I’m sitting in an “actors trailer” at the “Base Camp” on Universal Studios in Los Angeles… (I’m sorry, but I’m not yet allowed to release the name of the show.)
I’ve been approved by “Hair”, “Make-up” and “Wardrobe”, I’m sitting in front of one of those mirrors with the lights all of the way around them, saying my lines, out loud, to myself. I’m 100% “off-book”, meaning I have completely memorized my lines.
It’s nearly 6:00PM. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be so on my phones ‘notepad’ I start to write this story…
12 DAYS AGO: “Peter, I’m sorry, I just can’t make it to an audition tomorrow.” That was a first for me. I ALWAYS make it to auditions, but this time, 12 days ago, was different.
Earlier in the day, I had been to the doctor’s office with my daughter, surgery was scheduled for a few days later, I wanted to be there for her and the grandkids, on top of that it was snowing on the pass and making the audition (which was nearly 700 miles away) would have meant driving over the pass at night in a snowstorm.
I if did make the drive I would then need to stay in LA for a few days waiting to see if I received a “call-back”, a second audition, that is a very common part of the audition process.
The reasons to pass on this audition outweighed the reasons to do it… even though it was a role in a network sitcom that I would have really LOVED to play… my answer was no, I can’t make. Peter, my agent, knew this was a great role for me…
“Make a video audition. I’ll submit it and see if I can get the casting director to watch it. Can you do that?” Peter asked. Enthusiastically I said, “Absolutely, I’ll have it to you mid-day tomorrow!”
I used both my audition experience and video knowledge to create an audition video and then a 2nd video…
YESTERDAY: I had a meeting with, Peter, in his Hollywood office. He was thrilled I booked the show and was telling the other people in his office how I had booked a part in a sit-com all with video submissions, NO in-person audition… I was congratulated by everyone for getting the booking, especially in this once extremely rare, but now increasingly popular way of auditioning, via video.
There’s a knock on the door of my trailer… “Ed, They’re ready for you on set.” It was 7:30 PM.
The shoot has now competed…
I was “wrapped” (released after shooting the scene) at about 10:15 PM and now I’m completing the story…
I was brought to the set, a HUGE sound stage with a house where we’ll be shooting the scene.
I met my scene partner, the star of the show, some of the other crew members, and the director… the first words out of the director’s mouth were “We LOVE you!” She went on telling me what she and the others loved about my auditions…
I’ve done enough shoots now to know that directors and others on the production team often say these types of things to ‘pump-up’ the actors… but I did feel she was sincere and it certainly did make me feel good.
The next 2 hours were spent rehearsing and shooting the scene.
Here’s where the fun really starts… it’s like playing “make-believe” as kids.
Yes, there dozens of people standing around and lights and cameras and a director saying “action” and “cut”… (just like the movies) and after each “take” we’re all laughing. Everyone is having a GREAT TIME.
Mind you the entire scene is only a minute or two long… and we were doing “takes” for 2 hours, the primary reason for taking so much time is camera angels. We take 2 or 3 “takes” with a certain camera set-up and then they reset the cameras to either a different location or a different field of view size and take it again… and that happens several times.
My character is supposed to have my scene partner and the audience thinking, “Hey, was that really Santa Claus?” and I’m confident we did that. I can’t wait to see it on TV and see what camera angles were used and how it’s edited… my bet is, it will be really funny.
When I started portraying Santa the thought of doing TV shows, commercials & movies never entered my mind. I had never acted a day in my life. I’ve never cared much about TV or movies or actors… and I still watch very little TV and I don’t keep up on actors or TV shows… but I’M LOVING doing “shoots” of all types.
Now with the huge increase in demand for ‘video-content’, the increase in production facilities across the country and around the world and the increasing popularity of video as an audition vehicle the doors are opening wider for Santas across the country.
Personally I’ve found the “Entertainment Industry” to be a wonderful way to increase my income, my impact as Santa and my fun.
I encourage you to consider it if you haven’t already… and of course this is the reason we have a Platinum Level of membership here at The Santa Claus Conservatory.