Kendra is one of these ridiculous people with fuckin’ sick good looks and the sense of humor to back it up. She excelled in her martial arts training and is currently a successful stunt double in the movie biz. She’s got abs Jennifer Anniston would pay money for. But that is of no interest to me. What is of interest to me is this particular anecdote which occurred during Kendra’s first few months in the City of Angels:
Upon her move to LA, Kendra found a job almost immediately working in Craft Services on the movie sets. It paid her enough for rent and gave her some time for auditioning. She was struggling, of course, going out on a few auditions here and there but nothing promising. One day her boss at Craft Services walks up to her and says that she should really meet with her agent.
“You’ve got a certain look, a type that my agent really goes for,“ she said.
A foot in the door. The thing that all actors dream of. She gave this agent a call the very next day. Within a few hours, she had sides for an upcoming audition. Wow…fast…
From what she could tell, she was auditioning for a film where she would play a young, “outdoorsy” woman imprisoned by the elements in a post-apocalyptic tent city occupied by post-apocalyptic camp folk. Gritty – but she was up for the challenge. If there is one thing that NYU teaches you it’s how to fucking work a script – and work the script she did. She rehearsed the scene over and over again with various friends and mirrors. She broke the lines down into objectives and actions, came up with a character history. What was it really like to not know where your next meal was coming from? To have lost everyone you have ever loved in a single moment? To be born into a world of eternal night?
The day of the audition comes and she dresses herself in her most “outdoorsy” outfit. Ripped jeans and an oversized flannel shirt. Construction boots. Before she goes into the building she stops by a planter and smears her face and arms with dirt. She goes into the waiting room to find…she might be a bit overprepared. The room was full of potential “camp folk ladies” dressed in high heels, mini-skirts and bust-enhancing halter tops. Kendra sits her skinny, 22-year old ass right down in the midst of them, closes her eyes, and starts in on her sense memory prep work. Finally they call her name.
She walks into a room with three men sitting behind a table and a camera on her. They all get really quiet and start looking at each other. She hands them her resume, which they literally don’t know what to do with. She sits down and reads her sides, oh no I’m sorry, KILLS her sides. By the end of the 10 lines, tears are making tracks down her dirty cheeks. There is a long pause before one of the producers speaks.
“Wow, you can…act!”
“Are you free for a shoot on Thursday?”
“Great. I’m assuming you are okay with nudity.”
“Oh. Okay! Well, yes I am if I believe that is artistically called for and, of course, not exploitative. I’d have to read the script first, and come to an understanding with the director and my scene partner. Create a “safe space” where I can work comfortably and efficiently expand in my role in terms of the overall story telling.”
“What is the nude scene?”
“…well, there’s actually a couple.”
“Hmm. I see. I see. What is the context?”
“Umm, well. A wolf or a zombie or like a postman or something, we haven’t come up with a final draft, like, tries to kill you or something and then a gang of survivors kills him.”
“But then they get so like riled up from the adrenaline that they…well they all fuck you.”
“And you’re kind of not into it at first but then it’s like YOU TOTALLY ARE, you know?”
“And then…well, they all blow loads on your face.”
“So…it’s not really a matter of…supplies for survival…”
“Like lack of food? Oh no you’re good.”
“It’s just a matter of me…”
“Waiting to get penetrated from a gang of blood-hungry night warriors, yes.”
Kendra stopped talking, picked up her bag and made her way to the door discreetly. As if she were somehow invisible and they could only perceive motion by sound. Incidentally, this was an actual exercise that they made us do in NYU undergrad.