As some of us spent our Saturday battling seniors-with-shopping-carts (a deadly combination, Gothamist tells you) about three miles uptown from the Idiotarod, some New Yorkers headed to the Forensics Files casting day. We read that Forensics Files actually does four open casting calls a year and they even cast animals (Philadelphia's City Paper writes, "a goat that pees on command has been the veteran scene-stealer"). While there were no peeing animals at this audition, special correspondant Liya Brook was on the scene:
As a detective-tv show enthusiast, Gothamist was particularly excited about the chance to get our feet wet playing a vengeful sibling, murderous roommate, or not-so-innocent bystander in Court TV’s number-one rated show, Forensic Files.
At four p.m., the line extended halfway down the block, even with many aspiring faux corpses handing in headshots and walking away. We were told that the line went all the way down the block earlier in the day. Apparently, the show, which shoots in Pennsylvania, arranges for transportation, pays a very hefty hourly rate for all roles (so some of us can finally afford cable to watch ourselves in our first television role!) and earns you a point toward your SAG membership!
The folks casting for the show were a bit harried, after seeing 900 people that day, but very nice. We were grouped into threes and given scenes...Albeit usually unable to fake our way out of a paper bag, Gothamist played a very convincing nervous second roommate who, along with the first roommate, had tried to cover up involvement in “illegal activities” by murdering the third roommate. (Kudos, also, to Gothamist’s superstar scene partners.)
Gothamist was also exposed to the bitter, cut-throat world of television crime drama. Hard-working actors (and their hard-working small children and elderly grandmothers) waited over two hours in 21°F temperatures (13°F with wind-chill) to get a shot at a well-paid role in the re-enactment of a real-life murder mystery. After the doors were closed and those persistent enough to wait in line to make the cut-off got their casting numbers (or puppy-dog eye the gatekeeper in order to move back the cut off point just a bit– (go Alexis!)), the next Ms. Thang waltzes and demands to be seen. After being turned away, she makes her own number out of a torn piece of paper (which was miraculously 40 places ahead of Gothamist’s number) crosses out the name of the person who actually waited in line to get that number, and proceeds to do a scene with her equally conniving scene partner. Gothamist hopes the very intelligent folks casting the show caught on to this underhandedness and that the acting gods enact their karmic revenge swiftly and expediently.
All in all, this was excellent day in the life of a very secretly aspiring screen star. However, Gothamist may just keep our day job and wait to be discovered sipping a cappuccino at our local celebrity-packed Italian cafe...
Now, the real question is how awesome would it be to watch Forensics Files and see a friend reenacting a crime? And it turns out that to join SAG as a background performer, you need at least three full days of work under your belt.
Some of our favorite crime-related elements:
- Ben Sinclair's random Law & Order plot generator
- Law & Order's coffee table book, L&O Crime Scenes
- The Upper West Side store, Murder Ink, which sells mysteries and the like.