Saturday, June 9, 2012

UPDATE: My Top Billing Dream

The air smelled fresh, faces were glistening, and so were teeth, exposed by half-moon smiles. My nerves began to settle almost immediately. Everybody was friendly, and conversations were flowing, while friendships were forming. It was difficult to associate this crowd with aspiring presenters, of one of SA's most celebrated magazine shows because the amiable ambiance removed the competitive edge, one would expect to see amid hopefuls.

At first glance, it looked like a bad turn-out, nonetheless, before I could take another photo, I realized that that were so many people, and I would still need to register. The lengthy queue to registration dwindled speedily; registration was effortless, and far less tedious than I had anticipated.

My friend, Chanelle joined me on the audition day; to offer support, keep me company, and distract me from concentrating on my anxiety. Now that I think about it, I wasn't really nervous, especially since my competitors were such open-minded, loving, and interesting individuals. I spoke to so many people, so freely, and so jubilantly that I had to ask myself again, Why are you not as shy around people as you usually are?

Chanelle decided to audition along with me, and her and I, quickly and effortlessly got her registered after we got our make-up done by a crew, seemingly provided or sponsored by Nedbank. It was a free service, and I think it partially abetted at setting me, and many others there, at quick ease. Later we rehearsed for a while, trying not to practice too much, as I maintained that too much practice, and memorization of our links would make us sound like trained robots. 

It was getting later, and the place was filling with zestful people. Chanelle and I grabbed the opportunity to meet and greet, Top Billing presenter, Ursula Stapelfeldt. She happily took a few pictures with us, told Chanelle she has beautiful eyes, and gracefully bade us good luck for our auditions. I believe meeting her also boosted my confidence. 

From left: Raeez (Me) right, Top Billing Presenter, Ursula Stapelfeldt

From left: Chanelle Jeffries, right, Top Billing Presenter, Ursula Stapelfeldt

I only auditioned a few minutes after 6pm, and it was extremely cold then. The venue didn't really allow for people to be seated inside warm venues, so everyone was forced to sit outside in the cold, after the team decided to arrange all the numbers, because people were auditioning way earlier than they were supposed to. Despite the cold weather, people were determined to audition. I told some of the people that I met, that I was no longer nervous because the cold had frozen my nerves. They all laughed. I turned around and spoke to more people behind me, looked down and spoke to more people there. It was certainly a very open and warm crowd; definitely a shield against anxiety, and the icy claws of the winter gales. 

The crowd when we arrived.

When I walked into my audition, Janez, hunky Top Billing presenter was there, smiling at me, greeting me and instructing me to present my link, after showing me my markers, on what looked like regal carpets. I couldn't believe I was inside the room I had been thinking of all day, and the week before. I started to confidently present my link, walking from my start-market to the centre to pause and continue speaking. I messed up my lines at this point, much to my own dismay. Janez, smiled and said: "You were doing good, just start over." I smiled and walked back to my first marker and then restarted. I couldn't believe that he actually told me I was doing good, and that he gave me another chance to start, because throughout the day I heard people saying that the judges weren't allowing them to start over, and simply telling them to just continue. I felt lucky. I didn't think I'd stumble over my words like that, although I attribute this mainly to the fact that, while waiting, my lines were frequently running through my head, subsequently confusing me. When I was done, I got a nod of approval from Janez; "Good," he said, "you sound kinda American when you speak." he continued, while the other judge commented that it may be caused by some influence, or just from an 'act'. I abhorred that this happened, because I didn't purposely present in an American accent. (I should abstain from speaking in an American accent for a while) 

I can't declare that I had a good audition, and neither can I say that it was bad either. I'd say it was 'fair'. I don't have any expectations either; although I would obviously like to make it through to the second phase, even if that's the phase at which my journey ends. Auditioning was a victory in itself, because I feel like all the confidence needed for it, definitely makes you a winner in your right. I am keeping my phone on; awaiting a call-back that may, or may not come. Meanwhile I have my audition number with me, and I can successfully add auditioning for Top Billing to my life events (not just on Facebook) and when I think back on it, there will be only good memories, not memories of me chewing away my nails. 

I would recommend auditioning to anyone out there, because it's such a wonderful experience. People are really nice, friendly, and willing to ease. You get to see, meet, and chat with some of the presenters. The judges don't bite, and everyone who auditioned spoke nicely of the judges, adding that they're friendly, and not intimidating in any way. I was however quite surprised to see Janez judging me, since I had been under the impression that we would be judged by members, and producers of the show. 

I am glad that I went, and that Chanelle came along with me. The fact that she auditioned also really makes me happy, as it is an event within our friendship that we can keep, and one day look back at, and smile about. It was amazing!

I definitely got A TASTE OF THE GOOD LIFE!

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