LA feels to me like a second puberty complete with pimples. Supposedly the bad skin can be blamed on the pollution and stress of living with millions of other people. I’ve never experienced anything like it myself. My skin reacted in terror and confusion, along with at times the rest of me. I have revisited the personas with which I survived middle school and high school; the “I don’t care what you think about me sullen poses”. I went to see the two coolest girls in the senior class when I was a freshman, perform locally and afterwards found myself a stuttering stammering fool in their company. I held my coat in front of me and pigeon-toed, tried to make conversation. Fail. The “fan” mentality is dangerous to establishing friendships, not that it was a intentional strategy. My friend told me that often happened to her when around women she respects.
Last week I went to an audition for an audition for an audition aka an audition for a casting workshop. The deal was they gave you a scene (in my case from Seinfeld) and a partner and fifteen minutes. I thought I had a headshot in the car but of course didn’t so had to run back and forth from my house before reading not that i’m really ever composed regardless. But my partner was very gracious and I had fun reading and waiting outside, we realized that not only had we both gone to NYU but had both been in the same studio, ETW, a year or two apart. So we’d all had all the same teachers. After we read, they critiqued us separately and told me to take cold-reading classes, possibly theirs, because we’d read the scene too quickly. As I left there was another young woman coming in to start the process anew. She turned out to be someone I’d met through acting in New Mexico. I suddenly knew half the people in the room. They do say that LA is the smallest big city in the world. It was like high school… Cue Cheers music
On Sunday I had the pleasure of attending the open casting call for the upcoming Hugh Grant/Sarah Jessica Parker movie, ” Did you hear about the morgans?”. It’s supposedly about an urban couple who has to be put in the witness protection program and end up in a rural small town. I think its supposed to take place in Wyoming but is being shot here. The fun part was that the ad had called for folks to come in Western wear. People take that seriously out here, they wear it day to day, bolos and such. In LA, this might have manifested itself all Coyote Ugly – hot chicks in cowboy hats and daisy dukes. Here is authenticity: cowboys in chaps with fringe, mustached men in duster coats, girls in wranglers sporting jackets with rodeo patches on the back. On my way up to the location of the affair, I passed a cowboy grazing his horse on a patch of grass stuck on an island in the middle of the street. People brought their own horses for goodness sake! These were not wannabe starlets like myself. The parking lots was all trucks, an f-250 sidled up to a suburban with a patient grandma waiting in the passenger seat. Inside, waiting in line is a kid on crutches who looked like he might lack access to modern health care. These people are what Hollywood hires make- up and wardrobe to create… but this was the real thing. These are folks for whom the movies cast a spell of fantasy and escape and who thought it’d be fun to see behind the curtain. I guess in this we are not dissimilar. A three year old buckaroo is holding the paper that has his number on it, under his chin, his tiny spurs clicking together on the back of his cowboy boots, while his grandpa stands awkwardly next to him, as a casting assistant takes their picture. This is the whole point of their having waited in line for the last hour, this portrait. The one that may lead to a phone call that brings them into the sphere of the stars. The scene makes me understand the appeal of shooting here as opposed to in the simulcrum of La-La Land. Here you get real cowboys and ranch hands at 8.50 an hour.