Just as I was about to leave the house as I was already running a little late for my flight, my lovely wife texts me and asked me to do her a huge favor, which was important but not priority over my audition. Sorry hun. Soon as I got downstairs in front of my house, I started to feel guilty (I have such a conscience, haha) and went back upstairs to send her the ever so important email to someone in corporate. It took maybe 3-4 minutes of my time but time is of the essence in a situation like this.
I then drove to LGA Airport and ran frantically to check in. The sweet ol check in lady tells me it’s too late. The flight has been closed. I pleaded by telling her I have a huge audition for a major film but it does no good. I then pull out my FDNY card and tell her I’m a NYC Firefighter and for her to please help me. She calls the head agent where you board the plane but no one picks up. Mind you, my audition is at 5pm, my flight is @ 2:20pm and I will arrive at Pittsburgh at 4pm. She then tells me the next flight will arrive in Pittsburgh at 5:29. From there I have to either take a shuttle or pay an enormous amount of money for a taxi to get to CD Donna Belajac’s office, which is approx a 30 min cab ride or 45 min shuttle ride from the airport. And my returning flight is at 7:07pm. So I’m saying to myself how in the world am I going to make it to my audition and back to the airport. Hummmmmm, what to do?
While on the plane, the Capt. gets on the air and says “Hey ladies and gentlemen, I would just like you all to know we have the international film star Sheryl something or other flying with us today”. I couldn’t make out the last name. And I said out loud, “Hey, what about me, I’m an actor to you know”. The guy sitting next to me says “really”, I said “Yes”. So we started to chit chat and I find out he’s news reporter Mike Clark from Channel 4 news in Pittsburgh. So we’re speaking about films, actors and all that good stuff. I gave him my card and he gave me his info. His son wants to be an actor (18 yrs old) and told him I would be more than happy to help his son with the business side of this industry by sending him good info via email. Mike said if I book this role, let him know as he would love to do a story on my adventure on how I got called to audition to networking/marketing myself like a whore, etc. He was very nice to say the least. And Donna Belajac knows him so that only helps me and my relationship with Donna.
So, I took a taxi and arrived at the audition at 6pm. I mentioned to Vicki, who is one of Donna’s assistants, that I have a flight back to NY @ 7:07pm and that’s the last flight. If I miss it, I have to get a hotel and stay over. I actually cared more about getting home to my family than I cared about paying more money out of pocket to audition for this film. I would give my right nut for this audition……well, ok….I wouldn’t go that far but you get the idea.
So Vicki ends up getting me in ahead of about 20-25 other actors in the room. I walk in and say hello and shake hands with Laura (Assistant CD with Donna Belajac) then Donna and say what a pleasure it is to finally meet you. Several months ago, I had auditioned via video with them for a role in the feature film “Warrior”, starring Nick Nolte & Directed by Gavin O’Connor. I then walked up to Tony Scott and said “Hello Mr. Tony Scott, it’s a pleasure to meet you”. He smiled and said hello back. I walked to the camera, asked Donna “What’s my frame”, which is so important to ask every time you audition, unless they tell you before you get to ask. Knowing your frame not only shows you know your business but depending on how tight or wide the audition will be shot, will determine your choices. She said from the waist up.
They said “Whenever you’re ready”. I was standing up as I took a breath, took a moment and started with improv by telling a funny story to a group of other guys (which is what Donna told me to do when we spoke on the phone) and once the reader (Donna) approached me and asked me a question, I responded and went back to my story with the fellas. Donna asked me to throw the line away, which is what I did. Tony Scott then spoke with Donna and Donna walked over and told me to forget everything we spoke about over the phone. Tony Scott then said “get a chair and sit down. Your character is back from the war and you are shell shocked”. He said that even though your character only has several lines, we see him in many scenes throughout the film. You are a very important part of this story. He told me the sides in my hand, which we rolled up, were my file for the day and to be reading it. I stayed in character as I was listening and doing everything he asked as he was giving me direction for the second take. I started the second take and he stopped me and said “too much”. I said “pull back”?, he said “Yes”. I said “Sir Yes Sir”.
I did it a 3rd time as he threw some more adjustments at me each time as I continued to take everything in, process it and become it! He wanted to see if I can take direction. He said “Very good. You’re done”. I thanked him and shook his hand again as I did with Donna & Laura. When I walked out of the room, I thanked all the unselfish actors for allowing me to go ahead of them and told them all to “break each others legs so I get the damn role”!!!! hahaha, just kidding. I said for everyone to break a leg.
I run downstairs and into the taxi that I had waiting for me, meter running and all and told him, I don’t think we’ll make it to the airport in time but let’s try. I arrived at the airport at 6:57pm and ran again, like a mad man to check it. My flight was departing @ 7:07pm. The woman behind the check-in counter got on the phone right away and said she’ll tell them I’m coming but hurry and she shook her head as if to say “‘I don’t think you’re going to make it”.
IMPORTANT NOTE HERE: If I don’t make it to the plane in time, not only do I have to get a hotel, spend more money and time and have no extra clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. with me, but I also have a big audition tomorrow (Wednesday) for Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz “Untitled Wichita Project”) with Donna Deseta Casting. whhhhewwwwwwwhhhhhhhh. *Sighs*. I run from the check-in counter all the way to where you board and man was it some run. It felt like my heart was going to explode!!! I get there and one of the agents is waiting for me. I said in a huffing and puffing voice “Did I make the plane”?. She said,” What plane” and laughed. I smiled and wanted to pass out right there. I took my ticket stub and ran to board the plane and apologized to the stewardess as she made a joke. Yes, I was some laughing stock today, hahaha. Soon as I sat down and they announced “We are ready to take off”. I felt for my cell phone and said “Oh Shit!!!” I didn’t have it. I lost it somewhere in transit and even though I was very upset, I said “Fuck it, I got to meet and audition with Tony Scott today” and smiled. Just then, the stewardess announces “Anyone lose a cell phone”. I slowly creep my hand up like a bad student that’s being scolded. I thank the stewardess, who said the head agent found it.
Lastly, I have a very bad upper respiratory infection and need to pick up my antibiotic before CVS closes at 9pm. My plane lands at 8:40 and it’s about a 30 min drive to CVS. I get to CVS @ exactly 9pm and run through the store as I see the gate slowly being lowered to the pharmacy. I yell through the gate and luckily I know the pharmacist on duty. She gives me my prescription and I finally go home.
Ahhhhhhhh yes, the life of an actor. The things we do for our craft. When I make it big, this will definitely be a good story to tell. I thank anyone who read this long ass story.
PS- Whether Tony Scott thinks I’m right for this role or not is out of my hands. And yes, I do want this role badly but it’s not a problem if I don’t get it because I started my relationship with Mr. Tony Scott and will keep him updated just as I do with every other industry professional I met & audition with. It’s a win-win situation.