Teaser 056: The Screen Test

The screen test was scheduled early at the studio, nine in the morning. I arrived at the gate and was told where to park. Someone would meet me and escort me by golf cart to the studio. Serena, Carey and the crew were already waiting but I wasn't late. I couldn't be late. I made it with a cool five minutes to spare. Serena said, “You like cutting it close, don't you?” She smiled.

“You hold up your end, little girl, and I'll hold up mine.” I put my glasses in the case and gave it to Carey, who immediately handed it to his assistant.

The screen test took barely a half-hour, despite many missteps from Serena. I messed up a couple times, but when Serena displayed her over-eagerness and anxiety, I put my arms around her loosely and said, “Calm down, relax.” When I felt her let go, I repeated her lines with the correct inflection and emphasis while I held her and had her repeat them. It worked as she would knock it out the next take. Carey called a wrap and I joined him as he smiled.

“You should be a director.”

“I took a human aptitude test about forty years ago, Carey, and they said I had the aptitude to be a movie or TV director or a construction foreman because I could always see the big picture and yet focus on the details to make them fit with the bigger picture.”

“I can see it, so if you do become a director you're gonna make us all look bad. Take my advice: don't be a director.” Carey smiled.

Carey reached his decision. He had his Gustavo. Before noon, after Serena and I reached John's office, the screen test had already been viewed by everyone and I was in. There was no dissent. The compensation went quickly, too. Initially, most wanted to pay me less on the back end than Serena but she would have none of it. “Gregory should be paid the same as me, as my equal,” she insisted. She may have stomped her foot for emphasis, though that detail may be embellishment. She got what she wanted. The party was on and I was invited full ride. Now I had a date with a cute little Spanish actress. This meeting was going to be one I would never forget.

- Just Desserts, Segment SixLet’s Get This Party Started” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

contact me, as always: schussprose@gmail.com