Oh, Auditions: You Are Just Rife With Potential For Embarrassment, Aren’t You?

That’s me, sophomore year of high school, in a Christopher Durang play called The Actor’s Nightmare. It’s basically about a guy who wakes up on stage right in the middle of a play…but has no idea how he got there or what he’s supposed to be doing. I played the (extremely dramatic) lead actress, who spouted nonsensical (and yet very fun to say) things like “Extraoooooordinary how potent cheap music can be.” Go on, try saying it. It’s really fun. Especially if you pretend to be British.

Anyway, the post I wrote earlier this week got me reminiscing about some of my most embarrassing experiences in the many years I spent acting (from about age 13 until I quit the biz at age 26, although I occasionally still do little projects here and there – I’m doing a small role in a film next weekend, actually). There are many – oh, many many many – but a few stand out in my mind. Shall we?

First off, did you know that while most casting directors are very generous and kind and give you scenes that make sense to perform in an audition room (as in, dialogue between two – maybe three – actors that requires very little in the way of props or blocking), others seem to enjoy giving you scenes that involve…oh, let’s say thirty or forty zombies attacking you all at once while you run around the room with a “rifle” making shooting motions and screaming things like “NO! Don’t! Oh, Sam! Please….! Nooooooo….”

That was a fun one. (I didn’t get it.)

A similar audition was for the lead role in a movie called Ginger Snaps. For the meeting with the director, I was asked to perform a scene in which I literally TRANSFORMED INTO A WEREWOLF (howling, writhing about and all). And then bit off my boyfriend’s nether regions (because, you see, that’s what werewolfs do).

I did end up getting that one (although I turned down the role to go back to college). I think it was because I threw in an extra-dramatic flourish in which I writhed myself directly off of my chair and onto the floor.

Another less writhing-and-shrieking-filled – but no less mortifying – audition was for that Diet Coke roller skating commercial set to the Paul Oakenfold song “Starry Eyed Surprise” (you’ve seen it). No one mentioned that I’d have to be prancing about on roller skates for this audition, so I showed up in the shortest miniskirt imaginable. They were lovely and understanding and let me borrow some skates to wear, and honestly? I figured I had the thing in the bag, as I used to be a competitive figure skater and am actually pretty decent on roller skates. So I decided to do a little showing off, backwards-crossover-style…and ended up face-planting. Badly. Not in the direction of the camera, mind you, but rather away from it, so that five or six producers, a director, and a cameraman got a stunning view of exactly what I was wearing underneath the aforementioned miniskirt (not much). Oh, and I skinned my knees.

All of those auditions were pretty miserable, but few things compared in the embarrassment department to what turned out to be the very last audition I went on as a resident of Los Angeles (did it have something to do with my decision to depart the industry? You tell me). I was sitting in my Sherman Oaks home one day when a script landed on my front doorstep. It was for a film called One-Eyed Monster: a Ron Jeremy vehicle (and yet, somehow, not a porn) about…wait for it…a group of porn stars who are stranded in the woods, when all of a sudden an alien life force invades Ron Jeremy’s penis, which then breaks off and runs amok through the house, killing all who stand in its path (in admittedly very imaginative ways).

You really haven’t lived until you’ve stood in front of a room full of people watching you pretend to be killed by Ron Jeremy’s alien penis, I’ll tell you that much.

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