Casting Call

This is an open call for participants to appear in a film commissioned by the Oakland Standard, a series of contemporary art projects produced by the Oakland Museum of California. Once selected, participants will visit the museum on Monday, June 27, 2011, for a single forty-five-minute on-camera interview.

The film, titled Nothing Happens for Long, is an investigation (by the filmmakers, Jonn Herschend and Andrew Leland) into the normal, even boring moments that happen every day at a museum. It’s our belief that these quiet, mundane experiences are what lead to real discovery and wonder, and that museums are especially good at creating the right atmosphere to make them happen—in other words, to make nothing happen. (A more detailed explanation of these ideas appears on the film’s project page.)


We are looking for stories by individuals who have been to the Oakland Museum—recently or years ago—and experienced a moment where nothing happened. 


Some examples: 


• While looking at a Bierstadt painting in the museum’s art gallery, you found yourself remembering a salad you once made. You even remember the sort of lettuce that was used.


• You keep looking out the window to the courtyard and notice a man walking by the window. You think he is maybe on a treadmill. But you are certain that there is no treadmill out there. Then he leaves.


• You are looking at a sculpture in the sculpture garden, and find yourself trying to remember the last time you saw the film Die Hard (the first one). You are not a fan of Die Hard, and you can't figure out why this thought jumped into your head.


Interested participants should send an email to [email protected] by noon on Monday, June 20, with the subject heading NOTHING HAPPENS. Participants should include their name, age, phone number, city of residence, date of visit to the museum, and a brief (50–500 words) description of their experience at the museum. In the email, participants should also confirm their availability on June 27. Visitors whose stories are selected will be invited to the museum to speak about their experience on-camera on June 27. 


Rules and guidelines for eligibility:


• Stories must be real. Even if it’s something like the examples above—some small detail you noticed, or a random thought that floated into your head—it still needs to be true, to the best of your memory. The stories can be funny, or dumb, but they must be real. They should have happened to you.


• Stories must be boring. Nothing too exciting should have happened to you. If you’ve told this story to a group of people before, and they seemed interested, this might be the wrong story. Pick a tiny moment from your visit and write about it.


• Stories must take place at the museum. You should have been in or at the museum when the experience happened to you. The garage, gardens, cafe, and immediate surroundings of the museum are all OK. It can be from today or thirty years ago.


• Feel free to submit more than one story.


• You need to have time free on Monday June 27 to appear on film at the Museum.  


The deadline is noon on Monday, June 20. Please forward and re-post this call far and wide. Questions, submissions, and comments should be sent without delay to [email protected].