Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Behind The Table

Sitting in the power seat and our audition accompanist Bennett and producer John

As a performer there is nothing worse than the audition process. It sucks. Rejection is part of a normal routine and many deal with it on almost a daily basis. I am reminded that by many jaded friends quite often....

I used to dread it myself. That waiting in a jam packed room filled with other performers with that cloud hanging in the air...the desperate wanting and needing and anxiety mixed with fear, competition and jealousy. Is she prettier than me? Oh god, she's amazing and she's just warming up! Did I pick the right piece? This outfit makes me look old or chubby or frumpy.... And so it goes. And let's not forget the competitive name dropping.. 'My friend Bob is the accompanist. He's putting in a good word'. 'Oh the director and I did community theatre together years ago.' Or the proverbial obligatory niceties with audition you're REALLY excited to see Miss Crazy High Belter or Miss I Already Have A Resume Longer Than All 5 Harry Potters. You're really not. You hate her. You hate being in the crowded room of people just as scared and insecure as you are who want this job just as bad and maybe worse. I used to find the most quiet corner possible and stay there trying to ignore it all. It could be the closest thing to hell a person could find themselves in....

But then there's being BEHIND the table. Oh how I LOVE that place!!! I've been there multiple times in my life and once I got there I never wanted to go back in front of it. The girl sitting in the corner trying to ignore the chaos had found the best place to avoid it all. You just can't prepare yourself though for your first NYC table spot. We had spots during a preliminary casting round for another show in our series to scout talent for ours. It was exhilarating even with a splitting migraine. But it wasn't for OUR show.

I got on the elevator to go to the studio before Caleb as he was getting coffee. There were several girls who I just KNEW were there to sing for me. You could feel it. The nervousness as they glanced at each other and me wondering who was their competition. Our producer was standing at the end of the hall when I exited the elevator and gave me a hug. He walked me past a long hallway. It was full of people....and that nervous energy. They all had that look in their eyes, glances darting back and forth and John yelled a hello to everyone. They all put on the way too enthusiastic to be there faces trying to mask the anxiety and raised hands to answer that yes, they were there to audition for our show. My heart melted. These people had taken time out of their busy lives and days to come sing for US. And then John introduced me as one of the writers and I could have died a little in happiness. I thanked everyone for coming and they all gave me that over enthusiastic smile and we entered our small studio space. Caleb arrived coffee in hand, we were introduced to our audition pianist and then we started.

I won't go into how I don't understand certain aspects of the audition process and the certain choices people make's not a fashion show girls! Sing and act and show your personality! I want to pay attention to that...not your brightly colored shoes or the loud print on your incredibly short dress! That aside, watching, people sing for you and go on a limb when you ask them to because they want a spot in YOUR work while sitting behind the table in a studio in New York is beyond words amazing. So much talent. So many people you WANT to give a job to. You find yourself wanting all of them to succeed, quietly cheering them on and desperately wishing you could tell them all the coveted phrase 'You got the gig!' but unfortunately you can't. But fortunately, when you have so much talent across the table from you, you get to assemble the sort of people you wrote your show for. And suddenly you see your characters slowly emerging in solid form through the voices of these people who you are so grateful for for giving up their lunch break, or their day off, or taking that day off from work for you. And if you don't find them immediately, you go on show watching scouting trips and you find beautiful talent performing another character that resonates with the one you were looking for and you attack them at the stage door like a creeper and solicit them for their time and talent....and if you're lucky, they say yes. And if you're really lucky, you've assembled some really amazing people, some you know personally and some not. But whatever the case, there they are, their headshots beaming at you and their names scrawled next to the names of people you've created and that my friends, is a truly magical feeling.

The people we cast for our show are amazing. And we are so grateful for them....and all of this so far.

On to the next step from behind the table...putting it together....bit by bit.

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