Where is Clayton?
Travel Blog

 
 
    The big third audition day had arrived. It's was about three weeks since the first "open casting call" and I've been from Kauai to Oahu and back trying to secure my spot on Pirates of the Caribbean 4. My film involvement hangs in the balance on this Saturday, May 15 in 2010. Mystery Ellsworth's time slot was at 10:30 and I'm the designated tag along with high hopes. Although not ideal, my in-tow status beats sitting at home with no possible audition so I'm off to pursue the unknown. In order to have success, you have to put yourself in a position to receive it.
    As previously stated, this audition was said to mirror the Honolulu audition in organization and questioning. Also, this was an invitation only, "call back" audition for the elite Kaua'i prospects. I believe under twenty were present. The filming which included British soldiers was adjusted to mostly occur on Kaua'i which was contrary to what the casting company had originally arranged. The Honolulu audition was held because at that time it was thought that most of the filming would take place on Oahu (where the city of Honolulu is). Apparently those facts were either miscommunicated or altered last minute, as they usually are. For monetary reasons, the executives would refrain from flying all the extras over for wardrobe, which was to take place on Kaua'i, and then another flight returning for filming. It seemed much easier to hire Kaua'i extras to save finances.
    Ellsworth and I pulled up to the Kaua'i Community College just a bit after ten. As we got out of the Jeep, Amy, the casting director's sister and assistant, happened to be walking by. To my surprise, she recalled us both by name and followed with a greeting. We replied and followed her into the audition auditorium. The same piece of blue paper containing questions about our detailed information and measurements waited by the entrance. Scott was near by as well. After a few cordial words with Scott, Ellsworth prepared for his second video audition while I kept quite. The feeling was a bit tense as I looked at Scott working about, appearing to be avoiding eye contact with me. Undoubtedly, he felt bad that my chance had been taken from me after the long road to this day. He previously mentioned his negotiations about my height with the casting company sisters but I understand how one's hands can be tied. I didn't feel like I had much to say but more importantly, I felt patience and silence were the best present route. Eventually, Scott came up and expressed his condolences for the height restrictions and was quickly off again to attend to other duties. I didn't use the opportunity to argue my point because I just didn't see it productive.
    The audition pressed on and soon the potential British soldiers were asked to file over to where Jamie, the casting company CEO, was set up with her camera. As previously noted, the exchange between off camera moderator and auditioner stayed the same. Most of the others didn't know the procedure because they didn't have the benefit of experiencing the audition in Honolulu. Ellsworth and I, as usual, were in the know and ahead of the curve. The arrangement was as follows; First, as you walked in frame from off camera, you were to hold and randomly work with a rope. The moderator on this day, a cool production assistant named Dane, was playing his best British soldier character and with a loud, animated voice, called you to attention followed by a quick, "at ease." The first question, "why do you want to join the British Royal Navy" was followed by, "what makes you a good sailor?" Ellsworth spent much more time preparing his answers than I. I decided the day before to go with something a bit more on the comical side but we'll touch on that more later. By the morning of, my answers were solidified, even though I didn't know if the opportunity to present them would arise. Preparation is the precursor to success, regardless of it's use.
    My time wouldn't be totally void if I found a hidden spot to video Ellsworth's audition so he could watch later. The auditorium had a second floor walkway which ran the perimeter of the main, open room. I climbed the stairs and peered down on the extras. Ellsworth's procrastinations brought him to the last spot and I leaned over the railing to film like a secret government agent. When he finished I quietly came down to congratulate on a job well done and calm the fears I knew were brewing. I also broke the news that I filmed him, which is a huge deal if you know Mystery Ellsworth. He doesn't like any such media involving him floating about. A bit of a private fellow, he is.
    I overheard Jamie and Scott discussing two more soldiers which were on their way and a third that was running late. The two soldiers trickled in after a few minutes and walked to the back of the room where Jamie was waiting. After their audition, Jamie called for any remaining soldiers who hadn't yet auditioned. Now, you would think this to be an opportune time for me to slip in and get my audition but they were too smart for that. If Amy remembered my name then undoubtedly the discussion about me was one that wouldn't have been forgotten by Jamie in such a short time frame. If I risked going up and getting shot down, it could eradicate my credibility and remove me from the runnings. I kept quite. A few minutes passed and Scott then asked for any remaining soldiers to come forward. I grew more and more anxious by the minute. The opportunity was slipping through my fingers and I felt as if there was nothing I could do.
     Quite the ruckus ensued as Jamie questioned about the remaining auditioner's arrival. All the pirates to be auditioned were standing by and the filming of different characters couldn't be broken up. All the soldiers had to be filmed in one section so wait the pirates did. Scott called for everyone's attention and made one last check for remaining soldiers. Ellsworth and I brainstormed about possible routes but at this point, I just needed to follow my heart with wisdom and discernment. Presently, the most concerning detail to me was all the extras who auditioned in Ellsworth's group were very close to my height. In fact, some seemed to be as tall or taller. I confirmed with Ellsworth as my anxiousness grew. Presenting such an argument without a sugar coating could certainly come off as insubordinate so my approach needed to be crafted. I scampered over to Amy to plead my case. She snapped back with disagreement and casually agreed to step to the stack of blue information cards for confirmation. As I watched her walk outside, I knew my pleas were null. She sat down at a table and was approached with the continuing distracting questions and paperwork. Most casting member authorities or helpers desire to avoid unsightly confrontation so I knew that Amy would not be coming back to finish our discussion. I calmed myself and searched for direction as I stepped back over to the side.
    Fifteen or more minutes past before the remaining auditioner arrived and rushed to the camera. I paced inside and out, excusing my hope and trying to rationalize my loss. Once he finished, there was a quick last call for any remaining soldiers and then the announcement came. "...We are closing the audition for British soldiers," Scott said. I saw the door being shut in my face. Bar running over to Jamie and pleading my case once again, there was nothing I felt I could do. The thoughts were rushing through my mind at an almost unbearable pace. Anxiousness, sadness, and helplessness all communed at one table on the inside of me and seemed to have the common goal of distraction. Accompanying all the negatives was the thought that if Jamie only saw my face she would remember me and present an opportunity. As I fought my sulking, the pirates were called over to the camera area. Things began to get arranged for their auditions and I stood arms crossed in disappointment.
    As if on cue, Jamie started a walk to discuss something with one of the assistants. I was conveniently located between her and her destination. Poised and ready, I turned to the side as if to look unassuming. She noticed me just as I looked up at her and we exchanged pleasantries. "Did we get you on tape" she asked. "No," I replied. "I guess my height is a concern for wardrobe." I usually don't open the door for a person to put up an argument, such as I did with the former mentioned comment. I find it's best to say as little as possible and let the other person present their opposition if they see fit. Most of the time, a little silence and patience goes a long way. Nevertheless, she agreed and recalled the size requirements. Her concern was not only for my height but also my arm length. All this she explained with a sweet demeanor, as she has always done, and while wearing her disarming smile. She continued with a comment about my "cute" presentation and another about getting me "on tape." The door seemed to be opening and I couldn't help but plead my case. I told her I noticed the height of the other fellows and it appeared equal with mine. She gave a sweet look of doubt and asked me to step beside those persons, who were located outside. Once there, I looked through the glass to see Jamie distracted with someone with a question. I decided not to wait for her to look up and over analyze the situation so I quickly went back inside. Although I noticed she wasn't paying attention, I approached her to say, "You see. They are as tall as I am." She explained she didn't see me and said I should go back out for a comparison. I heard the words as she spoke but for whatever reason I didn't move. Somewhere between another of her comments about me being cute and a "gosh, I really should get you on tape," she decided it best to get my audition right then and there. The apprehension had been mounting so much that I could have burst with joyous laughter during the walk to the camera. It's been a while since I've used such patience and felt the burden lifted from my shoulders at it's success.
    I took off my shirt and approached the camera like I was at home. "We're going to do one more soldier before we get to the pirates, Dane" Jamie explained. I confirmed that I knew the procedure and at a moments notice the camera was rolling. My first answer to the question of why I wanted to join the Navy, in a British accent mind you, was, "Well sir, when I was younger I had the smallest dingy in the warf. Now that I've grown up, I think it's about time I got into something more sizeable." My first sentence brought Jamie's hand to her mouth as she held in a small gasp and laughter that almost snuck onto my audition tape. My second answer washed away in the humor of the first and was just detailed enough to solidify my concrete responses. All the pirate auditioners watched as I finished and received a few positive words from Jamie and Dane. I couldn't help but smile. With the clouds under my feet, I extended my gratitude and walked away from the audition set.
    Ellsworth was in the back were I left him. I approached grinning ear to ear as we exchanged looks of relief and then words of excitement. My emotions and I continued to the back table where I filled out the blue card, for the 3rd time, and took my Polaroid picture to attach. Despite all appearances and doubts, my card and audition tape were on their way to lunch with the director. In lieu of my height concerns and against all odds, I was right back in the mix of things. With Scott pulling for me and Jamie's approval of my audition, things went from bleak to more than encouraging.
    Icing was soon brought to the cake when I spoke with Scott. Of coarse, he first gave a sigh and some congratulatory words before inviting Ellsworth and I to stay. Following the pirate's audition, there was yet another "open casting call" for two stand-in girls as well as additional spanish soldiers. Scott expected a thousand or more to show up and needed a bit more help to handle them all. The two girl stand-in positions available would undoubtedly bring some of the best looking girls on the island. Why wouldn't I stay to help out? We were given badges and assigned positions before the flood of people started showing up. The afternoon continued eclipsed by the previous turn of events. Once all the groups were filed through and potential extras were interrogated and measured, Ellsworth and I received an invite to the casting company's hotel for some R & R and conversation. We couldn't bring ourselves to miss out on continuing the once in a lifetime events so we followed. Drinks, beach chairs, song, ocean breeze, and anecdotes were the perfect ending to such an eventful day. I unknowingly passed from auditioner to behind the scenes in one fail swoop. I was under the wing of the casting company and feeling hopeful. All we need is for our cards and tapes to survive the meeting with the director next week. Scott said after the meeting, the hired extras would receive a call with an invitation to wardrobe on Friday. I would wait nervous but reminding myself to be peaceful. Everybody's positive reinforcement could lead one to believe acceptance was inevitable but I've learned through this process to take such comments lightly. Chances are high but I'm not counting my chickens before the eggs hatch. Let's see what happens.

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