Carl AKA The Creeper. Awkward auditions. Part 2.

It’s about 6 months or so into my LA experience – a casting comes through for a short film about a white girl who’s never dated a black man. This character has a love of hip hop, and figures it might be time to go beyond her usual dating preferences and try something new. It said it was a paid comedy, and I thought it had the potential to be quite a laugh.

I submitted, and not long after the phone rang. A Russian sounding man introduced himself, “Hey, I’m Carl, I’m the producer on the project you submitted for”. We had chats about the film, and he explained at the audition I’d be meeting with a guy who was playing the male lead, we would interact a little to see what the chemistry was like, and then go into the work. I was told to dress nicely, like I was going on a date. OK, seemed pretty straight forward.

Come audition day, I had no car, so was on the bus in all my dressed up glory. High heels, full face of make up at midday and a tight-ish dress. I didn’t have too far to go, but once off the bus, the street I needed to get to was blocked by a fence of sorts. The only option to get to the street without doing a massive detour (which would result in me running late), was to climb the damn thing! Picture me, in heels, hoisting myself over this waist high wire fence, whilst attempting not to flash myself at any passing cars. What was I thinking?!

I get to a gritty looking prefab apartment complex and walk into the dusty looking courtyard. I hadn’t anticipated it being a private residence, have no apartment number and start to wonder what to do. Did I save Carl’s number? My instincts are screaming dodgy, but I’m here, so I wait it out for a minute or two, looking up to the landing that squares the courtyard, when a tall black man in black slacks and a white shirt slinks into sight, and comes casually down the stairs.

He shakes my hand, introduces himself, confirms I’m here for the ‘audition’ and we proceed to stand there and banter a little. It feels somewhat awkward, but I’m just trying to go with the flow.

Then he asks me, “So, what do you know about this project?”. I tell him I spoke to the producer Carl and he told me a bit about the production. He queries “Ohh, you spoke to Carl did you?”. “Yup, yes I did. He was a Russian guy, I think”. His face lit up. ” He sounded Russian?”. “Mmmhmm”, I responded.

THEN, he does the BIG REVEAL!

“That was actually me! I was testing out my accents, and that’s so awesome you thought I sounded legitimately Russian”.

Cue, back up against the wall. “Whha, whaa, WHAT!? Are you being serious? Because right now you’re starting to freak me out.”

He goes on, “Oh, I don’t mean to freak you out, it’s just I’m not having a lot of luck with online dating, so I thought this would be an interesting spin on meeting girls and doing something different, ya know..!?”.

I can’t believe my ears. I feel frozen, stunned to my very core. At this point, I’m grateful a neighbor walks through with his child, providing me a flash of security it what now feels like an out of this world scenario.

I proceed to tell this guy what an ass he his, deceptive, dishonest and a waste of my time. I turn my back and start walking away when he says “Noo, but I seriously do have other projects I’m working on, there’s a bunch of stuff I’m doing”. I keep walking.

I call Actors Access – the reputed website where the casting originated, and report this scumbag. Then comes the email from ‘Carl’, apologizing, asking for another chance and sending me a link to his current project – him reciting poetry over moving black and white footage of naked women by rain stricken window panes – suggesting maybe this is something I’d be interested in!!!!!

Jesus wept.

As they say, the rest is history – lesson learnt, the hard way. And, thank goodness I’m still alive to tell the tale…

 

 

 

 

 

PRE LA DEPARTURE…

As always a last minute dash to get bags packed and the current bedroom restored to it’s former glory. I’ve been staying at my Mum’s and she’s been the ultimate host, as always. I’m the guest of honour, and now it’s time to go.

Rolling clothes tightly. Positioning them just so in my 14 year old backpack. The backpack that I bought at the age of 18 to take with me to Europe. This could well be it’s last ride -as the zips have grown weary and seams bulge and fray. A little panic- how’s everything going to fit???  What if it’s overweight?

Somewhere in the middle of this I finally connect with my beautiful English boyfriend. It’s been perhaps 2 weeks without real communication. On skype we have ‘the’ conversation… One that has been  brewing, one that unfortunately has to happen and breaks my heart (though in the mayhem I hardly have time to feel it). We no longer reside in the same city OR country…and the idea that we would be together forever has crumpled and the logistics have become too complicated. It feels all too rushed. And just like that…after a year of magic, it’s over. I love you Philly Benoir xxx

Next thing you know Mum and I, we’re in peak hour traffic going to collect my best buddy from town as she’s kindly offered to come out to the airport to see me off.. Mum’s stressing and I’m quietly anxious.

Eventually I am on my Air China flight. But! I am not flying direct to LA – I am going via Beijing. 11 and half hours worth of detouring. I’m in the aisle seat, someone sat next to me and no visable spare seats to sneak into for a little lie down later. The phone rings – it’s my mate Bianca, and Mum – saying a final farewell on speaker phone….awww, bless their cotton sox. I indeed feel loved.

The sun sets – a massive orange orb wrapped in thin Melbournian clouds.

Having flown Air China previously I have very low expectations, so when there is a digital touch screen on the back of the headrest in front, I feel a rising sense of  joy. Not the greatest selection of flicks and tv episodes…but it’ll definitely work for the journey ahead.

Read, eat, movie, read, tv, tv, tv (Bear Grylls-yeahh), eat, sleep for 2 hours, arrive.

Beijing – I was here just under 6 weeks ago on my way out from London (my former home) to Melbourne (my original home) for holidays. It’s clear and hazy. Long grey stretches of tarmac sail towards the horizon whilst multi layered plastic wrapped boxes strapped to whizzing cars deliver goods to planes.

Through immigration and the transit area to the next terminal.Now to find my hotel where I am going to spend the next 10 hours until my continuing flight departs.

I have been given a travel voucher that entitles me to 2 meals, a bed and a shower in a hotel – or so I think. For a 6 hour stop over or more this is a granted priviledge, I am told. I get to terminal 31 – hotel found, elevator, reception. “Lounge or hotel” I am asked upon presentation of my voucher. “What?, What??” I reply. “Sleep in lounge with snack, or hotel room four hours” she offers. These are the options and not what I was told to expect at the Air China Melbourne office. After much to-ing and fro-ing, a trip across the airport to the Air China desk and this ‘hotel’ receptionist is not backing down. I take the 4 hours in the hotel room.  The room is not much bigger than a closet, but I am truly grateful to see a bed at this stage and in the to-ing and fro-ing, combined with immigration, I’ve managed to kill an hour and a half.

Before you know it, I am back in the airport and hungry. Air China did not provide the 2 meals promised on my ‘hotel stay’, but I must admit I’m quite excited to explore the eating options. I am somewhat obsessed with Chinese food, and the following feast did not disappoint!
Starter – pork and radish steamed buns, followed by fishball and wintermelon soup, beef steamed dumplings with a main of chicken, veg and rice…it’s lunch, breakfast, dinner combined (God only knows what time of day I am on!) accompanied by steaming mugs of jasmine tea – and I am in heaven (:

Onto the next plane – it’s packed with hundreds of Chinese school children between 12-16 years of age on their way to America. I swiftly discover the plane has no inflight entertainment system, just a large sized TV screen for communal viewing in each plane section. Soon after I also discover my seat struggles to stay reclined for more than five minutes. I’m down and the next thing you know I’m back upright. Oh no… this is not looking good. I try to connect my headphones into some bang  bang action film now showing on the communal screen and despite flicking through multiple channels; there’s absolutely no volume. I find a friendly, fluent, English speaking airhostess             ( now this is a first on Air China) who takes my head phones and tries other seats for volume. Nothing. She apologises and explains she’ll go and reset the entire planes entertainment system whilst my fellow travellers are locked into their Ipads playing computer games and oblivious to my current pain. Boom, just like that and we are back on the airwaves. I take a moment to thank my friendly air hostess, but also express my disappointment in the lack of personal screen and viewing options on this flight. She apologises and explains the plane will be updated in a month or two (no good to me as this is the last Air China flight I’ll be taking) as it is coming up to being almost 20 years old. At this point I have a vision of one wing falling off, balls of fire and our plane plummeting into Eastern Siberia never to be heard of again.

The next thing you know there is a jamboree in the aisles. I’m trying desperately to sleep. I’m being knocked, my chair is still up to it’s old tricks, I’m deep breathing, I’m pacing, I’m counting the minutes and wishing for LA in a big way.

The sun rises. The west coast becomes visable. The ocean shimmers looking diamond studded. Tiny islands pop. The water turns golden. A wave of excitement and anticipation trembles. We’ve touched down. I’ve finally arrived. I’m sleep deprived, but oh so ready! GOODMORNING LALALAND! Buenos dias to you, to you, the City of Angels xxx

 

DREAM WEAVING

Years ago when first starting at The National Theatre drama school in my home town of Melbourne, Australia…I had a thought; WHAT IF I could be an international actress? IMAGINE. What if I could perform in LA, London, Paris, New York, the world over – in film, in television, in theatre, writing my own work, collaborating… The vision was and is huge, but I believe in dream chasing,  I believe in challenging yourself and expecting the unexpected.

So my journey began…

For the past four years, up until 2 months ago, I’ve been living and working in London as an actress in theatre and film – though let me tell you MANY other roles have been played offstage to  fill in the gaps between acting gigs. I’ve worked at a circus, as a spruiker, a host, an event manager, a nanny, a carer, a caterer, a leaflet distributer(barrel of laughs that last one), a waitress, a massage therapist (fielding regular calls about happy endings and body to body services – gross), a mystery shopper, a nightclub door bitch and sometimes I’ve worn three different job hats a day.

I’ve been lucky. Like Charlie Bucket in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is how I describe it. I’ve got a golden ticket. An EU passport thanks to my gorgeous (now deceased) father and his Czech heritage.  A gift not to be sneezed at.

5 months ago I obtained my O1 artist visa; allowing me to live and work in the USA…and here I am. Kaboom! In LA. West Hollywood to be precise; staying with a friend as I type. I’m feeling open and ready for this next chapter. Tired from drinking too much rum at the Superbowl celebrations yesterday. Anxious to get everything organised. Overwhelmed by this new life and the reams of foreign information and culture that comes with it. READY to become an Aussie actress working in the USA (:

It is high noon in the garden of now.

Watch this space.