17
Apr
08

Gear. Part 2

First of all, the foolishness described in the last post has sat uncomfortably in the back of my stomach since the discovery. You can’t imagine how full of anxiety I was when I realized my blog was in terrible danger of actually being read.

Returning to write second half of this tale in a state of stone-soberness, I’m having second thoughts of divulging any further, but when you label something “part 1”, there’s really no going back, I guess. Be forewarned though that if part 1 was my intoxicated one night stand with Top Gear, this part is the awkward and humbling morning after.

“Top Gear” was coming to the states and I was both delighted and terrified. delighted obviously that I had my favorite show come to my side of the pond in some form, and terrified by what form that would possibly be. This wasn’t the first stab at making a U.S. TG, btw. A pilot was produced and shot, then went away and never spoken about again. From what I know of it, it was terrible. There was no studio audience, the setting was thematically a glorified garage and the hosts were either reality tv vote-offs or 3 3ast 3 3urious extras, people who preposterously think the word “drift” can constitute a type of “race.”

Granted, my opinion doesn’t reflect what’s popular nowadays, but I think I’m coming from the general perspective of the average Top Gear viewer. I digress.

Tracking the bits of information filtering through the internet, I followed the endeavors’ most important facet of just who would be hosting this incarnation. Stately James May, plucky (and nigh-invincible) Richard Hammond, and big daddy loudmouth Jeremy Clarkson are endearing individuals who take us along their journeys. Any show can present a car, speak about it’s features and even give us their opinion of them, but for some reason, the perfect chemical composition of these men, who do a great job individually as well, I should say, is what gives the whole show it’s soul.

There was well documented speculation that celebrities who happened to be established “car guys” would be approached. NBC employee Jay Leno seemed to be the obvious front-runner ( who was approached and to his credit, turned them down), as well as Seinfeld and Patrick Dempsy rounding out the fantasy celeb line-up. who’s fantasy this would be is anyone’s guess, but whatever.

So as speculation was abound as to whom would be chosen for the U.S. version, or “Gear”, as it was said to have been named, I did what any TG fan would do to keep TG away from hosts like Frankie Munez and Ludacris…. I sent them an audition tape.

The idea was, in my twisted head, that it would be my personality and Top Gear knowledge would simply blow them away, and shame them for even considering anyone else. “this is the guy!” they would shout, after popping in the DVD and being mesmerized by my performance, and I would rush home and tell everyone that I had received a voicemail and they wanted me to fly to Cali for further auditioning. the ultra fan would become part of the phenomenon in some spiritually ascended fusion.

The reality turned out slightly different.

After tracking down the correct PR person, I had my sexy editor mention that Elements had an auto writer who would be interested in being involved with the show. Things were excitedly promising at this point as we received enthusiastic responses of what I’m like, and how they’ve spoken with many people but no one really fit the bill. We even had an exchange with one of the directors in charge of the operation, who is responsible for some of the most spectacular original TG footage ever produced. It had all become very real very quickly.

It was time to make the big play of the whole mission, the audition tape. I received a 2 page email with instructions and a questionnaire to answer on camera, which I carried around in my back pocket for the entire week. I gathered Melissa and Victor to help me out and we arranged the Mustang and the Beetle in a rich tableau displaying my seriousness love of quality performance cars and my sense of humor for enduring a VW beetle for god knows how long.

Here’s where the views of the next events may differ, but this is how I felt from here on in. In short, I was powerfully nervous. I was asked to speak about myself, and the things I said didn’t sound interesting to me, the anxiety kept me from breathing, so my speeches were long-winded and came off as such. I focused on trivial things like “what if I should have cut my hair beforehand” or “should I not have worn this sweater?” ( as if everything else had guaranteed my spot on the show, but my hair and sweater would have ruined it.)

As we continued, the excitement that fueled me dwindled. I wasn’t having fun anymore. I was nervous, and my confidence chipped with every try. We tried a change of location, and when we ran out of sunlight, and having rested, we tried a third time in the morning inside my room (the version that was ultimately submitted). It turned out to be the more natural take, but even then, I was worried if it was good enough. I felt like I could have done better, despite giving it my best effort. I’ve performed on stage and have a good long history of speaking in public and developing a comfortableness in the craft, but this time, maybe because I felt it was so damn important, I basically choked.

The tape was sent, and we eagerly awaited a response. We rejoiced when we heard back from our contact saying he’d recieved the tape and sent it to the casting department, and then wished us luck.

and then nothing.

nothing at all. I got into the ritual of checking my emails and phone specifically for any message. I even kept in mind the time difference in California when checking at home, as if the casting director would call towards the end of business hours there. I checked Finalgear first thing every morning, foolishly looking to see if they’ve heard something about me that I haven’t. and after a couple weeks, I consigned myself to the fact that I shouldn’t bother anymore.

I have to say that it was a fun journey up to this part, one full of immensely uplifting hope.

I still check Finalgear first thing, but to see who they’ve finally chosen. every mention of “Gear” fills my stomach with bitterness and dread. I don’t even watch Top Gear as often, if at all because of the experience. as of this writing, they’ve chosen 2 people, Adam Corolla, and some other guy. they’re looking for a third still, but I’m not holding my breath.

-Alex-

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1 Response to “Gear. Part 2”


  1. April 21, 2008 at 12:11 PM

    I recently sent NG Traveler a brilliant idea, and they sent me back a rejection letter in response. I also sent an author I very much look up to an e-mail and have yet to receive a reply. And after last night’s critique of my Chapter 2, I am stuck in a real quandary over whether or not I can really write what I have envisioned in my head.

    But I’m still holding my breath…and not Photoshop-ing big cross-out symbols over my picture. Plus, on the bright side, you at least have a sexy editor who will keep making all those calls and writing all those e-mails for you =)


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