October 6, 2009

The Next Disney Princess? (Most fun audition EVER!)

Well, this past week or two was nothing short of productive and successful! Where do I start......? This may be a bit long, but pretty interesting. There will be lots of exclamation points in this post so brace yourself.

There was a casting posted on Actor's Access last week for girls to portray Princess Tiana (from the new Disney film "The Princess and the Frog") at the private screenings that will be taking place in NYC this holiday season before the film's wide release. I'm a huge fan of animated Disney films and have been following this film for over a year, so I was geeked about the chance to be a part of such a ground breaking movie. Princess Tiana is the first black Disney princess in the 70 years since the first princess made her debut.

The casting was listed as an open call but I decided to submit my photo anyway. I wanted them to see my face before everyone else's. Well.......later that afternoon, I received a phone call from the production manager of the event. She had seen my headshot and called me to make sure that I would be present for the casting. Naturally, I said I would be. Then, later that evening, I got ANOTHER call from another PM (a male) requesting my presence. Needless to say, I was very excited to have been contacted twice about this event, especially since it was an open call.

I showed up right at 10am (Friday, October 2nd) for the open call, the same time that it was scheduled to begin. I knew I should have come earlier but that would have been too much effort. The place was packed!! I thought they would be seeing just "Tianas" but it turns out they were casting for ALL NINE princesses, so there were girls of pretty much every ethnic background there. By the time I got the sign in sheet, I was number 160 and about 240 girls showed up altogether.

Luckily it was very organized. They were bringing groups of 15-20 at a time (based on their numbers) into a separate studio to have polaroids taken. By the time they got to around 115, they started from the beginning again and had girls going in groups of 30 or so to a dance studio where we had to learn a short dance to showcase our grace and poise. After performing the dance for one of the main casting directors for Disney, she made cuts. If you made the cut, you were given sides to read on the next round.

When I went up to get my polaroid taken, the female PM who called me the day before (I do remember her name but don't feel comfortable posting it at this time) saw my headshot and instantly recognized me! She said hi and snapped my photo. After the group finished, I pulled her aside because I was very crunched for time. I had two more auditions at 12, 12:30, and a booking for MTV at 1pm. I told her about my time constraints and she went ahead and had my measurements taken. Woo hoo! When I went in to do the dance, I was so nervous! We were split into 3 groups of 10 after learning the dance and performed in those groups for the casting director. After each group performed twice, the CD called us out by name into groups of 6. You did the dance once, then she axed the people she didn't like. It was brutal.

I was the third to last group to dance and prior to mine, she had only kept 3 girls. After doing the dance, she cut everyone in my group except for me. She ended up keeping a few more girls in the last groups, bringing the total down from about 34 to 6 or 7. We were all given sides to read over for the acting portion of the audition. All of the "Tianas" were given special sides to read (three to choose from) and notes that specified her mannerisms and accent. The film in set in New Orleans so she has a Southern accent. Thank heavens I'm from Texas! At this point, I was feeling very confident about my chances. Did I mention I look like her?



While I waited to audition for the CDs, I was all over the phone calling my agents getting my other auditions rescheduled because it was already after 12 by this point. Finally the main PM (the one that called me) made an announcement that the remaining girls would be split into two large groups and brought in all at once. I almost died when she said that because that meant we would have to act in front of everyone else! My name wasn't called for the first group but as the girls were rounded up into the first room, she came over and told me to come in with the first group since I was on a tight schedule. I was the last person to walk into the room and she announced in front of everyone that I would have to read first....in front of everyone.

Once again....I almost died.

She then went on to announce to the entire group (I estimate there were 40-60 girls in there) that everyone would read first, then they would make a cut. If you made the cut, you would read again on camera, and then you would have a digital photo taken and measurements. My measurements had already been taken. *wink*wink*

Then I got called up to read first. I had read the sides and was very comfortable with them, so I wasn't nervous except for the fact that I was first, and had to go in front of EVERYBODY. So I stood in the middle of the room in front of the CD, both PMs, and the choreographer (not to mention 40-60 girls) and I read the first set of sides. I felt really great and all of the Disney people were smiling big as I read. After I finished, the main PM and the CD chatted about me, then the PM asked the camera man to set up the camera right away. All of the girls were looking confused and I could feel a lot of tension behind me. The PM announced to everyone that this situation was unusual and that the casting process would go as planned for everyone else. It was literally ALL EYES ON ME. I'm not gonna lie, it felt great.

After the camera was set up, they asked me to slate and read again. I asked the CD if she needed me to make any adjustments and she told me that she loved the way I read it the first time and to do it the same way again. So I read again, and thanked everyone. The main PM got up and asked me to come with her so she could take my photo. All of the other girls were staring at me as I went to grab my bag and I left to finish the last part of my audition. :)

The next step is for the tapes to be sent to Los Angeles where more casting personnel for Disney will look over the tapes and make a final decision. The job starts on November 25th and runs through mid December. I want this so bad, but I think I have a great shot and getting it. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

As for my other auditions and booking, timewise, everything worked out perfectly. It was a great day.

Progress Report

1. Booked and shot a promo for MTV that begins airing October 7th. That's tomorrow!

2. Booked a short film that I shoot next month.

3. Booked another short film that I had to turn down.

4. Currently on hold for a hand sanitizer commercial. Been on hold for a week and will find out tomorrow! Keep those fingers crossed.

5. Was released from the SAG Capital One commercial. :(

6. Had a bajillion other auditions that I haven't heard anything about yet (either too late or too soon): Lowe's commercial, print ad for Abilify, a couple of other short films, YooStar commercial, Nintendo DS commercial, and a few things I can't remember.

Thanks so much for reading my novel this week! I hope it was as entertaining for you as it was exciting for me.

14 comments:

  1. AAAHHHH I wanted to go on that audi so badly but a commercial popped up! I'm so glad you went and had such an AWESOME go. I know those chicks were probably giving you the evil eye during your read haha. My fingers and toes are crossed for ya!

    xo
    Dani
    www.actressontherise.com

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  2. Thanks! It was a great experience and I'm happy that I went. Congrats on the commercial!!

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  3. Congrats Andrea! You do looking like Tiana :D I wish u many blessings and I am keeping you in my prayers. Good luck!!! :D
    Nikki

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  4. Thank you, that's very sweet of you!

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  5. You do look like Princess Tiana! I prayed for you and I am so proud of you andrea :)

    Keep up the Good Work!

    btw you should go to the actorfest on october 24th and meet me there :)

    it would be fun!

    the website is actorfest.com

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  6. Congrats and good luck on your future journeys! Keep the positive attitude and I know that you will go far! I can't wait to see you as Princess Tiana. I mean you are about to live every little girls dream! I know when I was little I always wanted to be a Disney Princess! So, I am going to have to live vicariously through you! Make sure you keep us posted!!!!!

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  7. Thanks for the love and well wishes ladies, it's very much appreciated. :)

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  8. I hope you get the Disney part!!! Keep at it.

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  9. Hi Andrea!

    This is the first time I read your blog (found it while googling stuff about Disney Princess Auditions) and I wanted to wish you the best of luck for your Tiana audition! I am absolutely sure you will get it! You sound like you made quite the impression during your audition and did a fabulous job!
    I hope you don't mind if I ask you questions about the audition. I'm still in my teens and I hope to be a disney princess performer (of course based on my look I would be more of a Belle or Ariel) and I would to hear more about everything! :)
    What was the dancing like? Was the acting portion challenging? Do you know if there are required measurements?
    Thanks for reading and best of luck!

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  10. Jackie, this audition was nearly a year ago, but thanks for the well wishes nonetheless!! The dancing was very simple, we learned a very short dance and performed in smaller groups. I'm an actor so the acting part was very easy. As far as measurements, they do have specific measurement because the actor needs to be able to fit the costume. :)

    Good luck on your quest and if you have any questions you can email me!

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  11. I just found this post randomly through browsing about Disney auditions! Did you get the part!?

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  12. When you were reading a part for everybody, did you do any actions, did you look up from the paper sometimes, did you have to have it memorized, also, who did you read for? :)

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