Actress Ambushed at Audition in Hilarious Web Series, Below The Line

Every now and then I like to take a break from the mainstream celebrity gossip world and focus on some of my very talented friends. I have known Ms. Vava Buitenkant since my college days at Carnegie Mellon. Vava has worked as an advertising creative director, package designer, photographer and actor for over twenty years here in New York City. Vava stars in a web series called Below The Line, a new comedy based on true film and television production horror stories. Shot in Brooklyn and Manhattan, the series has a diverse cast of regulars with guest starring roles. In the film and television industry, the term “below the line means anyone working on the physical aspects of a television or film production. These roles include stand ins, background performers, body doubles, stunt players, makeup artists, production assistants, prop masters, location scouts, grips, electricians, wardrobe, hair and makeup artists – all the various team players required to make productions within demanding time and budget contraints. In this particular episode, Ms. Buitenkant is sent for an audition for a featured extra role but is asked to audition for a principal role – the part of a nosy Middle Easterner who shows up at a neighbor’s home with the excuse that her goat was stolen.

Photo: Kimia Rahgozar

Vava wrote the story based on a real audition for a well-known HBO TV series. Unable to learn several pages of Arabic in the allotted 15 minutes, she begins muttering nonsensical phrases out of sheer frustration, in a frantic attempt to fulfill her acting objective in the scene. The dialogue is largely verbatim, with screenplay adaptation by Erika Yeomans. Vava has been known for her principal roles in The Stand-In, All I Know Is, and Avenue X. She also has had featured background roles in HBO’s The Leftovers and Comedy Central’s Broad City, as well as major films such as Learning to Drive (with Ben Kingsley) and Rob the Mob. At the end of this short video, I adore how Vava marches out at the end of her audition – still in full Arabic wardrobe – to hail a cab in a busy midtown street to meet a fellow actor/bartender friend to drink and commiserate on her eventful audition. I just can’t stop laughing!

Check out the other four equally hilarious episodes in the Below The Line series, conceived by Simone Butler (also lead actor of series) and produced by Ms. Butler and Erika Yeomans (also the screenwriter).

Below The Line Production Artists:

Concept Creator/Producer: Simone Butler

Producer/Screen Writer: Erika Yeomans

Co-Producer: Krys Kardasz

Director: Rob McCaskill

Director of Photography: Alice Millar

Editor: Hugo Tamashiro

Gaffer: Eric Fahy

Sound Mixer: Keith Chernin

Hair & Make-Up Artists: Lindsay Cullen & Emily Nowacki

Web Mistress: Julianne Sombat

Post Production Manager: Jonathan Liberato

Cast in Order of Appearance:

Victoria: Vava Buitenkant

Samantha: Simone Butler

Mina: Pooya Mohseni

Russian Actress: Veronika Korvin

Casting Assistant: David Meyers

Hot Girl: Cheryl Martin

Waleed: George Pappas

Director: Nick Napolitano

Casting Director: Celia Schaefer

Lily: Kemba Bloodworth    

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