In the infamous “Industry” they are called cattle calls. That’s when an audition is held and hundreds of people arrive to audition. Literally. Hundreds.
Usually casting briefs are rather specific. Down to the type of clothes should be wearing. The audition I attended in Johannesburg this week was not. The result? I as number 505 for the day (excluding some the animals that had been there earlier).
I hadn’t planned on going to an audition that day, and was actually packing my car to head to my parent’s house for the weekend to catch up on some admin and family time. When the call came through I had to go. The thing is, there’s always the teeniest chance that you might actually get the job. No matter how many they are searching for, and even if you know you probably won’t get it, there’s always that small chance. And if you don’t go you will never know. So I yanked on my tightest pair of jeans, tossed my hair in some steam I created in the shower to get it to curl and slapped on a healthy dose of base and mascara. I left at quarter two one for a two thirty call, assuming I’d be early enough to go on quickly and go home before the worst of the Joburg rush-hour traffic. Oh contraire.
When I arrived just before 2 for the 2:30 call they schedule was already an hour and a half behind. Apparently 300 men had arrived earlier for a single role. Apparently the casting agency didn’t bargain upon this. A stylishly dressed black girls came up to: “I know this is really random, but are you the last white girl?” The roles for the white girls was scheduled to happen before the roles for the black girls, and she was in a time crunch so she was trying to figure out who to use as her marker before she got to go on. I was, unfortunately at number 505 not the last of the white girls. There turned out to be about 20 other girls after me. So we waited. And waited. And looked.
I find what people wear to auditions fascinating. You often get the typical girls in heels so high they can barely walk, or stand up straight. You get the slightly chubby girls who dress like they 6 sizes smaller than they are and the skinny girls who show too much…everything. At this particular audition there was a girl who had blue eye shadow on one eye and pink on the other. And I know neon is a trend at the moment, but the key is incorporating into your wardrobe so you don’t look like you got attacked by a pack of highlighters.
One of the girls auditioning wore a pair of blue wedges which were eerily reminiscent of the Spice Girls era. When we were waiting just before entering the audition she was asking the ages of the rest of us sitting in the room. Most of the women were about 23, or older, up to about 30. I gauged Wedges and her short tube dress to be about 26. It turned out she was 17. I saw one of the older ladies of the group look at me wide eyed, and then mouth silently “Really?”
By quarter past five I had my turn in the audition room: Name, age, agent, left profile, right profile, hands, smile: And Go!