Oct. 6, 2007
Short Film “Audition” Reflects Everyone’s Life Journey in One Lost, Hopeful 30 Year Old Man
By Tony Rutherford
Huntington News Network Writer
Do you view life as a daily “audition” by selling yourself, taking on new roles, and attempting to win approval? Sam Holdren, an M.F.A. candidate in Temple University’s Department of Film & Media Arts, has along with Joseph W. Nig, now an M.A. candidate in Media Studies at WV State University, collaborated on the screenplay for “Audition,” whose main character William Ashe equates a drifting ‘everyman’ looking for success and a whole lot of hope.
The short screens at 7:25 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Landmark Studio of the Arts, Sutton, W.Va., as part of the West Virginia Filmmakers Festival. It has previously been honored as Best Student Short Film and Best Regional Student Film at the Bluegrass Independent Film Festival, La Grange, Ky. The Winfield, W.Va. native began principal photography in November 2004 but the film took two years to complete with scenes shot in Philadelphia and Charleston, W.Va. “When you’re a student film on a limited budget, it tends to slow down the process,” Holden said. However, aside from financing, graduate school and teaching delayed completion as well as “music, visual effects and sound editing…[they] always take three times longer than you expect.”
However, their character Ashe has hit a meaningful chord with viewers. Essentially, he’s a 30 something loser living at home with his mother who believes in “signs” and has an insatiable spirit “People like William Ashe have not found their way in life just yet, but a person with the spirit of William Ashe will go on forever despite naiive mistakes or failures,” Holdren explained. “Some people see it for the dark comedy, but it’s gratifying when regular people, colleagues, or anybody else sees your work and gets it on a human level.”
How did Ng and Holdren formulate the character?
“As folks in the Charleston-area who have seen the film are certainly aware, many qualities of William Ashe are unquestionably inspired by a good friend of ours. This includes the energetic personality and external traits; however several of William’s experiences belong to Joe and I. The actual audition is my own experience auditioning for a movie. But as wee were writing the screenplay, we decided that a character like our friend would be more interesting and watchable through all of the absurd things that happen. It’s an abstraction, not a biography. ”
So, on the way to the theatre in the big city for a major moment , William suddenly finds himself sidetracked and caught up in murder mayhem and mistaken identity. Not unlike curves, detours, and uncomfortable so-called growth opportunities in everyone’s journey? “You ask actors to come and try to create some sense of natural behavior in an unnatural environment and then judge them for it while also trying to maintain natural behavior,” the writer/producer said. Sounds like how many of us often try to adapt and conform to environments and relationships that we willingly or unwittingly stumble into?
Thus, despite the hyperbole of circumstances, he represents anyone struggling along life’s path. “In practically every sequence, William is auditioning. Everywhere he goes, and for everyone he speaks to, he is constantly selling himself,” Holdren said. “He’s trying to make his mother proud by successfully doing something, anything.”
Aside from the Sutton screening, “Audition” has been shown at Huntington’s Appalachian Film Festival, Muskogee, Oklahoma’s Bare Bones International Film Festival, and Springfield, Illinois’ Route 66 Film Festival, and next month in Hatboro, Pa. at the Delaware Valley Film Festival. Check other upcoming showings at http://www.auditionmoviesite.com.
Although Holdren has his thesis on mostly on his mind, another short film of his, “Play” will be shown at the inaugural Rockport Film Festival in Texas. Visit: http://www.playmoviesite.com While studying at West Virginia State University, he won the West Virginia International Student Film Competition for “Unexpected Aphrodisiacs” (2001) and “Blah” (2002). On his 2008 slate, “The Paradigm Shift,” a short drama, and he recently worked as the line producer Huntington native and NYU graduate student Kim Spurlock’s “Roy G. Biv.”

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