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The latest installment of the Casting Networks series Weirdest Auditions features broken bones, trips to Costco and shirtless men “built like Lebron.” Audition anecdotes, often in all their craziness, create an unshakable solidarity among actors. Most thespians have a good story or two under their belts along with a common hunger to book, even when it means giving birth in the room. How far will dedicated actors go to nail their auditions, however weird? Keep reading.

 

Warren Barrow 

Known for What We Do in the Shadows and Upscale with Prentice Penny

I once had an audition for a packaging company. When my agent sent me the information for the audition, it said that we would be auditioning in our underwear. So I put on my cleanest underwear and drove to the audition. When I got there, I found out that we would be going in groups. I looked at the other guys I would be auditioning with, and they were all 6-foot-1 and built like Lebron. 

The casting director gave us a long metal rod and a small package. He told us to use the small package to cover ourselves up and to just hold the metal rod in our right hand. And then he wanted us to run zigzags around the room. The casting director let the other guys go a couple of times to get comfortable. When it was my turn to go up, I ran from one side of the room to the other. But before I could continue, the casting director said, “That’ll be enough.” I didn’t even get to do a full zigzag. I put my clothes back on and left feeling so embarrassed, and I still don’t know why we were holding those metal rods.

 

Aaron Groben

Known for Awkward and Art of the Dead

“Bring a dish to share.” This final note in my audition invitation should have been a red flag, but I was young and wasn’t aware of red flags yet. I was going to take over the entertainment industry with this audition alone, and stopping through Costco on the way there wasn’t about to be a hindrance. We were to audition at a green screen studio for an “untitled green screen project,” and auditions would further serve as a “get-to-know-you potluck.”

As I arrived, I scoured the odds-and-ends brought by other auditioning hopefuls. However, I was far more concerned with the mind-blowing performance I was about to woo these green screen casting directors with, and I was not concerned with food at the time. I gave one of the top performances of my life as I began to notice my “this-is-definitely-a-scam” surroundings. It turned out that the green screen studio was actually the garage of the home of two young men who had found a unique way to get their next meals paid in full. They loved my acting, but they loved the blueberries and lunch meat even more. 

 

Mariko Van Kampen

Known for Magnum P.I. (1981 & 2019) and Hawaii Five-0 (1979 & 2018)

Earlier this year, I got a theatrical audition for a roller-skating waitress. It was supposed to be in-office, but I knew I was not going to be able to do that because I don’t own skates and haven’t skated for a couple of decades. I had trepidation about accepting the audition, but my agent was really pushing for it. So my weirdest audition ended up being a self-tape for which I dragged my daughter Mele to a skating rink in Northridge.

I rented skates there and picked up a “rink walker,” which is a piece of equipment they give to people learning how to skate. I just wanted to get comfortable on skates again, and I reached the point of feeling really confident. I abandoned the walker and had Mele film me while I skated around the rink twice, smiling and waving at the camera. That was the footage we needed, so I came off the rink. I walked a few steps into the waiting area and was standing there talking to Mele when my feet just went out from under me. Bam! I fell down and broke my wrist. It hurt, but I didn’t know it was broken at the time, so I went home and taped the speaking part of the audition. I edited everything together and sent off the self-tape. Then later that day, I went to urgent care and had my wrist X-rayed.

 

Whether your weirdest audition ended with a trip to urgent care or not, it’s still a story you won’t forget in your career climb. And since actors are encouraged to create their own content, inspiration might even be drawn from a real-life, crazy audition experience. If that’s the case, booking the project almost becomes an afterthought. The audition is where the action’s at.

 

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