Friday, May 30, 2008

A very long day of "WTFs!"

You're going to enjoy this one, which means I had a crazy day!

While walking into work (Universal Studio Tour Guide training) this morning I returned a call from my agent- the same agent who I hadn't talked to in a month, since leaving him a voice mail to cancel our second try at the photo shoot.

"We have an audition for you today." They said to me. "What the fuck!? I guess they haven't written me off," I thought with a surprised smirk, but that quickly turned to, "WTF, you think after no contact in a month that I'm going to be free on such short notice?" That answer to that of course, is yes, that's what all agents expect.

The audition was for Microsoft's search for "the most talented hottie." When first posted , my agent said it only offered $20 for showing up, then they added a $200 buy-out because the footage shot at the audition became theirs to use in any way. You were required to perform three talents and have three outfits.

My training goes until 5 p.m., then I had a dress rehearsal for my musicals at 7 p.m. I reluctantly told my agent I'd leave training early to go to the audition, which was in Hollywood. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to think of a third talent - I sing, I act, I... I... I bake, I dress well, I'm a remote control/ TV channel Nazi... But I lack weird or special talents.

I decided I'd showcase my ability to perfectly apply lipstick without a mirror. Stupid, I know, but it fascinates my boyfriend. I left my training group at 3:30, by the time I walked to my car and got to my place it was 4. I swear I did not dawdle, but I had to put curlers in my hair and freshen up in order to feel like a "hottie" as well as grab two other outfits and my costume and necessities for dress rehearsal... so I walked back out the door at 5 and got to the audition at 5:30.

As I've mentioned before, Hollywood is not the nicest part of LA... It was in a production building that sort of had a small-scale warehouse feel to it with storage areas of stage lights and cables. "WTF?" I thought, rather unimpressed. But it was not unsafe; large barn- style doors remained opened to the elementary school across the street. Later, interior barn doors opened to reveal a huge, well lit room with the largest white backdrop I've ever seen for filming and photography. About five other women were waiting at tables; I filled out a few forms and was asked to wait.

I sat at a table with a stereotypical fake blond with big fake boobs. As it turns out, she sometimes works as a painted lady at the Playboy mansion. The woman next to her screamed girl-next-door worse than I do with similar hair, a very pretty face, but a tacky down-home sun dress, hideous clear bra straps and bad shoes. For one of her talents she had a kiddy pool, with which she was going to use bubble solution and a cube to create square bubbles. "It's part of a kids show I do," she explained.

I came to discover they didn't want legitimate talents and you weren't supposed to do anything that had been previously published or produced. They wanted stupid human tricks - all the dumb shit I can't do! I just found the breakdown for the New York audition online; here's the list of "talents" they suggested. Further, I was told the wait was about an hour, then you spent like 20 minutes in the audition room.

What the fuck?!

What was I going to do? I sat there looking to the playmate wanna-be and tacky bubble-maker for advise! I called my agent to tell him two of my three talents were technically not allowed since they were a monologue from a TV show and a popular aria. I was hoping that would be my ticket out of there, but I was told to just perform them anyway.

As 6 turned into 6:15 I began to feel nauseous. Even though the rehearsal process for the musicals has been frustrating and I knew things wouldn't start on time, I still had to try to be in NoHo for the dress rehearsal by 7! BUT - I was going to get $200 for doing twenty minutes of talent! Not to mention the fact that this was the first thing my agent had sent me on. "WTF do I do?"

The other two women told me they thought this was not the only audition day; indeed, I asked the woman I had given my paperwork to and she said if I came back when they started at 9 in the morning it would be better for them anyway. I agreed; she kept my paperwork and I kept the $20 bill I was given for bringing two changes of clothes (The $200 would be mailed.)

I left at 6:35 and got totally hung up in traffic. I didn't get to the theatre, only about nine miles away, until 7:20. I was right, I hadn't missed anything. The musical I have a main part in went well because the director had forced us to over rehearse; I've mentioned in passing that I'm in two musicals... The second is a smaller role in another of the short musicals that's part of the festival. It has been a disaster with too few rehearsals. The lead had only managed to make it to two and was neither memorized or even really aware of the shows premise. Although the five short musicals are collectively called "The 10s," all of them are running between 13 and 15 minutes, except the second train wreck I'm in. It ran a painful 22 minutes so we had to stay until after 11 tonight; a rehearsal that is all the fault of the irresponsible lead.

Anyway, I'm very tired, but was faced with a shitty realization when I got back to my apartment. My roommate warned me that having an audition at 9 a.m. and then making it to Universal by 10 a.m. is not too likely. Although the two locations are only 4 miles apart, pretty much the only way to get there is via the highway and that time frame is still rush-hourish.

One of the perks of the Tour Guide position is its flexibility for actors; like today, I left early without question or pay deduction. But tomorrow is the one day they advised us to absolutely not be late, leave early or miss. We're taking a walking tour of the back lot! We're basically getting what the $199 VIP Experience pass gets you. I'll be able to take pictures on some of the most famous sets in TV and film! We're meeting at a location that takes 15 minutes to walk to and punctuality was stressed.

So what the fuck was I thinking when I said I'd do the audition at 9 a.m.? I have no idea! At other times, like getting to the audition or when I go to my nearby acting class, it takes about 10 minutes from the time I pass Universal... I guess I thought if I was at the audition first and left by 9:30, I'd be fine. I guess I also though morning rush hour would be over by then. But I'm not a morning person, so I don't know what the fuck I thought I knew about morning rush hour!

So I have been totally stressing!

Do I get there at 8:30 in hopes that the crew is early too and I can leave by 9:15?

Should I do the audition and be late to my training? After all, training pays $8 an hours while this audition gets me an instant $200!

How is it that I've managed to book and get to three film auditions and in two musicals BY MYSELF, yet the photo shoot and degrading "hot girl" audition my agent has sent me on have been a nightmares?! I can't begin to stomach the call I will have to make if I don't do this audition: "No, I didn't make the $200 for doing virtually nothing... Why? Because I had to get to a musical that isn't paying me anything and then a training that pays $8 an hour."

I can't stand the idea of seeming unreliable, irresponsible and stupid. I've been thinking about the stress of trying to get through the audition quickly and then pray to the traffic gods that the highway be clear... But then I stopped to ask myself question: Which of these things is really more important - staying on the good side of bosses at a long-term job that pays peanuts but has great perks and opportunities or not pissing off an agent I don't even like and getting a quick $200 for footage I'll have no control over?

When I put it like that, I don't know why I let myself give this a minute of worry. I can't risk being late tomorrow - that would be absurd! Yes, agreeing to the 9 a.m. audition was stupid on my part, but I can't fear the judgment of an agent I don't like and didn't even think I still had! I don't even know what his cut would have been - no more that $20, so hopefully he'll be understanding when I play the "dumb new girl forgot about the traffic" card. Honestly, the fact that he sent me out on something so stupid confirms how shitty of an agent he is. I should stop assuming he's going to drop me and drop him first!

Let me know if you think I made the right decision and wish me luck on opening night!


M said...

You know you've made the right decision. You said it yourself. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, girl.

Anonymous said...

I think you made the right choice. Think long term goals rather than instant gratification. Good Luck!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Break a leg!!!

Anonymous said...

You made the right decision--stick with the job you already have. There is potential there for you to use your 'real' talents.
Nancy M

Leslie said...

Sounds like you're doing more than the agent anyway! Knock 'em dead and, as the French say,"Merde" (it means shit... they say it instead of "break a leg" - if you don't know the story behind it, I'll tell ya - it's a good one!)

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone, thanks for your comments and support!

Two people were late to yesterday's training and had to be driven out to the group. The bosses reacted kindly, asking "are you okay?" But I am so glad I did not put myself in that situation. Both claimed car trouble. Sure! I was embarrassed for them.

The walking tour of the lot was AMAZING we got to go INSIDE the Desperate Housewives homes!!! Don't worry, that's a blog entry coming soon!

As for the audition, I wrote my agent the following email. I did not hear back... maybe they'll call in another month! HA!

"Hey guys,

Bad news - the easy $200 for the Microsoft Hotties with Talent contest has turned out to be a pain in the ass!

I left work early today, went home to grab the additional required clothes and got to the audition without trouble. However, I waited for an hour for my turn; I had not expected it to take that long. I'm in two short musicals in the New American Musical Festival called "The 10s" at the Secret Rose Theatre in NoHo, opening this weekend. I had to leave the audition before my turn and was still late to our dress rehearsal.

They told me this morning would be better for them anyway and I agreed to return at 9 a.m. That was a mistake on my part and I apologize, I can not make that audition time. I absolutely must be at Universal Studios tomorrow morning by 9:45 for work. I thought rush hour traffic would be over by then, but others have cautioned me that it is risky and unlikely that I could make it, especially if the crew is not ready to film the audition at 9 a.m. sharp!

If they are also holding auditions Saturday before 4 p.m., I could make that for sure, but tomorrow will not work. I was not thinking when I agreed to 9 a.m.

Sorry for the inconvenience."

Also, opening night went really well... Time to go get ready for our second of twelve shows!


Anonymous said...

Did you read the contract? I went to the same audition in NY this morning and walked out. The contract is like a lot of reality show contracts, except that I didn't expect something like that from Microsoft. if you look at the second paragraph, they reserve the right to portray you unfavorably, using whatever information they find out about you, and to represent you in ways that may be factual or fictitious.

Then on top of that, one of my talents was music. I had to play something that I own the copyright to, however, their contract gave them the right to use my material in any way they wish, not just for use in the Hottie contest, for no additional compensation.

It's a really vile contract, and if I'd been sent a copy by the casting agency I would have declined. So in short, I say keep the job at Universal and take a pass on this audition.

Anonymous said...

I should explain that given the above, I decided not to sign the contract and not to audition. The girl at the check in desk told me I was not the only person who refused to sign the contract and left. Even if they can get you another appointment for this gig, I'd advise against it. $200 really isn't enough money to give them carte blanche to represent you any way they feel like.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your insight!

No- I did NOT go back!

It's such a relief to hear that someone else thought it was total bullshit! I agree that $200 is not worth giving up all your rights. I am also disappointed that Microsoft would put their name on such a thing... I thought that from the moment I walked into the less than desirable Hollywood audition location and then the list of "talents" they wanted to see made my stomach turn.

Again, thanks for making me feel a lot better about leaving.

Out of curiosity, how did you find my blog? Were you a reader who then checked out the NYC audition, or did you find this blog by googling "Microsoft/talented hottie..?"


Anonymous said...

Hi Buckeye,

I just did a google search on "Most Talented Hottie." I was curious whether or not anyone else was talking about this stupid human tricks fiasco. I agree that it's rather surprising that Microsoft would stoop to such a level.

Anyway, nice to meet you! :)

Anonymous said...

I also googled 'most talented hottie' and found your blog. I actually went through with the audition, despite my better judgment. I was sent by a casting director directly from a commercial audition. I called my agent after to tell them they would be receiving a $200 check, and they freaked out b/c it turned out it was non-union. I had asked if this was an internet deal and if being union was ok and they said 'yes' at the audition. That should have taught me to trust them. The contract didn't mention anything about union status and was very confusing and misleading. Eventually after i got the contract faxed to my agent, they said everything would be ok as long as i didnt win lol which i dont think i will! You guys probably did the right thing by walking away...though the $220 was nice. We will see how much i get made fun of on the internet...if it ever comes out. They must be spending kind of a lot of $ paying everyone $200 though...Anyway, just wanted to share my experience. Glad to hear other people thought it was nuts.