Baby, We’re Gonna Make You A Star!

When my tween daughter heard the radio ad, she was 100% sure they were talking directly to her.  ” Want to be an Actress?” they asked.  They claimed to have placed the actors in Drake and Josh, Hannah Montana, the Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and just about every other Nickelodeon and Disney show you can name.  All we had to do was call the number, make an appointment, and they would tell us if she is star material.    Now, Kit is no stranger to the stage, and she can sing and dance with the best of the middle school crowd.  And yet I knew that somehow, the talent scouts have to pay for this radio campaign, so I was very suspect.   But it never hurts to check it out – right?  So we call and a very efficient woman gives us an audition slot for the next Sunday, takes my email to send directions, and tells us to show up in something nicer than jeans.

Something nicer than jeans!?!  Yikes!  This directive results in an emergency trip to the mall for something that says miss-Disney-tween-show-2011.   After trying a dozen outfits that involve leggings, we have a winner and a back up outfit.  We are in for  about $75.  Then we have to find pictures of Kit, burn them to a disk, and take them to Walgreen’s where for $13 they turn them into snapshots.  We have now invested a whole day, but Kit is still thrilled at the prospect of her imminent arrival to a kid targeted sit-com. 

Sunday comes and we arrive a little early at the talent agency offices in a corporate park.   We sign- in  and  then line up with all of the other families in the atrium.  What a collection of people responded to those radio ads!  I am totally re-thinking that medium for my fall marketing plans!  There were moms, dads, and kids of all shapes, colors and sizes.  You could tell that this was primarily a low to middle income crowd.  I was particularly facinated with the moms who thought that if they dressed themselves to the nines, it would help their kid’s chances.  Their faces and fidgeting showed that they wanted this shot for their babies far more than the kids did.

At precisely 2:45, they lead all 250+ of us  into a room where we were given an application to fill out, and where we received the “you must be prepared to push for your acting career at all costs” speech from a man who was supposed to be associated with Hollywood.    I mostly ignored him and tried to concentrate on the application as they started calling the names of those in the order of arrival.  “Why would they care about my occupation and my husband’s?” I think to myself.  But the heat and the chatter in the holding room is overwhelming.  I then give my daughter the speech about the waiting.  “This is what being an aspiring actress is all about.  Waiting.  Wait for the audition, wait for the call, wait until it is your time on set.  Wait, wait, wait.”  And then suddenly, I switched gears and turned into stage mom.  “What are you going to say when they ask you about yourself?”  When she mumbled something about soccer I snapped “No!  This is not a soccer audition! ”  Ahh.  Its scary to know that my inner Mommy Dearest is lurking just beneath the surface.   “Kit Fitzgerald” they call – and we are off to the interview office before I can damage our relationship.

A smartly dressed woman in her 30s looks over the application, surveys Kit and us, and asks Kit why she wants to do this.  Is she serious about being an actress?  Can she stay committed to it?  Fine.  here’s a script go to studio one for your screen test.   But we realize that the woman has spent 3x more time with us than the other families.  Kit reads a commercial on camera, and we head home leaving the talent agency offices buzzing with humanity.  They will let us know if we get the call back. If we do, we need to come back once more before they let us meet with the  LA talent scouts who are looking to fill spots on the shows.  On the long ride home, Kit is planning on the CD she will cut once her show is a success.

I am a little surprised when Kit gets a call back.  My husband agrees to take her – a 45 minute drive each way!  In the second interview, the all-business gal we met before tells Kit she has a lot of raw talent, but before they can recommend her for jobs and represent her, she needs to take acting lessons which cost – wait for it – $8,000.  Now the questions on the application are making more sense to me!  How many of those hopeful families were ready to part with that kind of money?  None of them looked like likely candidates.  My husband nicely tells Miss Efficient that  $8 grand is a lot of money, and we are not likely to follow this path.  At this point she turns from the encouraging agent to the angry viper.  “You could have told us this sooner and saved me a lot of time” she hissed at him.  Time?  Perhaps had the lesson fees been mentioned in the radio ad we all would have saved some time and money!  What a racket!

But Kit did get real audition experience, I witnessed the power of Radio, and  we own two cool leggings outfits.  She will just have to find another road to Hollywood.  But I wonder how many other Moms had their hearts broken that day when they got a ray of hope with an impossible price tag attached to it.  I guess that’s show business, baby.

One Comment

  1. Sheila
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear it didn’t work out…her big break is just arround the corner! Love your blog!!!

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