The Audition Playlist: Movie Songs

oscars-300x182The Oscars were just handed out, so I couldn’t think of a more fitting topic for The Audition Playlist than songs from movies.  The hardest part about these playlists is limiting it to ten videos.  How do you choose?  I could easily do ten playlists of ten songs each, and that would just be scratching the surface.  So I tried to spread the love through a few decades and different genres just to get people started.  What’s your favorite song from a film soundtrack?

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The Audition Playlist: My Personal Book

rowlfpiano-300x234This week, I decided to let the readers of The Audition Playlist know the contents of my own audition book.  After all, I’ve been telling people what songs to put in their books for the last nine months, why not show them mine?  Hopefully I’m following my own advice, so I don’t get comments like “I thought you said never to audition with that type of song,” or “didn’t you say everyone needs a such-and-such in their book?  Where’s yours?”  And more than that, I hope not too many people are reading in New York and deciding to use my little “gems” because I love when I get something like “no one’s done that song before, great choice.”

But I’d be lying if I said I shared everything; I’ve still got a couple songs hidden up my sleeve!  And besides, it’s a ten song playlist so I’m not really hiding anything, it’s just editing for content.  🙂

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I Heart Philly!

IHeartPhillyI’m in love with Philadelphia!  I got to the Philly Amtrak station without incident, and got a cab to 200 Chestnut Street, home to the Passport Office.  After going through airport-style security, I had my documents in hand and nervously waited in line.

Nervously?  Oh yeah!  Why?  Because I wasn’t sure they’d let me through.  On the passport website, it states that in order to have an appointment at the office for an expedited passport, you need proof of international travel occurring within the next two weeks.  There are three types of acceptable documents: an airline ticket, an official airline itinerary, or a letter from your employer stating international travel for business.  Well, I had none of those.  I had debated writing a fake letter from either the casting director, or from Kayak, but after thinking about it, you could kind of call that government fraud.  While a night in prison is on my bucket list, these circumstances might have more severe consequences.  So I went took the high road, for the most part.

I printed the casting notice, and circled the shoot dates and shoot locations.  I also printed my audition ticket, confirming that I had an audition, and then I hoped they didn’t look too closely.  I was all set to try and explain the situation, saying ” but you don’t understand.  Here’s how it works: I won’t know if I got the job until a few days before.  Help a guy out?” And I would have probably developed a stutter in the process, so luckily the receptionist just looked at the documents, and wrote “Uruguay” on my application.

They gave me my ticket and I sat down, still a little nervous, wondering if the clerk who would process the application would be able to veto the receptionists decision.  My number was called–my lucky number 17–and I was greeted by a wonderful woman.  She was all smiles and glad to help out.   I slid my papers under the window and she started typing into her computer.  She looked at my “letter from employer” and said “Oh, you’re shooting a Kayak commercial?”  I responded with a high-pitched “Mm hhmm.”

“Oh, great.  Just write under Employer and you’ll be all set.”  So now I’m on record with the government as an employee of Kayak.  If there’s any truth to The Secret, then I have definitely put it out there in the universe!

What’s more amazing is the fact that my passport will be ready in 3 hours!  Can you believe that?  I was in shock.  Turns out, anytime you mail in a passport application, it goes to Philly; they make it there, and then ship it back.  So when you apply in Philly, they just send your info to the printer, and away you go!  And she even put me in for a free upgrade to the 58 page book, after seeing the number of stamps I had in my expired one.  I just logged onto the Amtrak website to move my train back to NYC an hour later, and I’ll be arriving with passport in hand!  Who knew?

So I’ll get back to Penn Station at 2:30, then I’ve got to catch a train at 3:58 from Grand Central to Westchester (Mamaroneck) to run a music rehearsal for “The Rockin’ Tale of Snow White.”  I’ll be there form 5-6:30, then catch a 6:57 train back to Grand Central, getting in at 7:40.  Then I haul tush to a student film audition at the School of Visual Arts at 8, and hopefully make it to another student film audition at 8:45 at the New York Film Academy.  And then if I don’t fall asleep on the subway and wake up in the Bronx (it happens), I’ll be home and in bed before 11!

I heart Philly!

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Procrastination: It’ll Cost Ya

brokenpiggybankIt’s 5am, and I’m on the subway, on my way to catch a 6:05 Amtrak train from Penn Station to Philly.  Why?  Because I’m a moron!

So, this Kayak gig that I auditioned for yesterday shoots in Uruguay.  (I now know where that it because I googled it)  If I’m called back for it, the next round of auditions is on the 12th.  And according to the casting notice, the flight to Uruguay would be on the 18th.  Surely you can see where I’m going with this.

My passport expired last February.  I knew it had expired, because I was traveling quite a bit beforehand, so I was always keeping my eye one it.  With no international travel in the horizon, I didn’t renew it before it expired.  No big deal.  You can easily renew an expired passport IF YOU’RE NOT A MORON!

If I were to clean my room today, I can guarantee I would find at least 6 pieces of paper with “Passport” scribbled on them.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “Hmm, I have some free time tomorrow.  Is there anything I’ve been meaning to get done that I haven’t had the chance to do yet?  Ah yes, my passport.”  (I don’t actually say “ah yes” to myself…I don’t think)

Long story short: If you need your passport for travel occurring in less than two weeks, you need to make an appointment at a regional passport office.  The expedited mail service takes 2-3 weeks, but going through the office only takes 5 days.  When I called the New York City office, their next appointment was February 15th.  I then called the Connecticut office, since it’s a quick ride on the Metro North, and their first available slot was on the 12th.  Philadelphia was the winner with a slot open this morning.  So here I am.  Now of course, there’s only a 1% chance I’ll even get a callback for this commercial.  But clearly, if I didn’t do this today, I’d end up getting a callback, getting the gig, and then crying myself to sleep when they fired me for not having a passport.  But now that I’m making sure I’m prepared, I have guaranteed that I won’t even get a callback.  At least I’ll finally have a passport again.

So here’s where it gets expensive.  If I had half a brain, I could have renewed my passport for $110.  Since I’m on the short bus, it gets much more expensive.  The fee to expedite your processing is an extra $60, plus $12.85 each way for overnight shipping.  So far, that’s $85.70, plus the original $110.  Add in the $102 roundtrip train ticket to get to Philly, and you’re looking at a passport that costs $297.70.

Learn you lesson, kids: Don’t be like Kevin.

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The Audition Report:

Kayak.comI just had a great (and hilarious) audition for a commercial at OneOnOne.  The posting read: 33-40.  In general, I’m looking for awkward looking people. People who are too thin, or a little heavy. People who have all the flaws we all do. I want actors who look like…people, not actors. In other words, no one attractive, please.

Another posting for the same gig stated: We need someone who can sing – must have some singing ability. MUST BE EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE LIP SYNCING! But he also needs to be able to act very well – experience with NY MUSICAL THEATER! He will be learning and lip syncing 4 different languages of song for REAL shoot.  35 – 45. Awkward looking. He will have his shirt off the whole time. He can be very hairy, or very thin. Just no one with muscles.

Awkward and shirtless?  Experience with NY musical theatre?  No one attractive?  You found me!  I got an appointment ticket through Casting Networks, asking if I could be seen at 10:50 this morning.  Great.  What I failed to notice, however, was that the audition ticket also contained a link to a song we were supposed to learn for the audition.  Whoops!

As soon as I got to the studio, I went to the bathroom, and while I was in there I decided to check the name of the casting director, so I could address her by name.  And that’s when I saw the link to the jingle.  Luckily, I learn music quickly, and it wasn’t anything difficult, so I wasn’t stressing.  I was just laughing at myself, letting the sink run to try and cover up the fact that I was listening to, and singing along with a recording on my phone.  And of course I left my headphones home, so I didn’t have the discreet option; had to use speaker phone.

I came out of the bathroom and started to look for a group of awkward guys milling about, so I knew I was in the right place.  When I signed in, they had a sheet with the lyrics so that took the pressure off even more.  Eventually, they called all of us into the room to explain how things were going to work.  They gave us a little blocking and played the recording that we’d be singing with.  They said, “Come in, stand here, slate your name, take your shirt off, and have fun!”  Piece of cake!

I looked around the room to see my competition.  While some of the guys were way more awkward than I could ever dream of being, some of these jerks were really attractive!  Who let them in?

I was third on the list so I went in, said my name, took my shirt off, and game them a little song and dance.  They asked me to do it again, and just told me to sing louder and make the movements bigger.  Done!  I was unbuttoning my shirt as I was leaving and realized what that must look like to an outsider; one by one these weird guys are called into a room by a beautiful woman, and a few minutes later they leave the room, getting dressed as they grab their things and silently go.  Some sulking a little because they didn’t perform as they had hoped, and others beaming because they nailed it (pun intended).

It was definitely one of those auditions where I left just loving what I do.  Whether or not anything comes of it, I had a blast.  Although, I have to admit, I would LOVE to get this one.  Not only does it pay a ton of money, and it’d be a great credit on my resume, but it shoots for a week in Uruguay!

Fingers Crossed!

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