• Emlyn McFarland

Hey, You Never Know!

I don’t get sent out for on camera commercial auditions by my agent very often, 99 percent of the time they call me for voiceover auditions. The only reason for this as far as I can tell is because I have an unfortunate face. If anyone else has a better reason for my limited on camera commercial success please send me a message letting me know what you think it is. I’m pretty serious about this, the constructive feedback while being heart wrenching could also be helpful.
Today, however, I actually do have an on camera commercial audition that I am being sent to by my agent for the New York Lottery.

This is the breakdown of said audition.

Role: Shoppers

All should feel like Real NY people, 20-65.

All ethnicities. men & women.

Should be a great NY cross section of great types.

But think real, shooting in Chelsea or Union Square or Lower East Side.

NOT Upper east side type deli.

Think “of the people ” types.

Blue collar, moms, business types of all levels, city workers,

hipsters, delivery guys, people who make NYC such a smorgasbord of great faces, the kinds who play the lottery.

Now Let’s take a closer look at this….

Role: Shoppers… Okay, I shop.

All should feel like Real NY people, 20-65…. I am a real New York person. I’m pretty sure everyone at the audition will be unless they are secretly a robot like Vicki on Small Wonder…and even still, she was pretty convincing and I wouldn’t write her off.

All ethnicities. men & women… Cool, I am Caucasian which is an ethnicity included in “All” and I am a woman.

Should be a great NY cross section of great types… Ok so basically lots of different kinds of people. Not sure what a cross section of great types is but I’m guessing types of people that are great. Well I don’t know what constitutes great but at least I know I am some type of a person.

But think real… Again with the real business, ok so you don’t want the chick from small wonder or any kind of humanoid you want a real person, I guarantee you I’m a real person. I will at no point rip the flesh off my face to reveal a cyber robot underneath.

shooting in Chelsea or Union Square or Lower East Side. Great, I know where those places are, I am there a lot especially when shopping – I’m actually a real shopper.

NOT Upper east side type deli… ummm, upper east side type deli, deli workers from the Upper East side? Deli shoppers from the upper east side? Are west side type deli ok? Either way even though I’m not sure what they are talking about I don’t think I’m an upper east side type deli so perfect, I’m still good.

Think “of the people ” types… Of the people, am I of the people? I am a person and I take public transit so yeah I’m of the people.

Blue collar, moms, business types of all levels, city workers,

hipsters, delivery guys, people who make NYC such a smorgasbord of great faces, the kinds who play the lottery… I don’t know if I would be considered blue collar, I’m guessing most blue collar workers may make more money than me, business types of all levels – acting is a business and I’m in it at some level so I’ll stick myself in that category. Lastly, “the kinds who play the lottery” I have played the lottery many times, scratch offs, mega millions the whole kit and caboodle.

I’ve never won the lottery but perhaps I can win this part.

While I’m waiting on the subway platform for the train to arrive and I start feeling the butterflies begin to flutter in my gut. I don’t get nervous for voiceover auditions, I think I go on so many I’ve just become immune to the nervousness but on camera is different. On camera auditions feel more personal because it’s about all of you. They are judging your face, your body, your personality, if you get a no it feels like they are saying “we just don’t like you.”

I get on the subway and start looking around at all the people. “Oh that guy there is definitely of the people, I wonder if he is on his way to the audition?” I say to myself. “Oh look at that girl, she’s kind of funky and has a nose ring but she’s also attractive and just looks hip, she would be good in a commercial. I’m very blah aren’t I? I wonder if she’s going to the audition?”  I actually find myself doing this all the time, looking at the faces of my fellow people and wondering of I looked like that person or this person would I be booking more parts? It’s probably not a great thing to do in terms of mental health but my mind kind of wanders where it wanders and I can’t really stop it. I really never know where my wandering mind will take me and although at times it’s annoying and perhaps messes with my confidence it’s also always a surprising journey that I kind of enjoy going on. I continue with my staring and guessing who in the subway may wind up being my competition at this audition and I continue once I’m off the subway, spotting people here and there as I walk to the rest of the way to the audition.

The audition itself is very quick, it pretty much always is. They took two people in at a time and told us to pretend we were friends who hadn’t seen each other in a long time and we just happen to bump into each other on the street. There’s no script we’re just supposed to improvise which is good for me. It’s always hilarious to me how quickly and with out hesitation actors who are total strangers will hug, kiss or caress each other if that’s what the casting director asks for.

I once had an audition where I was playing a pregnant mother who was going into labor and her husband was supporting her and they both had to be super happy and supper in love about it. They had a big fake plastic pregnant belly for the women to wear under their shirts, one by one we took turns strapping it on and magically became 9 months pregnant. We were paired with different actor men to play our husband. With out even a bit of hesitation my scene partner/husband is holding me in his arms and kissing me on the forehead. At the end of all that I shook hands with my “husband” we rode down in the elevator together and then I never saw him again … or my baby for that matter. It was like a terribly tragic Lifetime TV for women movie. At the current audition I was paired with what seemed like a nice girl of course a total stranger to me but when the casting director yelled action we squealed with excitement to see one another and started hugging and gabbing away about how she looked great and I looked great and “it’s been so long” and “I’m so glad to see you!” Then another huge very close hug then the director said cut and it was over. Again I shook my partners hand, rode down in the elevator with her and most likely will never see her again. Although who knows in this crazy world, right?

I felt ok about the audition not great. Going on an audition always feels somewhat like buying a lottery ticket. You buy it and you imagine how great it would be to win, you audition and you imagine how great it would be to get the part. There’s really not much you can do, you just have to do it and hope it works out. If you don’t buy the ticket than you know for sure you’ll never win. As the NY Lottery slogan goes, “Hey, you never know.”

#actor #tvshows #television #essay #actress #NewYork #acting #comedy #showbusiness #castingdirector #voiceover #comedienne #commercials

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