Failed Blue Man
You can’t explain timing. Timing in the sense of being at the right place, at the right time, and being ready. Since 2007 I wanted to be a Blue Man. It was my calling. I was obsessed with the show and had convinced myself that I was right for it; I was a drummer. I studied mime. And I loved non verbal comedy. “Why wouldn't they want me?” I’d often think to myself.
Over the course of five years I auditioned for the show at least five times. The Chicago auditions took place in an apartment above a pita shop. I had gone through the process so many times that I was the expert in the waiting room. When the other folks auditioning had questions about the experience, I’d have answers and pita suggestions.
In my many experiences, the audition process was as such:
Simple drumming audition.
Simple Meisner style acting audition.
A call back to learn a piece from the show.
Flown to New York to learn the full show.
(Yet more cuts)
And if you make it through those cuts, you begin performing the show in New York…with possibly more cuts after that.
Audition One - Summer 2007:
Waited outside in line for many hours at an open call during a sweaty Chicago summer. The local news came, manly to interview the only girl in line. I did the drumming audition, and was told they would be phoning people later that day.
I waited anxiously for hours after the audition. Around 5 PM my phone started to ring with a number I did not recognize. I thought to myself, “This is it! Here we go!” I picked up and a voice said, “Hi, is this Nick?” I quickly responded, “Yes!”
“Hi Nick, this is Cindy from Circuit City. Just wanted to let you know would be pleased to offer you the floor sales position you interviewed for last week.”
“Great…thanks.” I sank into the couch I was sitting on and never wanted to get up.
Audition Two - Spring 2008:
An open call was posted for Las Vegas. To be safe, I emailed the BMG casting people to see if I could audition again, and they said, “Sure!” So I booked the plane ticket, organized a couch to crash on, and was set to try again.
But, about one week before I was scheduled to leave, the same casting people emailed me again and said, “I’m sorry, we looked at your file, it’s now our policy to only have people re-audition at least 12 months later. Best of luck.”
I was heartbroken and furious. But instead of canceling my trip like a rational person, I came up with what I perceived to be a brilliant scheme. I’d change my name from Nick Paul, to Nicholas Thomas. I’d use a slightly different head shot. They would think I was a different person. It was fool proof!
In Vegas, after waiting in line for hours, I finally got to see the same casting people again. Upon sitting down, one of the ladies immediately said, “I remember you.” The plan was foiled. Once again they did not call me to the next round.
Perhaps the biggest heartbreak of this trip was that the very couch I was crashing on was that of a friend who was currently doing the Blue Man show in Vegas. So after I was cut, I got to watch my friend head out and perform the very show I was wanting to be in.
Audition Three - Summer 2010:
I let some time pass. I’d like to say that I knew I needed time to grow, but the truth is that Blue Man auditions did not happen due to the recession of 2008. Ticket sales were slow, and they did not need a fresh bucket of Blue Men.
But two years later, my then girlfriend (now wife), shows me an ad in the Chicago Red Eye for another round of Blue Man auditions. I started to pump myself up. I began drumming non stop. Studied the show from every angle. Went to the audition, and miraculously got a call back! Out of the three hundred or so people that auditioned that day, I got into the final twelve.
The next day the Blue Man captain (yes thats the official title) taught us all a routine from the show. I was struggling a bit, nervous, and overthinking. But I kept looking at the guy to my right who was also called back, and kept judging him internally. I’d think to myself, “That’s not right. Wow, this guy is terrible. He will never get this.”
I got cut. He booked it. That guy did the show for over three years.
Audition Four - Winter 2010:
The head casting director told us we could email him with questions and he’d give us audition notes if we wanted. I took that as an invitation to email him almost weekly, begging for another audition. I told him I was just in my head, and knew I was right for the role. After months of badgering, he let me come back for yet another audition.
This time I was back to the first round of acting auditions. I gave it my all, and really thought I nailed it. I thought for sure they would put me back in the final twelve again. I watched the routine we learned a hundred times on Youtube, and was ready to try again.
I was cut.
Audition Five - Fall 2012:
I gave it two more years to breathe. And for the final time, I contacted the casting director and asked for one last audition. He begrudgingly said yes. I was living in Orlando at the time, and flew myself back to Chicago.
For some reason, regardless of what happened, I knew this was my final time entering that pita shop. If this were a movie, this would be the final act where I prove myself and am offered the job.
But life is not a movie. I got cut, yet again, for the fifth and final time.
Sometimes the things you want just don't happen, and that is ok. And sometimes you are so blinded by what you think is right, that you forget to analyze whether or not the thing you want is even right for you.
Out of that failure, and passion for a show I thought I was perfect for, I began to create my own silent character. Building upon the elements of Blue Man that I loved but doing it in my own persona. The more I began to work on this creation, the more I realized I was never right for Blue Man in the first place. I was never going to fit into someone else’s creation. I had to carve my own path and write my own material because that was what works best for me.
I write all this now because ten years ago I wanted nothing more than to perform in a big Vegas style show. Last week I started doing just that.
We don’t know where our careers will take us. But failure is important. If I hadn’t failed so many times at Blue Man, I would have never gotten to the place I am in today.
Sometimes you are way off from the things you think you're perfect for, and other times the things you are perfect for find you.
Plus, not having to wear Blue make up nightly is a big perk.