Saturday, December 19, 2009

Model Role

Among the panoply of personal or professional titles one does not expect to hear in one's lifetime, I'd include "Dan Quayle, Neurosurgeon", "Bill Gates, Mac User" and "Ron Abramson, Male Model". Yes, that last one would be me, and the absurdity of the juxtaposition cannot be overstated.

Yet, your intrepid blogger decided to have some fun, after receiving the following message in connection with a casting call for a national advertising campaign:

It's that time again for _____ to cast fine athletes for our upcoming photo shoot. We'd love your helping finding twelve special people for the next production. Kindly review the criteria, and pass along or post to anybody you may think suitable.

YES! It's completely fine to apply for more than one position (i.e.. a tennis position if you're also a runner as long as you've got the experience).

Many thanks for your assistance!
- ________ Casting Crew _________@gmail.com

* CASTING for select athletes
We are searching for very experienced or semi-pro runners, tennis player and personal trainers for a high-end photo shoot in the Boston area.


Please read the details of our casting needs :

WE LOOKING FOR MEN AND WOMEN OF ALL ETHNICITIES BETWEEN THE AGES
OF 18-30 within the following categories:


- RUNNERS*:
ATHLETES MUST HAVE GOOD RUNNING FORM AND MUST LOOK LEAN AND VISIBLY TONED WITH A RUNNER’S BODY. NOT BULKY LIKE A SPRINTER. IDEALLY YOU RUN 5-7 DAYS A WEEK AND HAVE COMPLETED AT LEAST ONE MARATHON OR HALF MARATHON.

- TENNIS PLAYERS*:
ATHLETES MUST HAVE GOOD TENNIS FORM AND MUST BE VISIBLY TONED AND NOT TOO BULKY LIKE A HEAVY WEIGHTLIFTER. IDEALLY YOU PLAY AT AN ELITE/ADVANCED LEVEL IN YOUR LEAGUE A FEW TIMES A WEEK.

-
TRAINING*:
ATHLETES MUST BE VISIBLY TONED AND NOT TOO BULKY LIKE A HEAVY
WEIGHTLIFTER. IDEALLY YOU ARE A PERSONAL TRAINER OR HAVE A GOOD AMOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT TRAINING EXCERCISES.

*Please note, WE CANNOT USE YOU FOR THIS SHOOT IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON A PROFESSIONAL CAREER OR ARE CURRENTLY SPONSORED.

About our photo shoot:
- The client is __________, well-respected fitness retailer with a worldwide presence, This is a professional photo shoot. No nudity.

- You MUST be able to report to our CASTING on Thursday 12/17/09 in Newton MA. Sorry, no exceptions.

- You must be free to work on one or all of our photo SHOOT DATES: 1/5-1/8 in the Boston area

- Rate is $200 an hour, minimum half day shoot.


Naturally, I opted for the "runner" category, and though I have no idea whether I have good running form, I figured I could bluff my way through. I completely missed the age parameters during my first read, but the fact that we wouldn't be getting naked put my mind at ease. ;-) The pay sounded pretty darned good (especially for a guy who just walked away from a steady paycheck), and I know I'm in no immediate danger of having a professional athletic career or of "being sponsored". So, call me nominally qualified, or perhaps "not completely unqualified" for this assignment. I don't watch "America's Top Model", do not really know what "smize" even means and have only seen "Zoolander" once. So, after giving it some thought, I realized I may be in over my head.

Yet, at the suggestion of my beloved (and sometimes hilariously supportive) wife, I sent the following photos:



Not long after hitting [send], I received the following response:

Hi Ron,
Thanks for your interest in our ________ casting! We liked your photos and think you are a good candidate for our shoot, we would love to meet you.

Please report to our casting to meet the client and photographer who will make the final casting decisions. Sorry, we cannot consider you for this shoot if you cannot attend the casting.

So, on my second-to-last day of work, I headed off to Newton, MA, a little over an hour from home, for about 15 minutes of living the life of an aspiring athletic apparel/shoe model. Bear in mind that my son had stayed home from school with a bum tummy, so I dragged him with me. I can only imagine how he'll look back on this day. We followed the twisty Mapquest directions, found the photo studio and experienced the following sequence of events:
  • As soon as we walked in, a hiply-dressed guy asked me, "Name of agency?"; he wrote "None" on the appropriate line and handed me a clipboard with a questionnaire to complete; I was Applicant #57 for the day, having arrived around 11:30 am
  • I left the "Age" line blank; if asked, I planned to say, "Fill in however old you think I look"
  • I changed into a triathlon-style singlet, medium-length running shorts and running shoes, opting for an orange/gray/black color scheme
  • As I waited my turn, I was getting a bit nervous, until I saw C give me a thumbs-up; I looked around and realized that I was not completely out of my league, though I had seen a very attractive, fit-looking couple leaving as I was arriving; other folks seemed to come in various shapes and sizes, with some obvious tennis players and personal trainer types
  • While the clipboard and applicant-shepherding duties fell onto a few young men who had similar clothes, haircuts and facial hair configurations, the apparent brains of the operation belonged to a crew of about 4-5 women, including a photographer, some sort of supervisor person, and a couple of young women working on notebook computers; some were dressed in dark gray, others in black; that was the whole color pallette; I've rarely felt less hip or cool, but that's probably not required for a glorified piece of meat
  • The photographer and supervisor engaged in a brief discussion about whether I should remove my form-fitting shirt; it stayed on; the photographer then had me stand with the information sheet; she snapped a photo, and then things got really silly:

    "We need to see your quad"
    "Um, okay, should I flex it?"
    "Sure" (said by the supervisor with a slightly suggestive tone)
  • So, with some trepidation, I raised the right side of my Saucony shorts and flexed my quadriceps; this is filed under the heading of "I did some things I'm not proud of"
  • The photographer then took some close-ups ("Turn your head this way, eyes looking back at me") and thanked me for coming; on my way out, I asked whether she could airbrush my ears, and she said that she could "airbrush anything"; the supervisor, though, said, "Nah, the ears are cute" and laughed; I've been saying that maybe they'll refer me to be a hearing aid model, since my ears will make any such device look small
  • They said they would let us know next week, and so ended my moment in the fashion world's sun

I have zero expectations, though I'll admit that I do hope to get the job. How can such an opportunity present itself like this just when I'm leaving my day job, and thus able to pursue it? My wife thinks it's very amusing, and she's been embarrassing me accordingly with friends and family alike.

Truth be told, I'll confess that I kind of enjoy the attention, but I also think it's a complete crock. Yes, I've spent the past couple of years turning myself into a runner, and the dedication to that level of training has caused my body to respond in kind. From head-to-toe, I look (and feel) very differently than I did not so long ago. Still, all my life, my primary personal strengths have been above-average intelligence and a decent sense of humor. Being a prime physical specimen was never really part of the equation. However, I seem to be aging relatively well, and - at the tender age of 41 - I attended my first casting call to appear in a fitness-oriented advertising campaign. While I'm not exactly planning to forego setting up the new law firm in favor of pursuing a full-time modeling career, I do have to ask, "How cool is that?" ;-)

Yes, whatever happens, I'll follow up. Those of you who suffer through this blog certainly deserve to know.

-ESG/Ron

7 comments:

ilanarama said...

BWAHAHAHA.

Don't quit your day...wait, never mind.

Progman2000 said...

That's a riot. Although if you get the gig and this turns in to a fashion modeling blog I'm going to stop following it faster that you can say "inappropriate quad shot".

Stevi N. Honaker said...

Oh dang it you just had me rolling, but maybe that's because I know exactly what you walked into.

I hope you flexed both quads....one could have a better side than the other, LOL!

What a story to share with the kiddies, and anyone else looking for a great laugh.

L.A. Runner said...

Wow, just wow. Is this for real? As someone who loves America's Next Top Model, I will say that I can NOT imagine you standing up there doing those things, or any straight man for that matter. Oh geeze, what if you get chosen and they want you wear make-up!!! Please keep us updated on this.

Pete said...

Ron,

Most enjoyable blog post I have read in awhile - hope you get the gig! I saw that e-mail come through and laughed it off, glad to see someone followed up - could be a boon to GSRT membership if we can claim to have male models on the team!

Pete

Billy Burger said...

nicely done ilana.

fingers crossed Ron, you sexy thang you.

jaysummer4 said...

What a great story!
Only Nat could tell it better. (No offense to you or Nat!)
As a 43 year old, still striving to hit the BQ, I respect the work you've done to become the athletic, model type.
-Jay