We all blame the cat for getting our day off to a bad start. She woke us up at 6:30 by repeatedly batting the mini-blinds. We were all grouchy, especially Violet, who wailed inconsolably when I had the audacity to take a shower. I figure a little breakfast with the mamas and kids would improve her mood, or at least mine.
Of course I spend the entire time keeping Violet from running into traffic or climbing into the neighboring construction site. She has little interest in the kids. She does have an interest in the breakfast taco I ordered, especially after she covers it with a previously hidden handful of dirt and rocks.
Sweaty, tired and hungry (and only 9:20), we head off to our appointment with the casting agent. Casting agent? Yes. I answered a call from a fellow mama who was looking for 18-month-olds to be in a public service commercial. $500. Hey, I figured, Violet needs to start pulling her weight around here. Free room and board for a year and a half is long enough, and lord knows she’s only getting by on her good looks.
So we arrive at the Clarion Inn a half an hour early. There is already a four year old girl and her little sister, about Violet’s age, waiting patiently. I recognize the older sister from a local magazine cover. Their agent/father is with them. “Does she have an agent?” the guy behind the desk asks me. “Ummm… no?” I call over my shoulder as I chase Violet down the hallway. Hauling her back I hand over the “head shot” I’d printed the night before. The man lays it next to the other kids’ glossy professional black and white photos.
Violet and the little girl become fast friends, hugging and kissing, running and climbing up the stairs. “Hiii!!!” Violet shouts exuberantly to everyone walking by. The guy at the desks laughs, glancing nervously at the audition door. “She’s got quite a set of lungs,” he says. The casting director decides all three kids should all go in to the audition room together. We all watch as the two littlest girls run to the mirrored wall and begin slobbering all over it. “Okay, bring all the girls and have them stand right here.” Was she kidding? She wants my 18 month old to hit her mark? Surely she doesn’t normally work with children. And yet, the two sisters march calmly over to the X, hold hands and smile sweetly into the camera. I set Violet next to the youngest girl and ask them to hold hands. Violet grabs her chubby paw and proceeds to drag the kid towards the tripod she’d been eyeing with malicious intent. I pick her up and set her down again. She bolts. The casting director smiles tightly and says, “We’ll just do them separately, okay?” I nod and draw Violet aside. “Hiiiiiii!!!! She shouts, crawling towards the equipment wires. “Hiiiiii!!!!” I pick her up. “Down!!!!” she screeches indignantly.
“Umm… maybe you could take her outside? We’ll be recording sound.”
“Of course,” I mumble, grabbing her and ducking out the door.
We go outside to face a growing line of children, neatly dressed and coiffed, looking nervous and giving each other the stink-eye. Someone hands me a script. “You’ll have to read this for her.” Umm… okay.
A few minutes later the cute sisters and their agent/father are finished. I walk in and Violet immediately runs to the mirrored wall. “Okay, we’ll just have you hold her and she can say her name into the camera.”
“Oh, she can’t really do that yet,” I say, prying her off the glass.
“That’s okay, you can do it,” she replies, looking shocked as Violet turns into writhing snake in my arms and slithers to the floor. I pick her up again. “Doooooown!!” she wails.
“Oh forget it.” I say, hoisting her up. “She’ll never stand still for this.” Silently thinking, “You have huge mirrors, people! What did you expect!”
“Okay… well… she’s really cute!” offers the casting lady, obviously feeling sorry for me. “Would you like to audition yourself?”
“No thanks,” I laugh, imagining Violet shrieking “Hiiii mama!!!” in the background of my audition tape.
I have a brief moment of disappointment and annoyance as we high-tail it out of there. I mean, when is someone going to pay me for wrangling this kid all day? Then I decide that Violet is precocious enough without all the fame and fortune of public service commercials.
We go home and eat popsicles.