this audition was for a movie called freedomland, starring sam jackson and juliana moore. the plot? ms. moore gets carjacked by a black man with her small toddler child in the backseat. sam is the detective that's got to get to the bottom of everything and keep a riot from tearin' up the town. he pulls it off, i imagine. we need that upbeat ending, now don't we. especially if it's theme is racial. (why does that plot sound so familiar?) yet again, another movie filled with more angry non-descript black folks whose desperate struggle is largely used as an exotic backdrop to the foibles of white people. that's the way it's sliced with just about every mainstream civil rights movie i've ever seen. from "the long walk home," past "mississippi burning" and on over to that medger evers flick. (sigh...)
my character was lorraine, one of the mothers from the projects on the black side of town. and yes. lorraine was furious.
no script to read, no scenes to pick up, no lines to memorize. the casting agent wanted everyone to do a cold read. i liked the idea of that immediately because i knew that she would be able to see whether any of us were any good, right off the bat. i showed up early in the afternoon but they hadn't started yet. i returned late in the evening, when it was pretty much all over. there was no one there to audition except me. it was a wide area, with white walls and huge windows and partitions here and there. the cluster nearest to the entrance was where there were chairs and a board that had character breakdowns and the plot summary. as soon as i looked them over and skimmed through my lines (only one page, maybe a half dozen of them), i was shown into the casting agent's office.
nice lady. long dark hair with an open face. she put up a sign in the cluster area, apologizing for not shaking anyone's hand because she was just getting over the flu. in spite of the no handshake stuff, she was warm in a genuine way. i felt at ease almost immediately, which is hard for me because i'm such a shy person. there were no cameras, although i did see a monitor behind me. i guess this was the prescreen situation. and why not. you have to see what you've got before you can put it on tape and show it to anyone else.
needless to say, i was out of there as soon as i was in there. the one thing i remember is that she gave me a bit of direction and i followed it completely, making the necessary readjustment smoothly, which pleased her. at least, that's what she said. i feel that she was telling the truth, i'm sure she was--but no matter how well things go, there's a shred of doubt that occasionally contaminates the entire recollection. i'm sure a part of it is my inexperience in front of a camera. nevertheless--there's always a bit of el-lay to these tv/film/commercial situations. no matter how cool the people are, i'm always left wondering if they're blowing smoke up my butt when they tell me anything.
it's the exact opposite when auditioning for theater and musical theater. for me, anyway.
i left there thinking, so what if she liked me. there were probably a jillion black girls to be seen for that role. but then again, there are a jillion to be seen for anything i've ever done. and somehow God's favor found me, just as it always has. whether i get it or not has already been decided. i do believe that. so there's no worry involved. it really is what it is.