This time was different. We were casting for the role of a mischievous four-year-old boy. Imagine if you will, 100 little boys and their eager stage parents put together on a small soundstage waiting for upwards of three hours with nothing to do, eat or drink. In case you have passed out from paralyzing fear, I will pause to allow you to wake up. In the meantime please enjoy this test, which after yesterday sounds less like a humorous lark and more like a valuable job-survival tool: How Many Five-Year-Olds Could You Take In A Fight?
Okay, you back? Good.
The day stumbled out of the gate. The casting call was supposed to begin at 3, and at 3:10 we wondered where everyone was. Usually these things are packed. I went out to investigate, and to my horror I found that the studio guard had directed all our aspiring Culkins to the wrong place. I arrived to find about 200 people lined up along a third-floor outside railing, waiting in front of a vacant office. "HEY!" I yelled up at them. "Any of you people here to audition for Pedro?" After a chorus of annoyed agreement, I led the group of potential Pedros and parents to the actual location. If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to lead a parade...it's okay, I guess.
This complication meant that we had a crush of people to process all at once. Fill out the application, put this numbered sticker on your shirt, come stand on the X and let me take your picture. I have to say, I think baby photographers must have it easy. Kids will smile for you way easier than adults will. Adults are too worried about looking cool. One kid even did the robot in his picture, which doesn't happen nearly enough in pictures of adults. (He got a callback, too.) C'mon, who wouldn't like to see an adult doing the robot in their professional picture for the company directory or a press release? There was one kid who didn't want to smile. I don't even think he wanted to be there. Let's face it, when you're four, it's not you who wants to be an actor. It's your parents who want it for you. Most of the kids seemed happy to be there, but I felt bad for this one.
For three hours, the kids ran around like morons on the concrete floor. I had a bet with somebody about how many kids would get hurt, with an over/under of three. To my amazement, it was zero. I used to be a lifeguard and to this day I always get nervous when kids run around like idiots on concrete. Nobody ever used to get hurt in the water, only running around the pool. There was one really cool kid who wasn't running around, though. He wore a "Vote For Pedro" shirt, which was kind of funny, and he seemed very possessed of himself. After his audition, he even came back over to do his lines for us. Then toward the end, when there were only the six kids left who were going to meet with the director, he even insisted on helping us fold up and put away chairs.
I'd had enough yelling and screaming for one day, and when I got home all I wanted to do (after scheduling a vasectomy) was to soak in the hot tub, have some wine and make some pizza. All of which worked wonderfully. Wouldn't you want to have this at the end of a trying day?
Click for deliciousness.