"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Reason I Was In Sydney for One Night

So in the middle of October, I received a mass email from my agents calling for anyone who might be interested in performing kids theater interstate. A company called Brainstorm was offering a series of eight-month contracts to tour primary schools around the country and perform plays about bullying and drugs. I'd done that kind of thing before and loved it, so I expressed my interest. But I sent the email with no real expectations. Even if I was picked to do this job out of the hundreds of people nationwide who would likely apply, I still couldn't leave what I'd built up in Adelaide. I'd been told that I was about to start training as an SANFL umpire, I couldn't afford to put that on hold now. I was also hosting two pub trivia nights a week at venues that I loved, and making some great coin in other areas of work as well. I decided to treat it as an exercise in being rejected.

weeks passed and I forgot about it. Then as October came to a close one of the agents, Carina, gave me a call.
'Are you able to put together a resume for us? Brainstorm would like to see one.'
Hm, okay. I guess I could do that. But my level of experience was embarrassing. I remember when a friend helped me to write an actor's CV and encouraged me to embellish it a little to fill out the page.
"Mine's three pages long," she pressed. "You should at least have one."
Carina sent me a template to use and I filled it out as best I could. Then I forgot about it. Well, that is until the 10th of November when I got another call...

'It's Carina. Brainstorm would like to see an audition piece from you. They're asking you to come to Sydney, but I've told them that's a little bit much. To fly there at your own expense for a first audition isn't worth it. So they've said they'll accept a screen test. They've sent us a monologue and we'd like to film you performing it. When are you free?'
My excitement at this point was overshadowed by my fear. Suddenly I was in a position where two parties had put a lot of faith in me and I would have to disappoint one of them. My umpiring coaches had spent a lot of time giving me advice when I needed it and shown enough faith in me to put my name forward to the SANFL after just two years in the system. On the other hand, this was an opportunity for some very serious work with my agents. I clearly knew before I applied that if I got the job I'd have to leave Adelaide. So if I pulled out claiming that I didn't want to leave, I felt the waste of their time would deter them from trying as hard to get me work in the future. Unsure of what the near future would hold, I set a time to film my screen test.

Carina was very impressed with my test. That made my proud, but I also had to laugh a little. I was kind of hoping my test would suck and the choice would be taken out of my hands. But I'd also learned two things.
1- There would likely be a component of singing required. Something that I enjoy doing but certainly can't do to a professional level.
2- I wasn't actually training with the SANFL. What I'd been submitted to was a summer training program run by the SANFL to scout for their next recruits. Still impressive, but definitely not the same. I'd gone from having to choose between two things I loved to possibly losing them both.

Two weeks passed and I got a voice mail from the other agent, Nick.
'Michael, I need to discuss something with you, call me back when you can.'
I was hoping it was about Brainstorm. Now that I knew I wasn't actually in the SANFL, that made my choice a whole lot easier. But in the end, it wasn't.
'Michael, I wonder if you'd be available to manage a stage show on Friday December 4th?'
'Oh. Yeah... Yeah I can do that.'
'Fantastic, you're a big help. I'll send through the details. Thanks Michael.'
I'd been told that if I was required for a second audition, I'd have to fly out to Sydney on December 1st. It was about the 25th at this point, and I didn't think I'd gotten the callback.

That changed two days later.
'Hi Michael, it's Nick here. I've gotten a call from Brainstorm. They'd like to have you over. Now you haven't been in this position before, so there's a few things you need to know. The fact that they've asked you to a second audition means that they're thinking very seriously about you, You'll have to tell them pretty much on the spot whether you're willing to move to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane for eight months. Is that something you can do?'
I thought so but I wan't entirely sure. I felt like I should stop and think a bit more about the consequences of dropping everything and leaving. But on the other hand, there's no way I could reasonably predict what the consequences are. I might have to take one of those leaps of faith you hear so much about. After some initial hesitation, I gave him the answer he needed.
'Fantastic. I'll book in your audition time, are you okay to organise flights?'
'Yep, I can do that.' I'd worked out that if I fly over on Monday when I didn't have work, I could perform my audition on Tuesday morning and fly back in the afternoon in time to fulfill my umpiring duties on Tuesday night. Now that I've gotten this far, I'm very keen for it to work out. My parents are against the idea. They think that I'd be throwing away everything I've worked for. But I've made my decision and I'm eager to take on such an exciting new challenge.


20 comments:

  1. Are you going to leave us up in the air?
    You may not have heard from Brainstorm yet, but you DO know how the audition went...
    And I admire your courage. A huge leap. An exciting leap. A scary leap...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I'm more excited than scared. This move (if I'm accepted) just feels right.

      The audition went pretty well, but I don't feel it went well enough to put me above any of the other actors (it was a group audition).

      Delete
  2. Isn't that always how it goes? It never rains but it pours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally. I've never met anyone who ended up exactly where they planned ten years ago.

      Delete
  3. Very exciting for you, indeed. Best wishes for your successful audition!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I hope it went better than I thought it did :P

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  4. Who knows where it might lead? And if you didn't at least try, you would always wonder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, that's the interesting thing about this one. If I hadn't tried, I would have happily forgotten about it and moved on with my life. It's only after I put in the effort that it became really important.

      Delete
  5. Show them the Ask An Aussie video! I'm very excited for you (but Moms do worry). You'll do great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha if they were an American company, they might be more impressed :P

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  6. Go for it. My biggest mistake in life has been passing up opportunities because of husband, relatives, my own butt headedness. But never count on pulling out. She'll probably be calling you about the pregnancy test she took this morning. I still don't see me in you header, and I'm not going to shut up until I'm satisfied. And you know what I mean.

    Love,
    Janie (take the daughter, take the daughter, take the daughter)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not quite sure which part of this comment to address :P Fine, you're going in the header.

      Delete
  7. Wow, Michael!! What a fantastic opportunity. I always believe that things happen for reasons, so if this opportunity is knocking on your door...GO WITH IT!! If it's meant to be it will all fall in to place. Just trust in yourself and go with your gut instincts! Good luck and can't wait to hear more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've definitely gone for it, and now I'm fidgeting waiting for the phone to ring :P

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  8. Your life always sounds so exciting and filled with possibilities. I admire you for taking the leap. Go for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I put a lot of effort into being that way :)

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  9. I'm happy for you, no matter what you chose. It has to please you. (smile).

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, that's awesome! What an amazing opportunity. Sometimes it takes a crazy leap of faith to acquire your dreams. We hope everything goes well, and are looking forward to part two!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Even if I don't get it, the experience of travelling to another state for an audition was something I can learn from.

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