Monday, February 2, 2009

Comcast Episode

This event took place in 2005.

An Actor’s Life Part XXX

We get a call from our agent in Knoxville to go for a Comcast audition in Nashville Nov. 22nd. They wanted real married people. They’d already gone to NY to look there, but wanted a "southern" type. They're too stupid to realize that NY actors can do southern accents. We’re told it’s supposed to shoot in LA on Dec. 15th.

So we go in half pretending to be southerners. And slow southerners at that. Cute, dry copy. “Frank & Janet Slowsky, DSL Customers.” He: “We come from slow. We like slow.” She: “With Comcast you download music and photos and bam, they’re right there.” He “I mean we’re not hares, we’re tortoises. Give me a little spinning ball time, a stuck loading bar, something...” She: “I mean his middle name is slow.” You get the idea.

They said there weren't call backs which was good, as it's a 7 hr. drive to Nashville. Arrived at the hotel and check in. As I'm making up and Rand is changing, guy comes to give us a mini fridge which was supposed to come with the room but wasn’t there. Timing is everything and we don’t have a lot of it. Get to audition 3:30. They have a lap top which is playing the auditions that were held in NY for all of us “southerners” to see. They all looked bad to me. Our audition goes well. Back at hotel, notice there are bugs in the room. Not good. Go to dinner. Come back, more bugs. Change rooms at 11 pm. Drive the 7 +hrs. home the next day in horrendous pre-Thanksgiving traffic.

Following week we are told there ARE call backs and they want to see us again. Great. Told to wear the same outfits we were in originally. They send new copy of scripts. Now the characters are turtles. “Open on a turtle and his wife in their living room.” Visions of having to wear hideous turtle outfits come to mind. Why does it matter that we wear the same outfit we did for the first audition? Hmmmm? We’re turtles! Leave Wed., another 7 hr. drive. Spend night in non-buggy hotel. Audition next day (Thurs.). Swedish director about 29 years old and about 4 other various sorts - the obese casting girl, the scruffy, un-shaven 25 year old, the young girl, etc.. They spend half an hour having us ad lib into the copy. They seemed to like us. Another 7 hr. drive home.

Get home around 8:00 pm. Phone rings. Agent says they have 6 Nashville couples they're interested in - we're at the top of the list. She says the production company may be calling later - if they’ve chosen us. We then find out it's a demo. And a voice over only . Turtles are gonna be animated characters like the Budweiser lizards. We’ll be doing the voices. Whomever gets it has to go to NY tomorrow (Fri). Rand tells our agent he doesn't fly. Calls back and forth. We're already exhausted. No calls from the production company. We figure we didn’t get it.

Friday morning we awake to find our digital thermostat - and hence the heat - is not on. Call a heating man. He comes. Says we have a bad circuit breaker. He doesn’t have any in his truck. He can’t get the old breaker back in. He shows me how to re-wire a new one. I say that’s all fine, but if YOU can’t get it in, how am I supposed to. He doesn’t answer and leaves. I go to Landrum to get a new breaker - the only place nearby that carries them. The guy there tells me how it should snap in once wired. I spend a LONG time and finally manage to get the thing in. This on a ladder in back of the heating unit in the basement with a trouble light and zero room to move. Thermostat’s now on but heat pump isn’t working. Maybe it’s a fuse I think. Rand goes off and gets two fuses. Meanwhile I call another heating place. Guy says he’ll stop by later.

4 pm Agent calls and says we got the job. One train out of Spartanburg (20 min. away) at 11 something. Calls back and forth. Packing. Trying to arrange for 3 cats should we be gone longer than expected. With these people ya never know. Meanwhile I put the new fuse in and the heat seems to work. The other heating guy calls, I tell him it’s working, not to come.

Train sleeper is booked by them. 11:40 out of Greenville (an hour away). Great. We wanted to leave from Spartanburg which is closer. We have to find out about parking at the station. Never been there before. Station is supposed to be open at 9:30 pm. No answer. Many calls to Amtrak. Short term parking is only 24 hrs. More calls. Eventually find out "short term" parking is for up to 2 weeks. Main office didn't know that. Still no answer at the Greenville station. We manage to cook dinner.

Find out the train is running two hours late. Well, at least that gives us more time. Get there at midnight. Station is locked up, no stationmaster there. And you have to get the ticket before you can board the train (even if it’s pre-paid - which this one was by the prod. company.) One 76 year old woman had been sitting there since 9:30 in the cold. Eventually station master limps in - literally. He had just gotten out of the hospital. His relief never showed.

Get on the train, it leaves at 1:40 a.m. A sleepless night. Arrive 4 pm Sat. Jason, a typical young man of these days with no brains, says he'll meet us at the 34th St. entrance to Penn Station. He'll be wearing a baseball cap and have a BRIDGES sign. We look for the 34th St. entrance. There is none. Call him on his cell. Oh, he meant 33rd St. “Do you have the BRIDGES sign so we can find you?” No, he forgot it . We finally find each other. He cabs us to the studio. They're currently taping the NY couple they’ve chosen. We sit around for an hour. They call me up to read with the NY actor. I thought they wanted real married couples? Rand falls asleep on the couch. I spend an hour taping, then they bring Rand up. The director has to fly back to Sweden, he leaves as Rand comes in. We two tape 'til 9 pm sans director. Then a cab ride with Christmas music blaring on the radio and a ride over the worst cobblestone street in NY - I thought my teeth would crack. Arrive at Grand Soho ($300/night). Live music blasting in the lobby. Can't hear yourself think. We're totally exhausted by this point. Go to check in. The room is not paid for. Whadda ya mean the room isn't paid for?! They need a fax from someone saying something..... Fortunately the bright girl at the desk eventually found whatever it was that was necessary. Gave us a couple of free glasses of champagne.

Head out for dinner at 10:30. I could barely walk. Go to Italian restaurant and have one of the best meals I've ever eaten. Finally sleep - without motion. 2:15 train out the next day (Sun.). It’s drizzling. We find out they had booked a smaller room on the train for our return. Swell. They're small enough to begin with. Picture, if you will, my 6'6" husband on a small train sleeper. They ain’t what they used to be. Arrive Greenville 4:55 am Mon. Driving home in the pouring rain my speedometer stops working. Swell. Get to bed at 6:30. Sleep for a few hours, then I head off to unemployment in Hendersonville for my monthly review. And later in the day I get a call from our other agent saying I have an audition in Wilmington the next day for a Denzil Washington movie. Probably a one-liner. It's a 7 hr. drive. No thanks....

If this ad runs, and if they end up choosing us and not the NY couple or whomever, (they said they might want us back in mid Jan. to shoot the real deal) we could be sitting pretty because it's a huge campaign and will be shown across all venues, national, regional, cable, internet, etc. And it’s three different spots. If it doesn't - we’ve had one heck of a story to tell.....

Meanwhile I just took the car in to check the speedometer problem, heat pump stopped working again and we had the other guy in to fix it, and we’re waiting for four days in a row without rain so we can stain the decks which we power washed over a week ago now and are already dirty again. Never a dull moment in the Bridges household.


Dan said...

That is such a great story! I can't believe you had so many things go wrong. And, yes, I am just trying to picture Rand all cramped up in that small sleeper car. Haha! That's a priceless image. At least you got a night in the SoHo Grand. Nice place. I stayed there once on a trip to NYC.

Oh, the stories you have to tell. More! More! More!

Giulia said...

Yeah, that sleeper was not exactly like the old Orient Express. We've come a LONG the days of train elegance.

OK, I'll have to come up with some more old stories, since there ain't much happening in real life time.

RebJam said...

Hadn't checked the site in a bit, today and oh, the glamour of a working artist! You nailed it. :>

Now the SoHo Grand ain't too shabby--


Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Can you sneak a cigarette in one of those sleeper cars? lol

Holy cow, that was some saga. You've got to be dedicated to acting to go through all of that! Of course, you did get a great meal and real Italian would be worth it. But did you get the job?

Giulia said...

In answer to your question: NO!

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

What? you can't sneak a smoke or you didn't get the job?

(Don't worry, I'm only joking--we're gearing up to quit again.)

Giulia said...

Gearing up to quit again...oh? And how long do you intend for that "gearing up" process to take? About another three years? Ooooooh, I know, I'm BAAAAAD! (But if it ever does happen, you know where to find me.)