The USC Experience
Wow. So, that's a busy campus. I'm sure it's very organized and all, it just doesn't seem that way to a first-time visitor. Attempting to park anywhere near the building you need to access is an awkward experience: the "guards" at the gates seem determined to send you to the OTHER parking areas... and then when you get to the OTHER parking areas, the parking attendants there are confused as to why you were directed to theirs when "your building" is next to the first parking lot you attempted to park in, in the first place. I eventually found a street spot with a 4-hour limit. That seemed to be the way to go and it was a nice walk--a bit long--but shady for the most part (thank GOD I didn't wear heels!). The students at the USC campus are friendly and willing to direct you to the right place, if they know where it is.
It was an odd little audition once I got there. It consisted of 3 lines of dialogue with "my daughter" who was behind a door (or for auditioning purposes on the other side of a portable chalkboard). So, I was delivering my lines to the chalkboard. Interesting...And the director had herself positioned on the opposite side of the chalkboard, so she had to get up, go around the chalkboard and watch the actors in profile to see what they were doing. Interesting... Actually, she was a lovely and passionate filmmaker and how she runs her audition is up to her. However, there were some other peculiarities that warranted attention: First of all, she wanted to cast a 30 year old woman (the character I went in for) to play the mother of a 17 year old daughter. (And no, there was no teen pregnancy as an undercurrent in the story.) Math anyone? Secondly, the film takes place in the present. However, the father, who my character had an affair with (God knows when) was supposedly 30 back in the early 70's (before my character would have been born), so that would make him how old now? And how old when we had our affair? How old was I? I was told there would be no math. (And no, there was no Lolita undercurrent in the story either.) So, I was auditioning for the "mom" part with other actresses whose age range seemed all over the place and "daughters" who were old enough to be my younger sister. Apparently, the director was also told there would be no math. Is ANYONE more confused than me? NO? Excellent. Ultimately, I think the filmmaker just didn't quite get that most mothers of 17 year olds are much nearer to 40--or in this day and age, ahem, 50. Look, it's not that I mind auditioning for the mom parts...I am a young mother to a TODDLER. But, I'm 26 and my daughter is 2. Let's do the math.
Whew. All this to say, sometimes a project looks good on paper via ActorsAccess or LA Casting or whatever and then you get there, read the backstory of the characters, and wonder if you're shooting a Twilight Zone episode. Ultimately, I like USC, the director was lovely, and once I parked my car I had little difficulty finding the place--and I was on-time...can we say as much for all of our auditioning experiences?