Published by

Allison Bosma

{The author, being interviewed for Glamour Magazine on the set of Undateable like the BADASS SHE IS}

I am SO. EXCITED. to share this guest blog from my friend Allison Bosma, writer for NBC’s Undateable and one of the funniest humans I’ve ever met. Like me, she moved to Los Angeles with the pipe dream of becoming a HOLLYWOOD STAAAAAR! This is her hilarious, horrifying tale of the audition that killed her dreams… (Good thing, too, because now the world gets the gift of her writing. Especially me. She gets paid a lot of hot, steaming cash for putting words on paper and she wrote this magic pro bono. THANK YOU, ALLISON.)

The Audition That Annihilated My Acting Dream

By: Allison Bosma

Like the majority of Los Angeles citizens, I moved here because I was destined to be a movie star. I had the cliché “small town girl turned big time star” headline plastered across my daydreams. I was going to be the one girl from my small town to get out and make something big of myself. Not long after I finished college in Chicago, I packed my parent’s red Chrysler Sebring to the brim. That’s right… I had a sweet ride so I could roll into Hollywood properly.

My Whip

My whip.

After unpacking and emailing my family and friends my new Hollywood address, (North Hollywood, to be specific baby) I decided it was time to book a starring role. I drove to the local mall, found Forever 21’s classiest fucking outfit, and used my remaining $300 to purchase mediocre headshots from a woman who “promised big results from her photos.” I was on my way. I felt it.

REAL ACTRESS

You can tell I’m a real actress because of this headshot against a brick wall.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed a commercial agent to land the REALLY BIG gigs… aka UNION commercials – ever heard of ‘em? A bigwig actor who had booked TWO commercials, one of which was UNION, referred me to a commercial agent. So needless to say, I knew I was in and the meeting was just a formality. And boy was I right, baby. I signed with LA’s 14th best commercial agency, on the spot. Before I knew it, I was auditioning left and right, often missing my job to do so. So what if I couldn’t afford food or electricity? THIS was the Hollywood I signed up for.

Eventually I got so good at auditioning, I booked an online commercial that aired zero times. That was a prettaaaaaay nice $700 payday (minus taxes and the agent’s commission), but I was thirsty for bigger, better things. I had my eyes set on a manager. Mostly because I saw her everyday, due to the fact that I was her nanny. After proving I was funny and worthwhile by showing her some web videos I had done, she agreed to sign me. Wow. I was flying upwards at speeds unknown. At this rate, I would be famous in a few months max. Then, in January of 2010, I went to an audition that would change my life. I was auditioning to be on the reboot of Drew Carey’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” This was it. My big shot. If I could just book this gig, I would be Hollywood royalty. My audition was awesome. I truly did nail it. I did tons of characters and used funny accents and did some physical comedy to really round it out. Then, like a song from heaven, my phone rang. It was my manager. “You got the job!” I GOT THE JOB.

Finally, after A WHOLE YEAR of trying, I had made it. I would be a star. On a Game Show Network improv reboot show!

Improvising with Drew Carey

Improvising with Drew Carey! It’s all up hill from here!

That feeling of elation didn’t last long, as I was promptly fired after doing two live shows with the cast. Apparently, we “didn’t vibe” comedy wise. Yikes. I was not going to become famous via Drew Carey.

I was crushed. And thus began a five-year tailspin of auditioning with zero confidence. At that point, I really just wanted to book one commercial so I could move back to Wisconsin and live in a mansion. (Seriously, you can buy a mansion in Wisconsin for what you make on one commercial.)

I had no luck booking anything but I did get a lot of callbacks so that was enough for me to keep going back. I even made it down to the final few to be “The Wendy’s girl”… a role I dyed my hair red for. Yup, I actually did that. And you know those people who can dye their hair red and not look absolutely horrible? I was not one of those people. See?

Wendy's Girl

Also, I didn’t end up booking the commercial, so now I was just a blonde girl with red hair and no money to buy my Wisconsin mansion.

Then, when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my phone rang. It was my manager. “I got you an audition for tomorrow for MODERN FAMILY.” I was floored. This was the biggest audition I’d ever gotten and I was going to get it. I promised myself I would. I was too busy planning what I’d wear to the Emmy’s to hear that my manager was trying to tell me something else. “You have to look like Julie Bowen from behind, so you’ll need to dye your hair back to blonde.” No problem. Some people would think it’s crazy to spend 3 hours and $200 getting your hair dyed red and then less than a week later, pay another $200 to get it dyed back to blonde, but not me! It was all in the name of Hollywood dreams, baby! I was back! And bonus: I found a place that would do my hair for $150.

So after four hours, I was back to blonde. Sure, my scalp was full of ammonia burns and I could pull my hair out by the handfuls, but I was ready to nail this audition! I was going to be auditioning for casting director, Jeff Greenberg . This man is a legend. I knew of him because he cast the majority of my favorite shows including FRASIER, CHEERS, and WINGS. Yes, Wings was one of my favorite shows, why do you ask?

Jeff Greenberg

After hiring an acting coach to help me, I was more confident going into this audition than I had been on any audition I’d ever done. I arrived 25 minutes early and sat in the waiting room, looking at all the different headshots they’d hung up on their walls. I was certain mine would be up there in no time. “Allison, they’re ready for you.” I was up. And I was so ready.

Now, the next four minutes of my life were perhaps the slowest four minutes I’ve ever lived. Buckle up as I relive the audition that annihilated my acting dream.

I walked into the room and said hello to Jeff and his assistant, who would be reading with me. Jeff politely said, “Whenever you’re ready.” I was auditioning to be Haley’s college roommate. The beginning of the scene started with me facing the wall with my back to them, bending over. In the scene, Phil enters and thinks he is pinching his wife’s butt, but it is actually his daughter’s new roommate. Thus, the reason I had to be blonde to look like Julie Bowen from behind, even though my ass was four times the size of hers.

The very first thing I needed to do was whip around in shock as though I just had my butt pinched. As I whipped around, my feet got tangled up. (Thanks 7 years of dance class for making me oh so graceful) I tripped, falling forward. I tried to catch myself with my hands, but they were holding the script and couldn’t get there in time to save me. I flew forward, hitting my chin on Jeff’s desk on the way to the floor. Down on the floor I had two thoughts: The first was “Get up! Get up and make it part of the audition! It’ll be funny and unique and he’ll totally appreciate you making a mistake and making it work!” and the second was “Oh sweet, steaming pile of pig shit, I am bleeding. I am bleeding bad.” I focused on thought #2.

I popped up from the ground as fast as I could, jumping a little as I landed back on my feet. I let out an insecure “oopsie” and continued on. Both of the gentlemen looked at me as though nothing had happened! As though I didn’t just fall on my face in front of them. Their arms remained crossed and their eyelids half closed. As I read the scene, my eyes somehow fixated on Jeff. Rule #1 when auditioning: DO NOT LOOK AT THE CASTING DIRECTOR WHEN AUDITIONING. Suddenly, out of my peripheral vision, I saw his assistant snapping. I realized he was snapping at me. He needed me to take my eyes OFF of Jeff. I snapped out of it and began to ramble through the rest of the scene. At this point I could actually feel the blood from the gaping gash in my chin slowly starting to roll down my neck. Fitting, since this felt like a slow death in every sense. I read the rest of the scene straight from the script, which I was now using to hide the blood that was rapidly making its way to the only good audition shirt I owned. I said, “Thank you” and for some reason BOWED TO THEM LIKE A FUCKING GEISHA, and raced out of the room.

People say you’ll know when you’ve hit rock bottom. Not me. You see, I didn’t recognize that my rock bottom was that goddamn Wendy’s commercial. I should have stopped at the red hair. But I didn’t, because I’m a dreamer. Always have been. And if you’re a dreamer, you might be unfortunate enough to experience the level below rock bottom. The level where your face is literally bleeding on the office floor of the guy who cast CHEERS.

So that, ladies and gentlemen, is when I became a writer.

Undateable

I write for “Undateable”… no red hair required.

Sometimes you recognize your life long dream just doesn’t make you happy anymore. When that happens, it’s time to re-evaluate and switch it up. I never stopped being a dreamer; I just tweaked the dream a little. I’m far happier as a writer than I was an actress, and I’m thankful for every bad audition I ever had because it brought me to where I am today. And as God as my witness, if I ever see Jeff Greenberg again, I will run like hell and hide… And then write about it.

Show Night

Show night at “Undateable Live”. Finally happy.

  • Heidi Hawk

    So relatable even from the non-Hollywood type. I love the idea of tweaking dream–as life happens, as we age, things change. Why should our dreams always remain the same? Also–high five to a fellow Wisconsinite.

  • Heidi Hawk

    So relatable even from the non-Hollywood type. I love the idea of tweaking dream–as life happens, as we age, things change. Why should our dreams always remain the same? Also–high five to a fellow Wisconsinite.

    • Annie

      Love this, I thought it would be relatable to everyone pursuing a dream, too – regardless of the industry. Thank you, Heidi!! I’m sure also will be thrilled to see a Wisconsinite chiming in here, she’s got MAD state pride. X A

  • CourtneyDaniels

    It’s weird how I always think I am the only person who has endured appalling experiences like this. I love that she bowed and that she shared this. So true that your dream may not be making you happy anymore and you need to re-evaluate. Sadly, I re-evaluate every other week.

    • Annie

      Me too! I feel that exact same way!! (The bow was my favorite part, too). This industry can be so intense, and it’s so hard to know when to keep going and when to stop beating your head against the wall. She captured it all so perfectly.

  • Kim DeJesus

    Oh my god. I am crying laughing but also crying bc I can so relate! Hahahaha oh Alison I’m so happy your a writer your so good!!!!!

    • Annie

      My reaction was the EXACT SAME. (Although I selfishly wish she was still acting because she makes me laugh so much in real life.) She is AMAZING.

  • Roy_Munson

    I’ve heard there are lots of bad stories about Jeff Greenberg. Anyone care to share??

  • Marilyn Anderson

    Great story! Terrific writing. Thanks Allison Bosma.

    • Annie

      Thank you so much for reading, Marilyn! I’m so lucky she was willing to write a guest blog!!

  • Molly Kelleher

    I fell backwards doing a “prat fall” in an audition last week and smacked my head so hard I give myself a mini-concussion….
    you.are.not.alone :)

    • Annie

      Oh no!!!!! I hope you’re okay, and I hope your pratfall was so *real* you booked it :) What a nightmare!! Thank you for reading and making us feel less alone in this INSANE town/industry. X A


Follow

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Email address