I wasn’t going to audition.
Not that semester, I’d told myself. I started the fall ’09 semester, my sophomore year, with a trip to the hospital. I didn’t need any more stress in my life. At least not quite so soon. But the call came for actors with martial arts experience. I’d been a fencer throughout high school and a test dummy for my brother’s Hapkido joint locks more years than I could remember – how could I say “no”?
I went to the audition without knowing much: one female lead. Martial arts experience preferred. Original webseries. That was it. I didn’t have high expectations and it wasn’t a big deal to me either way.
I walked into the room and was almost immediately joined by my previously mentioned joint-locking older brother and several mutual friends from the IU Martial Arts Program, one of whom would be choreographing the fight scenes for the series. My expectations soared.
I went through the movement portion first with Adam Rector, the student choreographer who would later also be cast as the lead, Shane Gurren, and Adam Noble, the IU Theatre Department’s fight and movement choreographer and professor, who would later guest star and terrify everyone. Then came the screen tests. There was one female role.
While I’m no fan of typecasting and certainly believe I have the acting chops to pull off a variety of rolls, let’s just say… I’m no Cymric. The shy, shrinking violet – especially on-screen, where everything has to be smaller than on stage, which is what all my training is for – just isn’t my kind of role. But, luckily, there was Chelsey. Chelsey McKrill was not having this “only one female in the whole frikkin’ show” deal. There were two characters for whom it was deemed gender didn’t matter, and she championed for the girls auditioning that night to test for Kentucky and Script.
I read the description for Kentucky. Artistic. Fights with a bo. Not a bad character. I could read for her.
I read Script’s description. A writer. A fencer. A bitch. It was like Sam Sher and John Quick had taken my life and put it down on paper. I’m a writer! I’m a fencer! I’m a bitch! I had to have this role.
I’ve never auditioned for anything more determinedly in my life. Although it’s generally an option on audition forms that you can put down if there is a particular role you want to have, I rarely do. But this was different. I had to make Sam see that I was the only person who could give Script the characterization she deserved. She became my character that night and no one was taking her from me.
Thankfully no one tried.
Perhaps the original audition tapes will show differently, but I can’t remember testing with most of the cast that was actually chosen for the main seven. Kristy didn’t read for Kentucky; Doug didn’t read for the Enforcer; a girl, not Ryan, read for Kyle in most my tests; Jowi and I maybe read once together in the same test. So, it wasn’t until a month after auditions that I actually met everyone.
I’m fairly certain I fell immediately in love. I’ve never had better cast/crew chemistry on any project than on Student Seven, which worked out really well, since I’ve also never had a call at 5pm last until 4:30am with an 8am class directly following. I probably would have simply walked out that night – my first shoot – had I not adored everyone and the script (episode and character).
It’s been two years since that fateful audition, but the enthusiasm I felt then has only grown. After so many, many sugar and caffeine fueled shoots at 2am, music videos, penguin cuddles, geek debates, and sunburn-inducing, two-day long fight scenes, I cannot imagine life without Student Seven.