The whole point of taping auditions is to be able to watch them later. Somehow, CAZT doesn’t put them up in time – we need to cast it tonight. I was really depending on this, especially for casting Doug. But ultimately, Dane is directing it, and he watched me audition with all of them, so I trust his judgment. His guy was in my top three, anyway. (I immediately feel bad for the two guys we don’t pick and hope we can use them for something in the future.)
Dane has me contact our lead in Noir. Charlie, played by Michael Keeley. Someone completely outside of our circle. I have Dane talk me through everything I need to tell Mike. Finally send him an email, asking him to be in our project and giving him my number if he wants to call me at any time. I send this email at 9 or 10pm and it’s after 11 when my phone is ringing. This must be Michael Keeley! I know I told him he could call but I didn’t think he actually would. (Aren’t I so professional?) He’s calling to tell me that he would love to act in our short.
Seriously, you would have thought George Clooney just signed on to the project. That’s how excited I am. And now I’m realizing why he’s calling. He has a lot of questions. With every comment I can tell more and more that Michael has been doing this for a long time. He’s a real professional. He asks me questions that I have no idea how to answer. Or I know the answer and don’t want to tell him. Like, “Will there be a makeup artist?” No, there will definitely not be a makeup artist. But I want to say yes to everything he asks me. Thankfully, he mentioned this in a previous email. I quickly sent out a nervous message to the group, asking what to say. Lys (co-producer) kindly replied, “You can tell him that we’ll have some basic makeup supplies but not a professional makeup artist.. I can help with makeup but I’m no artist.” See, doesn’t that already sound more professional than, “Umm, no.” Then he wants to know about the crew. This I am confident about. My boyfriend is directing it and managed to get a lot of professional guys to help out. We have a DP (Director of Photography) and a freakin’ Art Director and a really good Camera Operator. This is huge for Conversations in Cars. I don’t tell Michael this. I act cool, like, oh yea, we have a DP and an Art Director. Obviously. Then he wants to know about the director, Mike Manfre. “Is this his directorial debut? Because I looked him up and didn’t really find anything.” Oh yea, he’s my boyfriend. No, I did not say that. I just tried not to laugh and told him that Mike Manfre has directed before but yes, this is his biggest production to date. He then asks me about media contracts for the actors. I don’t know. God, I’ve never done this before. At this question I definitely say, “Ummm, I think so.” And hate myself for it. Of course we have contracts. I’ve used these contracts in our past Conversations in Cars. I just didn’t know what they were called.
Michael also was dressed perfectly at the audition. He wore this awesome silver suit. We actually referred to him as the Silver Fox when we were going through all the headshots. So I told him in the email to wear the same suit for the shoot. “I’m glad you guys like it. I like it too….I see that it’s raining [in the short]. Well, I can’t really get it wet.” Not a problem. This is a phrase I find myself saying a lot to the actors. Fortunately, he has another dark suit he can bring that he doesn’t mind getting wet. Perfect. So we have two options. I’ll let the director know that if you have to get wet, we go with the dark suit. If the rain won’t be hitting him, silver it is. Then, he mentions smoking and I don’t even give him the chance to explain. Oh yea, if you don’t feel comfortable smoking we can do the herbal ones. “Yea, that would actually be great because I quit just over a year ago.” Yea, I was not expecting him to say that. But, “Not a problem.” I also may have said, “Congratulations.” Because I am an idiot. But the best thing he said came later. “I’ve been around the block and I’ve read a lot of scripts and the writing was good in this, so, good job.”
OK. You’re better than George Clooney.