see more pics from this photo story on FLASH PAGE Photo by Matt O'Callaghan

Last week Blacktress and her friend Iyanla Howard went for a hike up Runyon Canyon.  Their legs made sluggish strides.  Their mouths moved a mile a minute.

“You have to be playing the character you’re auditioning for from the first minute the casting person sees you.  And you can’t break from it until you’re back in your car,”  Iyanla advised Blacktress while scraping dog shit off the bottom of her sneaker with a stick.

“But what if you’re playing a serial killer?  Shouldn’t you at least crack a smile on the way out, so that they know you’re not nuts?” Blacktress asked.

“I wouldn’t.  The more authentic the better.”

“Yeah, maybe even slice a couple people up, in the waiting room, too.  That would really win them over,”  Blacktress said, her tone sodden with sarcasm.

“See that’s too authentic.  You want to be Hollywood real. Not Cleveland real.”

Today, Blacktress is remembering this exchange as she cuts out of work early, and heads to an audition in the valley.

In the studio parking lot, she changes into a pair of baggy jeans, and a ratty wife beater.  She then ties a navy bandana around her head, and mean- mugs herself in the rear-view window.  Once inside, she slips into the bathroom and washes off her make-up. She doesn’t think a character called, “Angry crip girl in the laundromat” would wear any.  She goes back into the waiting room and slinks down low in her chair, maintaining a grimace as she waits for her name to be called.

When called, Blacktress snakes into the room the way she thinks an angry crip girl would snake into a laundromat.

“What up?” she says, her voice rumbling, as she hands her picture/resume to the casting associate.

“How are you today?” the plump associate asks.

“Cool, cool can’t complain.”

“Very good.  Whenever you’re ready.”

Blacktress doesn’t have to get ready.  She’s been living as the angry crip girl for twenty minutes.  She starts right in.

“The hell you looking at?  Bitch, you better back-up out my grill.”

Blacktress finishes by jerking her body forward toward the casting associate in a threatening motion.

The casting associate gets goose bumps.

“Perfect.  No adjustments.  Thank you.” she says.

Without saying another word, Blacktress snakes out of the room the way she thinks an angry crip girl would snake out of a laundromat.

When she gets back in her car, Blacktress changes her clothes, tucks the angry girl away, and turns on NPR to keep her company on the long drive home.  As she exits the 101 she gets a call from her agent.

“Hey you. They want to see you again tomorrow for producers. You got a callback.”

….check out related photo story on the FLASH page

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