I Became a Pirate Because of the Power of Broke: PART 2

Part 2: The faithful jump.  The foolish leap.

Whether that last ditch email did the trick or not, I cannot say.  What I do know is that a few weeks after my phone rang out of the blue — a rarity indeed given my then much smaller network and the fact that phone plans were measured by the minute, minutes I might add that were being paid by my sister. I was a broke actor after all.

Me in full make-up and costume for Pirates 3

Me in full make-up and costume for Pirates 3

So who was it that rang me that fine spring afternoon?  None other than the casting office for Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest!

As I remember it, they were inviting me to the audition happening that weekend in Los Angeles.  I calmly told them that I would be there, secured all the details, and ended the call as if it were any ordinary day.

But it wasn't any ordinary day.

And I was far from calm.  On this inside I was totally freaking out.

I immediately called my sister to inform her of the great news.  This was my chance!  All those years of struggling, of her putting up with my probably naive belief that I could make it in pictures, it was all finally going to pay off.

Now of course the "voices of reason" told me I shouldn't go, that it was a long shot, that it was all the way on the opposite end of the country, in a city I had never traveled to before and where I knew absolutely no one.  And did I mention I was broke?

But I had to go.  How often do you get a call from the casting department of one of the most popular films of all time asking you to come and audition for them?  I had to take a chance.  I had to take the leap.  If I didn't, well... you miss all shots you don't take.

I plead my case to my sister and she agreed, telling me to go ahead and put everything on my credit card and that she would make the payments (as she had always done for all my cards).

So, that's what I did. I booked the flight, the rental car, the motel, and by the weekend I was in Los Angeles, wide eyed and ready to conquer the movie world.

The morning of the audition, I arrived at the studio timely if not early.  There were only a few others there then and together we waited with nervous anticipation.  As time passed however, more and more arrived and it wasn't long before the outdoor waiting area was filled with hundreds of hopefuls waiting for their chance at greatness.

"Is everyone here for the Pirates audition?" I asked the guy next to me.


I was dumbfounded.  Up to then I was under the impression that the invitation for the audition was to some degree exclusive.  But yet there I was sitting with hundreds and hundreds of others all waiting to be seen.  It was a cattle call — what we in the industry call an audition that is open to anyone who fit the role and was available to show up.

This gamble was looking less and less favorable by the minute.  Worse still, we weren't even being seen individually.  Instead they were calling us in groups of 5 and 6 at a time.

Take the shot.

I was there.  I had dumped a bunch of money I didn't have into making it to this audition so you better believe I was going to make the best of it.  Despite the growing odds against my favor, I was going to go in there and give it everything I had.  And that's exactly what I did.

This is where things start to really get interesting.


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