ewhightower

Posts Tagged ‘employment’

Jobs I Didn’t Get, Part II: Sam the Snowman

In Employment, Theatre on January 20, 2015 at 9:03 pm

In late September I got a text message from Television’s Drew Boudreau; Drew played Max Detweiler in The Sound of Music with me at Sierra Rep in Summer of 2014; he’s a lovely guy and a brilliant improvisor — if you’re lucky, you’ll see his work with Improv Shmimprov. If you’re even luckier, you’ll get to work with him: he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Drew was texting me to make sure I knew about an audition for a non-AEA tour of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. They were looking for Sam the Snowman — specifically someone who could impersonate Burl Ives.

I know I’m pudgy, but Burl Ives? Wowsers. Guess it’s time to go full Paleo. Still, given enough time (and the right motivation) I can impersonate just about anybody.

Except the casting directors needed the audition video asap.

So much for time.

Motivation? $700+ per week. Boom! Motivated. But what to focus on more: mastering the material or mastering the impersonation?

I chose to focus on the material, as I could nail down the voice later on. (Besides, said the logical part of my actor brain, if they’re smart, they’re already searching for actual Burl Ives lookalikes / impersonators. I’ll master the material and at the very least I’ll have a solid audition reel … for a very, very specific role.)

Sides and sheet music were provided digitally, but accompaniment was up to me. I had one day in which to prepare  and shoot and edit and upload and submit my audition video, so I found karaoke tracks for the relevant songs. Guess what? They weren’t necessarily in the right key. So, in order to make sure that I had all my ducks in a row, I also each song a cappella as well.

Fully memorized, I donned an appropriately Christmasy tie and cozy vest. However, there was a problem: none of my nice pants were clean and pressed. Could I risk shooting this video in my underwear? Tricky: the lighting was provided naturally from a window situated camera left, and as a favor to my neighbors I generally avoid the windows when traipsing about in me skivvies. In the interest of time, I chose a nice and relatively new pair of jeans (purchased, as it happens, in the company of the affable and aforementioned Drew Boudreau in Summer of 2014), and commenced shooting.

It always takes longer to shoot, edit and upload than one thinks. And, by the time one has assembled and honed and polished everything, a degree of deadline-drunk hypnosis sets in: eyes on the clock, one foot in front of the other, nothing’s-gonna-stop-me-now!

Except it’s a good idea to share the video with other people in the business in advance. Looking back, I feel that I should have taken a little extra time to hit up Carla Spindt, Dyan McBride, Allen Fitzpatrick, Ken Sonkin, Brian Herndon, David Studwell, Mark Booher and George Maguire (and anyone else I might have neglected to include in this list) for their thoughts before sending the video to the casting directors.

Since that time, a friend who watched the video has told me that the jeans pretty much destroy any chance of awesomeness. I would have thought that haunted dollhouse + modern art + cluttered bookshelf did more than the jeans to distract, but perhaps they collaborate on a one-two punch to knock the viewer firmly into the land of Meh.

Here, then, is the video:

Within three hours, one of the casting directors accidentally hit Reply All in an e-mail, so I was treated to this:

“He is really lovely. Not an exact Burl Ives impersonation, but he is very good.”

Followed by,

“Ha, well, that wasn’t supposed to go to you, but I’m glad I had nice things to say. I loved what you did with the material.”

As I had been holed up in my house pounding out audition videos for a variety of projects since returning to the Bay Area, I was craving interaction and, most dreaded need of the actor, validation. Intoxicated by the endorphin rush that follows praise, I was perhaps too festively ebullient in my response to her, thus jinxing and ostracizing myself in one fell swoop.

I did not get the job.

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Jobs I Didn’t Get: Thenardier

In Employment, Theatre on December 18, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Since returning from my summer at Sierra Repertory Theatre in lovely Sonora, California, I have been auditioning for jobs all over the country via video. This has required the cobbling together of material, often at the last minute, often with sub-standard karaoke tracks or — heaven forfend! — a cappella.

A company in Indiana was holding an open call for Les Miserables. On their website were character breakdowns with sheet music and accompaniment they required us to use in our auditions. I auditioned for both Javert and Thenardier. I could have gone for Valjean as well, but I’d rather play J or T and I had a short time in which to prepare the material. So I downloaded everything I needed and got to work.

Mystery of the Ages: All of the Javert material was played at an incredibly fast tempo. Imagine Javert’s Suicide at three times the speed of the original recording. Perhaps there is a superb reason for this — maybe they were tired of actors taking ten years to get through all the schmackt, maybe they’re planning to shorten the show by playing dramatic moments at 78 rpm — but it made all emotional and focal transitions feel comical. How the hell was I going to sell this?! And here’s the kicker, friends and neighbors: the name of the track was, Javert Suicide Slower. So, if that was slower … what the fuck was faster? The Nathan Lane recording? I’d love to add Klezmer orchestration to this:

How can I now allow this man — ZING! — (slide whistle loop-de-loop)
To hold dominion over me?! (oh-ooooooooga!)

So it was a relaxing pleasure to be able to work on Thenardier, which was played at the actual speed one might associate with a reasonable and balanced production. Here, then, is my audition video for Thenardier.

Master of the House:

I did not get the job.

My Other Blog

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2013 at 9:39 pm

So I have another blog, on another site. That blog is made up of three things:

1. The remnants of my MySpace blog which, for obvious reasons, I am no longer writing.

2. Pieces about Theatre, be they fictionalized or embarrassingly specific.

3. Notes From The Future (NFTF), a novel I’ve been sharing episodically since April, 2012.

Here’s where you can find my blog: http://ewhightower.blogspot.com

I write about this here because the whole reason I started a WordPress blog was so that I could transfer NFTF to what I feel is a better platform. (If you follow the link at the bottom of the first episode of Notes From The Future on my home page, you will find the rest of the series. Be warned: they are interspersed with further musings on theatre and art and such.) The logical question at this point is: why haven’t I transferred NFTF here, yet?

There are a couple of reasons, both centered around laziness. The first is that I’m lazy, and the second is that I’m almost finished with what I would call Part I of NFTF, and it is my intention, once finished, to remove NFTF from the Interwebs and sing a juicy song as I edit it for actual printed novel form. Editing = rewriting, and having to cut and paste the whole thing into WordPress and then take it down to rewrite seems like a large task this late in the game. Essentially, laziness strikes again.

I’m keeping this note brief so that I can focus on finishing Part I (I have four episodes to go! Woo-hoo!), but I welcome your thoughts, O Readers: where would you put your energy at this point? Do you have anything tasty to sip that you’d like to bring over and brew up for me while I write? Are you OCD and would you clean my house just for the privilege of listening to me type all day? Do you think I’m a talentless fuck who should keep applying for day jobs and stop writing this instant? (If that’s so, you’re wrong and can fuck off. Ha. I’m laughing at you fucking off.) Should I just have more sex and forget about writing or employment?

Okay, my Sparklies. Back to work.

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