Julie Benz (on auditioning for “Dexter”):
“I had to come in with no makeup on and in sweats.
“And then I took it a step further because they wanted me to look really downtrodden, so I actually drank wine so I was hung over and I put mascara in my hair to give myself really bad roots.”
Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”): “Is that what we call Method?”
Benz: “It’s called “I want the job.” I signed in and sat down, and they came out and were looking around, and I heard them saying, “Well, she signed in, but where is she?” I finally said, “I’m right here.” And they said, “Are you wearing prosthetic makeup?”
Parsons: “Wow, you had the best compliment and the worst insult in 24 hours!”
Lea Michele (“Glee”) – “I’ve never been through a TV process before. I’ve been on auditions, but I’ve been working in musical theater in New York since I was 8 years old.
“I came out to L.A. after my most recent Broadway show, and I just wanted to be on “Grey’s Anatomy.” I wanted to be a bloody victim of some kind of car crash, and I end up going out for “Glee.”
“I had to sing two musical theater songs and a pop song, plus read 800 sides. That whole part was comfortable for me; it was normal. But the whole “You’re going to go to the studio, then you’re going to go to the network”—I had no idea what any of that meant.
“And maybe that was good, because I didn’t understand it and just thought of it as a callback. For my last callback, I got into this terrible car accident pulling into the Fox lot, left my smoking car on Pico Boulevard, and ran into the audition with glass in my hair.
“They were saying, “We heard Lea Michele just got into a car crash!” I was like, “No, I’m here, I’m totally fine.”
“It was such a Rachel Berry thing to do: literally leave the smoking car on Pico and run to the audition. But I auditioned, and they told me in the room that I got it.
“I hate auditioning.”
Jim Parsons : “I love auditioning.”
Julie Benz (“Dexter”): “Me, too. It’s a competitive sport to me.”
Parsons: “Me, too. Go, fight, win! First of all, I enjoy working on anything.”
Benz: “I look at it as, it’s literally your time to be an actor that day. And it’s a performance; that’s all it is. I don’t look at it as a job; it’s my time to play the part how I want to play it. And I throw my material away when I leave. You learn to love it.”
Michele: “I want that to be my mantra. I get really, really nervous. I come from the world of singing at auditions, which is a whole added stress.”
Back Stage: “Do you remember your worst audition?”
Benz: “I have a tendency to just say what I’m thinking. I walked into this room, and it was a big movie, and the director looked at me and goes, “You remind me of my ex-girlfriend,” and went on and on about how horrible his ex-girlfriend was.
“He hated her so much and said I was the spitting image of her. I finally looked at him and said, “I should just leave. I don’t even think I should audition.” And I left.”
Michele: “My problem is, going on auditions, I was brought up so when you get in that room, you do whatever you can to get the job. So whatever they ask me, I say, “Yes, I can do it!” I went in for a gymnastics movie, and they had a form you had to fill out, asking things like, “Can you do back flips?”
“I filled out the whole thing, completely lying about everything I could do. And I got in the room, and they said, “It says here you’re working on the beam.” I said, “Yep, working on the beam, hope to get to the vault soon!”
“I completely lied. And when I got a callback, I realized I couldn’t go in. I couldn’t do anything I’d said I could do.”
From Prime Time – Who’s in the Running: Television Actors, By Jenelle Riley, Back Stage, November 18, 2009