Exclusive Auckland Report
Posted May 3, 2004 11:35 am by Tirian
Story by NarniaWebber skye05.
When you thought there would be throngs upon throngs of desperate hopefuls awaiting their calling, at 10 am no more than 40 battled the Auckland rain outside the Grey Lynn library. At 10:30 the casting crew arrived, making their way into the library after a quick speech no one could hear over the rain; and closed the doors. At 11 they opened and the bedraggled drowned rats made their way in. Gradually more adventurers came; many normal heights to support friends. However, some clearly had ulterior motives and tried their hand at a quick growth spurt. The requirements were strict though, and not even one friend who was 2 centimetres off could bribe their way in by giving Jason Hill (aka: height man) wine gums. However, it was clear from the beginning who would be pushing it and who was the king of the tall people and the short people. By 11:05 though the rate of growth of the wannabe extras had soared.
The process itself was pretty run of the mill and you were beginning to wonder if you’d landed in old communist Russia where people lined up for miles at the chance of getting a pair of sneakers. Once initially measured by height man, you were sent over to a table at the other end of the room where forms awaited you, to fill in contact details, and yes and no questions as to what medical conditions you had (if any), did you wear contacts and what you were willing to go through for the opportunity to be part of yet another great New-Zealand film-making process. After the form completion, you were off to another set of measurements and a brief and unglamorous photo shoot with Victoria Cole, being informed that if you were not contacted within three weeks, you were not needed. However all was said and done in caring manner, and by the time I left at 12:15 I had not seen a tear shed; though I myself felt like it. Heights between 5ft and 6.4, were unlikely to be used in any part of the movie according to our height man. But although my chances were dashed, I did not give up and moved on to enquire about crew work. In the meantime one bald man laughed, “I’m out” putting on the old kiwi “she’ll be right face;” as most other contenders did. By 11:30 more and more appropriate people had come, even one woman, who had been approached in the street to audition for a speaking role and was now also trying her hand at this. A possible white witch? And finally what made my day, a Bilbo look-a-like.
Next a new announcement was made, informing auditionees that if they were not willing to work between September and November, they may as well just leave. This initiated a brief, but mass exodus, from many waiting in the chairs. Yes even chairs were provided. The atmosphere was genuinely kind and courteous, a model example. Even when one man reached height (but not width) requirements, he was told in a kind manner they were searching for people who appeared “fitter”. Justification was provided in an example of a scrawny young man. But the rejected was totally compliant and appeared understanding. Congratulations must be sent out to all those who attended, for good behaviour.
And finally by now, this intrepid young woman who pretended to play reporter or someone of significant value to the process; was being approached for directions and possible addresses to write to concerning other casting (even though she knew little). Simply referring them in the right direction or to the Henderson address not so clearly posted on the wall, only resulted in further approaches. And when I informed them I was not part of the crew there, but was happy to help; some seemed surprised. This has brought a happy personal conclusion. I may not fit the requirements, but it does seem there is hope for my acting career yet.