PAID TO PLAY (2005) 84 minutes
Director: Nick Karner
With: Alan Seales, Emily Ranii, Christine Rogers, Hilary Russo, Kirstie Spadie, Rob Jenkins, Freddie Lee Heath, Mary Kathryn Walston
IMDB SYNOPSIS: Over three years, Director Nick Karner explores the entertainment world and the art of auditions. Not only does this film expose the wild eccentricities of actors, but it is a celebration of small-town community theatre.
History and Trivia:
Like most actors, I got my start in theatre. With the exception of a PSA where I made fun of a kid in a wheelchair(not kidding), I had very little experience with film acting. After I graduated film school, I was at a crossroads, wondering whether I should focus entirely on filmmaking or try to continue auditioning for community theatre. I realized one element that theatre and film share is the audition process. It can be horrible, frustrating, nerve-wracking, and downright unfair.
My idea was simple. Film people auditioning, talk about their audition horror stories, and tell me a bit about why they love acting. Unfortunately, the doc lacked a through-line. Something to move the story forward. Although I was my own crew, I put myself into the story, speaking about my reluctance to start auditioning for theatre again after I'd been away at school, completely immersed in filmmaking.
Shooting myself was definitely tricky. I'm a hard core Martin Scorsese fan and he loves to move the camera. I found any reason to move the camera I could, be it awkwardly positioning a tripod on the passenger seat as I drove, or popping it on a cart and pushing it while I walked, acting as though it wasn't there.
It took about three years, on and off, to compile a huge amount of footage. I spoke with everyone from regional theatres, community theatres, specialty programs that only did one play per year, musicians, dance teachers, and I even crashed the Sesame Street Live! Tour.
Overall, it was fun hearing all of these stories and many of the people I interviewed are still my friends and occasionally, even my co-stars.