Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Cattle call auditions have a tendency to occur on Mondays. I don't know why. For the non theatrical, cattle calls may seem like one of the more inhumane bits of the industry. Theatres host these open calls for multiple shows with a huge lack of specifications. So most everybody comes. Male, female, fat, skinny, short, tall, or green. You name it, there is probably someone there like it. Hundreds of people crammed into a holding room waiting for their thirty seconds of glory.
There were two open cattle calls yesterday- Cohoes Music Hall in Rochester (It's A Wonderful Life and Pirates) and Prather Entertainment who run a dinner theatre circuit (an insane variety of shows). There was no way you could sell yourself for their entire call in 16 bars without looking like a psychopath. So you sing something that shows both your strong suits and your personality. Sell yourself- artist are prostitutes or whatever some famous schmuck said.
I wanted to make both calls. The more I audition, the better I will get and the easier it will be. (hahaha) Luckily, both were on the same floor in the same studio.
I didn't get up as early as planned (the warmish weather and my lack of AC weren't helping me sleep), so I got there at 10 when both calls were supposed to begin. At Cohoes, I was number 195. At Prather, I was 284. Hahaha. Don't you love Mondays?
I stuck around. Hopped from room to room. Made new friends. And recurled the right side of my hair every few hours. It had decided it was anti curly, and I was determined to get it to match the perfect pin curls on the other side of my head. The heels and dress came on about 1, and I settled down to wait for the post lunch calls for Cohoes and made some awesome new holding room friends.
We were the audition clothes police. It is amazing to me, that in such an image conscious industry, how horribly and inappropriately people can dress. Simple things, like flattering your silhouette or your coloring, just don't always happen. Don't dress like a hooker for It's a Wonderful Life and Pirates. Last time I checked, neither of these classic, you-should-really-know-it show involved prostitutes. So don't wear something that would have place in a Sweet Charity audition! I also learned all about where there are Targets in the city (New York City is never referred to by name. It is just "the city".) I live in Jersey. Not a problem I have. And how to use food stamps. Also, not a problem I have. (Fingers crossed).
Anyways, the laughter and fun with my new pals lead me to be super loose in the room. I didn't really feel like I fit what they wanted (except for the loud bit. They don't mike. They asked for loud, and I can be loud. Just ask my mother.), but I went in and had a blast. Against the wall (it was a small studio. Standing three feet further back did not tell them how loud I could or couldn't be), belting my face off, and having a good time. I consider that a success!
Back across the hall to Prather to wait another 2 hours. Once again, new holding room friends. They were less chill (nervous more than anything), but still quite nice. I didn't rock it out as much as I had next door, but I got a dance callback for Wed. Once again, I will call that a success.
Cattle calls are pretty much an exercise in futility. They saw over 500 people in 2 days at both auditions. We have maybe 30 seconds to intrigue several tired, and usually gay, men who have been sitting behind a table in a small studio for hours. I am amazed by how friendly so many if these people can be after watching the human cow-valcade all day. But still, I feel worse not booking a job I was on a select list for. Not booking something or not even getting a callback at a cattle call is no biggie. As long as I am friendly and personable, I could be on the short list next time they roll around. Plus, you didn't know if you fit what they were looking for. The harsh reality of it is that I will have to deal with these calls for a long while. I just have to stay positive and keep giving it my all. Most of all, I have to have fun doing these crazy things. I always have to enjoy my 16 bar moo that I have waited 6 hours to give.
MOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! :-)

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