Monday, March 17, 2008

My Bad Ellen Audition

All this week I'm going to blog about some of the worst auditions I've ever had. Starting with one for Ellen DeGeneres. My agent sent me out for a role on her sitcom, These Friends of Mine, which changed to Ellen in the second season. I got the sides and noticed the scene required me to talk to three different people.

Sidebar: Sides are the piece(s) of paper with your scene(s) on them. They used to fax them to actors but now they're sent via the Internet.

Ellen was very girl next door and blonde and I was very girl next door and blonde so I decided to make myself look less Girl Next Door and more Welcome To Folsom Prison. Whenever there's a brunette lead, they will always pick a blonde or redhead guest star. And if the lead is blonde, well, you get the picture. Since I wasn't going to dye my hair dark I put on a a sleeveless black leather motorcycle jacket, some baggy plaid pants and gym socks with silver sneakers. I thought this outfit would definitely distinguish me from Ellen, because you know, I'm a genius.

I went before the casting director and after she removed her glasses and gave me an incredulous onceover, I started my scene. The casting director played the other three parts, and when I say play, I mean she read them in a monotone while doodling with her own blood all over a pad of paper my head shot.

I made the casting director the #1 person I spoke to in the scene. When I was required to talk to the second person I looked to my left. Then back to the casting director for #1 and then over to the right for person #3. As the scene continued I forgot who was where. As I read to the #2 person, I looked to my left and then quickly to my right and then settled on a space in between #1 and #2, which meant I now had four directions. It didn't take long for me to stop acting and to start concentrating on where the FUCK everyone in the scene was. I'm pretty sure that by the end of the reading my head was spinning on its axis. Or it might have flown off entirely. For all I know it's still circling the Disney Studios.

When I was done, there was a huge silence in which I could have parked a truck. After the casting director grunted and finished drawing a beard and mustache on my 8 x 10 glossy I drove straight to my agent's office.

"What the hell are you wearing? Didn't you go up for Ellen today?"
"Yeah, well, I need to talk to you about that. See, I was trying not to look like Ellen."
"Mission accomplished."
"In my head it all made sense."
"I've warned you about thinking, haven't I?"
"I'm not from here; I can't help it."
"So, how did the audition go?"
"You know how agents always call casting directors after an audition and ask them how their client did so they can pass that information along to the actor?"
"Don't call her. And if she calls you, don't answer your phone. And if you run into her somewhere, don't mention my name or say you know me. And I need you to help me move."

I did not get the job.

End of chat.


  1. You're such an early bird, Suzy. I was up at 6:30 this morning (Eastern time, at that) and your new post was already up! Don't you sleep?

  2. Well it's not like Ellen actually went anywhere.

  3. In hindsight, maybe the casting director knew something that you (nor most of the general public) didn't at the time, and was concerned that Ellen may want you in a "different type of role".

    A "sleeveless black leather motorcycle jacket, some baggy plaid pants and gym socks with silver sneakers" doesn't sound like the look most men might find attractive, but on the other hand.....

  4. I will never again feel nervous when going to a job interview. Thank you! :o)

  5. michael, I usually post anytime after 11 pm and I just put another time and day on them. It's under Post Options and allows you to post date.

    jenn, yeah, Ellen who?

    jinsky, casting directors know less than actors, if that's even possible.

    Bee, glad my personal humiliation could help someone else.

  6. Hmmm ditto, I was having a really bad day (hangover from a really bad weekend) and this has helped.

  7. Anonymous11:27 AM

    I feel a great deal of empathy for you, having gone on many a meeting/reading with a casting director. My personal favorite occured in 1992. The 20-year-old casting director asked me, "How would you describe yourself?" I replied, "I'm the Margaret Dumont of the 90s." The casting director said, "Who's that?" For any of you having a senior moment, she was the society lady in all the Marx Brothers movies...
    Martha Jane

  8. MJ - what if I not only got the reference but remember seeing the movies? Not when they first came out, but still ...

    Suzy - silver sneakers? Really? Siver? I'm with Bee; I'll never worry about how I look on an interview ever again. Damn - I'm still stuck on silver.

  9. Jami, this is how big a fashionista I was. The sneakers are about 15 years old and right now metallics are all the rage in fashion. I do this all the time, pick things that will be fashionable eventually. The sneakers are really spectacular, I have to admit.

  10. jinsky, bee and jami, I think it's important to note that an ACTING audition is not the same, or remotely close to any job application or a date with a guy.

    My agent was only mad at me because he knows the way I usually dress and was disappointed that I let Ellen being 'gay' intimidate me into butching it up.

  11. Sorry you didn't get the part. You would have made the show a great one.
    You are of course correct about the metallic shoes. I just bought E a pair of silver sneakers yesterday!

  12. I hope you saved that outfit! Sounds perfect for a trip to Starbucks!

  13. Oh, darn. This one was even better. And I used up all my creative genius in my last comment... Oh well. Tomorrow, I'll be more exciting, I promise.