What job other than acting involves an interview process where you get to become a whole different person? The idea of auditioning may sound foreign to those in traditional 9-to-5 careers, and they don’t even know the half of how strange these appointments can be. Sometimes actors have to run around in their skivvies while brandishing metal rods. Or they might have to go to a park to improv golf puns with strangers. Many actors have a good audition anecdote or two to share, and these common experiences can even create a sense of unity amongst the thespian community. So whether you’re an actor looking for solidarity, or you’re just curious about how strange the acting life can be, keep reading.
Known for S.W.A.T. and The Orville
I went to an audition inside a place called Crossroads of the World. The place was almost abandoned. When I walked into the casting office, it was all dark. A lady came out to bring me in, and she was the only one there besides me. I didn’t see another soul the whole time I was there. So I walk into the room, and she’s like, “Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to put your wrists together like they’re tied up. I’m going to snap my fingers. You’re going to put your hands up like they’re being pulled up above you. I’m going to snap my fingers. You’re going to pretend like your wrists get slit. I’m going to snap my fingers one last time, and you’re going to die. Are you ready? Let’s do it!” So I did it once, and she said, “Thank you very much. Have a nice day.” I walked out with no clue as to what had just happened. I got back to my car literally six minutes after I’d left it for the audition. But I wound up booking the job.
Known for Terminator: Dark Fate and Grimm
During an audition for a beer commercial, I auditioned in a group of four, and they started us off with the typical beer commercial dancing. But then on the second take, the casting director told us that each of us would dance as a random animal. We would do it one by one, in our slating order. I thought it was weird, but planned out that I would be a dog and just paw around when my turn came. “Easy,” I thought to myself. But then I realized that I was at the end of the line, right as the first actor let out a bark. “Ok, I’ll be a cat,” I told myself. As if on command, the next actress started brandishing “claws,” meowing and playfully swatting the dog actor in the face. Slightly panicked, I raced to think of something that wouldn’t be stolen from my brain. I couldn’t even tell you what the actor in front of me picked, but as soon as the camera panned to me, I bellowed an unsexy “moo” and started heavily shifting my weight from hip to hip. I immediately regretted my choice and felt very foolish. But the casting director thankfully cut us quickly, and I power-walked out of there. I ran into the cat actress last year and was praying she wouldn’t remember me. She stared at me for a minute before pointing and shouting, “You were the cow!”
Known for Dirty John and Creepshow
I went in for a commercial audition for KFC, and at the last minute when I was already in the room, they added dialogue. For some absurd reason, I didn’t have the capacity to deal with what they threw at me that day. The line was just, “Do you want a bottle of water?” But all I could do was say it in a British accent. My husband and I have a joke about bottles of water in British accents, and it was like it had rewired my brain. They had me say it over and over again, and for the life of me, I couldn’t shake the accent. Then, to top it off, they asked me if I liked KFC because I’d be required to eat it on the shooting day. I thought I’d make a funny little joke to ease the tension, so I said, “Sure! I mean, it’s no Popeyes, but …” There was no laughter — just a staredown after I insulted the brand I was trying to get a job selling. Needless to say, I didn’t book that job.
These stories from Catalano, Owens, and Barefoot would be sure to liven up any holiday party, especially if the crowd is unused to the eccentricities of the acting life. A funny audition story is always nice to have in your back pocket whether you’re at a gathering of friends or being interviewed on Graham Norton’s couch. And if you have a weird audition anecdote under your belt, share it in the comments below. Even if you haven’t mooed like a cow or played dead during an appointment, there’s likely another actor who can identify with your particular story. And at the end of the day, the unique interview process that comes with the career is something that all actors can share.