Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Audition Journal #6: Florida Studio Theatre (and the joy of the hay loft)

Date: March 29, 2011
Auditioned For: James Ashford
Pieces: Bess from Hunting and Gathering by Brooke Berman
Vianne from the novel Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Attire: Jeans, short-sleeved button-down, black vest

After I emailed all of my application materials to Mr. Ashford, I received a reply that said my application would be complete when I sent him a YouTube link to my filmed audition, consisting of two contemporary monologues no longer than 90 seconds each. Of course, I seem to always feel short of contemporary pieces after I learned how weary Michael Legg at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville was of Neil LaBute. So I scrounged around for a monologue that I had pulled from the novel Chocolat for an assignment in my camera acting class, cut it down, and put it together while it snowed. Meanwhile, my friends in Savannah are posting updates about going to the beach.

Anyway, I was shooting to film on Monday (the 28th) but the weather was poopy and cold. Why does the weather matter, you ask? Because I filmed in my barn loft. Listen, my house looks big on the outside, but actually doesn't have much room on the inside. Nevermind that it's also chock full of stuff. And what is cooler than a background of hay bales?! Okay, I kid. But you can't say it's not unique. On Tuesday, the temperature got all the way up to mid-50s, so I grabbed my mom and my barely used and kind of outdated Panasonic MiniDV and climbed the ladder to the hay loft.

Just as background information, the hay loft is a magical, wonderful place. When I was five, my very first duty on hay day (when we stored the hay that we would use until the next summer) was to count bales as they came up the hay elevator. Also around that age, there was an intense hurricane-induced flood in which the New River (just across the road from our house) had swelled to the road. My brother Charlie and I were up in the loft, hanging out, making plans of what to do if we had to spend the night up there, and otherwise letting our imaginations run wild. Meanwhile, my mother is totally panicked and looking for any signs of us, expecting tiny barn boots to wash up miles downstream. It is where cats tuck away their kittens, where I stashed snacks pilfered from the kitchen, where climbing around is totally acceptable. It is the ultimate club house. As the location of many to most of my childhood imaginings, it seemed like a good place to audition.

It took me about three or four takes to make my slate acceptable, never mind that I had practiced just that a billion times. In a separate take, I did my monologues back-to-back, just as I would in an in-person audition. And that was it. Done and done.

Well, sort of. It's always fun to find out you can't--for whatever reason--get your audition from your camera to your computer when it is due in a couple days. After much researching, asking my friend Amanda, and nail-biting, I found out I was simply missing a firewire cable. $43 later, (yeah, going to return that and buy one for $7 off of Amazon) I have imported my video, cut out the crappy takes of my slate, and uploaded it to YouTube. As a suggestion from a friend, I set it as "unlisted" so only the people who have the link can find it. Because if your soul isn't damaged from the agony of watching yourself act, the jerks on YouTube will do it for you. (Poor Rebecca Black...)

Speaking of which, I did endure the whole audition a few times and there's definitely some things that I want to adjust next time:
  • I placed my focus somewhere besides just off the camera. Not sure where I got that wild hair.
  • I have a habit of a strange eyelid flutter that I think is particularly active under pressure. Time to get that baby under control. 
  • Work on Bess. I was more content with Vianne, even though she was new for me. Bess just looked a little pushed. I'd also like Vianne to become just a touch more grounded and centered.
Each time I watched it, I realized a little more that it was not as rough as I thought. The pieces are definitely a great contrast and I think it shows that I am capable of handling both maturities, styles, and languages. There's definitely plenty to work on before I use these two pieces again on Saturday, but hey, it's done and it's decent. And it's in the barn loft.

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