Last week, a new and very sweet friend of mine posted on Facebook a request for actors in an upcoming web series she is producing. They needed a tall African-American man, a Tall blonde haired blue-eyed man etc…and then a 20+ girl who spoke Japanese. Hmmm. So on a half-serious whim, I asked her how good the girl’s Japanese had to be. Now, I lived in Japan for 8 years (age 8-16) but my Japanese is very limited. Also, I do not look Japanese nor do I have any Japanese in me. I do however have a decent Japanese accent, can throw a peace sign like no one’s business and giggle with my hand covering my mouth like a real demure Japanese woman.
She gave me an address, a date and told me to pick a time between 11:30-4:00 for an audition. Wow. How did that happen?? Yes, I asked for it.
So I show up at Hollywood Casting and Film yesterday at 1:45. Parking is crazy but I slip into a spot nearby as someone is leaving. Walking to the building I converge with 5 or so other nervous “actors” walking toward the entrance. I walk in to be met by a check-in desk woman who is (ironically) a young Japanese-American woman (she should be trying out for the part). It. Is. Crowded. The Japanese woman asks me what project I’m here to try out for. Awkward. I don’t know. I text my friend, she tells me the name of the project and I head to the assigned audition room waiting area. By the door is an iPad-like screen hung on the wall and a keyboard for you to sign in.
While I’m signing in, I notice a face I recognize. A patient from the clinic I used to work at in San Diego! I remembered her being a stunt woman. She was there trying out for some crazy commercial. We caught up a bit and I went to sit in the waiting area.
Looking around I could see all these nervous yet very professional actors. There were a lot of those “bird people,” I call them. You know, small boned and slight. Beautiful bone structure. Everyone was holding a headshot. One girl was standing and doing some kind of ballet move. A girl next to me had a flip phone. I realized at that moment, that there were people here who lived in their cars and were doing anything to live the Hollywood dream.
So, audition time. I walk in when called. There are three women (one being my friend) behind a desk. A video camera is pointed at me as well as a light. After a quick introduction and a quizzical look…”So, you’re Japanese?” “Today,” I say. “Well, let’s hear your Japanese, the blonde says.” She hands me a sheet of script and I do my best. There were only 2 lines and the women wanted more so they took the paper back and said, “Just start speaking Japanese.”
Seriously??? AH! I lived in Japan a million years ago and I didn’t even know Japanese back then!
Here goes…I spout off 5 completely unrelated sentences in Japanese.
The blonde woman lets out a laugh and says, “This is awesome.”
“What? What is she saying,” the other two ask.
“She’s saying things like, where is the bathroom, may I have some water, my name is Christina,” the blonde translated.
I was impressed, but more so embarrassed. There. It was over.
I got a message from my friend an hour later saying I was “adorable” and that later in the day a “real” Japanese person came in. There were probably going to be some other little parts and I might be asked for something. How kind.
I LOVED it! I LOVED the whole experience. I got to be an “actor” for a day!
If you want to see exactly where I was, click on this link Hollywood Casting and Film and watch the “I’m a filmmaker” video.
Would you ever go for an audition on a whim?
(photo by S.V., via Yelp)