This weekend the internet has been abuzz with Star Wars talk, be it the new trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, the trailer for the new Star Wars Battlefront game, or the spin-off anthology film series, Rogue One (all of which I’m super excited about! Star Wars was my first and still my most beloved fandom. Well, except maybe Lord of the Rings. Close call.) I have a small little backstory with the new Star Wars film that I thought I’d share just for giggles.
Round One: In-Person Audition
In late 2013, there were a myriad of cattle call auditions around the world for hopefuls for the main cast. Only two roles were given out – one guy, one girl (aptly named “Rachel”. Considering the character’s final name is “Rey”, it was rather a clever nondescript fake name for auditions, no?) Thankfully, one of the audition places happened to be in my hometown of Nashville, so I made a trip up to have a Thanksgiving holiday with my parents and go to the casting call. I wasn’t expecting anything to come of it as I don’t tend to have that sort of luck, but knowing Lucas (and now JJ Abrams) tendency to pick unknowns for the leads, I thought ‘oh, why not?‘
7am rolled around and I bolted out of bed, grabbed my materials and my incognito Jaina Solo gear (braided headband like she has in Jedi form and calf-high black boots. Because why not? I give any excuse to stealth geek), and headed out the door. As one would imagine, the lines were nuts. People were camping out as early as 11pm the previous night (although they were escorted off the premises by security). The casting call started at noon, but I got there early as I knew there would be a massive line. I arrived a couple minutes before 8am, about 5 minutes before the rush started (well….outside. I didn’t know about the 200 people line inside until an hour or so later).
Unfortunately, as luck would have it, Nashville had a cold snap and it was well below freezing. By the time the sun hit our line at 9am, it eeked up to a whopping 20 degrees. While I didn’t have the foresight to bring a heavy coat (I wasn’t expecting it to be that cold!), I at least had ear muffs and a scarf. That’s more than could be said for many of the poor hopefuls standing in line. I also had the pleasure of standing next to a friendly, chatty group of theater students from Colorado. We passed the time chatting and doing silly dances to stay warm (one of group moms did a Starbucks run and very sweetly bought me a hot chocolate as I huddled with them).
Once we made it inside, things went quicker. The process was simple – go up, shake hands with the casting agents, hand off your resume and headshot, smile, and then you’re on your way. I wasn’t expecting anything from such a cattle call, but my hopes were perked up when the casting agent smiled at my “impressive resume” (which I found amusing because it was all extra work or college theater. Granted, there were some big movies on there like Hunger Games, but not a resume I’d call impressive).
Alas, I did not make the callback later that day, which I wasn’t surprised about. They were calling out girls who had much more modernly stereotypical prettier than I (aka all nice big straight-teeth smiles, long, thin noses, etc). Not as a put-down on myself, I’m just simply a different look. I’m pretty enough but I’m not typical screen beautiful. I have no delusions about that. I’m more of a supporting role type anyways (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!). But I figured I’d try out for the role all the same (as folks have told me I favor Natalie Portman, thus could pass for one of her genetic code. That plus my martial arts and fencing background could lend to my own stunt work, right?….) So that audition was scratched. But not to be deterred….
Round Two: Video Audition
In addition to the in-person cattle call audition, there was also a digital version for a video audition. Scripts were involved with that one. It was a new, nerve-wracking experience as I had never done a video audition before. My actor friends gave me some tips and I went to a local acting company to be videotaped. Alas, I was so embarrassed by my first round of taping, that I returned to re-do it a few days later. (As I discovered that I naturally tend to look around alot. But I didn’t know that until I saw the video playback and saw my wandering eyes darting every which way every couple seconds. Embarassing! And not professional looking.)
The second taping went better, though I still have a lot to learn about on-camera acting. Between the wandering eyes and my unfortunate tendency to talk out of the side of my mouth, this is why I stick with modeling! But I figured for the giggles and interest of it, I’d….*gulp*…post my audition video here. (Note: the weird posture in the beginning of my audition was a direction by the person filming me. That didn’t come from me.)
While the whole experience was really just a shot in the dark, it was worth the try.