When I woke up, I was filled with the excitement/nervous combination that really is a killer at 4.30 in the morning.
The Star Wars auditions have been the talk of the town/country/world. Not only is Star Wars considered as one of the great series that everyone knows, but it is now run by the major company which is called Disney, which even four year old children know about. By announcing that the next Star Wars film, Episode VII, was to be an open audition with requirements only being an age as well as you being ‘beautiful and athletic’, it’s no wonder that thousands of people went for it.
I have to congratulate Disney on this excellent publicity stunt as what better way to get everyone to watch the film – not that it needed the extra help – than to let anyone audition for it?
Of course, this can’t be a blog about recounting a day in my life which you don’t really care about. Nah, I have a major bone to pick concerning the day I’ve just had.
I reached the Twickenham Stadium (the venue for the auditions which was changed from the original plan, which was both smart and crazy. We needed the massive venue to fit the people, but it was changed too close to the day and I don’t even want to think about who might have turned up at the wrong place) at around 6am, already feeling cold. As soon as I got out of the car, I immediately latched onto a group of three girls my age as I couldn’t convince anyone to go with me. We lined up behind the hundreds of people already there and braced ourselves.
Before I go on, let me just clarify a few things before you start judging. There has not been even a moment where I have thought that I would get the part which thousands of people are chasing. I mainly went for the experience and also so I could write an article about it. I’m in the right age range, so why not just go for it?
So we queued outside on the grass for about an hour (which was incredible compared to the four hours other people queued for in that area), but really this was the queue for the proper queue. We were shuffled along like cattle, but the people working there were surprisingly friendly considering that they were out in the cold like us, trying to deal with so many eager young people.
Once inside the stadium grounds, it wasn’t much warmer. No, in fact, it didn’t get warmer. We all shuffled along, our feet becoming as useful as stumps on the ends of our legs which were essentially blocks of ice. I met several great people in the queue and I was so happy that the three girls I’d latched onto were so lovely. Unlike me, all three of them were actress-hopefuls and had done various acting jobs whereas I just had my modelling experience (something that I’ll chat/vent about another day). After a few more hours, I chatted with another girl who was also half dutch, a guy called Raz (which I thought was a pretty cool name) and four 23-year-olds who were really easy to get on with as well as being able to have a laugh in the seemingly endless queue.
Five hours in, some had already started to sing Christmas songs which had the complete opposite effect of lightening the mood. We were passed forms to fill out which just asked about name, age, contact details etc. Two people then went around with staplers, which was when we all had to whip out our head shots which we hoped would be alright. Rumour took flight as we listened to what everyone thought was going to happen. It was unsurprising that we only became more nervous as the hours ticked by.
All in all, I only queued for six hours. So what’s my problem? I knew that there would be a long queue, and I probably got off lightly considering the stories I’ve heard of people queuing for 18 hours. Well, it happens to be the thirty second finish to the day.
Thirty seconds – if that – was taken to make the decision.
I went into a tent. Somebody asked me how I was and I replied cheerfully. I then walked a few feet forwards, handed over my head shot and my form to a woman who didn’t even look at what I gave her. She just said ‘Thanks for coming. You’ll be on file. Bye.’. My A4 head shot was then thrown onto a giant pile of discarded head shots of hopefuls that will all probably end up in a bin in Twickenham.
I understand that there isn’t much you could do to improve the overall experience, but I honestly wouldn’t have minded to wait an extra couple of hours if that meant that everyone could have at least a few minutes to talk to someone who would then make a decision. Yes it can be argued that you can’t spend so much time on so many people, but what do you expect when you do a publicity stunt like this? My advice is that you put as much effort into it as the people coming do. I hate to think what time the people who were first in the queue arrived and it’s horrible to think that they were treated the same as I was. Everyone who went to the auditions have given up hours of their time (and sleep) as well as letting themselves freeze in the weather. Each one of them deserved at least a few minutes in return, if only to find out that they aren’t fit for the role. Don’t just judge someone on how they say ‘I’m fine thank you, and how are you?’ and definitely don’t judge someone on how they look after an early wake-up and hours of queuing. If we can stand around for hours, then the least we can hope for in return is a small chat. It wouldn’t have cost them anything more and it would have made a lot of people far happier.
Congratulations to everyone who managed to get through the next few rounds and I hope that if any of you decide to go to auditions that your experience is better. From what I heard, everyone managed to go into a room and chat for at least a minute with someone or even a few minutes about their acting experiences, hobbies etc. I’m glad if that’s the case, but for today it was not.
On the bright side, I also got to see a couple of storm troopers.
Hope you enjoyed reading, and let me know what you think ~Eleanor