Head First in the Deep End of the Season
When I signed with an acting agent roughly three weeks ago, I had no idea that I’d be so bombarded with casting opportunities. I mean, I was happy to go for the odd casting here and there – not quite knowing what to expect, but I wasn’t as prepared for the reality of it.
In the past week I attended a car, beverage and ice-cream casting, a casting for an international TV series and two callbacks for a 2014 musical – all much in contrast to what I was doing this time last year (staring at a computer screen listening to water cooler banter). Understandably, Cape Town is in hot demand as a shoot location this time of here (what most ‘industry’ people refer to as the Season) – and by the looks of it, models from abroad flock to our shores for opportunities to be cast in international commercials. I don’t think I’ve seen so many hot bodies in under the space of two weeks before in my whole life!
Both the beverage and ice-cream casting were quite fun, in that they required a bunch of improvisation (good practice for me). For the beverage one, you went into the studio six at a time – 3 guys and 3 girls. Based on the appearance of our website profiles, we were hand-picked by the casting director (same procedure with the ice-cream casting) to act out a party scene between a group of friends.
I quite enjoyed the ice-cream one though. We were each required to pretend like we were lost alone in a desert without water, which was then followed by miraculous fruit appearing from the ether. Naturally (or rather unnaturally), we had to react to this stimulus by being ‘loco’ and eating any fruit that fell in our direction. My deprived, malnourished character then transformed into a maniacal fruit consumer! In contrast to my earlier experience with the TV casting (where I was unable to snap out of theatre acting mode – in favour of film acting), the director for this particular casting required us to be more theatrical – I suppose you can say I went overboard, it was fun nonetheless.
The musical callbacks throughout the week were eye openers for me again and I was once again reminded of the power of conviction in performance. After a rigorous week of singing and dancing, the producer told me he’s not sure about me yet – as to whether I have a role or not (this after he’d initially singled me out as definitely having a semi-lead role). It was disheartening to hear that my performance was in doubt, but I think I know why. With all that’s been going on from an acting perspective, I’ve been finding it hard to reach a compromise between over the top pantomime acting and the more subdued, sub-textual style used in film and the like. For one, the kiddies roadshow has taught me about energetic, over-acting – but then I was told on Wednesday that that particular style won’t get me anywhere in film or TV. As a result, I think my ‘acting’ in the callbacks was rather awry. I felt my singing was great (in that I’m so used to singing all the time with my band and in other musical situations), my dancing was questionable (in that I seldom do choreographed movement – other than the basic steps we do in the kids show), but my conviction/earnestness about getting a part might not have shown they way it should. That said, he was quite impressed with my initial reading (required in general American accent) – but I wonder if altogether it was good enough.
It may sound funny, but fully accepting the gift I have to act and sing and perform has never come naturally. It has always been an uphill struggle against my inner most fear (s) – that tiny voice that questions whether what I’m doing in that moment is the right thing. Whether that performance is good enough seldom seems to be an innate feeling that I accept unquestionably, it always seems to be at odds with the performer I am – or rather, want to be. I suppose this is a lifetime battle of conquering such feelings of self-doubt, and I suppose I’ll also get better at doing castings and auditions as time goes on.
On Friday, contracts were discussed – so we’ll see what kind of role I get. I’ve got another casting tomorrow as well – phew!
This is also the last week of the roadshow which ends this coming Friday. It’s been a good run and a big learning experience.