Wednesday, December 11, 2019

"The FLC"

This one’s been stuck in my craw for twenty years.  Maybe it is time it comes out.

For me, casting shows is horribly painful.  Your “Final Selection” – making you arguably responsible for the consequent suffering – tells everyone rejected, “Not you.“

Actors have ways of assimilating such abuse, the traditional rationale being, “I guess the went another way.”  They did.  The way far away from you.

Okay, so here’s the story.

While consulting on a show the producers graciously include me in the casting process, a vital component to the success of a project.  (See:  Christopher Walken as Mr. Rogers.)   

Having read the material, the casting director brings in an array of “Choices”, who we see in succession, hoping one of them will miraculously “click.”  If they don’t, we keep going. 
After a succession of candidates, an actor comes in, who seems to be too old for the part.  It is hard to explain why she was there.  Maybe the casting director believes her superior acting skills merits her “long-shot” inclusion.  Maybe it’s a creative “leap” in the direction of “going the other way.”   Maybe it is some kind of a “favor.”

Or maybe it’s a mistake.  (Which she must have suspected, surrounded by a gathering of younger auditioners.)

There is the inevitable chit-chat before getting to work.  An actress’s name comes up in some context.  To which the auditioner sardonically replies,

“Boy, she’s in the “F**kin’ Lucky Club.”

None of us is familiar with that reference.  So she explains.

A member of the “F**kin’ Lucky Club” is an actor with no visible ability who finds  success in the business regardless, and become stars.

Apparently, actors with recognized “chops” but struggling careers gave the grating syndrome a name:

Those fortunate “No-Talents” are the unworthy members of the “Bleepin’ Lucky Club.”

The auditioner performs the material.  She’s okay but not great.  “Thanks for coming.”  And she’s gone.

Almost immediately it’s like,

“What was that about!”

The consensus answer is “bitterness.”

Understandable after years of “Not you”, but still.

Somehow I take this misplaced eruption – totally appropriate at a table of lunching out-of-work actors – personally, a poke at people like us who have deprived her of the career she meritoriously deserves.  My reflexive response is “acerbic attack.”

Pretending she is still in the room, I “mock advise” the angry auditioner,

“Could you come back twenty years ago?”  

I know.  It was terrible.  But, in fact, it gets worse.

Fueled by vituperative pique, I said it too loud. 

And a little too soon.

After twenty years, I wonder if, while in the Waiting Area, she had somehow overheard what I had said.

I have carried that inexcusability around for some time.  How I wish I could take it back.

When those less worthy were welcomed, she was outside, watching the “F**kin’ Lucky Club” rejoice.

Surely that was punishment enough.

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