Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Fan Video In The Making

In an effort to stay creative, I've started just doing my own projects. One of these, which I hope to have completed before the end of July, is being loosely called "Sad Robot" or "Lonely Robot."

Here's the back-story: working at Banana Republic, we have a bunch of songs that play all day long. There is a variety of maybe 15 or 20 songs. Sometimes songs are added or detracted, but not often. So I hear the same songs, over and over, every day, all day long. One song that stuck out to me in particular was "I Am Not a Robot" by Marina and the Diamonds. As I listened, a narrative began to develop in my head. When I saw the video, however, I was a little disappointed. There were no robots! Certainly it was my duty to amend this. And so, I'm attempting to create a "fan video" in which I overlay her audio over my video, and pray that I don't get sued. I may send a fruit basket or something preemptively.

I have planned and plotted, and even made a storyboard! Check out a piece of it:

Rudimentary, I know, but it gets the point across to me, which is what matters. I also kind of think this particular shot is hilarious the way I drew it!

Anyway, I'm now working on building the robot costume. Once that is finished, I will start looking around for cast and crew. I don't want to commit people until I know I can set a shoot date. I have a couple of people already who have volunteered time and resources, so I think things will go along pretty smoothly. I need a few more people, mostly kids and guys to play mad scientists, an editor, some locations, a van, and the completed costume. The editor will probably be the most important, since I want to add visual effects and go in and out of slow-mo.

Here's where the robot is so far:

Doesn't it look like it does something? Cool, huh?

I pretty much gutted a couple of telephones. I'll be adding some more stuff, I found a lot of it through freecycle and people who were just super duper generous!

I like to lay out the stuff I have, I find it helps inspire.

Hopefully I'll have everything put together soon!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Weirdest Audition Ever

I would like to share probably the weirdest audition I ever went to. It's been long enough now, I don't think I got cast, and they haven't really reached out to me at all, so I don't think I'll burn any bridges. I won't name names, but I will be very specific about the events, it will be hard for someone involved not to know what I'm talking about. Anyway, disclaimer over.

First of all, when I was asked to come in, they sent me a script. I had an idea of what scenes they would want me to prepare, since it wasn't very long, but nevertheless they didn't tell me specifically. From the beginning I was a little worried, there were some strange turns of phrase that made me think it was written by someone for whom English was not their first language. That's not really a bad thing, but if you're trying to write a script, and it's supposed to be about Americans, and you aren't strong in the dialect, hire an editor to look it over and polish it.

I showed up on time, but they were running behind; it looked like they were taking about 15 minutes or so with each person, which is kind of a lot for what they were doing. While I was waiting, I noticed another audition at the same location that didn't have anyone waiting. Another actress and I asked the director about the project, and asked if we could read in, since no one else was there. She said yes, and we did, and I thought it was really cool. Lesson: if the circumstances are right, take the opportunity to crash an audition. Be careful though, these opportunities are very rare, and sometimes it can be very annoying to the casting director.

I finally got into the room of the project I was originally there for, and they asked me what I thought of the project, and we discussed it a little bit. I was right about my assumptions about language, but it didn't affect my interview or ability to understand him. I thought. I asked him about the ending, which I found confusing, and he said it was supposed to be, and basically that was it. I read the scene, which involved sitting in a "Casting Director's" (agent's?) office looking for work, having to choke down annoyance at their attitude (not an uncommon experience in real life), and put on a professional face. In the scene the "casting director" immediately sends my character (who has just arrived in LA) on a job for a PSA, that "only pays five thousands." I wish it was that easy! Oh, and even with that paycheck she can't make rent.

Anyway, the point of the scene was to find the subtle difference between being completely gobsmacked at the other person's condescending attitude, and putting on a patient and professional front. I thought I had achieved this in my reading, but the director didn't think so, so I asked him if I should make it more obvious, and he said no. Let me rephrase...he told me I needed to play that conflicting duality, but not to play it. I'm not sure what he was getting at. I read it again, really gritting my teeth when I needed to, because I felt a pretty strong connection to what the character was going through at the time.

After my performance, the director asked a series of questions. They were completely random. They didn't seem so at first, what actors I like, if I like New York or LA better, but then what kind of car I drive, what kind of toothpaste I use...I really don't know why he needed to ask any of that, and he never told me. It was all very mysterious, like some sort of test.

What I should have said was, "why are you asking me these questions? What is their purpose? Why didn't you have someone edit your script so that the language barrier was less obvious? Why do you think casting directors send people out on jobs like that? Why do you have a direction in which the casting director "leafs through the pages of her resume?" Look at the headshots in front of you, that's what we use for agents and casting directors too. Why does the main character practice Chekhov in a mirror? How exactly do you plan on staging an "acting battle" at the end? Is it going to be like that scene in American Dad where Stan and Roger act at each other on stage? Do you realize how ridiculous that is?"

I'm glad they didn't call me back. From what I could tell of the script and meeting the director (who needs to try wearing deodorant if they're going to sit in a tiny stuffy room with bad ventilation all day), it would not be a project I would want to be involved in.