Its not always about who you know….

Agent called last week with an audition for a lead in an exciting new ITV drama. Dream part,  challenging role and filming in South Africa for three months.  The best part was the company producing it is headed by one of my ex’s mum.  Thankfully I still get on with my ex, his family are lovely, so I was thrilled.  Emailed her and she was pleased and said to mention her and she’ll do the same etc etc.  So I get the book that this series has been adapted from, read it cover to cover….twice.  Chat to my boyfriend about it and we start planning our time in South Africa.  He runs his own production company and can do a lot of it mobile so he would come out to South Africa with me and do some writing.  The part calls for an east end accent – I would say my own accent is fairly neutral.  Now I know the casting director I’m going to be meeting and this one’s a tough cookie.  No funny business, straight to the point.  We’ve met before but I very much doubt I’ll be remembered.  So I know I have to be what they’re looking for ASAP otherwise they’ll switch off.  Anyway, I turn up, half hour early, so walk round the block a few times.  I’ve got YouTube up on my iPhone and obsessively watching clips of Kathy Burke and doing my best to copy her accent.  The phone rings, my agent, “darling where are you?”, I tell her I’m just circling the building practising my accent, I’m such a good client. “Right, well the casting director’s assistant got the times wrong you should have been there 15 mins ago – don’t panic they know they got it wrong, but still….” Bugger, I know even though it’s not my fault this is not a great start.  So I peg it up the stairs, pass a girl on the way looking like me and happy with a script in her hand, so that’s annoying. There is another girl in the waiting room, phew I think, not waiting on me then…wrong.  Casting director appears and calls me in.  Starts talking immediately, asking me about what I’ve been doing, have I seen the last series they did which was the same author, do I know it’s filming in South Africa….all these questions I answer confidently in my best Kathy Burke accent.  I’m then asked where I’m from…. I’m not from the east end, no where close, and I’m not living there now, so I clear my throat and try to casually ease the east end accent off a bit as I talk about my up bringing, gradually phasing Kathy out.  Extremely embarrassing.

There’s a bit of a pause, during this I notice the pile of scripts, I’m then asked if I have any questions.  A bit taken aback, surprised I haven’t been asked to read anything, but I figure once I’ve had time to read the script then I’ll give it a shot.  So I say no and wait for the script to be handed to me….. It isn’t, my hand is shook and I’m thanked for coming in, not even a “we’ll let you know”.  I leave feeling flat and rejected, call my boyfriend tell him to cancel the tickets and delete Kathy Burke video’s from my list of favourites on YouTube.  I guess sometimes it really doesn’t matter who you know.

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2 Comments

Filed under Auditions

2 responses to “Its not always about who you know….

  1. Thank you, I’ve been hunting for info about this subject matter for ages and yours is the best I have found so far.

  2. David

    They probably tuned out the moment you said you weren’t eastend. You should have kept up the Kathy Burke and lied shamelessly. Would you rather have a clear conscience or be employed? Anyway, don’t think of it as lying. Think of it as acting. Look at how Peter Sellers got his first major screen gig. That wasn’t strictly honest, now was it? And another example: your people wanted a ‘genuine eastend girl’ like the producers of House wanted a ‘genuine American’ and were ‘sick of all these British actors putting on American accents’. They thought Hugh Laurie was American at first.

    Don’t be put off by the demographic constraints they put on casting! If you can act the part well enough in the audition, it is just as good as the real thing. I doubt they will resent you if you can fool them.

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