Thursday, December 09, 2004

"Pink" Audition Highlights, Vol.1

Hello, my beloved J List, and welcome to the first official newsletter I've taken time to sit down and write since my triumphant return from Oxford this past Monday. Why was I in Oxford, you ask? Why, for "Pink" auditions of course. Yes, dear friends, you read it right. After almost four years of ups and downs and starts and stops, "Pink" (the ode to evil girls I wrote while still a sophomore at Ole Miss) is finally up-and-running in full force, thanks in no small part to my friends Gregg Jones and Kelly Barry at Sweeters Productions. In just six weeks Gregg and Kelly have managed to secure the complete support of the Ole Miss Theater Department, a full film crew, ample funding, five professional-quality cameras, and enough promotion to land us 15 and a half hours worth of auditions. Needless to say, I'm tickled "Pink" (bad pun intended.)

The whole process began this past Thursday when I left work at noon, bought some road food, hit I-55, and drove on up to the Little Easy. (Special thanks to Mac for the mix CDs that made the trip a little easier.) My first stop upon reaching my destination was Wal-Mart, where I upheld my longstanding tradition of buying everything I'd forgotten to pack (in this case: socks, boxer shorts, disposable razors, and mints.) Met up with Gregg and Kelly sometime after 11, got settled in, ate a long-awaited meal consisting of a pizza roll and a chicken-on-a-stick, and hit the sack as early as I possibly could (about 2 a.m.)

On Friday I woke up early, if only because I was excited...and of course because I feel useless if I sleep past 7:30. Kelly and I spent most of the morning and early afternoon ironing out the fine details of our producer/director relationship - in other words, we talked about all sorts of boring grown-up things like percentages and contracts and production costs and entitlements and blah blah blah. ..I really hate that end of things. Honestly, it's disheartening how much business you have to go through just to have a little fun. But anyway...

We ran a little late getting to the Union in the afternoon, but still we managed to have everything ready for 4:00 when our first auditions began. It was funny; in the process of setting everything up, Kelly and I had a little tiff about the message she wrote on the dry-erase board for everyone who came in to audition. (I insisted that the "Welcome!!" she had written in big, friendly letters was really sending the wrong message to all of our potential actors and actresses. hehe) But none of that mattered when our little waiting room started filling up with people just a few minutes later...oh man! How to explain what that was like?...I don't know. Perhaps you've had a moment like it - a moment you've looked forward to for so long that when it finally arrives you almost don't believe it's really happening. I'm sure marriage is like that. Or having kids. Buying a house. Getting a degree. Those sorts of things...I mean, here's a script I wrote when I was 21 years old - scenes I've played out in my head multiple times over the last four years - and suddenly, here were real, honest-to-God people acting it out right in front of me and hoping I'd like their performances enough to cast them. For the first time, my friends, I felt as if my dream of being a filmmaker - a dream which started sometime around 3rd grade when Emmett Lawrence and I first started laying out our plans to make a Godzilla-esque monster movie - wasn't so unattainable after all. A very humbling experience, to say the very least.

And of course I just had to laugh as I watched all these attractive, college-aged girls flirting with me and telling me how funny they thought the dialogue was in the hopes of getting a good part. (One girl took it to the extreme and said, "If everything you write is like this, I'm sure we'll be seeing your name everywhere before too long." Mmm hmmm) Why was this funny? Because, quite honestly, "Pink" was written during a very awkward time in my college life when I was looking for a way to talk to all the hot Ole Miss sorority girls without selling out and joining a fraternity. (Sure, it might sound lame to all you non-believers out there, but trust me, "Would you like to be in a movie?" is a much more interesting conversation starter than, "Uh, so what classes are you taking this semester?" The first real conversations I had with Jac and Edie, for example, were about "Pink".) Four years later, as I sat and watched girl after girl after girl walk in and tell me how super-great the script was, I felt as if my diabolical little plan had succeeded... Too bad I'm too jaded to give a shit nowadays. hehe But really, our Friday auditions were great.

Saturday and Sunday saw more of the same. Never a dull moment. Never a lull in the action. We didn't even get a lunch break, much to the grumbling of Kelly and my assistant director, Julia, who drove up on Saturday morning. We had a really pretty girl from Serbia come in to audition - tall, black hair, great reading ability - the quintessential J-girl. Another girl was just as cute as she could be, and she got even cuter when she told us she had a twin sister (oh, the mental images.) One girl nailed the role of Courtney the Drama Queen so well that I've been showing off her audition tape to everyone I come into contact with. My buddy Karlous improvised a hilarious scene wherein he explained the difference between infidelity and natural disasters. On and on and on...SO many great people to choose from. In fact, some of the dialogue is now being re-written to accommodate the people we've selected to play the roles - most noteably a Frenchman who's inspired me to change the character of John to Jean-Claude. I've even got one of the attorneys in my office agreeing to play the part of a Latino pool boy while wearing a leopard-print Speedo. (I'm gonna make you famous, Ivan.) All in all, 66 people auditioned and I'd say we'll probably flesh out about 80-90% of the cast with them. It was a great turn-out and a great weekend (even though my thumb is still bruised and swollen from where Marta bit me...if this bastard needs to be amputated, Marta, I'm going to be very upset.) Really, it was a blessing. Couldn't have gone better.

Looking back on it, I feel it's a great beginning to a great project, and the only thing I can really say to put my feelings on the matter into perspective is a lyric from Pink Floyd's The Wall. Sing it if you know it, kids..."I can feel one of my turns coming on."

Quote of the Day
: "If I come home and find some ugly bitch on the couch I'll be pissed."
- Amber explaining to Joey that any strippers he brings home with him must be attractive


Blogger Long-Haired Mess said...

J, I'm glad to hear everything is going your way. It's great when you look around, in the confustion and muck of the world, and realize for a moment or two that the entire world is centered and looking on, anticipating what you'll do next. Congrats on taking the first steps to completing your dream. Also, I wish I would have thought of an interesting conversation starter such as "Wanna be in a movie?" That's pure genious and you deserve a medal for that.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Brandalyn said...


oh, to be a fly on the wall for those auditions! must have been truly an experience.

10:41 AM  

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