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[00:00:04]

Hey, guys, it's Mike Rowe, and this is the way I heard it, the only podcast for The Curious Mind with a short attention span.

[00:00:10]

This is episode number 167 and it's called They knew it when they saw it. They knew it when they saw it. What did they see? Who are they? Well, that's all part of the fun of the story, although I'll tell you some of it up front, because I realized when I was halfway through this tale, it's not the first audition story that I've told.

[00:00:31]

Maybe that's because I've been through a number of auditions in my own misspent career and a number of producers who looked at me in the middle of an audition and said, we'll know it when we see it.

[00:00:43]

Thank you. Usually in response to me saying, what are you guys looking for exactly? Well, they they don't know. They thought they knew. They think they know. I thought they knew. That's how the audition process goes in my world. There's all this certainty on the part of the producers who are looking for a very specific type. And then. As they search for that type, they they realize that, well, maybe maybe it's another type altogether, and then they realize maybe we don't know what we want at all.

[00:01:14]

Maybe maybe we'll just see everybody in the world, because when we see the right one, then we'll know. That's what makes my my industry so arbitrary and capricious. And that's the main reason I discourage people from getting into show business.

[00:01:30]

It's it's not just tough. It's random. And when I read this story, the true story, you're about to hear about a real character producer who actually said we'll know it when we see it, it just well, it resonated. You know, they say you should write what you know. I'm not sure that's good advice or not. Lee Child, the guy who created Jack Reacher, he says you should write what you feel. Well, I know about auditioning.

[00:01:58]

I know how it feels to audition and get the job. I know how it feels to audition and not get the job. And I know how it feels to conduct an audition and to have to look people in the eye and say, you know what, the truth is, you're not it. But I'll know it when I see it. And sometimes that's just the way the world works. It's certainly how it worked for the actor. You're about to meet an actor you surely already know who came face to face with some very powerful producers who said to him, we'll know it when we see it.

[00:02:35]

Did they? Well, that's up for you to decide. I can tell you this. The story wouldn't have happened without Zipp recruiter. They know it when they see it. And what they've seen for many, many thousands of businesses are quality candidates. Auditioning is a lot like looking for a job. I guess there are certainly some similarities. It's not the exact same thing. You don't go casting when you're trying to find the right employee. You go looking for the person with the right qualities.

[00:03:01]

Right. That's what ZIP recruiter is. Great. And they do the looking for you. You post a job for free. It's a recruiter. Dotcom cigarroa zip recruiter. Sprinkle some of their magic fairy dust on there. And the next thing you know, you're going to be, statistically speaking, one of the four out of five employers who post on zip recruiter and get a quality candidate within the first day, four out of five employers who go to zip recruiter dotcom ro get a quality candidate within the first day.

[00:03:29]

I've got all kinds of examples I can give you, but today I'm just going to remind you that I've been using them over the years and it's the truth. I'll use it recruiter again next time I need to hire.

[00:03:41]

A lot of people right now are navigating a completely new set of rules, it seems, and their own industries, and they need every advantage they can get. Zip recruiter is a big advantage trying for free. Post your job right now. I don't care if your company's large or small. Zip recruiter Dotcom cigarroa. We don't wait to see it before. You know, if that's it, let Zipp recruiter do the heavy lifting for crying out loud.

[00:04:06]

Zip recruiter Dotcom cigarroa. This is the way I heard it. They knew it when they saw it. Oh. Madeleine picked up her client on a Wednesday afternoon, a little after 3:00 p.m., his audition was at 4:00, but his meeting was at six. I can't be late for another meeting, said Jerry. I need to be inside that church before 6:00 p.m..

[00:04:38]

I get it, said Madeleine. Your meetings are important, but this audition could change your life. I'm telling you, Jerry, this part was written for you, Jerry snorted. Where had he heard that before? Every casting agent, every producer, every bottom feeder in this whole crummy business had told him the same thing a dozen times over. Now, after a career that included the stage, the silver screen, and God only knew how many commercials, he was still hearing it, this time from his manager.

[00:05:09]

What's the project? Ask Jerry. It's a juicy role in a new sitcom, said Madeleine. What's a show about? The producers told me it's a show about the everyday occurrences of everyday living.

[00:05:25]

Sounds like a show about nothing, said Jerry. Sounds like a steady paycheck, said Madelin Jerry side. Well, how far is the church from the studio? Fifteen minutes, said Madeline. And how long is this audition? It's really just a meeting with the producers and a quick read through of a single scene. You'll be in and out in no time.

[00:05:47]

All right, said Jerry, I'll do it. Let's meet the producers on the way to the church, but let's do it quick. I really can't be late. Madeline could see that Jerry was in no condition to drive, but that didn't mean he couldn't audition. She got him to the studio at five minutes to four where nine other actors waited to audition. The receptionist asked them to sign in and handed Jerry the sides two pages of dialogue to be performed for the producers.

[00:06:19]

Would it be possible? Ask Madeleine for my client to go first? He has another meeting at six p.m..

[00:06:25]

A very important meeting, said Jerry. I'm sorry, said the receptionist, but there are nine actors before you. Jerry gave his manager a worried glance and quickly did the math. If the producers took 10 minutes with each actor, that would be 90 minutes. That meant he'd be called around five 30. That would get him on the road by five forty five and that would get him to the church right at six p.m.. Tight but doable. Are you nervous?

[00:06:57]

Ask the manager. You look nervous. I'm fine, said Jerry. I just can't be late for my meeting for crying out loud. Jerry, would you please stop worrying about your meeting? You need to focus. Come on, let's run the lines.

[00:07:11]

Jerry sighed. Madeline really was a fine manager and he had done well by her over the years. But she didn't understand the importance of what happened every week in that church basement. She didn't understand the fellowship and what that fellowship meant to guys like Jerry. For the next 90 minutes, Madeleine tried to get her client to focus, she ran lines, she offered encouragement, she made suggestions as the other actors were called in one at a time. Happily, the first three hopefuls were in and out in less than five minutes each.

[00:07:48]

That's good, whispered Madeleine. If they don't keep you for at least 10 minutes, you haven't got a shot.

[00:07:55]

Jerry was also encouraged at this rate. He'd make his meeting with time to spare. But then the pace began to slow. The producers kept the next three actors for ten minutes each. The two after that for 15 minutes, and the one after that for nearly 20 minutes. What the hell were they doing in there? Jerry grew increasingly alarmed as the big hand on his watch seemed to pick up speed. It was 540 by the time his name was finally called Good luck, said Madeleine.

[00:08:27]

And remember, this part was written for you. Jerry took a deep breath and strode quickly onto the sound stage.

[00:08:36]

There, two producers sat in director chairs behind the television camera. There were bright lights everywhere and a white X on the floor made of masking tape. Jerry stood on the X and tried not to look anxious. Hello, Jerry. My name is Bob. This is my partner John, where the producers of this project and we really appreciate you coming by. My pleasure, said Jerry, though his expression said something else. You know, said Bob.

[00:09:04]

John and I have auditioned over 5000 actors for this part. That seems like an awful lot, said Jerry. What kind of actor are you guys looking for? Well, said John. To be perfectly honest, we don't know. No, said Bob, we don't. But we'll know it when we see it. Jerry nodded. Well, mister, what do you see over here? Bob considered the actor, standing before them, fidgeting, antsy and clearly distracted, he considered the blue trousers two sizes too big, the starched blue shirt and the tie that appeared to be choking him.

[00:09:44]

Then, Bob, ask a question. Tell me something, Jerry, and be honest. Do you even want to be here right now? Jerry glanced at the clock on the wall. No, sir. I'm sorry. Your show sounds swell, but I've really got to get to a meeting. Bob, recognize the signs? He'd been through the same program himself many years ago. He'd sat in a church basement and he had taken that same solemn pledge.

[00:10:13]

I understand, said Bob. Thank you for being honest. Go to your meeting. Good luck with your show, Mr.. I hope you find what you're looking for. During the car ride over to the church, Madeleine made no attempt to hide her disappointment. You were in there less than a minute, she said.

[00:10:31]

What did they say to you? Jerry shrugged. They said they didn't know what they were looking for, but that they would know it when they saw it. I guess I wasn't it. Jerry's manager got her client to the church at exactly two minutes before 6:00, as promised. Don't be discouraged, Jerry. I still believe in you. Then Madeleine did something most managers never do. She licked her hand and rubbed it over her clients callick, smoothing down his unruly hair.

[00:11:06]

Then she tried to straighten his tie, but that was no use. I'll pick you up at seven thirty, she said. Thanks, Mom. I'm sorry I blew it. Tuck in your shirt. She called, but Jerry didn't hear her. He was already scampering down the stairs at the back of the church just as the meeting in the basement was coming to order. Just as all the other young men in uniform were raising their right hands and repeating the pledge on my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the law of the pack.

[00:11:39]

That night at home, Jerry couldn't stop talking about the Cub Scouts and how much fun he'd had at the meeting, he'd already forgotten about his disastrous audition just a few hours before. But then the phone rang and Madelin picked it up. It was Bob Moesha, the producer, offering her son the role of a lifetime. Madeleine couldn't speak for a moment, several moments, in fact. But but I thought he blew it. She said he was only in there for less than a minute.

[00:12:09]

What happened? Well said, Bob. We're making a show about an all-American boy. I'd rather hire a boy who wants to be a Cub Scout than a boy who wants to be an actor. And that is how Jerry wound up starring in a show about nothing, nothing but the everyday events that befall the youngest member of an all-American family, a family brought to life by Barbara Billingsley, Hugh Beaumont, Tony Daou and Madeline Mathers only client, her nine year old son, the reluctant actor in no condition to drive, who landed the role of a lifetime by walking out of the most important audition of his career in order to be on time for his weekly Cub Scout meeting.

[00:12:56]

Precisely what you'd expect from an all-American kid like Jerry Mathers, the unlikely star of an unlikely hit called Leave it to Beaver. Anyway, that's why I heard.