Acting Black in Idaho...

This summer I was chillin at home when I received an email that simply said "FW: Commercial Audition".  It was from a reputable production company who I do lots of work with.  The company is based in Washington, but most of their casting is done in Idaho, so as soon as I started reading I became excited!  Because right there in big bold letters were the 3 words that I love seeing the most:

 "BLACK ACTOR NEEDED"

 I jumped for joy!  I was too excited!  I started looking at flights to see how fast I could get there!  WOO HOO!!!!...For those of you who are slow to get what I'm saying, try this equation:
Black Actor Needed + Boise, ID Audition = "CONGRATS YOU GOT THE PART!" 
 However, this one was going to be a challenge for me.  This time they were looking for a Black actor...in his 40's!  Now I've played a black man many times in my career (family dinners, church, and financial aid interviews to name a few), but I had NEVER played a black man in his 40's before!!!  What was I supposed to do?!  I only had a week.  So I started listening to lots of smooth jazz, watched a Tyler Perry movie (most of it anyway), and grew a beard.  But that was only half the challenge.  For the audition they were very specific on what they wanted...

"MUST BE ABLE TO DO THE RUNNING MAN"

Now here's the Black Dilemma:  "Of course I KNEW how to do the running man, but SHOULD I?"...This is when I look to the payment portion of the agreement for guidance...

$700/DAY ALL EXPENSES PAID

Or as I like to call it...Hammertime!!!!
I booked the flight, knowing full well the investment was worth it.  Hell, I already started making plans for the actual shoot days.  Once I arrived at the audition, I couldn't WAIT for them to see just how "40" I looked!  I even dressed like my dad:  I rocked the linen shirt with the top 2 buttons unopened to show some taco meat, loafers with no socks, the whole nine!  I get to the place ready to give them the address to send my check to...and a funny thing happened.  Turns out, when $700/day is on the table...Hammer's gonna have some back-up dancers around.  I have never seen so many bald black dudes in Idaho at one time (without a dj in the background I mean...snap.) in my LIFE!  I thought I was at a KC and JoJo look-a-like contest, and I was about to come in 7th place.  Plus they actually WERE 40yr olds...and they looked YOUNGER than me!  GEEZUS!  Who the hell let me come here?!  Even the casting directors were in shock!  I sat in the lobby in complete awe.  I thought to myself "Is this what my life is now?  I was gonna have to outdance other black people for money.  And the only dance I'm allowed to do...is THE RUNNING MAN?!"...I started talking to the other guys and I realized we were all kind've on the same page about the awkwardness of the moment.  As we all waited patiently for our turn to Bust-A-Move, I said to them "Even if I TOLD people about this moment, nobody's going to believe me."  We laughed for a minute, and then I had an idea.  I ran out to the car and grabbed my flip camera.  Believe me now???...


It's been 2 months since the auditions and I never got to speak with these gentlemen again...But I got a feeling they'll remember me real soon once they turn on their televisions this week...


Now STOP!...HAMMERTIME!!!




Allen, Christoper, and Lee "Brothas In Castin'" :)







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