I came looking for a laugh but left wondering, "Is my geek card still valid?" Of course I'm talking about the Beauty and the Geek casting call in Portland. I, in earnest, went to pimp PdotGeek, but since I was there anyways I might as well go through the process. Heck, maybe I'll end up on television and have my wild fantasies of celebrity soirées and heroine addiction come true. I've never done a casting call before. The closest I've gotten to show business was as a background head up in the nose bleed seats for the film Without Limits. Though, I was digitally duplicated a thousand times to fill out the crowd -- my childhood bowl cut is forever captured.
The crowd was non-existent. It wasn't like American Idol where hundreds of screaming nerds filled the streets singing JoCo songs. Nor was it hundreds of gorgeous women lined up sizing each other. I was frankly disappointed because television had lied to me. Nope, when I arrived I walked into the company's lobby and saw a few geeks diligently filling out their forms. So, disappointed, I signed in and put my name into their system.
The time consuming part was a questionnaire which started out with your basic interview questions: strengths, weaknesses, work, school, marital status, etc. They also threw in the questions about entertainment industry union group affiliation, which I wasn't expecting until I remembered they exist because they may be going on strike. About this time some of the "beauties" started to come in.
First it was a gal with, who I assume, her mom. The gal didn't say a single word. Her mom did all the questioning and directing, even the, "Is there a bathroom?" The other two I saw came as a pair and were ready to start their Hollywood careers. Everyone asks me if the beauties were pretty, honestly I was focused on my questionnaire... hey, there's my geek card. I did notice them check out the room, I think to figure out what type of geeks they'd have to deal with. I could also secretly hope that they want to do the show cause they are secretly attracted to geeks. Yeah, I'll think that way.
I wanted to lie and make this funny and entertaining, but I couldn't. Don't know why but things just didn't flow and I started answering questions fairly normally. It was the damnedest thing happening. I was actually taking this seriously and getting a little nervous. WTF!?! I did sneak in some tidbits that probably would provide fodder for my friends. By the way, all the questions were in caps. Not sure if they found this easier to read for people or if the sheet was written by a 15 year old boy that goes by the name h4x0rzK1ng.
When it comes to women, what do you need the most help with?
I couldn't decide if I should go Faulkner stream of conscious or one simple word. I went with "intimacy".
How often do you date? Why not more or less?
According to a friend of mine I just hang out, um, but not like that. So I guess I haven't dated in a while. Good for me?
Have you ever used a pick up line? If so, let's hear it! How did it work?
Hell yeah, I use this on everyone:
Do you have overdue library books? No? Cause you have fine written all over you.
Usually followed by a blank stare.
How do you handle ignorant people?
This is probably the my favorite question for the geeks. Don't remember what I wrote, but I think my answer was lame.
I also took one of the beauty questionnaires, which the secretary said to me, "You know that's for the women?" Staying in "character" I gave a thumbs up as I left. I think this one was more interesting.
After all that, the questions dealt with figuring out if I'm a psychotic criminal.
Finally the interview. I entered the room not knowing how it would look. Would I be greeted by three clowns behind a desk advertising Coca Cola products? Then I remembered this was a Portland audition and came into a room with a nice gal and a camera. I had been thinking about this but didn't really plan on anything, so when asked if I had any geek items I brought, I just gave her my PdotGeek card. She liked that and hoped I could suggest other geeks show up as well. Any PAGDIG takers on my announcment? Oh, and my skateboard has Free Software Foundation paraphernalia.
Good god, me on camera is apparently a bad thing for personal reasons, probably good for those that want dirt. I get chatty and just start saying whatever. Some things come out way too honest and other times I was embellishing non-existent truths. I did realize halfway through I was making a lot of facial expressions. Biting my bottom lip when she asked about relationships was a nice touch I think. Ask me to talk about Pdot and my eyes got big. I'm not socially inept and I think it really shows, but then again, I may be oblivious to my real geeky shortcomings.
I probably did screw up and blow my chance for 15 minutes of fame. I talked about climbing a mountain and hurting my leg. Do I get bonus points for mentioning Munchkin Fu? She said I had a really good interview, but I believe she was happy to have someone not so reserved. Truth be known, that wannabe side of me kicks in and is hoping that they want non-camera shy, personable people who can be geeky. But what happened this day was that I went in going to prove I needed help and left wondering if I've lost my geek mojo. So nothing left to do but wait for the call back.
I'm more of a loser than I thought.
So they called me back to do another videotape interview. I have to admit I was incredibly nervous this time. Now it actually meant something. I had flippin' butterflies! I tossed and turned the night before wondering if I should geek out more. Apparently being myself the first time around worked. Which, again, disturbs me slightly.
I was told that they got the questions from the show and wanted to have some people back. The first half of questions were the same as some I answered in my previous interview. I answered the "old" ones in a similar fashion as before but also threw in my high school science bowl experience and the fact that I own E.O. Wilson's Ants book. I hope they don't call me out on some things I said because I'm not a hotshot in artificial intelligence anymore after not working on it for a long time.
When I left I really didn't remember any of the new questions. I was quite flabbergasted and finding the whole experience surreal. As the evening went on things began to come back.
How do you feel you relate to women?
This was quite incredible. I couldn't think of anything so I said my wrists are girly, so I guess I have that in common. Holy crap! That's gotta end up on TV.
List questions you'd ask a women
How do I go up to someone that I don't know?
What makes a good date?
How to fill out awkward silent moments... do I fill it with bits of information? Yes, I actually said that!
Name two actresses on Desperate Housewives
Um, Eva Longoria, because my friend is a big spurs fan. And what's her name from Superman? Oh Teri Hatcher.
Who is McDreamy?
I thought for a second and then started laughing and said, "Hopefully it's not Ronald McDonald."
Several other questions I had no clue. And I don't remember some of the ones I actually gave a straight answer. Then i left and I'm still kind of shocked in a great way by this experience.
I'm still not sure how my ego should feel. I'm being told I need help but that's good cause I get on the show. Or I can be told I'm not loser enough, and thus I fail. As a coworker put it, "It's a loser-loser situation."
I didn't post this originally, but many months after my failure to be a geek I got a call judging my interest of being a stand-in for a movie being filmed in the Portland area. Apparently I matched the build and skin color of one of the main or side actors. A stand-in literally just stands in place of the actor so that the crew can adjust lighting and equipment and not waste the actor's time. I didn't get that gig but I was quite close to being a part of Twilight.