Or why you should never go to an audition on your own 😉
Last month I had an audition that totally gave me the creeps – that’s why I’m glad I brought my friend with me. But I’m jumping ahead 🙂
This time I chose to write about a real life moment that left me with a feeling of “what the f***” as well as “I’m glad I know what to look out for now”. It started on a normal day as I was walking to my singing lesson in Vienna, when a random guy from NY asked me for directions. Nothing strange about that. He thanked me, started to walk towards the appointed direction – but then turned around and asked me if I was from Austria. Because my English is “so” good (basically I don’t have any heavy accent when I’m talking).
If you have a weird feeling about someone – TRUST that feeling.
We started chatting, I told him I’m an actress and in turn he told me he needed one for a commercial for his company. I’m always cautious, but I’m also polite, so I listened a bit. Turns out he has a company AND friends in the movie business. Huh. I’m definitely not going to give him my business card or phone number. He gave me his. Interesting, a website for his company. I might check that out someday.
So a few days later I checked it out, it looked interesting (he had some cool ideas and credentials) so I sent him a message. He invited me for an interview at his office. In Vienna. That Friday. Hmm… I already had plans with an actress friend of mine, so I asked him if I could bring her for the audition too. He said yes, and so I planned with my friend – letting her in on the weirdness of this guy. She promised to kick his ass if he started to get weirder. Badass.
On Friday, we met and had coffee before we made our way up to the weird guy’s office. I had told her everything about him and she was as cautious as me. But you never know, right? As we got up to make our way to his office he sent me a message telling me to meet him a little bit later. Fine. Strange, but fine. We decided to walk around a bit more and think about how this was going to turn out.
Always tell someone where you are going, or ask if you can bring a friend with you.
At the appointed time we arrived in the street where his office was supposed to be, but we couldn’t find it. We walked up and down the street until we found the place; it was just a number in a building with other businesses. No office name, nothing. Strange. But still, you gotta try stuff, right 🙂 We rang the bell and walked inside – took the elevator to the top floor and were greeted at the door by the guy. He told us to take our shoes off, as “they” were living Japanese style. Wait what – living? Turns out his “office” was his apartment. Huhh.
My friend and I exchanged looks, it turned out exactly like we thought it would; the guy was alone and invited us to his apartment. It was still the two of us, and we were curious about the legitimacy of the offer. I think, at some point we just wanted to see it through. So we followed him into the living room and sat down across from him on a couch. Yes, yes, I know 😉 The two of us exchanged looks again. And some whispered German sentences (we didn’t know how good his language skills were). At first he started asking us about what we were doing, to get to know us a little. Then he gave us dialogues to read, while he left to get himself something to drink – he didn’t offer us anything, but we silently agreed not to take anything even if he’d offer. Eventually he did and we politely refused.
The scenes we did were basically cold reading; you get a script at the audition, prepare it for 10min tops on your own and then you give your take on it. Then you do it again with some directions from the casting director. Done. We did three scenes like that – he was impressed by our chemistry and English skills. Well… we are friends and we’ve studied in the States. But yeah… I guess he would have said that even if we totally blew it 😀 At one point he said that there was a film he was working on where he was the lead – and he needed a musician girlfriend character. Huhhh.
Don’t let anyone waste your time – go take a nap, it’s more productive.
In the end we spent about 2 hours there, being weirded out by this creep who kept selling his amazing skills, ideas and connections to us, while buttering us up… and wearing jeans with “under-bum-slits” (in other words, in some sitting positions his ass was showing – luckily I only saw that at the end, as we were leaving). All in all, it was an interesting experience. He later sent me a message about a paid job in the States I was “perfect” for, but he could only do the audition with me at his place because the script wasn’t copyrighted yet (suuure, I’ve done a Star Wars audition once, they just send you different material than what they actually use, but whatever…) – I never replied.
The movie business is a weird place, but people like that, who try to jump on the wagon and profit off of it – they are even worse. As a follow up, I’ve decided to write it down. To call him out (even though I’m not naming him, the story is out there) and to show other people how “normal” it is for some individuals to try to take advantage of others. Even though he only took advantage of us by wasting our time; you have to kill it before it escalates.
Oh, and about those credentials; I’ve written his alma mater to check up on that and they denied any affiliation with him. I’m not sure what steps they are going to take against him, but I’m glad he has been exposed as a fraud.
In conclusion (this goes for film/photo shoots as well as auditions):
- If you have a weird feeling about someone – TRUST that feeling
- Always tell someone where you are going (remember 127hrs with James Franco?)
- Or ask if you can bring a friend with you (if they say no straight away – don’t go)
- Look them up – and even check with their alma mater (university, film school,…) because they usually offer a service to check up on their alumni
- Don’t let anyone waste your time – go take a nap, it’s more productive.
All the best,