The Cattle Call

Make you feel like a real time entertainer

Entertainers like sitting around and  having the phone ring with hungry customers starving for their entertainment.  Sometimes an email blast, Facebook posting, or a well timed tweet will get a client to contact you.  Other times you are stuffing fliers in envelopes and making mailings.  Periodically an Agent or colleagues hires you for an event.  But, every now and then, you will get a Marketing Agency seeking talent and requests an audition, AKA the Cattle Call.

This was my first Cattle Call and after doing it I have to give actors and models a lot of credit for doing this.  I was lucky to hitch a ride with a good friend Angel Contreras a Caricature Artists.  His call was for 10:50 am, I was schedule at 11:50 am.  Neither of us had done this before and thought we would share the experience and expenses of going to an audition in downtown Chicago.

We arrived 30 minutes early, found out we had to sign in, which was no big deal, then the wait.  I think we both were expecting to sit and just shoot the bull and wait, but to our surprise, entertainer friends keep walking through the door.  Many of these entertainers we’ve known and worked with for years, so it was like a little home coming.  However, we quickly learned that Cattle Call interviews only last for about 5 minutes, so as fast as people were coming in they were leaving just as fast.

Angel was first and was in and out within 5 minutes; since we drove together he had to wait until my slot at 11:50.  Time flew, just because we keep running into entertainers we knew along with meeting some new acts.

When called, I entered the room just to see a camera operator, a red X on the floor, lady sitting in front of a computer making sure the video and pictures were being captured and another lady just watching and taking the acts in.

Standing on the red X, they asked my name and an introduction along with a quick 3 minute act which they recorded. I just had enough time to rattle off what I can make, toss in a few on lines, and make a Mickey Mouse.

I estimate they were seeing 12 acts an hour.  Some 36 acts this morning and according to the casting director they have been doing this for some time now.  When the Agent called they wanted jugglers, magicians, balloon entertainers, caricature artists, preachers, mariachi band, contortionists, competitive eaters and many other entertainers.  At this call, I was the only balloon entertainer, so who knows if I am getting the gig, but the video was going off to Burbank, CA. to be review by some corporate suites.

If you ever get the chance to do a Cattle Call, go for it. The experience is different and you get a real feel for what professional actors and models go thought just to get a gig.  It is easy  sitting by the phone and waiting for it to ring, but to really feel like you’re an “Actor” doing a Cattle Call just shows you how competitive the entertainment market is when it comes to big time events.

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