Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thank You For Wasting My Time

A long time ago I said I was going to write about the good, the bad and the ugly. Well I thought nothing could be uglier than the “firing debacle” (as I refer to it now) but what’s happening right now is definitely much uglier. And it has definitely shaken my confidence (which was already on shaky ground) in the so-called professionalism of the actors in this city. Last year after auditions I wrote a post about this very topic and then Sarah, Associate Producer for this year, recently wrote two different posts about it. Yesterday morning I sent this tweet out over the interweb: “UNDER EXTREME AMOUNT OF DISTRESS. Is 11:34 too early to start drinking??? #sometimesbeingintheatreamakesmewanttokillmyself”. I wasn’t joking.

Well, if you follow this blog or the goings-on of 20-something, then you may be wondering why I haven’t posted a cast announcement. Well, it is because we don’t have a full cast. I have been trying - without much luck - to cast the role of Doug since May 23rd. And it is now July 10th. We are scheduled to start rehearsing this Monday, July 12th. That is approximately 7 weeks from when we first held auditions. Is for real or am I living in some kind of alternate universe?!

So, I thought it was about time that I documented the course of events so that all of you could share in my hell:

May 23rd, Callbacks: The one good thing is that we did have a lot of amazingly talented people show up (this has never been an issue, it’s the lack of professionalism that is the issue) and I was honestly having a hard time making decisions. So, we decided to bring a few people back to read again. Sarah set it all up. Then Actor #1 sends Sarah a text message at 7am, which she couldn’t open, so when she actually woke up, she called this actor to find out what was up. He wasn’t going to be able to come in because he had all of sudden (magically) realized he had a conflict with the show dates.

STOP: Um, not only were the show dates on the audition posting but they were also on the audition sheet. THANK YOU FOR WASTING MY TIME.

Actor #2, that same day, also phones up last minute to say that after going through the auditions and callbacks, is now not comfortable with the whole nudity thing.

STOP: Okay, I get it. Not everyone is comfortable with nudity. No problem. Only it was also in the posting. Further to that, I actually pulled people aside during auditions/callbacks to make sure they were okay with it before I went any further with my casting ideas. THANK YOU FOR WASTING MY TIME.

Then Actor #2 actually had the gall to say to Sarah, “oh, so you don’t want me to come in then?”. Um, yeah, because you know, we’ll just re-write the script for you…. No, we don’t want you to come in then. We then offered the role to Actor #3 who also wasn’t comfortable with the nudity.

Post Callbacks: Then we decided to also start looking outside the pool of actors who auditioned. Actor #4 & #5. Also not comfortable with the nudity. Actor #6. Busy. Actor #7. Busy. Actor #8. Not comfortable with nudity.

Simultaneously, I started to go back through the actors who came to auditions/callbacks, and decided to bring some people in who maybe I hadn’t originally considered in the role of Doug and have them read with the actor cast in the role of Heather (they play love interests). So, Sarah organized for 3 actors to come in.

July 8th, 2nd round of auditions for Doug: What are we at now? Actor #9? Okay. Actor #9 calls Sarah at approx 6:45 (auditions scheduled to start at 7pm) to tell her that he got a gig in Toronto that conflicts with one of our show dates. Then a couple minutes later Actor #10 calls to say he is going to be late and same goes with Actor #11. Seriously?! This can’t be for real.

Oh, trust me, this is as real as it gets. Actor #10 is an hour late. 1 HOUR. Wasting not only my time but also Sarah’s and the other actor. We eventually told Actor #11 we weren’t prepared to wait around any longer. After a long discussion of pros/cons of casting Actor #10 we finally decided to offer him the role because, well, honestly, we’re running out of time. Sarah, calls him the next morning (which was yesterday morning) to offer him the role to which he then tells her that he won’t be able to make it to Saturday rehearsals.

STOP: Are you F#*$ING kidding me, right now?! Not only did Sarah tell him exactly when and what time rehearsals were to make sure he was available but I also talked to him about the rehearsal schedule just the night before at the auditions. I shouldn't be surprised (which honestly I'm not and pretty much nothing surprises me anymore) but THANK YOU FOR WASTING MY TIME.

Hence the tweet: “UNDER EXTREME AMOUNT OF DISTRESS. Is 11:34 too early to start drinking??? #sometimesbeingintheatreamakesmewanttokillmyself”.

So, what you ask, am I going to do now?! Good question. Well, Actor #11 had called Sarah later that night to explain and said that he was still interested in the play. So, we are bringing Actor #11 in today and I just have one request: PLEASE DON’T WASTE MY TIME.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

3 comments:

  1. I'm not looking to be an ass, so I hope my comment doesn't come across that way.

    I'm an actor who just moved to Vancouver, upon googling vancouver theatre companies this blog is one of the ones i came across.

    Again, I am new to the city, but I don't think that the actors not showing up to auditions is rare to just Vancouver. I have lived in Toronto and Edmonton and have had similiar experiences in both cities. This is, however, the first time I have seen a producer lash out in such a way.

    Yes, sometimes people don't show up for auditions. Yes, casting can be frustrating, especially for roles with specificity such as nudity (or specific ethnic races, heights, weights, etc.) And yes, it can especially be frustrating when you feel you have clearly put the information out there and actors ignore/forget/don't read or dismiss it. That being said after re-reading this entry I still don't quite get why you put it out there.

    Of course, you want to write about the good, bad and the ugly. I've read through a lot of your entries and find many of them to be insightful and interesting. This post irks me though. Perhaps it's because it is so closely connected to your company. If you had a blog simply as a theatre producer that's one thing, but as an actor who would potentially be interested in auditioning for your company, I question the way you might treat your actors based on this post. Using CAPS and derogatory language about people who are (I'm assuming) working for you for free is belittling not only to them, but also, I believe crippling to your company.

    Again, I don't know much other than what I've read on your blog. I love your show choices (of the ones I know) and your company is one I would consider auditioning for... that being said the amount of anger seething in this post is nothing short of extraordinary to me. I'm sure I'm wrong and you'll tell me that you treat your actors with respect and I'm sure the majority of your actors would agree... this post though leaves me questioning.

    I sincerely hope you'll write back, as I'm curious about your thoughts.

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  2. The post is about professionalism. Not about how this company treats their actors/employees. And, honestly, we often forget that if you want to be in the professional side of theatre it must be treated as a job. With that being said, you can't show up to your job late everyday and expect to be showered with kisses and chocolate when you arrive. Furthermore, as an employer conducting interviews for a job posting in, say, a marketing office downtown Toronto, I would never hire a potential candidate who cannot/has not previously read, understood and agreed to the job description. Or an interviewee who arrives late in that case.

    This posting, above everything else, shows Sabrina Everett as being, among other things, human. We all know how frustrating theatre can be because so much of it is faith/trust oriented and ultimately outside our control.

    The statement "Using CAPS and derogatory language about people who are (I'm assuming) working for you..." is incorrect. Not once in this post has she belittled any of her employees. Rather, it is directed to and born from the frustration of losing a potential employee through circumstances, once again, out of her control. I will, however, concede that these outbursts do seem a tad unprofessional in a posting about professionalism. But given the context and obvious heat of the moment it makes a clear and effective point:

    One of the worst things a person can do is inadvertently waste another's time.

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  3. Hi afieldofcrowns -

    Thanks for your comments! It's funny you should post your comments just as I was writing a new post discussing the very thing you commented on.

    http://twentysomethingtheatre.blogspot.com/2010/07/its-about-respect.html

    ~Sabrina

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