Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Oi!! What a Business!!

Well, It's been an interesting couple of days in actor-land.

I auditioned for Nick Hagen's new feature yesterday morning (Currently titled The Lonely Apocolypse, but titles can change many times between pre and post-production unless you have Samuel L. Jackson to safeguard them).

These film auditions just kill me. My agent Kaili sent me "sides" (scenes from the script that I was going to do in the audition) last week sometime. I spent all week going over them - memorizing them, looking for the different layers of subtext, building a character. I got up early in the morning to go through the script again, to drink too much coffee, and to get into character.

Then I got to the audition and spent a sum total of five minutes sitting in a chair doing the lines for the director and producer.

I'm not complaining about how Nick and his producer ran their auditions, mind you. I was surprised to be sitting in a chair (most of the scenes in the sides I was given had my character standing or walking through the woods), but the audition itself was fairly normal: fill out a form, get ushered into a small room with the director/ producer/ casting agent and a camera, spend about five minutes doing a scene, and then leave. Pretty standard audition.

I just find it funny that I spend weeks getting worked up over these auditions, tieing myself in emotional knots, for five minutes in front of a director. There's a reason we actors consider auditions the worst part of our jobs.

Ah well... As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don't expect to be cast in this part. The character's supposed to be in his 40's, and even though I'm often cast to play "older" than my real age this is a major role in a feature film. I figure they're going to find someone the right age.

My main goal in this audition was to do a good job in the hopes that Messrs Hagen and Deal would remember me for future projects. I think I did all right, sitting in that chair, so yeah... I accomplished what I set out to do.

Most of the rest of the day was spent helping Trish prep for her trip down to Eugene to shoot an industrial (a training video on ways long-term-caregivers can avoid falling into depression). Trish was to bring a few changes of clothes with her so the director could choose her costume for the video... This means, of course, that she had to pour through her closet looking each piece of clothing to see if it fit the "older schoolteacher" she was going to play.

This happens more often than you might think - often the commercials and industrials we do have no wardrobe budget, so we have to provide our own costumes. She and I have ended up taking mounds and mounds of clothing with us to shoots only to have the director or producer pick one outfit. You never know what they're going to want, or if what you have in your wardrobe is going to fit their concept of the character. So you end up carrying every piece of clothing you think might work (this time around Trish ended up with a garment bag, a suitcase, and several jackets on hangers).

We've started investing in good-quality luggage so we can at least keep the clothes in good shape when we're transporting them. Hey, it's deductable... and if it makes shoot days like Saturday's run smoother, it's worth the cost.

Then, last night's performance of In The Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer took an interesting turn. As I've mentioned in the past, we witnesses in the third part of the play have a later call than the other actors (to save us having to sit in the small dressing rooms for two-and-a-half hours before going on). We generally arrive at the theatre somewhere between 8:30 and 9.

Last night, one of my fellow witnesses called our stage manager Racheal a couple minutes before 9 (after the third act started) to say that he'd just woken up and was going to be late. He was due on stage in about, oh... 20 MINUTES!!!

Needless to say, we all flew into a panic. Bebe Walton, our house manager, jumped into her car to get him (this actor doesn't drive), while we all struggled to figure out what to do if he didn't make it on time. Phil Rudolph, who plays Dr. Edward Teller, took a lot of thoughtful "pauses" during his testimony, and I was "on deck" to go on early in case the actor didn't make it in time.

Thankfully, all our preparation was for naught. He got to the theatre about ten minutes before he was due on stage, jumped into his costume, and made his entrance on time. I knew that the other actors on stage questioning "Dr. Teller" were mystified by Phil's "elongated" performance, so I passed them notes when I made my entrance explaining what had happened.

Ah, live theatre... ya never know what's gonna happen. That's one of the reasons why we do it. Who needs skydiving for an adrenaline rush?

Trish got back from her shoot at about 7:00 tonight (just enough time for us to eat a little bite together before I had to head to Oppenheimer). The shoot went great; all the people working on it were very professional, and they kept up a rapid pace - they actually wrapped earlier than they expected because everyone meshed so well together.

And yes, as expected, the director chose one pair of pants and shirt out of the 10 or 15 choices she took down. Ah well, that's the way it always seems to work out... I know she's going to look great in the finished product.

I did get one piece of good news last night - the rest of In The Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer's run is sold-out (if you were waiting to come see it next weekend, you'll have to put your names on a waiting list when you get to the theatre). Seems the show has definitely found its audience. There was talk of extending the run by a couple of weeks, but many of the actors (myself included) have conflicts that would preclude that. We have, however, been thinking about a remount in the fall... if there's enough people who wanted to see the show and couldn't, it might be worth it.

Something to think about... hope you're all doing well!