On Tuesday I travelled to Stockholm by bus and train. Unlike many who travel to the lovely city I was there to attend at a casting for the TV-series Vikings. They are currently filming the fourth season which will be broadcasted on the television channel History.
For those who are unknown to the series: Vikings is a tale about one of the greatest Scandinavian vikings, Viking Ragnar Lodbrok. In his early years he was a farmer and a family man. He becomes frustrated by the policies of Earl Haraldson, the local chieftain, who sends raiders east towards the Baltic states and Russia whose residents are poor as the Norsemen. With the new boat technologies and navigational instruments in hand Ragner directs the vikings to the Western world.
Arriving at Filmskolen in Stockholm around 7 o’clock on Wednesday I was one of the first to line up in the queue. I left again because the people who were standing there seemed somewhat ignorant and weren’t in the mood for saying hello. I thought that standing there for hours and hours without a good spirit seemed pointless. I came back again after a quick breakfast and an update on the internet and rejoined the queue. I met a few jolly actors from Sweden, Norway, and Copenhagen in Denmark. There was a good spirit while waiting for the casting to commence. Some were dressed up as vikings in full armour whilst others practiced their gymnastic skills on a small plot of grass.
The first 100 people were given a ticket with a number. I was number 73. They began opening the doors at 10 o’clock. They opened the doors for around 5 people at a time. No one was informed about the procedures. I was given instructions step by step. It is only in retrospect I really understand what happened. The first sorting began after you had filled in a form with you name, CV, nationality etc. I was then asked to stand in row with a few other people and was asked to follow a member of staff. I was led into a small room where a female photographer greeted us and took a few pictures for their portfolio. Everyone in the room had a good mood. I had a casual chat with the photographer about the whole event and what she works with. After this some were led out of the room, making this the second sorting. The remaining actors were then interviewed by Casting Director Frank Moiselle in front of a camera.
When I first entered the studio with Moiselle, he had my file and asked me to stand in front of the camera. At the time I didn’t know who he was, nor what was going to happen. He suddenly asked my in a funny way: “What’s your name?” I thought this man was pulling my leg and was doing a trick on me, because he was staring at my file. So I asked him: “What’s your name?” with an intimidating voice. A little nervous as I was I was convinced this man was trying to practice the Meisner techniques with me. We had this little game going on until he said: “It was an actual question.” With a big smile and tiltet eyebrows, he looked humbly at me. We giggled in unison and moved on to the next questions. I was rather amazed by his questions as they where very specific about the projects and the films I had recently been in. When reflecting over the incidence I could have practiced making a resume of each film listed on my CV and past experiences so that I could give him a more refined response.
After I and everyone had been interviewed they once again guided most people out. The third sorting. Being only four people left out of a few hundred people, we were given a manuscript for a scene and were told that this would be for our audition. We had a few minutes to memorise a page and had to work together in pairs. I was paired with a Swedish actor. The Swedish actor was very good but told me he had received the manuskript a week in advance because he had received some inside knowledge from a friend. This did bother me a little but didn’t discourage me from giving my best. Once again we entered the studio with Moiselle and his assistant who would film the entire scene. Moiselle asked us to take turns sitting in front of the camera while going trough the lines. He would direct us and instructions what to do. Each of us had to do a few retakes. Moiselle didn’t seem as if he was in a hurry but was certainly very experienced about the whole casting process. When we were done he asked me some more questions about where I had lived, my phone number, email, availablity and also asked some personal questions. After this he told me he had everything for now and let us out into the open…