Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

There’s a first time for everything

I’m not an actor, nor have I ever had  any actorish aspirations.

But yesterday on one of the swim groups, someone posted a casting call that I just couldn’t pass up.

A female swimmer, mid 30s to mid 40s, proficient in all four strokes and comfortable swimming in the ocean.

The last part was strenuously emphasized – COMFORTABLE SWIMMING IN THE OCEAN !!!!! – so I’m guessing they’ve had some issues with people telling them “sure, no problem” and then freaking out when they dropped them off the boat. Or dock, or whatever.

Luckily, I’m not afraid of the terrors that lurk in the briny deep because, I suspect, I’m not smart enough to have ever developed even a modicum of common sense.*

I figured I’d email the casting lady just for a laugh. I gave her my swimming background, sent a few pictures, and figured that I’d hear nothing back from her.

She emailed me within 10 minutes, and informed me that my ‘look’ was acceptable (whew. I was worried there for a second), and that I’d have to come in and audition.

I started to lose interest, and then I read the numbers.

For two days, they’ll pay more than I usually make in a 60 hour week. And I don’t have to be SAG because of some reason. I think because there are no lines. Just swimming.

So, I agreed to go on my first-ever audition.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would imagine that if swimming skills were so critical they’d hold said audition in the water. Seems like it would be the sensible thing to do. “Hey, come out to the beach. Now dive through the waves and swim to that kayak out there. Mind the stingrays.”

But no. My audition was in a Hollywood casting office, where I stood in front of a video camera, did a few pushups (don’t ask me why, I don’t know) and then mimicked swim strokes for whichever deity will be making the choice. Plus, I threw in a story about the time I got stung by a jellyfish because I thought it was a plastic bag and grabbed it to clean up the ocean.

Serves me right. Not just the jellyfish, the whole fucking thing.

Everyone was really nice, but the experience was really surreal. The office is this big corral with smaller rooms off the sides. All the supplicants sit in center on uncomfortable chairs, making small talk as they wait to be called into their particular inner sanctum.

The walls are white, there are signs everywhere warning that one must mind one’s meter, and coffee is not complimentary.

Did you ever see Brazil? It’s kind of like that.

Looking around our little group, it was very easy to see who had come from the swim group and who was a professional actor.

The swimmers had broader shoulders, more sun damage, more bruises, and worse hair. Oh, our hair was terrible. I’m surprised we weren’t immediately escorted off the premises.

I do not expect I’ll get a callback.

*Although there is that one kelp mat off Venice Beach that scares the shit out of me every time I swim over it. It’s just deep enough to see the shadow, but not make out any detail.

Filed under: humor, life in LA, Los Angeles, , , , , , , ,

Gasping for air

I’m coming to the end of my physical therapy, and things have improved with the shoulder. I’ve been doing some light swimming – mostly at my gym, where they offer what’s called a masters program, but is mostly a form and skills practice with moderate yardage.

Today, when I showed up at the gym for the 6 am swim, I was told that the swim was cancelled as the coach had a family emergency.

Since I was out of bed anyways, I checked my SCAQ schedule and saw that there was a 6:30 swim nearby, so I headed out, thinking that if it got too hard, I could just tell the instructor I was injured and sandbag my way though the workout.

It wasn’t marked on the schedule, but this particular swim turned out to be an IM. Normally, I prefer IM workouts since they’re varied and more interesting than just 3,000 yards of freestyle, but recently I’ve been ‘dialing it back’ at the insistence of the physical therapist.

Just to be safe, I got in the slow lane.

The workout started with some freestyle, and after being driven absolutely batty by the woman in front of me, who was swimming slower than I wanted to but too fast for me to pass, the IM portion of the swim started.

Surprisingly, the stroke that bothered my shoulder the most was the backstroke, not the butterfly, but I still managed to make it all the way through the workout.

The downside is that I’ve not really done any really hard swimming for a while so after the workout I dragged myself out of the pool and kind of flopped around on the deck like some sort of pasty white fish badly in need of an 8 am martini*.

I’m very happy at having been able to make it through the workout, even if I had to go home and nap afterwards.

Next up: Is there any work in Los Angeles at all and if so, will someone hire me?

*I settled for a cup of coffee and a chocolate muffin (since even though I’m single it’s supposedly the day to eat chocolate).

Filed under: Non-Work, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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