There was a time in my life where I had gotten very used to creating a running order for the comedy shows for Oui Be Negroes where I knew one person in our company was going to be late for the actual performances and would make a scene list to put that person in about five minutes into the show.
Two times in particular stand out.
A company member who during a show in Chicago showed as the opening music was happening and the lights were coming up. Later he said it was traffic. I happened to be living with him and knew he was at the house we were renting when we left.
He tossed off his beanie cap and (stoned) tripped onto the stage.
A synapse snapped.
The Second time was in San Francisco for The San Francisco Fringe Festival. Their rules of their Fringe is if you are not ready to go up for the time of your show? You do not perform. This affects obviously the money you are hoping to make back at a Fringe Festival.
The actor in our company showed up three minutes before our performance and had a hanky doo rag on her head. She blamed traffic. She has lived in The Bay Area all of her life.
She informed both myself and Hans that she needed to do her hair before she performed.
A synapse snapped.
Hans I believe got to this actor before I could open my mouth. He very tersely said: You wear that onstage or you go home. Shaun and I had already planned a two person improv show about fifteen minutes ago.
It's amazing how fast someone can do their hair two minutes before a show behind stage wings. I ended up doing an improvised rant that pretty much dealt around being responsible. It has gone in the annals of SF Fringe festival history as one of the best improvised rants people have seen.
There is truth in comedy. You never have to go far for funny in regards to improvising about being responsible. Especially if you just had someone being irresponsible about three minutes before your show.
Now that I'm here in Los Angeles auditioning I have found The Traffic Excuse is the main excuse I hear people rolling into anything. Particularly at auditions. It's the blanket statement in this town for not having your shit together enough to make it to a possible job.
And yet. I'm here. I'm here thirty minutes early while I listen to you complain about the traffic. And finding parking. These are the moments where I like to now squinch over to let that person sit next to me and ask this question:
How long have you been living in Los Angeles?
If they say they have lived in Los Angeles for less than a week? That is when I know they just found out how bad any backups in this town can be or they got lost AND stuck in traffic. That is when I feel sorry for that actor. They just did not know.
Any longer than a week to a year? There is no excuse. An alarm clock did not go off or they forgot what the audition time was...or somehow they thought that you could get to two auditions close to each other across town in your car. That makes them pretty damn stupid.
If they have lived here for One Year to All of Your Life: They just don't care about being late anymore. They are also probably in complete denial about how they leave Casting Directors, friends, girlfriends/boyfriends and family members waiting for them to arrive leaving everyone writing them off as "Flakes" at best or "Artistic" at worst (Nothing worse than having Artistic being used as another terminology for being Flakes).
Basically these actors are irresponsible and suck. There. I typed that out loud. Everyone will no longer tell that bit of information to their faces. Because honestly, What is the point telling a grown human being in denial that they are *always late* because this will always come out of their mouths: "What do you mean! I'm NEVER LATE"
That's right pookie. You are never late. Have a thin mint and some milk. The thin mint is melted and the milk is warm because it has been waiting for you for an hour or so. You are a timely shining star. Now if you excuse me I need to go to a doctor. Another synapse snapped.
If you haven't figured out at this point: I hate being late for anything. Especially the thing that I do for a living on a regular basis - Going to an audition.
I have lived in Los Angeles for officially five years this month. Even before I moved here I was lucky enough to be born in Chicago and lived in San Francisco. I have come from cities with a large population that has those pesky numerous cars blocking the long stretches of highways, freeways and bridges. These towns are also known for events. Tons of them. Big sporting events. Political Rallies. Streets being blocked off for miles for bike events and festivals and parades.
Ever map out your drive route of attack when someone thinks its smart to plan their audition a day before The Oscars and you live three blocks up from Hollywood and Highland? Yea. I have.
Ever just taken BART because you know it will take less time to get from Oakland to 16th and Mission in San Francisco than a car ride on the bridge? I have.
Presidents just love coming to the towns I lived in too. Ever been told to walk three miles out of your way because President Bill Clinton decided to have lunch about two blocks from your apartment in Chicago? I have.
Shit also happens in larger cities. Fires, shootings, car chases, vehicular manslaughter...the whole nine yards. You can get stuck in traffic just because someone decided to put a cone up they stole from another street just to stand in the middle of the street and preach to the almighty Spaghetti Monster.
Guess what? Traffic is not an excuse for being late for an audition actors, when you know good and damn well you live in a big city full of a lot of cars, events and freaks.
Wow! How did you get here on time?!?
That has been asked to me not only by other actors rolling in late...but from Casting Directors who have been waiting for actors rolling in late.
Here is a clue and maybe this will help not only other actors...but to inform the people I audition for that not only do I work on your material before I get there...but I also will never be late for your call times. Here is the reason I make casting directors lose a synapse on you when I show up on time and you are claiming traffic:
I PLAN SHIT.
It's pretty simple really how I'm always on time for an audition (or anything for that matter). Here is a base example of having an audition at say, 3:30pm in the afternoon.
1) What day is the audition and where is it at?
Most people just figure in traffic time and think to themselves: Oh Google says 15 minutes current time. Guess what? FUCK GOOGLE MAPS. Google Maps fucks people shit up good because it really does not figure in any random event that is happening while you are on the road. What Google is good for is finding out a day before to the day of the audition "what event will be blocking your way from where you are coming from to your audition. If you are heading towards any Sports Stadium at the time a game is going on Figure that in. Some big hoity event? Add it in.
You also figure out logically the time of this audition. It's at 3:30. If its a Friday at 3:30? Guess what...people are leaving work early. Around a holiday? The traffic is given for sucking.
2) Does the place that you are auditioning have free or street parking.
You figured out that 30 minutes to get to the place, but did you add in the time that you are circling the place (while other actors are also circling) to find a parking space that the place you are auditioning does not have? Well. That's dumb on your part. You might want to find out the parking situation and add that time in. Oh...and you might want to bring some quarters, nickels and dimes with you so you don't have to run to get them somewhere.
3) If you don't wish to figure it out: Double or more your travel time.
If your online GPS what-have-you puts you thirty minutes away DO NOT LEAVE WHERE YOU ARE AT 3:00! You leave at 2:00. If it is an hour out? You leave at 1:30. If you happen to be lucky to actually arrive at your audition and find parking at 2:30 you now have an hour to do something really wonderful: Find a nice coffee shop or a nice place to sit close to your audition place and go over your sides. Even if you drive to a place less than a mile you still have enough time to drive back. If you don't want to give up that prime parking space you can relax in your car and go over your sides then breeze into the audition at a normal early time of 15-30 minutes early.
You might even be seen at your exact time or earlier.
I'm that person that makes not only chronic late people, look really, really bad, but normal usually on time people too.
Yesterday I went to an audition for a promo spot for a sports/cable organization. The character was a choir member. My audition was at 4:45 and was three miles away. Google and my GPS put the time at 15 minutes. I doubled that time and I left at 4:00. My husband drove me like he usually likes to do when he is around and figured he would just go to the grocery store we shop at across the street from where I was auditioning.
I was dressed in a black dress, pair of flats and my husband's purple graduation robe.
Everything was going just fine. Until...we got onto La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. The traffic had stopped to a crawl very near close to being a parking structure. The traffic was being redirected on side streets.
You see...someone decided to hit a another person with their car and killed them. This also occurred around the same time of The Santa Monica Shootings. Three or so blocks of La Brea was blocked and there we were on a side street not more than three blocks away from where I needed to be.
I looked at the time. It was exactly 4:40.
A synapse snapped.
I look at Hans and said I'm getting out and running this. He gave me that look of knowing synapses were dying in my brain and said "I'm going to park at Trader Joes. Run Forest Run!"
I got out of the car. Took off my flat dress shoes (as running in those would have been worse) and in black stockings I ran the last three blocks to the audition. People cheering me on as my purple robe was flying behind me in the wind. I get to the block of the audition where the parking was and there were two actual church members (in their real Church Choir Robes) who saw me and said: "Oooo girl...its all good! Everyone was late!"
I smiled and laughed and said "NOT ME GIRL!" And everyone laughed as I continued running.
I signed in at 4:46. I was a minute late. It is the first time I have ever been late to an audition. And yet, most of the women there seemed completely stunned:
Woman: When was your audition time?
Me: 4:45 I live three miles away.
Woman: AND YOU GOT HERE AT YOUR CALL? IN THAT MESS?
Me: I left the house at four. When was your call time?
Woman: (almost embarrassed) 3:30. How did you know?
Me: I didn't. I just live in Los Angeles. Traffic, you know.
I think I'm the only person ever who has claimed that traffic makes her on time.
Causes Shaun Landry Supports
The Alzheimer's Foundation, NAACP, Breast Cancer Foundation, Gilda's Club.