The audition process for actors can be an anxiety-ridden experience but it is often unique to each person. Recently, actors Donnell Turner and Brook Kerr shared what the path to Port Charles and General Hospital was like for them.
Donnell Turner and Brook Kerr Reveal Their Path
During a General Hospital Fantasy Events Zoom, GH viewers got the chance to ask Turner (Curtis Ashford) and Kerr (Portia Robinson) questions. One viewer, Julie, asked what their audition experience was like for General Hospital.
“I’ve known [GH casting director] Mark Teschner since before Passions,” began Kerr. “I was auditioning for him back then. So he’s always kind of kept me in mind, we’d see each other at soap things, and I really hadn’t been acting. I had some personal things happening in my life, that it’s really hard, for me anyway to like…if you’re not feeling okay, to add a character on top of that, just doesn’t work–not for me,” she laughed.
“So I was doing other things and then this role came up. Mark called my agent about this role and when I read the material — I was a mom, a professional, hard working. It just seemed like the perfect thing. I was just so excited about it, but I hadn’t been in class every week, doing all of the things we should do, so it’s like…’oh shoot’ — my son helped me out with the material, my girlfriend helped me out with the material. I read it with everybody.
“I just tried to be as prepared as possible. I thought nothing really sung to my heart like this did, at this time of my life. It was only a few days before the screen test that I got the material and I booked it a couple of days later and then everything just went off to the races after that…in 24 hours, your life can be like that,” she said, snapping her fingers. “One job away; it’s so cool to me.”
While things happened super fast for Brook Kerr, it wasn’t as fast for Donnell Turner. Before answering for himself, he acknowledged that the question came from a woman who is also an actress and he spoke with her a bit about her path and the process before he answered her question.
He shared advice he got to “change the climate in the room.” He went on to explain that it meant to, “bring something else, and that is advice I share with others. Of course, you got to know your lines, you got to make your choices, make your choices to even where if the ceiling falls down, you can just acknowledge it and stay in it and make the choice from there. You want to know your lines that good.
“But you also want to change the energy, the climate of the room,” he explained. “I think that’s important. For me, I felt like I was doing that. When you screen test or when you are auditioning for a contract, it’s a month-long process, it’s grueling, it’s emotionally taxing.”
He brought home the harsh reality for those gathered. “Everyone thinks they want to be there but it’s tougher than people think. It helps to have something to hang onto like, ‘I’m going to change the climate in the room.’ So that is your charisma, your posture, your presence, your authenticity — all those things matter.”
So what did he do for his GH audition? “I was auditioning for a DEA. I was in a suit, I was making choices from that place, and then on screen-test day, after about four auditions — a month long — they tell me, ‘Oh no, jeans and a T-shirt. You’re actually this Jordan character’s boyfriend.’
“But I knew the lines but I’m not in a suit anymore,” Turner continued. “Things like that, so they threw a curveball but I think that’s the game. People need to recognize the pitch — fastball or curveball — if I might speak metaphorically. Then I find out I didn’t get the part but they liked me and they created a character for me. And I think that comes from just standing in my own truth, my authenticity but also knowing its timing, the universe, and all that other good stuff…it was a month-long process and a month-long wait after that to find out that they had created this character for me.”
To that news, Kerr was overwhelmed with disbelief and empathy for what her co-star had been put through. “Oh my God,” she exclaimed upon hearing his full story. “But you know, it’s been worth it, Donnell Turner admitted easily.
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.