Monday, September 25, 2006

I Survived My Audition.

I received a call Thursday afternoon from a Manhattan media production house asking me to audition on Monday (today) for a web commercial for a major national product. The audition was to be held in Manhattan, no remote recording please (my friend Drew was also invited to audition but since he's in the Dallas area he was told he couldn't be considered after all). Over the next few days I did some serious market research, as the product is one about which I had preconceptions, and yet as soon as I was faced with the possibility of being its spokesperson I found my ideas changing dramatically. I went to a store that sells only that product and paraphernalia, and spoke over the weekend with a number of people whose lives are enriched, if not dominated by that product. The company website was also very informative and I didn’t even make it through half of their material. I learned a great deal and was looking forward to the audition very much.

It’s a 3 hour drive from my home to Manhattan and I left my house at about 8:00 this morning and headed for the interstate. Around 8:15 the car ahead of me suddenly braked and came to a stop. All my attention was focused on avoiding a collision and fortunately I did not hit anyone or anything. The driver of the light pickup behind me was less fortunate and crashed into my car, and in my rear-view mirror I saw another pick-up slam into his. I got my minivan off the road as quickly as possible and called 911 to report the location of the accident and that it looked pretty bad behind me. I saw a small sedan pull over and a man dressed for his job at UPS hopped out and ran full speed back down the road to the scene of the worst of the accident. The man whose vehicle had hit mine pulled over in front of me so I got out to see how he was; he thought he had probably suffered a mild concussion and his pickup looked pretty bad. Eventually the police and paramedics arrived, took our reports and checked us out. I started to see tow trucks arriving, and some miserably smashed-up cars being removed from the scene. Miraculously, nobody was seriously hurt. The police officer at the scene pronounced my van drivable, although he advised me to go to a garage to have it checked out if I planned to continue on my way to New York. After we were cleared to leave, I headed south. My car seemed fine (although it looks “butt-ugly” now) and I decided to go ahead with my plans. I never knew what caused the cars in front of me to stop, and it kind of boggles my mind that none of them waited around to offer information or assistance - surely one of them must have noticed the multi-car pile-up behind them?

I did not make the audition on time, but a call to the recording studio informed me that late was fine, and I arrived at 25 minutes past my scheduled audition time. I pulled into a parking garage and asked their rates for an hour – it was the same as for a day, $16.95. As a native New Yorker I couldn’t stomach that and drove on, and was fortunate to find street parking a few blocks away. The recording studio was in a lovely old building in Chelsea – I love visiting other studios, and present were – the recording engineer and myself. No client, no casting director, just the two of us. The RE was very nice and personable, but he told me, “it would be pointless for me to give you direction because I have no idea what the client wants.” So we “did the needful” and got the job done, and I was on my way in less than 15 minutes.

It was a bit of a let down, I gotta say – I don’t mind the drive – usually – but I’d like to have a bit more of a reason for the trip than just going to another microphone in another state. I talked with my friend, fellow voice artist Anthony Mendez on the phone afterwards, and he said that’s the way it is in New York: “face time” is considered very important, even if there’s nobody there but you and the engineer. Maybe I’ll understand that some day. At any rate, the overall experience was a good one, and the market research I did reminded me, I hope, to keep an open mind about everything and everybody. And, not least of all, I’m very glad to be alive. I’ve never been in a collision before and although I don’t yet know how much it’s going to cost me, at least I had the relief of knowing that my driving was not responsible for it and that I didn’t hit anybody, and that nobody was seriously injured. On the ride home, as I watched cars zipping in and out of traffic at high speed, I wished I could tell their drivers, “don’t be stupid!” The reminder I got this morning of how vulnerable we all are was an important one, and I plan to be, if possible, even more vigilant on the road.

And it would be very nice to get a gig out of it too ;)

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