Monday, February 11, 2008

Holy Motherfucking Awesome

This weekend was THE BIG WEEKEND of grad school auditions. I didn't think it would be stressful for me, or at least it would be quick, but when I got to the building to see all of the nervous, above average attractiveness, people, I knew that I would be feeling a little teensy bit more nervous than I had planned. So... I guess I'll just start with how my days went.

Saturday started with the kind of nervous energy I have never felt before. My gut was doing some amazing somersaults inside itself, and I had not even eaten much that morning. It was my nervousness combined with my empathy of everyone elses'; there seemed to be some rooms worse than others, full of thick nervous energy that took you by the hand, and then stabbed you in the eye. Luckily, my first room wasn't like that. The first audition was on the top floor, next to some incredibly beautiful windows looking out along the city - UCSD had that floor to themselves. (I think they picked the best.) Auditioned, was nervous, did a good job, didn't get called back. Next!

I waited around for a LOOONG time for my next one. UCSD was at 11, and my next, NYU, was at 2, and in that time, I figured it wouldn't be too long. My mistake, it was so long and so boring and even though I did get to see some pals, (hey Arthur) and get to know some other people (hi David), it was pretty awful how if just increased my anxiety and made me want to run away screaming for ice cream.

I did however, take a look around, and I signed up for three more schools (they had walk in appointments available): New School of Drama, NTC, and Moscow Conservatory! So my count is now up to 8 schools if you count ACT last week. It was like a grad school buffet, an overpriced extravaganza where you don't actually eat anything!

2 rolls around. NYU seemed very nice, very professional, and very uninterested in me. I wasn't called back, which "doesn't mean you won't be considered for callbacks in New York." Yeah, I don't think I'll be going there either. 0 for 2.

Saw Heather Gordon, she got called back. For everything she auditioned for. I really need to get me some boobs. Wait, I have those. Time to dye my hair blonde then.

Made some new buddies (hi Sarah, hi Christi) while waiting for our rejection notices from NYU. Turns out Sarah when there for undergrad. She wasn't called back either. I don't know about Christi.

Getting off the elevator, I passed by a Carbon Copy Actor (CCA) and saw what I presumed to be a casting director run and catch up to him. I thought, masochistically, Jesus, this is going to be hell for me, and yet I remained in close proximity in order to hear what they were saying. He complimented him on his acting

3:10 New School for Drama. I had read a little bit about this school online, and heard some stuff about Monica's friends who went there and enjoyed it immensely. Walking in there, I heard "Pull up a chair, Ben, and let's chat." We talked for about 15 minutes about art and how it is a completely selfless art. I am an artist for the audience, I create completely for other people. Everything I've made, I've given away almost immediately. That concept had never really come up before, but it was undoubably something I believe in. It was amazing and a breath of fresh air to feel like someone actually liked me. I did my pieces, and they enjoyed them. It was a great audition. I don't know if they want me, but just the experience was so much fun and made me feel much better about this particular path I might be taking.

4:10 NTC. They're the Denver based one. Turns out, that man was the one who complimented CCA earlier in the elevator. I didn't know what I was getting into. I did my pieces; he didn't hate Edmund (I really need to get a new piece), and he absolutely loved my other piece (Straight Men Can't Camp, Tim Hendrixson). He cracked up! In the middle of my audition! It was amazing. We had a great little interview afterwards, and I left feeling very good and more informed. He gave me a vague critique too, but it was very constructive. "Just be bigger in Shakespeare, that's what people are looking for." I took it and was more successful with Edmund later. (I'm still getting another piece.)

4:40 Moscow Conservatory. I was completely unsure as to what to expect here. But they were very nice, very much engaged with me and my pieces, and we had a really good mini interview after we were done. It was very positive.

- End of day thoughts. I was really happy that every room at ACT had windows with amazing dramatic views of the city. Saying "Thou, Nature, art my goddess... " to a sparkling blue sky was really really wonderful. Learned a lot. Signed up for another audition, University of Washington (bringing auditions up to 9), and called it a day.

Went home. Hung out with Monica. She is so amazingly supportive. It's magical.

Sunday! Monica came with to support. WHAT A COOL GIRL. So much love.

9:00 Yale. There was a Stage Manager at the door. She was so steriotypical, I thought she was an actor playing a Stage Manager. Nope, she was a grad student. They were very polished and nice and they all had a little interview with us. I did my pieces, and was not called back. If you aren't called back at the end of the hour, you don't get in. If however, you do get called back at the end of the hour, you may get called back at the end of the day. That, however, is all moot for me since I didn't get called back. Fuckers. At least Heather Gordon did. Thank god. I was so worried for her.

10:30ish USC. This was the school I forgot to sign up for, but they had walk in auditions! I didn't really know what to expect here as well, but it turned out to be really positive. They liked my pieces and we had a good interview. It was a Good Audition.

11:00ish UW. It was fine. He was kinda reserved; I had heard elsewhere that he's kinda an asshole. He had me sing, so that was fun. Callbacks were posted later.

Mind you, throughout this, Monica's sticking by my side; keeping me company, giving me a kiss or two, playing DS with me, this is one awesome, amazing, beautiful girl.

12:00 (actually 1, but who's counting. I am.) UCLA. Boring, uninspring. I'm not in. My pieces went well though.

1ish somewhere Rutgers. Bringing my audition count to 11, Rutgers was an interesting experience. They had me interview a bit, and that went well. They then completely ignored my Edmund monologue and started to almost border on belittle me with problems with my other one. "So what's he doing in this?"

"He's really just bitching about Shannon, it's more of an anicdote than anything else."

"Yeah, but I didn't really get much from it. I mean, it was charming, but I didn't get anything else."

"Well, he's just frustrated, he's not angry."

"I want to see a better moment before, because that's what's Miesner's all about." (First red flag.)

"Okay, what would you like to see."

"Take it out of the context and just give it more of a fire underneath, because didn't Stella Adler say... [blah blah blah I didn't pay attention because a second red flag came up.]"

I did it with more "fire" and they asked me how it was different. I said he was more angry and made some BS up. They had smug expressions on their faces. I told them...

"This is exactly what I was talking about, this evolution! I want to learn this."

Continued smugness.

"Thank you, Ben."

"No, thank YOU."

All of that for the low low price of $75 dollars! I'VE NEVER BEEN BELITTLED IN ANY BETTER SETTING!

1:40 - 4 Spent some time walking around outside with Monica. We reflected about the day, and I told her what happened at Rutgers and how frustrated I was with them. We walked around that area of the city, one of my favorites, and ended up at Westfield mall, so we decided to eat at SF Soup. Stupendous Green Chili Soup in a bread bowl. Then Beard Papa puffed pastries. All very very delicious.

4:00 Call Back posting for UW. While waiting for the quiet man to put the list up, I was waiting in the You Can Cut The Stress With A Butter Knife room where Yale and ACT were having their callbacks. I think it was only Yale, it being the end of the day, and most of the people were hovering by the steriotype stage manager. I took a look around the room. Heather was there. Good for her. Then I looked at everyone else. All the girls looked the same (CCA), all the boys looked the same (CCA). It was as if someone took a clone and plunked in a few variables to alter the appearance somewhat; blonde here, tall there, boobs there, short here. It made me angry and frustrated that these schools, the ones we hold so highly, the ones who I thought would be smarter than that... aren't. Kind of a turning point for me. Made me think at least the Name Brand grad schools weren't for me. Oh, didn't get called back for UW.

- End of day thoughts. Went home, cried a bit, and Monica was there. I felt very angry and frustrated, but had so much love in my heart that it was overwhelming. This entire day, she was with me, supportive and amazing. She really is wonderful. Except that we were going to get pizza, and we didn't.

Today! One last audition THANK GOD.

9:00 University of Delaware (A last minute sign up of # 12). It was more like a class than anything else, and it kicked my ass, AND I loved every second of it. The program is rigorous, full of physical activity. We did our monologues after doing a physical and vocal warm up. But this wasn't just like any warm up... it was actually fun and a little challenging. Fuck that mirror game, we had stomping! It looked perfect for me. Um, so yeah. This is my favorite, and I would go there in an instant if it were offered to me.

All in all. Sitting at work right now, I would take 12 auditions over 3 days over working at a job that sucks my soul any day. Even though it was frustrating and made me angry that the future of theatre is all the same person, according to Yale and NYU, the good was very good, while the bad... well, I can go without the name recognition of some schools for now.

And, Monica's amazingly awesome. And I met some great comrades in arms there. There are really good actors out there, even some CCAs are good. I just can't wait for the next page of my life to happen.

No comments: