Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 23
Pairing/s: Arthur/Merlin though sadly only a sleeping Arthur in this chapter
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan for staying in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Warnings: Unglamorous working actor business.
Word Count: 1107
Prompt: New Year's Eve Party
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
Early Monday afternoon Merlin has an appointment with Gwaine’s agent Morgause so he figures out how to take the Metro to Burbank to register with Central Casting before the meeting. Registration is first come first serve so the alarm goes off at four thirty. Arthur just groans and flails a bit before slipping back into sleep.
Merlin is about the thirtieth person in line just after six. Registration doesn’t begin until nine thirty so he pulls out his phone and checks his emails. There’s a response from the director of The Merry Minstrels Children’s Theater asking Merlin for a resume and photos so he shoots them off.
The line is made up of people running the gamut of ages and ethnicities. Behind Merlin are two engaging octogenarians who are here to knock something off their bucket lists. “It will be gravy if we get called for a job but this is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a teenager and Judith thought it might be fun, too,” blue haired Blanche says with a smile. “Maybe I’ll be discovered!”
“Maybe we all will,” Merlin smiles back. He pulls out The Goldfinch and tries to tune out the chatter.
At nine an employee distributes slips to the first sixty or so people in line and then those slip holders are ushered in to show an employee two forms of ID and turn in a registration form Merlin had filled out beforehand. Another line for a waist up photo for his file and then a two hour slide show orientation about the casting process, on set behaviour and expectations before he’s finally finished.
It’s a slow, boring process and following up with myriad phone calls to see if he’s needed on a set will be more of the same but Merlin’s excited to have it done. He gives Blanche and Judith a cheery wave as he heads off to the meeting with Morgause.
Scrying Talent Mangement’s office is plush and inviting. A young woman quickly checks him in and asks him to wait a moment for Morgause’s assistant to lead him back. Strangely, the young man who comes for him is dressed as a Jedi.
He smiles at Merlin a bit sheepishly. “Ms. Scrying and I are going to see The Force Awakens after work and I lost a bet,” he explains.
Merlin laughs, “Would she have had to dress up if she’d lost?”
The assistant grins as he raps on a door before cracking it open. “I had the Princess Leia slave costume all picked out.”
“Then isn’t it a good thing you lost that bet, Gilli?” A smoky voice says from inside the office. "Wouldn't want to make a bad impression on a possible new client, would we?" Gilli grins at Merlin again and pushes the door wider.
“Bad impression? You would have looked terrific in that metal bikini.”
“Stop objectifying me and go get me a coffee, please,” she laughs. “Would you like anything, Mr. Emrys?”
Merlin shakes his head no and Ms. Scrying waves at a chair opposite. “Please have a seat,” She taps a folder on her desk. “First off, I’m delighted you actually look like your head shot,” she says. “You’d be surprised how many people don’t.” She opens the file and scans it quickly before looking at Merlin with a critical eye. “I’d say you can play anywhere from eighteen to around twenty-five with the right costuming and lighting. I see you’ve done a bit of modeling, would you be up for me sending you forward on a few calls?”
Merlin is startled into blurting, “Does this mean you’re going to be representing me?”
Ms. Scrying arches an eyebrow at Merlin, “I’ve watched your demo reel, Mr. Emrys. You have real talent but I have no idea of your work ethic or temperament. You’ve only been out of school a short time but Gwaine vouches for you and I think we may be a good fit but I’d like to send you on a few auditions and see how it goes.”
Merlin wasn’t expecting much more than a cursory meeting so he’s gobsmacked at this news. “That sounds fantastic, actually. How is this going to work? I’ve just signed on with Central Casting and have a few callbacks I set up. Also, I’m expecting a script from Mordred Knight but we’ll see if that happens.”
Morgause looks at him with interest.
“I met him last night and he thinks I may be right for a role in a play he’s written,” Merlin continues. “He didn’t tell me any more than that.”
Morgause considers this for a second before responding, “At this point how about this office only takes a percentage of anything you book through us?”
Merlin nods, “That’s reasonable but what percentage are we looking at?”
Morgause smiles, “I’ll have you sign a General Services Agreement of ten percent and my assistant will call you when there’s an audition. In the meant time, I have a photographer hiring this afternoon for a shoot next week. It’s not acting but it’s for a national campaign so I think you should give it a go.”
Merlin smiles, “That sounds brilliant.”
The call is not brilliant. Merlin is one of nearly a hundred young men crammed into a drafty warehouse in Echo Park. It’s two hours before he hands over his portfolio. The woman looks bored by his photos but she makes a few notes on his resume and promises they’ll be making their decision in the next day or so. This is more what he’d expected Hollywood to be like so he’s not really disappointed.
It’s after seven when Merlin finally drags himself home from the cattle call. Arthur’s having drinks with Gwaine but he’d promised to be home by ten. Merlin sifts through the mail that’s been left on the reception table. There’s a large manila envelope with his name scrawled across the front. Mordred must have had the script couriered rather than mailed.
He slips his index finger under the sealed flap of the envelope and the pages slip into his hands. Merlin turns to Act One.
Merlin settles down on the end of the couch for a first read through.