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August 03, 2008

The Bearer of Bad News

To be in charge of anything, however small, means sometimes you have to make decisions that people aren't going to like. While some people relish this, I don't. I can get caught up in people's hopes and dreams, and I can really feel bad for them.

So it is not fun for me to have one role and a ton of men trying out for it. But we had one actor yesterday who nailed the part so well that we decided to cancel the auditions on Tuesday and let him know he got the part. So I spent the better part of this evening letting people know they didn't get the part (or that they wouldn't get to audition on Tuesday.)

The difficulty is that we had a lot of skill on display yesterday, so I do just feel bad letting these people know they didn't make the cut. But oh well, it's worse just waiting and waiting and never hearing back, so I wanted to let them all know quickly. I've gotten a couple of responses back already. All professional, but also wanting to know what they could have done better.

That's a hard question to answer, really. You can give some feedback, but would that have gotten them the part? The truth is there was only one role here. It's not a matter of them not being good, it's a matter of someone else seeming more right for the part. But anyway, I figured that question does deserve an answer (or at least I would want one if I asked it) so I responded to them reiterating that they had a very good audition and that it was fierce competition.

I told one guy he ad libbed too much on the lines (being a writer who really does spend a lot of time polishing up dialogue, this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. OK, I'd make due if the actor was Robin Williams, but that's not the case here. For an audition especially, stick to what's on the page. Especially if the director is also the writer. Because otherwise what you're saying is "I know you worked hard on this script but I think I can come up with something better off the seat of my pants, watch me!") And I told the other guy who asked that he made really bold choices with his audition and made them believable, but that truly we just went in another direction.

I really don't like breaking people's dreams. And for some reason, this part in a small film was VERY important to a lot of men.

Posted by jason on August 3, 2008 10:27 PM

Comments

I think you have a heart of compassion, Jase, which is why it is not fun for you to have to turn someone away, but it also means, when you do have to say no to someone, that you aren't going to be harsh and unfeeling about it. For those who do not get the part, it may still be hard, but at least they can appreciate that you didn't just leave them to twist in the wind.

Posted by: kathiek on August 3, 2008 11:40 PM

Yeah--you are very rare in this business. The fact that you would give feedback at all is huge! And you're right--it doesn't mean that the other people at the aud weren't talented, it just wasn't a fit this time. If they are talented, they'll be the one to get the part next time...

Posted by: jessica on August 4, 2008 06:32 AM

wait!! why didn't i get it? i'm really muscular!

Posted by: Anonymous on August 4, 2008 07:04 AM

I think its great that you even got back with the people to let them know they didn't get the job. Mos of the time people just never call you back and you're left to assume you didn't get it. I know I would appreciate the call from you.

Posted by: Jason J on August 4, 2008 02:48 PM

Well, Jase?

Are you gonna call poor Jason Jaz?

He said he would appreciate it...

Posted by: jessica on August 5, 2008 02:42 PM

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