I sent in a video audition to CD Donna Belajac, who’s located in Pittsburgh, PA and she then said she liked my audition and asked me to fly in to Pittsburgh to meet with Tony Scott for a role in his latest Action/Thriller, “Unstoppable”, Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson and Kevin Dunn. It was quite an adventure to say the least.
Just as I was about to leave the house as I was already running a little late for my flight, my lovely wife texts me and asked me to do her a huge favor, which was important but not priority over my audition. Sorry hun, ha-ha. Soon as I got downstairs in front of my house, I started to feel guilty (I have such a conscience, sighs) and went back upstairs to send her the ever so important email to someone at her job in corporate. It took maybe 3-4 minutes of my time but time is of the essence in a situation like this.I then drove to LGA Airport and ran frantically to check in. The sweet lil check in lady told me it’s too late. The flight had been closed. I pleaded by telling her I have a huge audition for a major film but it does no good. I then pull out my FDNY I.D. and tell her I’m a NYC Firefighter and asked for her to please help me. She called the head agent where you board the plane but no one picked up. Mind you, my audition is at 5pm, my flight is @ 2:20pm and I will arrive at Pitt at 4pm. She then tells me the next flight will arrive at Pitt at 5:29. From there I have to either take a shuttle or pay an enormous amount of money for a taxi to get to CD Donna Belajac’s office, which is roughly a 30 min. cab ride or 45 minute shuttle ride from the airport. My returning flight is at 7:07pm. So I’m saying to myself how in the world am I going to make it to my audition and back to the airport. Hummmmmm, what to do?
While on the plane, the Capt. gets on the air and says “Hey ladies and gentlemen, I would just like you all to know we have the international film star Sheryl something or other flying with us today”. I couldn’t make out the last name. I then said out loud, “Hey, what about me, I’m an actor to you know”. LMAO. The guy sitting next to me says “really”, I said “Yes”. So we started to chit chat and I find out he’s news reporter Mike Clark from Channel 4 news in Pittsburgh. So we’re speaking about films, actors and all that good stuff. I gave him my card and he gave me his info. His son wants to be an actor (18 yrs old) and told him I would be more than happy to help his son with the business side of this industry by sending him good info via email. Mike said if I book this role, let him know as he would love to do a story on my adventure on how I got called to audition to networking/marketing myself like a whore, etc. He was very nice to say the least. And Donna Belajac knows him so that only helps me and my relationship with Donna.
So, I took a taxi and arrived at the audition at 6pm. I mentioned to Vicki, who is one of Donna’s assistants, that I have a flight back to NY @ 7:07pm and that’s the last flight. If I miss it, I have to get a hotel and stay over. I would give my left kidney to be in this film, ha-ha, okay, I wouldn’t go that far but you get the idea.
So Vicki ends up getting me in ahead of about 20-25 other actors in the room. I walk in and say hello and shake hands with Laura (Assistant CD with Donna Belajac) then Donna and say what a pleasure it is to finally meet you both. Several months ago, I had auditioned via video with them for a role in the feature film “Warrior”, starring Nick Nolte & Directed by Gavin O’Connor. That’s so nice that they remembered me, but it is also important for all Actors to constantly keep EVERYONE you meet in this industry updated with your career via postcard. I then walked up to Tony Scott and said “Hello Mr. Scott, it’s a pleasure to meet you”. He smiled, shook my hand and said hello back.
I spent $500 for the plane ticket, plus $125.00 for the cab, so I was definitely going to make sure Mr. Scott knew who Christopher Stadulis was!!
I walked to the camera, asked Donna “What’s my frame”, which is so important to ask every time you audition. Knowing your frame not only shows you know your business but depending on how tight or wide the audition will be shot, can and will determine your choices. She said from the waist up.
They said “Whenever you’re ready”. I was standing up as I took a breath, took a moment and started with improv by telling a funny story to a group of other guys (which is what Donna told me to do when we spoke on the phone) and once the reader (Donna) approached me and asked me a question, I responded and went back to my story with the fellas. Donna asked me to throw the line away, which is what I did.
Tony Scott then spoke with Donna and Donna walked over and told me to forget everything we spoke about over the phone. Tony Scott then said “get a chair and sit down. Your character is back from the war and you are shell shocked”. He said that even though your character only has several lines, we see him in many scenes throughout the film. You are a very important part of this story. He told me the sides in my hand, which we rolled up, were my file for the day and to be reading it. I stayed in character as I was listening and doing everything he asked as he was giving me direction for the second take. I started the second take and he stopped me and said “too much”. I said “pull back”?, he said “Yes”. I said “Sir Yes Sir”.
I did it a 3rd time and a 4th as he threw some more adjustments at me each time as I continued to take everything in, process it and become it! He wanted to see if I can take direction. So he definitely liked me and my work.
He said “Very good. You’re done”. I thanked him and shook his hand again as I did with Donna & Laura. When I walked out of the room, I thanked all the unselfish actors for allowing me to go ahead of them and told them all to “break each others legs so I get the damn role”!!!! hahaha, just kidding. I said for everyone to break a leg.
I ran downstairs and into the taxi that I had waiting for me, meter running and all and told him, I don’t think we’ll make it to the airport in time but let’s try. I arrived at the airport at 6:57pm and ran again, like a mad man to check it. My flight was departing @ 7:07pm. The woman behind the check-in counter got on the phone right away and said she’ll tell them I’m coming but hurry and she shook her head as if to say “‘I don’t think you’re going to make it”.
If I didn’t make it to the plane in time, not only would I have to get a hotel, spend more money and time and have no extra clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. with me, but I also had a big audition the next day for the Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz film, “Knight and Day”) with Donna Deseta Casting. whhhhewwwwwwwhhhhhhhh. *Sighs*. I ran from the check-in counter all the way to where you board and man was it some run. It felt like my heart was going to explode!!! I get there and one of the agents were waiting for me. I said in a huffing and puffing voice “Did I make the plane”?. She said,” What plane” and laughed. I smiled and wanted to pass out right there. She took my ticket and I ran to board the plane and apologized to the stewardess as she made a joke. Yes, I was the laughing stock of the day. Soon as I sat down and they announced “We are ready to take off”. I felt for my cell phone and said “Oh Shit!!!” I didn’t have it. I lost it somewhere in transit and even though I was very upset, I said “Who cares, I got to meet and audition with Tony Scott today” and smiled. Just then, the stewardess announces “Anyone lose a cell phone”. I slowly creep my hand up like a bad student that’s being scolded. I thanked the stewardess, who said the head agent found it.
Also, I had a very bad upper respitory infection and needed to pick up my antibiotic before CVS closes at 9pm. My plane lands at 8:40 and it’s about a 30 min drive to CVS. I get to CVS @ exactly 9pm and run through the store as I see the gate slowly being lowered to the pharmacy. I yell through the gate and luckily I know the pharmacist on duty. She gives me my prescription and I finally go home.
Several days later Mike Clark asked if he could do a story on me, regarding my being a NYC Firefighter, 9/11 and having a lot of success for only being an Actor for 4 yrs with no Agent or Manager. He did and it came our beautiful. Great exposure for me!!
A couple of weeks ago, I contacted Mike Clark to catch up since it’s been a couple of months since we last spoke. Mike told me so much has happened. He said one of Tony Scotts assistants called him and asked if he could go to LA to do some Voice Over work for the film, “Unstoppable”. Then several days later, Mike received a call from Tony Scott himself. Tony told Mike some of the dialogue over the phone and asked “What would a real news reporter say in this situation”? Mike said, “With all due respect Tony, a reporter would not say what’s in the script”. Mike then told Tony what a reporter would say and Tony said, “Okay, we’re going with that”! Tony asked when can Mike come out to LA and Mike said he can go right after he sees his mother. Tony asked, ‘Where does your mother live”? Mike said, “Long Island, NY”. Tony then asked, “What are you going to do with your mother”? Mike said, “Being that I’m in Denzel’s film “Unstoppable”, I was going to try to get tickets for “Fences”.
Tony said, “It’s done, I’ll get you and your mother tickets for the play”!
Mike was really taken back by all this and said, “Tony, you don’t have to do this”. Tony said, “I know I don’t, but you are helping me out so much. You’re like my script consultant”.
Mike then told me when he goes to LA to work with Tony in the Studio, he’s going to tell Tony, “None of this would have happened if it weren’t for my unselfish Actor friend, Christopher Stadulis”.
I told Mike, “That is so nice of you Mike, I really appreciate it and it means a lot to me”. It made me feel so good that Mike would mention me to Tony.
I constantly keep Tony Scott updated with my career via postcards and when we shook hands on set after finishing my scene, I told him “Thank you for giving me this opportunity to work with you and I hope we work together again soon”. Tony looked me in the eye and said “You’re very welcome and we will work together again. We will”.
I believe him. He was very sincere.
Mike Clark mentioning me and how Mike got the audition because of my unselfishness will go a long way. I believe in doing for others and not expecting anything in return. I also believe that positive energy attracts other positive energy, which can create a positive outcome.
We CAN create our destiny. You just have to believe it’s possible, always be positive and unselfish!!
PS- Mike Clark also told me he was called by CD Donna Belajac several days ago to audition for a news reporter role in the feature thriller, “ABDUCTION”, which he ended up booking!!! It makes me so happy to see others succeed. I also auditioned and am being considered for one of five CIA roles in this same film. Amazing how things happen. If, I never missed my original flight to meet Tony Scott for the callback, none of this would have happened.
One change in your day, can change your future forever!