturbing to the viewer in the UNRATED DVD version as they depict actual torture techniques used in 'information gathering' (based on interviews from torture survivors and incidents similar to those at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq) including torture of breasts and genitals. Very intense SEXUAL situations, both violent (including RAPE) and intimate (with lovers both male and female) some involving NUDITY and/or sexual contact. Actors should have no reservations about acting in sexual situations with either male and/or female partners. Actor MUST be convincing on screen in each situation.

Sounds delightful, doesn't it? What I originally submitted to was the following:

Role of Rachel: Female, 20s, Psychologist who has done her thesis on 'out of body' experiences and is currently working with the CIA to develop techniques necessary to master mind control.
Feature Film- Rate: $100/day

I was feeling rather bold since I was still in the midst of "ANAHEIM", my B-Horror movie, and was desperate for money.

The audition was being held in a frequently used audition space in Hollywood. I showed up and leafed through the sides (sample of the script used in audition).

Ex.: "You son of a bitch. You may have control of my body, but it's my spirit that's here now, and you have no clue how to deal with that. You can't touch me, you can't hurt me, and you damn well can't rape me. It's your call, asshole. Untie my body or join me in the spirit world."

Ok, bad, yes. The dialogue in ANAHEIM was bad too, I just improvised the dialogue and got away with it until the last few weeks of shooting. After I used a word the director didn't understand, he made me stick to script. Blah!

I went into the audition room and met the director, a middle aged, overweight, balding guy in a Hawaiian t-shirt. Next to him was a woman who looked like a slightly aged porn star. She had the orange skin, platinum blond hair, guppy lips and even the super high heel shoes (the kind people don't walk in).

The director was giddy. There was something about him, his gestures and eyes were almost childish. It was like he was a 16 yr. old boy trapped in the body of a middle aged man who suddenly had the resources to do whatever he wanted with women. Porn Lips wouldn't look at me. That was the red flag really.

I read through the lines on camera. The director nodded his head enthusiastically.

Director Scumbag, "Great, great. That was really great. Now this character you just read for has lovers in another dimension that she meets in her mental world. Would you be interested in reading for those roles?"

Me: "Oh yeah, sure."

He handed me the sides.

Ex. of dialogue: "Juliette's house is right over there. You know, if you rub her breast, it's good luck. Of course, if you rub mine, you better be ready for the best lesbian sex you ever had. Sorry, I digress. Down here is Dante's marker. There are many references to Inferno here."

. . . yeah.

I did it. Whatever. I went in there and did the lines.

Director Scumbag: "Great, very good. Ok. So another part we are casting for today are bodies that are part of this large demon orgy. We will be shooting a lot of this against green screen. Faces and bodies will be indecipherable. This part of the audition is just a series of questions. There are no wrong answers.

Are you willing to show frontal nudity?"

Me: "Yes."

Dir. SB: "Ok, are you willing to let male and/or female actors caress your breasts in a scene?"

Me: "Sure."

Dir SB: "Great, ok. Would you let a male and/or female actor go down on you, or you on them?"

Me: "Uhhh" Ok, this caught me off guard. A lot of people say, "I would have kicked him in the balls" or "I would have just walked out." When something like this happens to you, its so surreal you just go along with it. You want to be professional and aren't sure what the fuck is happening. It's weird.

Me: "Um, not a male but a female. I have never done that before."

Dir. SB looked to Porn Lips, "Uh oh, don't get too excited." Porn Lips forced a brief plastic smile.

Dir. SB, "Do you mind me asking why that would be uncomfortable for you? This would be a closed set."

Me: "I just started dating someone. I would have to discuss this with him." This was happening 2 weeks after Abe and I started dating in May.

Dir. SB (to Porn Lips): "Isn't it funny how we own our bodies our entire lives, then we meet someone new and give them all the rights to our own body? Gosh, it always amazes me."

Me: (smile politely): "I will have to talk to him first. But nothing with a man's . . . penis."

Dir. SB: "Ok, again, there are no wrong answers. So this would be a no to having intercourse with a male and/or female actor, then?" He looked up at me with some glimmer of perverse hope.

Me: "That's right. No."

Dir. SB: "Ok, so again, this will be a closed set, just a green screen. You would be acting opposite either me, [Porn Lips] or my producing partner."

Wait, wait, wait!!! I would be the only actor in the scene. I mean, WHY would I be in a demon orgy with the director and his producing partner??"

What do I say, Me: "Ok, thank you."

I didn't say much. I just wanted out of that really awkward situation. Of course, I got the part in the demon orgy. Woo hoo. He emailed me the weekend before asking if I would participate. I never answered.

Last week, I saw that MENTAL ESCAPE resubmitted its roles for another round of auditions.

I guess all the newbies would submit, audition and go through the same thing. Some would take the job. Some wouldn't. Director Scumbag and his producing partner could get laid without risking rejection. Asstacular.

*************************

Two weeks ago I was offered an audition for another project.

Email: "Mongrel 2.0 is very interested in auditioning you for the lead role of Claire in the feature thriller Next Door Where The Light Shines Through that we will be shooting in April. This will be my first feature as a director. I am a Hollywood/Indy screenwriter who became obsessed with mumblecore and guerrilla filmmaking as the next stage in motion picture evolution. I feel this is exactly the right time to be making a movie like this in the manner that I intend to, and if we pull it off I think it will really blow up everyone involved.

It's an adventurous project for adventurous actors.
The actors will be expected to primarily improvise off the script. The role does have two scenes that involve nudity (breasts, butt, thighs), one of which has simulated sex. Auditions will be starting in one week and will be held at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Los Feliz.

I'm holding the auditions in this public setting because some of the movie will be shot in similar locations and I want to get a sense of how you work in such settings.
Of course if you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact me with them as well.

Fair enough, right?

I get the sides. The scene is between a "Producer" and an aspiring actress named "Claire." And we are improvising the scene in a public coffee shop . . . ok.

CLAIRE
I just wanted to say - it might
sound dumb - but I'm really glad
you called last night - beyond
because the project and everything.
I really enjoyed talking to you. I
know that sounds like I'm just
kissing your ass but it's true.
(MORE)

You're right . . . it does sound like I am kissing his ass.

CLAIRE (CONT'D)
I really felt like we connected,
you know?

PRODUCER
I felt that too.

CLAIRE
Really? That's so cool.

Revolting and stupid, but ok. Further down through some more dialogue . . .

CLAIRE
And I drove all the fucking way
across town and, you're a fucking
liar. You're just another fucking
asshole. I can't believe this. I
actually paid for this drink that
tastes just like dogshit and, and
you're a... I can't believe this.
You're probably one of the worst
people I ever met... Leading me on
and... I bet you were really got
off talking to me, like what, did
you have your dick out?

She impulsively grabs all his papers and makes to chucks them
onto him but just drops them back on the table. Rips the top
off her drink and dumps it all over them. She looks like she
could go in five different directions at once.

CLAIRE (CONT’D)
Call me again tonight and then you
can come over and rape me. Bet
you'd like that you sick creep.

Ok, at this point in the script you know the guy setting up this audition is a total head case with a deeply rooted fetish for role play. The question is, isn't it just easier to find someone kinky on Craiglist?

While telling this story at a party, someone answered me from a dark corner, "No. It's not."

I wrote him, "I read through the sides and don't think its for me. Thank you for the opportunity! Good Luck!"

No reply.

****

Two nights ago, I had an audition for a condom commercial spec (not a financed project, but meant to be more of a pitch for the director to sell his/her services). The audition was at the director's residence.

Now . . . while parallel parking across from his apartment, the thought occurred to me that I should not go in. Auditioning in someone's house is unusual, and it was 8pm at night. But, the script was really funny.

EXT. BANK - DAY

Alarm sounds, as a MASKED MAN emerges out of the bank, heavily
armored, carrying a GUN and a DUFFLE BAG. He flips off his blood
splattered white hockey mask and reveals himself in a close up -
sixty something with a white beard and a distinctive MOLE. He
smiles, exhilarated.

INT. APARTMENT - EVENING

Door is SMASHED OPEN and a MIDDLE AGED MAN - with the same mole -
barges in wielding an enormous butcher’s KNIFE. A YOUNG WOMAN
screams out in terror and desperately clutches her SMALL DAUGHTER.

He looks at them veraciously.

INT. HOUSE - EVENING

OVEN DOOR is opened and a CAT is put inside.
the knob is TURNED UP.

Camera pans around to reveal: a cute LITTLE BOY -with a cute little
mole- standing there in pajamas, holding a teddy bear and smiling
like a perfectly content demon child, as the shrill SCREECHING of
the cat emanates from inside the oven.

INT. HOSPITAL - DAY

BABY CRIES OUT.

DOCTOR
Congratulations! It’s a boy!

A labor ravaged MOTHER -bearing a familiar mole- lights up with joy
as she catches the very first glimpse of her NEWBORN BABY, when
suddenly her eyes roll back and she FLATLINES.

DOCTOR (CONT’D)
We’re losing her! Defibrillator!!

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

A COUPLE emerges from under the covers, giggling.

WOMAN (THE MOTHER)
Do you have one?

MAN
Nah...we’ll be fine.

The two smile mischievously.

CUT TO BLACK.

NAMEBRAND CONDOMS
Better safe. Than sorry.

The opportunities for my reel alone . . . I mean, come on people.

So I waited outside while he finished up with another actress. I watched her from my car, I am cuter.

The director lead me back to his very clean, IKEA furnished apartment and launched into pitching his project. It was intense. Sweat collected around the base of my neck.

He spoke very fast, "I don't want it to be like other commercials. I want it to be something different, you know, catchy. Funny, very dark funny but with this unexpected twist, you know? I like to do things very Tarantino-esque. You know like when the guy is cutting off an ear in Reservoir Dogs, why am I laughing? I don't know its funny."

He went on and on for about 25 minutes. He must just be out of film school . . . and on some heavy prescription medication. It was like he was pitching me some black & white, Swedish film idea when we were just shooting a condom commercial.

He said, "You know how you don't just look at the condom rack and say, 'I think I am just going to give this new name brand a try.' You don't do that. You buy something you can trust, like Trojan."

Me, "Oh, I don't know. I have had every condom break on me, so I don't bother anymore."

No laugh. He said, "Well . . . you aren't our demographic then." And . . . he kept going and going.

Finally, he asked me to take down my hair. Ugh. Frizz City, but all the male directors ask me to. Men love long hair.

Then he lead me through three scenarios; Mom frightened on couch with child, Mom dying in childbirth and Girl in the throws of passion asking for a condom. All of this was acted out with me on his living room couch.

He was using a small camera to videotape the audition without a tripod. He sat next to me on the couch in his desk chair, wheeling back and forth. We went through the birth and death scene about six times. It was just really difficult to die suddenly the way he wanted me to. I was supposed to be tired but keep my eyes wide.

On the sixth time he said we got it and I turned to look at him. It was awkward, I was eye level with his knee.

During the last bit, acting out coital bliss, again, alone on his couch and saying my lines to a piece of asbestosis hanging from his ceiling, he said, "Wow, you are way more natural at that than child birth."

I said (dryly), "I wonder why."

I do hope I get that one, though ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment