Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Fear of String

An audition experience, or how my career in bad acting began

I called up my friend whose mother was a casting director and told her that I decided to be an actress so if her mom had any positions available could she please keep me in mind. A few days later, her mom called and said she had a Blue Cross HMO radio spot, could I come in and audition that day? I was working a temp job but said yes, if I could come during my lunch hour and she said okay, just have them buzz her when I got there.

So I got to the studio and there were about a quazillion people lining the halls, professional actors who had done many commercials, reading sides, and I got to go right in, ahead of them all. I had to say these lines like "something-o-phobia, fear of meteors...blahblah-o-phobia, fear of string...HMO phobia..." and it was all about silly fears. Well, I was so bad, my friend's mom kept giving me line readings -- (very professionally) "the fear of string" and I’d go (very fake sounding) "fear of string" and she'd go no, no, no, "the fear of string" and it went like that for around 25 minutes.

Finally, she just recorded whatever and then told me that she mostly casts men for voiceovers, but she'd call me if anything came up. It was her way of being nice about my terrible voiceover audition.

I left, relieved that I no longer had to pursue an acting career. Besides, I couldn't stand the thought of having to wait with all those other people.

The next day I got a call from my friend's mom - that the client liked it, I'd gotten the job! I only had one line to say...THE FEAR OF STRING!

So I went into the recording studio and saw this professional Broadway actress that I knew from LES MISÉRABLES and she was going to be the narrator of the commercial. She had lots of lines, including all the (very deep and sexy) "la-da-da-phobia" lines. So I was excited and they called her in first. About 5 minutes later she came out, smiling and chatting with the director and he invited her to come back the next day to do the tv spot, too.

Then I went in and they asked me to say my line very timidly, maybe like Woody Allen. So I said, "f-f-f-ear of of of of st-string" and they said please don't stutter. So then I just said (fake sounding & going up high on "string") the fear of string. So they started giving me line readings and again it was "the fear of string" (perfectly) and "the fear of string" (badly).

They tried having me shout it out in a total state of terror: THE FEAR OF STRING! so I did that and then they said to say it that exact same way but quieter. But again it was (mousy) "the fear of string."

Finally, in total frustration, the director came into the sound booth, put his arm around me, picked up a piece of thread from the carpeting and said, "this is string. But it's the scariest thing you've ever seen. It's a snake." And I'm thinking, it's a piece of rug, and I'm beginning to feel like Morales in A CHORUS LINE.

After about 25 minutes on this one line, I finally left and they figured they'd be able to get something out of it.

A week later, my sister called me and said that I just woke her up on the radio! There was a very strange nonsensical and inarticulate ad and suddenly in the middle of it she heard me shouting THE FEAR OF STRING! I heard it later, too, and it was the funniest thing we'd ever heard.

And I knew I was born to say that line!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Absolutely BRILLIANT! :)