Hugh Brown and Jason Morales sat side by side in a hallway in the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce. Both were focused, practicing their one line over and over. They came in as friends, until they were asked to compete for the same part — the defendant.
Maybe it wasn’t that serious, but Brown and Morales entered the side door of the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce on Friday with high hopes of starring in a commercial.
Casting director Chris Freihofer was in Waxahachie looking for about 30 people to portray various characters in commercials for Aladdin Bail Bonds, a West Coast-based bail bond provider with locations sprinkled throughout California and Idaho.
Calling for characters such as a nun, scary prisoners, stern judge, a Botox-lipped woman and various cheesy bailbondsmen, the casting call attracted anyone from city officials and professional actors, to the everyday person with no previous acting experience.
City councilman Chuck Beatty attended the casting call, with casting assistant Beth Freihofer dealing Beatty the character of a judge. Beatty experimented with his line, “You have to pinky promise you’ll come back,” a few times before walking in the room for his opportunity to shine.
“I would be a stern judge, you know. I’d have to uphold the law,” Beatty said. “I’d be like Judge Roy Bean.”
Beatty actually has experience in front of the camera — he was cast as a policeman in 1974’s “Horror High.”
“I actually did a little movie called ‘Horror High’ a long time ago,” Beatty said. “I played a police officer in that one. I have a couple of pictures from that on my wall.”
Melanie Mason of Arlington came to the audition armed with her headshot and resume.
“My agent, Linda McAlister, is actually here in Waxahachie. This is what I do. I do industrial commercials,” Mason said.
Mason, who teaches at University of Texas at Arlington, is a native of the area and said “it was real convenient for me to come today.”
Auditions began at 10 a.m. and by 1 p.m. 33 people had tried out, with 16 people on the waiting list.
“We have several roles and we kind of know what people are looking for. My wife decides which role they’re good for,” Chris Freihofer said. “We’ve had some good people come through. I don’t make the decisions, but I think there’s a good chance we’ve got some good people.”
Freihofer is independent of the production — he will send the photos and video clips of the potential actors to an advertising agency in Los Angeles. Selected actors will receive a phone call to appear in the commercials, which will shoot in the future.
Beth Freihofer, Freihofer’s wife, studied each person as they came in the door, assigning each a part and one line. Chris helps the amateur actors with some coaching during the audition.
“We’re having people just do one line and then they’ll consider them for other parts if needed,” Beth said.
Sarah Switzer of Waxahachie decided to come to the audition after encouragement from a friend.
“My friend said, ‘You’d be good — you should try out,’ ” Switzer said, saying she had some acting experience from high school, but “nothing major.”
“I just think it would be cool to be in a commercial,” Brown said after his audition while waiting for Morales. “I’ve never tried out for anything.”
Morales’ audition as the defendant turned into an additional audition for the policeman.
“I can see you as a cop,” Brown said.
Both said they really couldn’t tell if their auditions would get a positive or negative response.
“I couldn’t really say — I’ve never done it before,” Brown said.
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