Casting couch?? I’ll just stand thanks….

Well I have been running lines now for over an hour and it’s definitely time to have a break before I suffer from some serious brain freeze. That and the fact that the words have lost all meaning now, which is never good.  I am now sitting on my terrace, glass of wine in hand and enjoying the sun. Loving sunny London, makes everything seem wonderful, and just like Marilyn, that’s all I want to be!…. Perhaps I should stop with the wine for a little….

Got our first full run through tomorrow which is a little scary, still unsure of so much but I guess best to dive straight in and then evaluate all the damage. The director is really inspiring, he’s still so young yet he has achieved so much! He seems to discover more and more things within the text everyday and the piece is looking really exciting. I love my role and my leading man is perfect so I am really happy. I don’t think I stress enough the up side to this career. There have been a few comments and some messages on how depressing it all seems, the constant worry about work, dealing with rejection, the ups and downs with excitement. And yes all those things are true and difficult but when you do get the work – this job for example – it is SOOOO worth it. I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else, I wouldn’t want to do anything else. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, this will be all I do. You do need to have passion and be committed 100%. My career comes before everything, and I mean everything, and that’s how it will always be.  Performing and mastering your part is so rewarding, its such a rush, I even get a buzz after a good rehearsal. I know I refer to it as my job, it is, but it really isn’t what I would call work. It is tough, long hours, “homework”, but it’s so enjoyable, I’m always disappointed when rehearsals are over. Even auditions can be fun, especially if you’re not currently in anything, it is after all a bit of acting!! However, there are obviously instances when perhaps the audition is not enjoyable in the slightest…. I am referring to the request of the rumored “casting couch”….

First off let me clarify that it is very rarely a couch! Usually a chair, that is if you’re not standing. Mostly the auditions are quick and there is very little time for natter! You can go for general meets, which are basically just chats to get to know you, (occasionally when a casting director is quiet, or has some spare time they may be willing to meet) and you may then get a couch, and perhaps a tea! Anyway, I have had a couple of, I guess you could refer to them as “casting couch moments”. First bad experience was when I had literally just started out, after studying, as a professional actress. I went to one of those dreaded actress/model castings – which I have definitely mentioned enough – and was surrounded by beautiful girls of all different shapes and sizes. There was absolutely nothing connecting our look. This should have – and would be now as I am older and wiser – been the first cause of caution. Secondly, there were LOADS of us. Now, don’t get me wrong there are often several girls waiting for commercial castings, they get a lot of people in so there is bound to be a certain degree of delay, but this was mental. I should think I was surrounded by well over 50 girls. As a result I waited for an extremely long time to be seen,  and for the job it was and who it was for,too long. But as I said before I was new and eager. When I eventually do go in the “casting director” (I use the title loosely) was obnoxious. He was smarmy, clearly aware of my inexperience, I’m sure all the girls were inexperienced, and just completely unprofessional. The audition was a shambles. There appeared to be no structure, I wasn’t even asked to read, it just felt like something someone had set up so they could look at girls all day. After an extremely long wait I left very very agitated. I have since never gone for anything with the CD again, and I never shall. I’m almost positive I’m not the only one!!

My other experience is kind of the opposite to that, but equally disturbing. A few years ago I went for a casting that really appealed to me. It was for a thriller feature and the director and writer behind it were quite young and very ambitious. I liked the script and they sounded eager and passionate so I thought it would be really exciting to be involved with. It’s always great to work with new talent, I find it so fresh and uplifting. Anyway I get called in for the audition, learn my part and go for it. When I walk in the director looked about 12 and was sweating…… He was a fan! I was informed of this by the writer as I walked in, I believe his words were… “Sorry if …. is a little excitable, but he is a huge fan, hopefully he’ll relax, but just bare that in mind”…. Urm… bit creepy. So anyway I go in and my mind is screaming GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT. But I’m a professional so I  read my bit, knowing he is sitting there praying that I take the part, so the whole thing became redundant anyway. At the end of it he asks me what I’ve been doing lately, how I felt about the script and the project, blah blah blah. Then as I leave he asks me for my autograph. Now, before I come across as completely up my own back side, I’m not. In any other situation this would have been extremely flattering. Meeting fans and getting asked for my autograph is not a regular occurrence. I’m not going to say whether any of you have guessed correctly as to who I am but I will say you’re going in the right direction, so you know I am by no means “big time”. This weirded me out  for that reason, I am not a “name”, I am a jobbing actress going for a part and my employer is sweating like a maniac. I imagine that would have been one of the most awkward and quite frankly painful experiences to go through, so needless to say I turned down the job!!

As far as anything more sordid than that? I am happy to say I have never come across it or heard directly of anyone else that has either.  I want to work and I want to get a good job but  there are times when it’s really, really not worth it.


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