stupid murphy’s law can bite me.

My plans to spend last night with the Basic D&D Dungeon Master's Booklet were derailed when I got a late-afternoon phone call from my manager.

"You have a pilot audition tomorrow," he said. "I'm sending you all the material right now."

He described the show to me; it sounds very cool. He described the character to me; it became apparent that this is a guy I could easily bring to life.

"This is awesome," I said. "I'll let you know how it goes."

I spent the evening preparing the audition, and finally went to sleep when I felt like I had a good handle on the material. I woke up this morning feeling excited, and ready to go nail this.

I went over the material* again, put on a tie (the character's a doctor) and grabbed my wallet, keys, iPod and phone. As I jammed all that stuff into my pocket, I heard my phone make the "hey, guess what? My battery is about to die" noise.

"Crap," I said to Anne, "my phone is going to die."

"Why don't you just take it with you and leave it off? You can turn it on in case there's an emergency."

"Nah," I said, "I'll just leave it here and charge it while I'm gone. I hardly ever need it, anyway."

You know what comes next, right?

This is the part where, if this were a movie, we would cut to me, sitting in traffic on the freeway. I'm not moving. There is a shot through my windshield of a bunch of emergency vehicles about a mile ahead of me, and a matching shot of me looking concerned. The next several shots would cut between me and the clock in my car, as it gets closer and closer to my audition time, and then passes it. Repeated over this, my voice says, "I hardly ever need it, anyway … anyway … anyway … now batting … Manny Mota … Mota … Mota …" Finally, about 30 minutes after I'm supposed to be in Hollywood, and still at least 45 minutes away, I creep past the crash, hope that nobody was hurt, and wonder what the hell I'm going to do now. You can't just show up for an audition 90 minutes late without calling.

"Well, fuck." I said. I got off the freeway, turned around, and went home.

It totally sucks that this is the first pilot audition I've had in over a year, and everything that could have gone wrong on the way did.

This show looks great, and the character is absolutely one I can see myself playing for five years or more. I'm hopeful that they're seeing people late into the afternoon or early
evening today, or that there's another session I can go to. This time, I'll bring my cell phone with me, just in case.

Edited to add: Well, this worked out okay after all. I'm going back at noon tomorrow. Yay!

*The material was wonderful, and showed many different sides of this character. This seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be shocked to learn how many auditions feature scenes that tell us nothing about the character, and are little more than that horrible exposition all actors hate to say.

110 thoughts on “stupid murphy’s law can bite me.”

  1. I always check the traffic before I leave, because there are really two ways to get from Pasadena into Hollywood: the 110 or the 134. I chose the 134, which doesn’t have ramps for about 2 miles through Eagle Rock. Right after I passed the last exit, the whole freeway came to a halt. The wreck must have happened about five minutes before I got there, because the emergency vehicles were coming up behind me on the shoulder.
    In this case, a GPS, and even the traffic report on the radio wouldn’t have helped.

  2. I creep past the crash, hope that nobody was hurt…
    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din. Artery-blocking collisions bring out the worst in me, the very worst.

  3. I’m as close to being a full-time writer as I can get, and I work out of my home office. Driving in LA sucks ass, our public transportation isn’t very good, and I don’t go into town unless I absolutely have to, and even then I do my best to convince my wife to drive.

  4. I may not know much about Hollywood, but if I were a casting director I’d hate having people on the Internet attempting to interfere with my decisions.
    I imagine there are several more reasons than simple professional courtesy that Wil doesn’t tell us what he’s auditioning for until well after the part’s been cast…

  5. Yeah device specific chargers would not be the best. Might wanna pick up a cheap inverter though, then you can run anything you might need in a pinch. I’ve had the same one I picked up on sale for 20$ for like 10 years now.
    Side note: Ever get reverse murphy’s law, if you take something you absolutely wind up needing it. Last time I had a long ways to drive although I was having absolutely no automotive problems I packed spare coolant (I did not pack oil or other fluids, although I almost did) my radiator fan died, I overheated in traffic and blew a bunch of coolant. All of the coolant I had with me was perfectly enough to get me back to the proper full point.
    Likely would have still happened if I had not taken to coolant with me, but what prompted me to be ready for that I really do not know.

  6. Yeah, you pretty much nailed it. It’s professional courtesy, among other things.
    Also, that sort of petitioning, e-mailing, phone calling thing, while certainly well-intentioned, just isn’t a good idea; it just annoys casting people.

  7. I won’t join the chorus of people saying “Car charger” (though I guess I just did, hmmm…) but I am struck by the frustration you must have felt. I could feel it a bit myself. I’m also struck with the thought that this situation would have been much less frustrating in the Olden Days before we all carried phones around.
    Strike three. I’m out.

  8. *whistles* I’m glad to hear that you’ve got another chance at this audition, LA traffic can be a cast iron one. Hopefully, being one of the later people to read will be a good thing. *crosses fingers*
    By the way, I found your blog last night via a link from the Emerald City ComicCon. I greatly enjoyed your D&D posts! I’ve still got the book from my old box set too, as well as nearly all of my old AD&D & Second Edition books. I’m one of those who was very leery of the new 4th edition, but I’m willing to give it a shot after reading your review. Now if only I could find a gaming group nearby.

  9. Oh man, I can just imagine the horrible sinking feeling as you sat in traffic with no phone. But hey, maybe you’ll stick out in the casting director’s mind now — erm, in a good way, I mean — going in on the second day of auditions.
    I’m cheerfully hexing anyone else who auditioned for the same role, because I’d love to see you in a regular role on a new series. ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Good luck on your next audition, and on your way home maybe pick up a charger that can plug into your car for your cell phone, to help avoid future issues. :)

  11. If it’s any consolation, I did almost the same thing on a job interview last year: I left my phone at home because the battery was dead, and then I proceeded to get lost on the way there. I was about a half-hour late…and then, to top it all off, my husband got worried when I didn’t come home when he expected me and he could see I’d left my phone, and he saw the number of where I would be on my computer screen, and CALLED ME DURING MY INTERVIEW. I was so beyond embarrassed.
    And yet, I still got the job. I work there now.

  12. I commuted in and out of Pasadena for years and really sympathize. Still, I think some points are missing.
    1. At least one other person on the 134 was having a worse day than you. :-/
    2. After you didn’t show up, I bet the casting director was more relieved than you to find out your audition could be rescheduled to tomorrow. :-)
    3. I’m sure the cost of accessories is not the only reason someone in the year 2009 decides not to own a car charger for his cell phone. The worst thing about being in a car in the hills around L.A. is that traffic congestion and phone calls with unpredictable signal conspire to burn your mind out. Pasadena freeways can be nice drives (especially at night), and uninterrupted quiet time is the only dividend anyone can earn for tolerating heavy traffic. Maybe it’s better you just carry a recorder, so next time the lines are fouled you can get some writing done.
    Wil, can you share with us who the writer(s) are? What you’ve said about the material is pretty compelling.

  13. How long does it take for a pilot to be filmed to actually airing (if it even gets picked up)?
    This wouldn’t be for V, would it? I could see you in such a series.

  14. After I saw “The Big Bang Theory” for the first time I immediately thought of Wil. He would have been a great choice for one of the characters. Either that or he would be a great guest star. He could play himself and the guys could live next door to him or something. That would be funny. Anyways, good luck with the audition.

  15. Just checked back and saw the edit. Sending good mojo your way. Take that, stupid Murphy and his stupid Law.

  16. Good luck on the audition tomorrow!!!
    I’m a stage manager, so I need my cell phone to be working always. It’s the only reason I have a car charger. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had either my actors, my director, or a designer try to call me on my day off to tell me they need to schedule something or another. I love my job, I just wish I didn’t have to be chained to communicators.

  17. Here’s me, beating a dead horse:
    Still Auditioning Actor, without charged cell phone = Fail
    Writer, without charged cell phone = Situation Normal
    Techo Geek, without charged cell phone = EPIC FAIL
    Future Secretary of Geek Affairs (Okay, I might be optimistic here…), without charged cell phone = SHEER AND UTTER MADNESS

  18. You know, a little while back I gave up on Murphy’s Law and instead chose to pay more attention to a logically equivalent but yet more empowering law…. Murphy’s Contrapositive.
    If something goes right, there was never any chance for it to go wrong in the first place.

  19. it sucks that our lovely la traffic made you miss the audition, but i’m glad you were able to reschedule
    i’m a long-time reader, but i don’t think i’ve commented before (although i love your books)
    anyway, i have an unrelated question – would you consider sharing a bit of information about something rather infuriating that’s happening to my friend jason yungbluth of he’s been doing a charlie brown/sin city style noir comic since 2002, and then i started seeing posts everywhere about this new work…
    someone put up sin-city inspired charlie brown work on deviant art, and suddenly it’s all over the place (including MTV!)
    please check out this entry to see just how similar this new piece is to jason’s original cover
    or this article from New York Comic Con’s site
    or jason’s website – he’s been doing this type of work for years, and it’s been burning me up to see all these people pimping this deviant artwork as a totally new idea
    i’d be eternally greatful if you’d spread the word on this (but i understand if you can’t and i’ll still keep reading…)

  20. ahh, I know Murphy well. Among many other instances, I, too, hardly need my phone and have been without it THAT ONE TIME I needed it when I was stuck in traffic and not early like I typically am (actually more than once). I want to kick Murphy in his smug ass sometimes.
    p.s. I hope it went well. I believe you already had it again by now….

  21. I love the Airplane! ref you’ve been dropping the last couple days (from our point of view). Wednesday it was in the D&D podcast, today its in your post… Awesome stuff.
    Good luck on the pilot. I would totally watch a TV show just for you, and I don’t watch much TV at all.

  22. I drove on expired tags for a couple years once. Then, on a whim, I registered my vehicle just before taking a road-trip to Texas. I got caught speeding. Can you imagine how much that would’ve sucked with expired tags?

  23. I just hope the series is on a major network that we can pick up over the air. We’re about to drop our cable tv (as soon as Battlestar is done) because we’re tired of paying for something we almost never use.
    Break a leg!

  24. I am with you there. I have my wife drive any time we head towards L.A. or Orange County. I sit in the passenger seat and pretend its all a dream. I hate driving. I drive 20 minutes to work, and 20 minutes back. When I worked across from the Capital building, I would take the Metro Link, and even that was a complete pain in the butt.

  25. Wil, it would be great to have you back on a TV series again. Not V huh? “Mousey!” I loved that mini-series as well. I watched in my parents room each night because they didn’t like it. I was so young that I didn’t see the plot twist coming. Good luck on the audition.
    Side note: I have my cousin convinced that you told me to tell her how to fix her updates from Facebook Mobile. Because you’re the Geek god and have the ability to solve all tech related problems. At least as far as she is concerned. She says thanks. ๐Ÿ˜›

  26. do you know the sneak attack way to get from pasadena into town? you take the 2 and get off at fletcher dr.
    it dumps you out in los feliz. and from there you can conquer the world. or at least the eastside.

  27. You are the UberGeek – who else could get another shot so quickly? Break a Leg, man – would LOVE to see you in a regular role as a grownup ;>.

  28. I vote we take up a collection to buy Wil a car charger.
    Yes, it is annoying to spend the cash on something so very rarely used, but from personal experience I can say that in the bigger scheme of things, it is a paltry sum.
    So, who’s with me? :)

  29. I’m with you ang….. we certainly want no repeats of this experience. Tell me where to send the money!!! LOL
    Wil – I hope you nailed today’s audition. Personally, I have always thought Friday the 13th was an extraordinarily lucky day. Let us know if it was for you.

  30. Wil — Glad to hear you had a chance to reschedule. Keeping my fingers crossed for you! I’d love to see more of your on-screen work

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