Chapter 5: LA part 4 – Auditions

Monday the 19th of May 2003

ISM (Is Slow Management?)

It was over three weeks ago that I signed the 6 months contract with ISM the modeling and everything else management company. I have no idea how often they submit my pictures for jobs, but with advice from my acting instructor will ask them for a list of what they have submitted me for. As Jules told me every management or agency that submit people should have a list of some sort. I have begun to imply that it seems like they are not doing anything for me, so Susanna my manager and my main contact at ISM was going to push some more to get me submitted. I find it strange that they have not even offered an audition for anything yet, for an audition is basically where multiple people go in to visit the company and show their pictures. This way the company will have more options in who to pick for whatever job.

I spoke with Susanna on the phone and she told me that Enriche another person working at ISM was thinking about submitting me for a role in a feature movie. She asked me how soon I could get to the office, and I told her 30 minutes. I was in the car anyway so I could just as well drive over to Beverly Hills and talk with Enriche about the role. I came there and he handed me the script and asked if I could come in tomorrow. I said yes and we agreed on meeting at 1.30pm. He went off to continue his duties while I read through the script by myself to get a quick feeling for what it was about.

Max

The scene began in a bar with 80´s music. 3 guys and a girl who were friends stood together. The talk was about gay people, and two of the guys of the group of 4 were gay. Max the character that I was supposed to read for was gay. I noticed that at the end of page two it changed into another setting. Now it was in the apartment I believe of Max and Craig, and Craig was packing up and leaving for a while. Before he left he gave a huge kiss to Max, and as I read it I thought gush here it came what I was almost expecting. If I got the role I would have to do that. As I thought about being in the role of a gay man kissing another guy, well I would do it if it was a huge role. The name of the movie is to be “Creating the Deal” and it is a comedy that will begin recording June 15. I happen to see a mention of the movie in Hollywood Reporter just a few days before the script came to me.

I went home that evening and studied the script, and let the character tell me how he was to become. As I studied the script I thought back to gay men I have seen in movies, and Surge from Beverly Hills cop came to mind. Max as I saw him was also over the hill in his feminism and way he showed he was gay, so that was how I prepered the part for the meeting with Enriche the day after, Tuesday.

Tuesday the 20th of May 2003

Auditions

Tuesday would be a busy day. First the meeting with Enriche at ISM, then at 6.30pm I planned on going to the showcase held by Pro Artists Group. A visiting Casting Director had come in to see new faces and possibly use some of them in future projects. Right after the evening meeting I was to rush off to my Acting class in Burbank. I had three different scripts to prepare that day, but I did not mind. I was thrilled about it.

I got to ISM a little before my time, and as I came into the building to take the elevator up to the fith floor Enriche exited the elevator. He had to do a few things before we were to meet. I went upstairs and waited, and spoke briefly with Susanna. Enriche came 10 minutes later and I followed him into the other office they have on the same floor. I began my performance standing up while he was seated. I noticed almost instantly that he thought that I was overdoing the gayness of the character, and as I continued on I tried to lessen it just a smudge, but I noticed that he was not satisfied with my performance. I finished the first round reading and he told me that it was supposed to be plain, and not over done like I did. I disagreed but did not say anything. He was the “boss”, so it did not really matter what I thought. I performed it one more time, but it was still too over the hill for him. He said that he thought I was probably straight (implying I believe that I have no idea how most gay people are) and that the character Max just had his moments that were just a small touch of yes he is gay. Max was not supposed to be screaming gay so that everyone within a mile would know it. But that is how I saw Max, as it would make for a much more fun character. Personally I think Enriche took Max too personally, and was not able to see the setting the script started off in. Well I blew that reading, which was probably a good thing anyhow.

The What if… script at Pro Artists Guild

I went back to the hotel for a while and drove to Pro Artists Guild arriving there at 6.20pm. There were already lots of people there going through their scripts. I had told them that I needed to read early for the Casting Director as I had my acting class to go to, and I entered the office and spoke with one of the girls working there. I was paired up with another guy who needed a partner for the reading. And he and I went through the script a few times. The scene is a “what if…”. Two friends driving in the downtown area by Wrigley Field in Chicago when Nick the driver asks his friend Sam “what if you are stuck on a life raft and have to eat human flesh.” The conversation then goes on about the life raft and having to eat human flesh to survive. I like the scene as it is a typical sibling or good friends conversation.

Casting Director Ron Bigman

We went into Gracie’s office where the Casting Director, Gracie as well as one of the office girls were waiting for the next pair to come in to read. We said our hello´s to Ron Bigman the short white haired 30 something guy, and gave him our headshots. He noticed my name Paal, and he reacted to the spelling. I told him that I was from Norway, and he said that his best friend is from Norway. From Oslo actually, the same city I am from. So even before the reading began I was ahead. I felt even more relaxed when we began our reading, and as we went through the scene I noticed in the corner of my eye his reactions. My interpretation of what I noticed in him was that at first he reacted with a wonderful surprise, a freshness to our reading, and then his mind began to think of how he could use us in his projects. We finished and chatted briefly about lutefisk before we exited the office. The office girl who had been listening to our reading exited the office at the same time and said “good reading” to me. It was done, and now I could head to my class in Burbank about 40 minutes from Beverly Hills. I felt great, and smiled at how life shows me contrasts. The first reading of the day at ISM had not gone pretty bad, but this reading had gone so much better then I could ever have guessed. The Casting Director would probably remember me because of where I am from, and that memory will bring back the experience he had of me the few minutes he received from me before the next set of people were to perform for him.

Acting Class

I drove to class and as i got there only John one other was there. Out of 10 people only two showed up that evening, so we had ourselves a private session with Jules. It was great to be able to go through Bourne Identity multiple times in different ways, and it was all taped on John´s cassette and mine at intervals. We also performed a cold reading (something that only has been read once or twice before, or none for that sake). It was a great evening where I had the chance to learn much about performing the same piece in different ways. As we had performed it first in the regular way of being in an office, then we performed it in a make-believe car. It was fascinating to notice the difference of setting and how it effected the characters. The intensity went up the closer we had to be to each other, as we had to be while sitting in a make believe car.