On Wednesday, I was working in an office where I recently started temping three days a week. It was only my fourth shift, so I was following every rule, and trying to be that perfect office drone. Naturally, I had my cell phone on silent. And that was my mistake.
After work, I met a friend to see Tyne Daly in Mothers and Sons on Broadway—more on that later—so I didn’t really look at my phone until around 10:30. I had a voice mail from a casting director with Lion TV, wanting to schedule me for an audition for a true crime TV show on Discovery ID, a network I’ve loved shooting two previous show for, Fatal Encounters and On The Case with Paula Zahn. I was psyched.
I do the serial killer thing pretty well, so if I can get in front of a casting director, I can usually creep them out a little. I also matched the physical description pretty closely. The guy was an ex-Amish, gay guy who murdered five women, and talked himself out of being charger with four of them. “A slimy, smooth-talker,” right up my alley. I love playing the creeps!
I called Lion TV first thing the next morning and left the casting director a voice mail, while excessively checking my phone ever five minutes. I did the same on Friday, and didn’t hear anything. Monday came around, and I left a third voice mail, which I know is a little excessive and annoying, but I really wanted this role! I never heard anything.
Here’s the thing: television works on a very tight and last-minute schedule. And for something like true crime, the casting directors aren’t as concerned with finding the most gifted actor they can. Most of the time, the actors hardly speak. If you think about the reenactment shows you’ve seen, there might be a little dialogue from the actors, but the majority of the show is interview style, or the visual recreation which is underscored by someone else talking about what happened. Rather than sifting through hundreds of headshots and bringing in dozens of actors, the casting director just wants to find someone competent who could resemble the real life people, even a little.
I’m pretty sure that the day I missed the call, the casting director scheduled a few guys to come in the next day to audition, the guys who actually answered the phone. And one of those guys booked it. They’re not going to wait for me to call them back, because by then, they’ve already found someone able to do the job.
Sadly, I won’t have an ex-Amish, gay murderer on my resume any time soon. All because I was trying to be a good little worker bee at the office.