Casting Call for the Thinking Man

As I was walking down the hallway toward the sound stage today, I was trying to figure out exactly what I would say to the person running the show. I had never met her, nor had I arranged my own audition. A coworker scheduled me an audition while I was 700 miles away, which may be why my name was even penciled in.

I got to the end of the hall and I could hear the 10:15 audition reading his lines.

“The olive trees here are more than 500 years old. The people here use a unique form of transportation: a donkey,” he said into a microphone, loud enough for me to hear outside his soundproof room. “Where is Gerome? He is in Greece.”

Greece? Gerome? Why was I voluntold, that’s a real word in the Navy, to audition for a role as the guide voice for Gerome the Gnome? (for those who don’t know who Gerome is, Google it. )

The 10:15 walked out of the sound booth and an adjacent door opened to reveal a friendly face looking at me.

“Can I help you Sir?”

“Yeah, I was told to come here at 10:30 to audition for some voice thing,” I said with a hint of a Southern accent. By hint I mean I probably said “yep”, “I’ze”, “com’ere” and “thang.”

“What? I mean, why,” she asked candidly.

I felt a sudden need to let her off the hook.

“I voiced a story for All Hands Magazine a couple o’ months back and one of the fellas here liked it and thought y’all could use a country voice for something,” I said with as much humility as I could muster.

“Well, I have no idea why we would want that, but your name is on the list, here is the copy, step inside the studio let’s see what you can do,” she said with the confidence of a mother handing her four year old a Rubik’s cube and a Sudoku puzzle book.

Three short takes later, I got a curt “Thank you” and that was it. It was too bad, because I was just getting into my rhythm. I was about two takes away from saying “Greece” in one syllable.

As I was walking out of the sound booth, she was walking out of the adjacent control room and the open door revealed a new face inside. A  man smiled warmly at me and thanked me for auditioning.

“She tells me you’ve only ever voiced one package,” he said as he laughed.

Somehow I don’t think he was laughing because he was shocked at the revelation.

“You know, we might have something that could use that country accent coming up in the future,” he said. “I don’t have the specifics right now, but I’ll get in touch with you when I know more.”

I wondered how many different ways he had of telling people “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”

I thanked them both and started to turn down the hallway to leave. I stopped and turned back toward them.

“You know, I do a pretty good Hank Hill if you ever need one,” I told them, being as serious as I could. “Peggy, whut the??? Bobby, thar better be a cheerleader under your bed! Gall-dangit!!! I sell propane and propane accessories.”

This time, when I started to leave, he asked for my contact information.

I guess the moral of this story is simple:   When the crowd starts to turn on you, just play ‘em a little Hank.

(for those interested in the piece I did for All Hands Magazine, you can find it HERE )



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