Get it Right the First Time

Zach and Dane - post casting
Zach and Dane – post casting

The whole point of taping auditions is to be able to watch them later. Somehow, CAZT doesn’t put them up in time – we need to cast it tonight. I was really depending on this, especially for casting Doug. But ultimately, Dane is directing it, and he watched me audition with all of them, so I trust his judgment. His guy was in my top three, anyway. And no, I did not have a 1, 2, 3, as Zach insisted I do. I had three guys who I liked. It was too hard to decide between them without watching the footage. So I immediately feel bad for the guys we don’t pick and hope we can use them for something in the future. And remember that awesome guy at the audition for Punch Bug? Yea, we didn’t cast him either.

For Noir, I’m hesitant for a different reason – Mike is directing it and he wasn’t at the casting. I was hoping he could watch the footage and I could tell him my top guys, but since we don’t have that, he’s going basically off our judgment. I hope we made the right decision with these guys. I Skype with Dane and we narrow down our few top choices to one. Mike trusts us and that’s that.

Now we have to tell these guys. OK, two of these three guys were referred to us by Gena. I felt like Dane was being immediately biased towards picking them. Really, I was thinking of myself as an actor, and it’s like, you get called into an audition and what for if you already know who you’re going to cast? I’m not into that. But seriously, these two guys are great. Obviously, I figured they would be if Gena referred them to us because she is a great actor. Basically I just want to disagree with Dane.

So these two actors are for Doug and Miles. Dane emails them both because he knows them, but he leaves our third actor to me. This is for our lead in Noir. Charlie, played by Michael Keeley. Someone completely outside of our circle. I have Dane talk me through everything I need to tell Mike. Finally send him an email, asking him to be in our project and giving him my number if he wants to call me at any time. Mind you, I send this email at 9 or 10pm. Dane and I change our Skype session into a GChat session because Mike is now sleeping. It’s after 11pm when my phone is ringing. Holy shit this must be Michael Keeley!

I run outside because Mike is sleeping and I don’t get service in the apartment anyway. It is, in fact, Michael Keeley. I know I told him he could call but I didn’t think he actually would. (Aren’t I so professional?) He’s calling to tell me that he would love to act in our short.

Seriously, you would have thought George Clooney just signed on to the project. That’s how excited I am. And now I’m realizing why he’s calling. He has a lot of questions. With every comment I can tell more and more that Michael has been doing this for a long time. He’s a real professional. He asks me questions that I have no idea how to answer. Or I know the answer and don’t want to tell him. Like, “Will there be a makeup artist?” God. No, there will definitely not be a makeup artist. But I want to say yes to everything he asks me. Thankfully, he mentioned this in a previous email. I quickly sent out a nervous message to the group, asking what to say. Lys kindly replied, “You can tell him that we’ll have some basic makeup supplies but not a professional makeup artist..¬† I can help with makeup but I’m no artist.” See, doesn’t that already sound more professional than, “umm, no.” Then he wants to know about the crew. This I am confident about. Mike managed to get a lot of the guys from Auction Hunters to help out. We have a DP (Director of Photography) and a freakin’ Art Director and a really good Camera Operator. This is huge for Conversations in Cars. I don’t tell Michael this. I act cool, like, oh yea, we have a DP and an Art Director. Obviously. Then he wants to know about the director, Mike Manfre. “Is this his directorial debut? Because I looked him up and didn’t really find anything.” Oh yea, he’s my boyfriend.

No, I did not say that. I just tried not to laugh and told him that Mike Manfre has directed before but yes, this is his biggest production to date. He then asks me about media contracts for the actors. What the fuck? I don’t know. God, I’ve never done this before. And I have a few glasses of wine in me. At this question I definitely say, “ummm, I think so.” And hate myself for it. Of course we have contracts. I’ve used these contracts in our past Conversations in Cars. I just didn’t realize what they were called. Even though it’s self-explanatory. Christ.

Michael also was dressed perfectly at the audition. He wore this awesome silver suit. We actually referred to him as the Silver Fox when we were going through all the headshots. So I told him in the email to wear the same suit for the shoot. “I’m glad you guys like it. I like it too….I see that it’s raining. Well, I can’t really get it wet.” Not a problem. This is a phrase I find myself saying a lot to the actors. Fortunately, he has another dark suit he can bring that he doesn’t mind getting wet. Perfect. So we have two options. I’ll let the director know that if you have to get wet, we go with the dark suit. If the rain won’t be hitting him, silver it is. Then, he mentions smoking and I don’t even give him the chance to explain. Oh yea, if you don’t feel comfortable smoking we can do the herbal ones. “Yea, that would actually be great because I quit just over a year ago.” Yea, I was not expecting him to say that. But, “not a problem.” I also may have said, “Congratulations.” Because I am an idiot. But the best thing he said came later. “I’ve been around the block and I’ve read a lot of scripts and the writing was good in this, so, good job.”

OK. You’re better than George Clooney.

*Billy Joel

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