Thursday, 24 November 2011

Fateful Decisions

As promised, today’s blog will be what Tuesday’s should have been about. 

On Tuesday, I got to thinking about the first audition that I found for myself. I’ve never been particularly good at asking other people for help so although I love the kind of castings that an agent can secure for you, I love being able to find my own work. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction in 2009 when I worked out that I made more money from the jobs that I got myself than the ones that my agent got for me. I mean that may have more to do with the fact that my agent was hugely useless and would regularly put me up for roles that were a dubious match for me at best. The best was probably when I was put up to play a 40 year old Indian businesswoman. There is many a day when I’m not looking my bestest but despite the crisp and wine based abuse I regularly put my body through on a daily basis, I somehow look slightly younger than I actually am. So, imagine my horror when, at the age of 24, I read the casting brief in the waiting room (my agent wasn’t one for helping make sure I was prepared beforehand) that I was up for the role of someone 16 years older than myself.

So you can see why I was happier to be looking for stuff on my own but of course, at this early stage in my career I didn’t realise how incompetent my agent would very quickly become so I thought that auditions secured by myself would be extremely few and far between. It was for a rehearsed reading which was going to take place at a very well known theatre and the director had already secured a lot of important sounding people to attend. The role was so up my street (Middle Eastern role falls in love with someone who her family don’t approve of and she’s forced to marry someone else) that I’d already bought a house, a hotel and was charging people all the Monopoly money they’d ever owned just to step foot there. 

The audition was so far up in north London that it’s where the accents start to change and there’s a definite Midlands twang so I set off with a map in hand (this was before phones could be trusted to tell you where you are) and was very excited about what was ahead. The audition was a good twenty minutes from the nearest tube station and as it was a nice day, I decided to shun the bus and walked there instead. I got to where the road that seemed to match the address I had scrawled on my map but it looked like a business estate so, as I was still a bit early, I had a bit of a wander to see if there was any other roads nearby of a similar name. I scouted around and found nothing so decided that the business estate road must change the further you got down so off I went. But instead of getting better, it just got worse. I started passing saw mills and quarries and all matter of scary looking places until I got to the number that I was given. I expected to see a little office maybe but instead I was faced with a factory behind a very tall, locked fence. The only living being to be found was a mean looking dog who was patrolling around and although I’ve seen some vicious looking professionals in my time, I’m pretty sure he was nothing to do with the casting. 

I went across to the building opposite to ask if they knew if I was in the right place and they confirmed that the address was correct. I tried calling the director but it went straight to voicemail so I left a message and carried on wandering round. As I meandered about, I passed the same girl a couple of times and we finally discovered that she too was there for the audition and had the same problem as me. We waited around for another thirty minutes, leaving several voicemails and text messages with the director until we decided that enough was enough and made our way home.
When I got home, I complained to the company where I found the casting and they promptly contacted the director and suspended their account until they had a full explanation of what happened. I emailed the director to explain that both myself and another actress had waited around a good hour overall and that I would like an explanation as to what happened. But of course, I heard nothing.

About two weeks later I got a call from my agent and the director had been in touch to ask if I’d go back and audition. I was dubious but my agent promised to cover my travel expenses if they pulled the same trick again so off I went. It was in the same place again so I can’t say I was feeling particularly confident but thankfully I arrived and the factory was open and it turned out that we were auditioning in the narrowest office known to man. The factory was working too so we had to shout above the din of whirring machines and an alarm which went off every twenty seconds. The director explained that they’d had to cancel the previous audition because they’d had an argument with their partner and the said partner had destroyed their phone so they were unable to contact anyone to explain that they were unable to hold the auditions anymore. Somehow, the cynical raise of my eyebrows and my sceptical silence didn’t put off the director and I ended up getting the job. However, my phone decided to not tell me for two weeks that I had any voicemails and as the director clearly didn’t understand the notion of trying another method of contact, the job ended up going to someone else. Think it’s safe to say that fate was clearly working overtime for me and succeeded in getting me as far away as possible from a project that was clearly doomed from the start. Now if only fate would set up its own agency….

Monday, 21 November 2011

Tick Tock

After a wonderous day on Thursday, I strapped myself in and prepared myself for an almighty crash back down to earth. If I could be bothered, I'd go back and check where I left things on Friday but I know I can safely say that I was complaining about the lack of food. I'm sure there were numerous other complaints which were my parents to look at, they'd probably disown me and wonder how on earth their incredible parenting skills had resulted in such a whiny, ungrateful child.

Anyway, I have to admit that this weekend, on the whole, was pretty bloody fun. Much of it was spent running away from pretend monsters and if I wasn't doing that then I was either attacking them or screaming at them. Time in front of the camera, as always, was great. A monster-fighting heroine is not a role that comes my way very often so I've enjoyed it immensely. As the ravages of time take their hold, these parts are going to land at my increasingly achy feet less and less so I figure I need to make the most of them while people still foolishly let me have a go at them.

As usual, it was the time away from the camera that was tough. And it was namely to do with when I was due to finish. On Saturday, I'd been told that I'd be finishing by 5pm. Out of everyone on the shoot, I've probably been on set the most and after a 12 hour shoot on Friday, I was looking forward to a much shorter day. However, when I tell you that my lift to the location on Saturday morning was late by 45 minutes, you already know that my wrap time was becoming more unlikely than Scorsese coming up to me in Sainsburys, telling me how he loved my extensive work in student films and that he'd love to secure me a job in every shoot he's involved with between now and the end of time. Finally at the location, we were then subjected to another hour wait while the crew set up the first shot. Finally in front of the camera, everything went swimmingly and we started racing through the shots needed.

As we approached my wrap time, everything started to take longer. Everyone started messing about and the director suddenly decided that each shot needed at least 18 takes, regardless of how well the first one went. My 5pm home time started to become a distant memory and I was then promised I'd be done by 8pm. That time came and went and I was then told I'd be out by 9pm. 9pm struck and I was still waiting to shoot my final scene. Finally at 10pm I was done and was told that I could leave. With a spring in my step, I got my stuff together only to find that there was no one available to get me back to the station. Normally I'm fine getting myself to these places but time + darkness + south London on a Saturday night meant that my desperation to get home was overriden by my desperation to keep hold of my belongings and my face. Another half an hour passed before I was finally released back into the wild, kicking and screaming and wondering why my job has become putting up with these things.

Thankfully I've already seen some of the rushes and I'm confident that at the end of it all, I'm going to have a piece of work that I'm actually proud of. I mean, when I say proud, I actually mean a piece of work that doesn't make me want to hack off my own face the second someone mentions it. It's far from perfect and I'm sure my accent travels around so much that it's almost solely responsible for global warming but it's made by people who know what they're doing and care about these things so that's got to count for something, right? All they need to do is buy a massive clock and hire Dervla Kirwin to dub everything I say and it might just work out...

Friday, 18 November 2011

Operation Excellent

Many years from now, when I finally give in and answer everyone's prayers and release my autobiography, yesterday will go down as The Day. I mean, for various lovely reasons, 2011 may well have been my best year yet and there are moments that top yesterday. But in terms of acting it will be bloody hard to beat. It was particularly fulfilling if you like your days loaded with artistical wonderments but it was still bloody special do read on....

I shot the advert I got yesterday and although I was ridiculously excited about getting the role and being paid handsomely for a day's work, I hadn't really given the shoot much thought. I imagined it would be a nice day and when I received the call sheet, I glanced over it to see who I'd be working alongside. My attention was first grabbed as I excitedly told T I'd be working with someone he knew. But my high-pitched chattering meant I missed the truly exciting bit...the main actor was a comedy actor hero old mine and I was only bloody listed alongside him as one of the principal artists. Much skipping around the room commenced as a childhood dream would be finally fulfilled. I often think about what it would be like up go back ten years and frighten the 17 year old me with what I'd end up doing. I'd have been horrified to learn that I'd readily put myself for all manner of work but working with that actor who featured in pretty much every comedy show I held dear?! Wow. I'm also pleased to announce that he was bloody lovely and debunked the myth that you should never meet your heroes.

But don't worry. While I did have the most excellently great day, it wasn't all perfect. The day started badly with my journey there. Being picked up abs driven to the shoot is damn lovely but at 6.30am with a driver who clearly has no idea where he's going and it's not so fun. I realised something was up when we seemed to be near the venue and the driver started to slowly cruise alongside every large looking building. After the fifth time of him asking me I'd I knew where we were going and me telling him I didn't, he finally gave in and sought help. Thirty minutes we drifted around the vicinity, somehow managing to miss the location each time.

Finally we arrived and after a quick chance to pick up some breakfast, I was whisked away to costume and make up. Dressed in the most unflattering, hot costume, we headed on to set and much fun was had by all. The crew were all amazing and the feeling on set was joyous. That was until, after about an hour of pronouncing my name correctly, the director suddenly started saying it differently. I didn't get a chance to correct him the first time it happened and anyway, what's the etiquette during this? He's busy trying to get a complicated shoot finished so should j really be bothering him with the phonetics of my name? Or should I have more self-worth and demand that until he gets it right, I'll be refusing to carry on? Of course, I went with the former and suffered the slightly awkward moments each time he spoke to me.

Today is a lovely crash back down to unpaid earth as I'm back on the web shoot. Lovely day so far but there's no heroes in sight, I've been here three hours and so far only my shoulder has been shot and yet again there's no food. But still, their pronunciation of my name is spot on.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Actor vs Actress

Hi-diddly-dee. An actor’s life for me. Or should that be actress? Ever since Whoopi Goldberg uttered the words…

“An actress can only play a woman. I’m an actor, I can play anything.”

…the debate has raged over what the correct term is. Some leapt on the bandwagon instantly and entered a full tirade against anyone who dared speak the name ‘actress.’ Feminism reigned supreme and regardless of what bits you entered the world with, the correct term was actor.

I completely understand the notion behind what Whoopi said but is it entirely necessary? Why should the term ‘actress’ be seen as derogatory? Personally I’m very proud to be an actress and everything that it stands for. Why should we be ashamed that our job title instantly means that people understand that we are a female performer? Does this mean that we’re now embarrassed to be called women? Will this topic force me to ask any more questions? Keep reading and find out… 

Now I should be proud when people ask me what I do for a living. I love my job and the ridiculous things that I get to do on a daily basis. Yes, I dread having to go through the ‘no I haven’t been in EastEnders’ speech and I hate explaining that I’m not working on anything yet and there’s no chance that they’ll have ever seen me in anything. But there’s something I hate most of all. It’s what I should damn well call myself. The term ‘actress’ has never bothered me but as I mention it, I feel the dark shadow of feminism looming over me. I get the same feeling I get when I let a man buy me a drink and the betrayal of the sisterhood takes over. The problem is though that, more often than not, you’re explaining your job to people who don’t act. Therefore, if you tell people that you’re an ‘ACTOR’ then they instantly think you’re an idiot. It will take all their willpower not to do the ‘ooooo, an actorrrrr’ (you know the one I mean) and even if they don’t do it in your face, you can see the struggle behind the eyes and you feel like a fool.

A sad thing happens when you type in the word ‘actress’ into Google. Go on, do it now. Yep. The first bloody thing it brings up is ‘actor.’ Even the world’s biggest search engine instantly corrects you and makes you feel like you share the same sexist views as your great Uncle George. Instead of just humouring you and brining up an informative Wikipedia page that would include a handy amount of facts so that you could easily write a blog about the history of the actress, it leads you, like the frightened little politically correct beast it is, to the page that it thinks it should do. 

I realise that the term actor was originally set up to just mean a performer and there was no gender bias to the word. It just happened to mean a male performer because us ladyfolk weren’t allowed to do silly voices for a living so as soon as someone said the dreaded word, everyone knew they were talking about a bloke who gets his kicks running around on stage. It’s only when the world realised that a female role is the part that women were born to play that they came up with a new word to describe these new and interesting beings. 

But most importantly, what’s wrong with a bit of differentiation between men and women anyway? Weren’t we all happy that the term ‘actor’ meant a male performer and ‘actress’ meant a female performer? Does this mean that we all need to campaign to be called men regardless of our gender? And what about male performers? If men want to jump on this trundling bandwagon going nowhere, will we find Dominic West suddenly declaring…

“An actor can only play a man. I’m an actress, I can play anything.”

No. Of course not.  And if he does, I bet we’ll all be clamouring to be called an actress again…

Sunday, 13 November 2011

So Long Saturday

Ah, the weekend. A time when you can be guaranteed a lie-in and you can be fairly safe in the knowledge that no one will be contacting you to travel to far-flung places to say a couple of words in the hope that you might secure a job that will reluctantly pay your travel expenses. It's Saturday. Why would anyone need you to make a 90 minute trip to utter maybe a minute's worth of speech? Of course, I realise I'm stupid. Only if you have a nice, normal job can you be certain that you won't be called up to travel 20 miles to play a religious fanatic from the Deep South who is partially sighted with a limp. But I don't have a nice, normal job so that's exactly what I found myself doing yesterday.

It was the same people that I worked for last weekend and they needed someone to play a few small roles. Flattered to be considered, I duly accepted without a thought to the fact that I was giving up yet another weekend to flit around London for no money. I mean, I wasn't going to be earning any money anyway over the weekend and at least when you're trapped on set for hours and hours, the chances of spending any cash are pretty damn limited so I suppose they were actually doing me a favour. The call time was midday which would normally be fine but the set was pretty much on the other side of the world (west London) so I found myself crawling out of bed at a time that really shouldn't be legal on a Saturday morning. It's one thing getting up at that time when you know you're going to be the star of the show but the effort becomes far greater when you realise that you're sacrificing your weekend for the sake fo a few lines and a half-baked character.

However, how wrong I was. I got to play a handful of fun characters, most of which were just voiceovers which meant I got to play around with my dreadful catalogue of accents. Northern, Deep South and Cockney all got a look in yesterday although I'm sure they all ended up sounding like various versions of Welsh in the end.

So, on set, much fun was to be had. However, it was off set where the tedium lied. Off set can be dull at best. The bulk of filming is waiting around and therefore a fully charged phone and a damn good book are your bestest friends. A good cast are also crucial too as you'll often find that you end up spending more time nattering with them and your book goes largely unread and your phone hardly checked. But yesterday no one seemed to want to really talk. As soon as we were on set, novels were whipped out of bags and phones were constantly monitored. The usual questions were fired out.Where did you train? What are you working on at the moment? Where did you travel from today? Do you lie awake at night wondering whether anyone will ever pay you to work again? OK, one of those is a lie. No one ever dares ask anyone what else they're working on at the moment. As a question it's far too loaded and encourages boastful actors to start listing off all the projects they're involved in for the next decade and it allows depressed actors to enter a monologue of self-pity and bitterness. So very little was said at all. One actress made it her mission to turn the few conversations that were held into a game of Top Trumps where she tried to better everyone else with her dismal tales of her vague acting past. I find this behaviour tiresome and sadly it just prevented me from trying to start any further backstage chats. Of course, these people are almost impossible to stop and I'm sorry to say that even as she was leaving set, I could hear her boring the ears off someone as she rattled on about some supposedly hilarious incident that happened before the world began.

Next weekend sees even more filming . This time I'll ensure I'm fully prepared with a box of conversation starts, plenty of ear plugs and enough mouth gags to stop even the most determined of acting bores...

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Final Hour

I must start by apologising to you all who were left waiting yesterday for my verdict blog. I realise many of you probably haven't been able to sleep or eat, worrying what the outcome was after being told that I'd made it down to the final two for the advert. I imagine it was a very difficult day for you all and I'm sorry that I was unable to get the important news out to you sooner.

But fear not because a conclusion has finally been reached. Grab that sandwich and then get to bed because your lives can get back to normal once again. But before then, I'll give you a brief idea of the build up yesterday. They obviously decided that instead of putting me out of my misery and calling me up early, they'd instead put me through some tortuous X Factor style, drawn-out wait. From the second I woke up, I was checking my phone. Each glance at my phone would bring out a 'WHY HAVEN'T THEY CALLED YET?' cry that I'm sure drove T to the point of wondering how easily he could get away with my murder. Hour after hour passed until it was gone 5pm and I'd resigned myself to the fact that they just weren't going to call. In my head, they'd offered the part to the other actress and were just waiting for her confirmation before they called me up with the bad news. I'd practiced my gracious defeat voice in my head and I was ready...

T has been giving me a Star Wars education over the last couple of days. The previous attempt at getting me to watch the films resulted in me falling asleep within the first fifteen minutes but this second attempt was going extremely well and after only two days, we were already on Return of the Jedi yesterday afternoon. It was just before 6pm and Luke and Vader were about to go head to head when my phone suddenly rings. It's from a blocked number and so I answered it, fully expecting to be told that I'd won some bogus competition. But no. It was the production company telling me that they'd loved what I did in the audition and they'd like to offer me the part. Hooray, huzzah and yahoo! I realised that I'd been so busy honing my loser speech that I was a litle lost for words so I think I vaguely mumbled some phrases whilst being told that I'd be emailed further information in the next day.

But who cared what I said. Miss L is going to be on your screens (if you live pretty much anywhere apart from the UK.) Living in mainland Europe and thinking about being a fisherman in Fishbourne, a marketing assistant in Market Harborough or a newsreader in Newcastle then now might be the time to start putting those plans into action.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Total Recall

So, the advert I went up for last week where I got to pretend I was one of those life-saving types. The one that said they had pencilled me in for the role. You remember? Yeah?? No? Oh well, all the information is in the first two sentences so go back, read them and then come back here and we'll start again...All done? Great. Now let's carry on....

The recall for the advert was yesterday and so, like the well-behaved thesp that I am, I went along. While sat waiting to go in, an extremely pretty girl (and therefore quite clearly not up for the same role as me) was told that she was too early by about two hours for an audition. She explained that she had another casting to get to and she wondered if there was any chance that she could be seen any earlier. Instantly the room disliked her. She was absolutely stunning, she had another audition to be getting to and she might be going in before us. You'd think she'd filled the resentment quota for the day already. But oh no. She was asked to go and get changed into what she needed to wear and we were then called to go in. The three of us filed in bitterly, wondering why our genes and agents were failing us so badly. Lined up in our dowdy outfits that we had been asked to wear, we were just ready to introduce ourselves to camera when Pretty Girl bursts into the room, scantily clad in the tiniest of leopard print bikinis. She was hastily turned away but the damage was done. Never have I felt like such a monster and to make matters worse, I had a camera pointing straight at me. There's nothing like a beautiful model to suddenly push you ten steps back down the ladder of attractiveness.

Pushing all Quasimodo feelings aside, we got on with the casting and it was all good fun. It was all very much the same as the first casting but this time it was in front of production team and we were given a few more things to react to. We weren't allowed to speak so reactions were limited but the director seemed to really like what I did so I went away feeling pretty damn happy. And it seems I was right to. I had a call this morning to say that I'm down to the final two and I'll hear in the next day whether I've got it or not. This now means that T has to deal with me constantly having one eye on my phone for the next 24 hours.

Of course I'm massively excited and I keep telling myself that even if I don't get it, I should still be pleased that I got down to the final two. But there's almost something worse in being in the final two that being knocked out in the early stages. The closer you get to something, the harder it is when you lose out. Getting this job would help out a lot, not only by having a lovely credit on my CV but financially it would be damn useful too. But knowing that I could miss out on it at the final hour would be properly disappointing. As I've said in previous posts before, it's nice to be kept in the loop about these things but the 'ignorance is bliss' camp is also a pleasant site to be spending some time in.

So tomorrow's entry will either be one of woe or one of joy. Let the phone watching commence...

Monday, 7 November 2011

Shooting Gallery

Yesterday saw the last day of the first section of the shoot where I've spent most of my time worrying that I was going to kill someone with a hammer, blowtorch or my confusing Irish accent. I'm pleased to annouce that despite constant worries that my hands would suddenly lose control and I'd find myself launching a screwdriver at some poor unsuspecting person's face, no one was injured. Actually, that's a lie. One actor had their head smashed by a door but that had nothing to do with me. I was stood right by said door but, for once, it wasn't me who was at the centre of on-set carnage.

However, I'm pleased that I've set the right tone with the cast and crew. At one point in the film, I have to hold a lit blowtorch and inspire the other characters to rise up and beat the monsters. Just before the first take, the director asks if I can play the scene as cool as possible. This ignites immense laughter from the rest of the room, all in hysterics at the thought of me playing this. It seems that if you constantly walk into things, produce one of the only outtakes of the shoot by somehow managing to tangle up a whole bag of tools and drop everything handed to you, people think that you playing 'cool' is far beyond your already limited acting range. I mean, they're right. Had my parents decided to call me Jane then I can guarantee within a week that someone would've been well within their rights to add the 'calamity' prefix.

But it was a most lovely of last days. We were finally well fed and although it was another very long day, it was the mostest of funnest. How can you not enjoy a shoot where you get to run away from monsters and charge, screaming, into a room with a lit blowtorch in your hands. There were some dubious moments such as when I was asked to hold the blowtorch 'Charlie's Angel' style, the director forgetting the horrific consequences of adding a flame to skin. And then there was the scene where I had to throw a hammer three metres to another actor. This kind of thing is not my forte. As already explained, this is the type of situation that generally ends in ambulances, serious facial restructuring and drawn out lawsuits. However, by some miracle (and after a lot of tuition from the DOP), I managed to throw the hammer fifteen (yes, I counted) times without destroying anything apart from the right side of my back which is now home to a constant dull ache.

I've now got a gap of 10 days before we start the final section of the shoot. That's 10 days to to perfect my Irish, learn how to throw things and get myself a damn good lawyer.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Shooting Range

Today's post comes to you from a gloomy Miss L who finds herself tired, achy and on the bus at 8.30 on a grey Sunday morning. Few people are up and about and this time and those who are all have the look that suggests there are a trillion better things they could be doing right now. I've spoken to two loved ones already this morning. One gets to go back to sleep before having breakfast and the other is walking my gorgeous dog on my favourite walk in the sun. If you look out your window right now, you might see a green envious glow emanating from the top of the 43 bus.

But enough of my whining about today. What moans do I have about yesterday? Well, let's start with the insane lack of food. We were told that there would be no official lunch break as they had too much to get done and we'd therefore need to eat when weren't needed. No problem. I'll just go get something from the kitch...what? Where's all the food? Oh, that's it. You haven't bought any. After much foraging, we found a solitary bag of crisps but after one crisp each, we were told to stop eating them as the noise was interfering with the sound equipment. To be fair, I'm pretty sure the sound coming from our stomachs was far worse but we'll let that go. Finally, 7 hours after we'd first arrived on set, lunch was collected. We huddled round the shopping bags to find most of the film's budget had been spent on sugar free cherryade and a handful of sad sandwiches. These were hoovered up in seconds. Bellies still grumbling, we wondered if that's all we'd be getting. A few hours later and a rumour starting kicking about that pizzas were being ordered! Hooray! That'd keep us going for days. Or at least it would if they'd bought enough so that we could have more than two slices each. I should add that Actor 1 from yesterday claimed to have every allergy under the sun so he got a pizza all of his own. While he devoured tasty looking, exclusive meal, we picked away at our meagre nibblings.

I don't want to sound like food is the most important thing on the shoot because it's not. It's the most important thing in the world. But seriously, if you're going to ask people to work for free then at least let them eat decently at regular intervals. It's bloody hard keeping concentration during a scene when most of your attention is going into stopping you from desperately knawing on the boom.

Complaint number two is about Actor 1. He'd already annoyed me by turning up obscenely late which he made even worse by charging in to apologise during one of my scenes. It was an important scene where I, Miss L, the High Priestess of Clumsy, has to throw heavy tools at people. It was nerve wracking enough worrying about how many lawsuits I'd face after maiming the whole crew without this irritating buffoon barging in midway. He then made matters worse by spending the whole day talking to my chest and making horribly inappropriate comments. I'm as open minded as an open window in Mensa but I draw the line at someone constantly needling me to find out what my favourite position is.

I'm aware I've made this sound like the worst shoot in the world. It's really not. It's damn fun and everyone else apart from Actor 1 is working so hard to make this work. Even the downtime which is normally brain crushingly dull has been made fun after discovering that the guy who owns the flat loves the exact same books that I do and we spent a good chunk of the evening excitedly recommending new reads to each other. Unsurprisingly we all share a love of film and we regularly have to be told to keep it down as we all rush to explain films we think the others would enjoy.

Today's the last day of shooting for a couple of weeks so although we've got the funnest stuff planned, stress levels are going to be high as we need to make sure everything is covered before we leave this location. Check back tomorrow for another moany blog where I complain about the lack of bottled water on set. This will be overshadowed though by my triumphant retaliation against Actor 1 where, in one swift move, I shove everything he's allergic to down his neck and nail his genitals to a particularly rattly door. Too much? Nah....

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Shoot to Kill

Ah the first day of a shoot. The excitement of meeting the cast and crew. The thrill of checking out your location. The sheer joy of on-set catering. It's all a bit bloody lovely so I set off down to the wrong side of the river with a spring in my step, a glint in my eye and a growl in my belly.

The shoot got off to a lovely start by being picked up from the station despite the location only being two minutes away. The crew were all there and all seemed like normal, good people. The actors however very much let the side down. I don't want to sound like a preachy actor who thinks they're the only one who gets it right (I mean, that's exactly what I am but that kind of attitude doesn't win the hearts of a blog reading nation.) I was the only one who bothered to turn up on time with the other two actors rocking up an hour late. I know there are several thousand things that I do wrong but I find turning up late unforgivable. Unless it's totally out of your control (a lion decides they want to be a train driver) then there's no excuse.

Actor 1 turns up first. He barges in like he hadn't kept us waiting for 60 very long minutes and when I go to introduce myself, I'm completely ignored. Great. Way to make a first impression with your fellow actors. Twenty minutes later he comes up to me, shouts his name in my face, doesn't give me chance to introduce myself nor does he ask for my name. I'm pretty sure he still doesn't know it. Oh well, I get to play with a lot of weapons on this shoot. He better watch out for my dangerously clumsy hands and the frightening amount of weapons I have to handle during this shoot.

But anyway, my anger and I digress. We shot. We missed a lot but we also scored a few times and much japery was had. However, an over zealous director and an ever ticking clock meant that panic started to set in about how the hell I'd be getting home. The shoot was meant to end at 10 but at 11.30 we were still going strong. Thankfully my very unsubtle comments to the runner who was also relying on trains about when the last wagon would be leaving didn't go unnoticed and we finally wrapped for the day. A hair-raising car journey across London as we tried to chase final trains then ensued and I finally got home with a stomach only cradling a small bag of Discos at 1am. Add this to the fact that my alarm was then set for 7.30 the next morning and the world was faced with a miffed, exhausted but ultimately relieved at avoiding nightbuses Miss L.

Actor 1 was nearly 2 hours late this morning but much of my day has been spent throwing tools across the room. Actor 1? Meet this hammer and my careless throwing skills...

Friday, 4 November 2011

Short But Sweet

Another day, another meeting with an agent. OK, so I've only had two meetings in two months but the phrase still stands. To be fair, the phrase 'another day, another trek down to south London' would be much more fitting. Until 5 weeks ago, I lived in south London and during that time no meetings or auditions were ever held there. However, the second I made the move to beautiful north London and now suddenly everyone wants me to make the arduous journey down to the other side of the river.

Yesterday was bloody miserable and the thought of getting on every form of transport that London has to offer made me come all over a little queasy. However, I kept in mind the lovely surprise I'd had the day before with the long trek being rewarded with the most wonderfullest of auditions and I set out. After all, this was a meeting with an agent. Even if they didn't like me and I didn't like them, it would be totally worth the jaunt. Even though it was just an initial meeting, I imagined I'd be in there for at least twenty minutes, chatting away about all the impossible things that I want to achieve and how little work I want to do to achieve these things. They'd go on for a good ten minutes about how great I am and how I'm just what they need to make their agency the best in the world. They'd get a bit excited about me and the rest of the company would all be brought in to gawp at me and I'd leave the meeting to the sound of rapturous applause and telephones ringing off the hook with a stream of job offers.

I imagine you'll be just as surprised as I was that this didn't happen. I was actually in the meeting for all of five minutes. And while it was a lovely five minutes, it was quite a shock that it was all over quite so quickly. I didn't even have time to run my BAFTA for Best Actress speech by them. I mean, the fact that I would chose to thank my parents, T and friends before them could be a proper deal breaker and would make things properly awkward in the afterparty. But instead we spent those five minutes idly chatting about things that are supposedly a lot more important such as my CV, headshot and what kind of work I want to be doing. Apparently these things matter a lot more. But anyway, after an enjoyable 300 seconds of chat, an audition was arranged for some time in the quite distant future so not all bad.

To be fair. I should be used to these bafflingly brief meetings. An audition I did for a patriotic gas company was quite possiblt the shortest on record. Somehow they were running amazingly late and I had a thirty minute wait to go in. I took very little notice at how quickly people were going in an out and waited patiently like the actress who is desperate for work that I am. Finally they called me in, I had the chance to say my name to camera, do profiles and hands. I then had to lift a box and put it back down again and that was it. What? I did three years at drama school. I spent weeks learning how to be a penguin. Months on how to be a cow. Years on how to be a human being. Didn't they want to see any of this? Sadly my face and box lifting skills weren't enough for them and I never heard from them again. Had they asked for my penguin then I'm sure things would've been different.

This afternoon sees yet another trek down to the southern regions of this glorious capital city as I start filming tonight. Check back tomorrow for at least one guaranteed calamitous tale of on-set buffoonery...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Sod's Law

I like to try and at least loosely theme my blogs. This stops me going off and wittering on and telling you about pointless little moments in my life such as what I ate for dinner last night and that leaf I saw that looked like a very small dog. As interesting as I know you would all find these facts, I have to stop myself from bringing them up otherwise you'd all just be hassling me for the titbits from my day and we'd all lose the point of what this blog is really about...a whinging actress.

But today I've just got a few things that I want to pass on. Things that I'm sure I could tie together if I could be bothered and sit and come up with a theme but I can't. I've spent a good ten minutes wondering what music to get dressed to so coming up with a theme for today's offerings is far beyond me.

Firstly, to yesterday's second audition. My thoughts were that it would be a bit of a waste of time. Despite it being vaguely paid, it was a long way to go for an incredibly short script so I set off not feeling quite as optimistic as I should have done. But how wrong I was. It's for the funnest sounding project since The Tony Rich Project. (Yes, I realise 'Nobody Knows' ain't a fun song but as I explained earlier, I'm feeling lazy today...) It's for an art project and despite having to spend a lot of the audition pretending that I know a lot more about art than I do, it was a lovely hour well spent.

Next up is the Sod's Law section of today's blog. So I'm filming this weekend which is all great. It's a nice feeling when you're on a constant search for work to then be able to tell people that you're filming all weekend. Friends have asked if I'm around for a night out but I can't because I'm "filming all weekend." This has made me feel way more important that I should do and instead of feeling all smug about actually having an acting job, I should probably spend that time learning the lines for the damn thing. My current method seems to be that if I'm in the same room as the script for long enough then I'll learn them. So far this has had limited success although I know the front cover off by heart. Anyway, I digress. So, this morning, I get an offer to be the lead in a music video. Hooray. I hadn't even auditioned for it. But of course, and I reckon you've already guessed this, it's being filmed this weekend. I'm going from having no work at all to having to turn things down. Damn you Sod and the laws you came up with.

And for the final piece of news...I've been pencilled in for the ad I went up for yesterday. Now I've been pencilled in more times than a full sketch book so I know that most of the time, you get the initial excitement of being told to keep dates free and then you never hear anything again. A particular supermarket that thinks all the small things are particularly helpful has pencilled me in for just about every advert they've ever produced yet my grinning face is still yet to feature in any of them. I should be hearing tomorrow about whether they're still interested so I've got roughly 24 hours of glee until the misery returns.

Hmmm it seems that the theme, despite me thinking that there wasn't one, is 'self-indulgent.' I apologise for this breach in character. I promise that normal doom and gloom service will return tomorrow.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Power of Three

Today has been one of those gloriously productive days. One of those days where you're pretty sure you could solve the debt crisis, restore peace to the world and bring dodos back from extinction if only someone would bloody ask. But because the world is still yet to see my potential, my productivity remains solely for my own life.

I started my day with a very fun casting indeed. I don't want to give too much away as that would break the Miss L code and they'll take away my 2008 copy of Contacts if I go against it. But I got to pretend I did a job that real people do that actually saves lives and it was a whole lot of fun. It took bloody ages because despite wanting to audition people individually, they called people in six at a time meaning that you had to be involved in the casting experience of five other desperate actors. I'm always amazed at how no one ever sabotages someone else's moment to shine. I mean, I'm pleased that no one does this because it would be bloody horrible but I have to admit that it occasionally crosses my mind. I'd never do it because I'm not good at these sort of things and I'd end up messing up my evil little plan and somehow manage to make the victim look even better. That's just how I do things. But I'm pleased that no one has intentionally done it to me. Or at least I don't think they have. Someone else in the casting did seem to have all kinds of trouble understanding the unbelievably simple directions we were given. She misunderstood them so well that I was worried that it was actually me doing the misunderstanding. Maybe this was her way of trying to destroy my desperate few seconds in front of the camera. Clearly she doesn't read my blog because otherwise she'd know that I rarely need someone to mess things up for me. If she was an avid reader then she would've known that I'd do the first take with part of the supplied costume on incorrectly.

But it was all very enjoyable and even while waiting to go in, I managed to not get annoyed by someone asking the receptionist if they had a pen while standing next to the biggest bucket of pens in the entire world and instead applied for three jobs. Yep. While you were all working for a living, I decided to become a mathematical genius and cube my chances of rejection. (I realise that 'cube' is the incorrect term for multiplying something by three but I prefer the way it sounds. Artistic license/laziness and all that.) And then, to top it off, on my way out of the casting, I called an agent and arranged a meeting for tomorrow. I am Princess of the Productive, Earless of the Efficient and Duchess of the Diary.

I really feel that I should spend the rest of today basking in the glory of my morning's work. Many an hour should be spent at the wonderful things I've achieved and I feel I need time to marvel at just how little will come of all the work I've done this morning. But instead I have to trek for nearly two hours across London to speak three sentences in my second audition of the day. I wish that was an exagerration but this time I'm not lying for dramatic blogging purposes. Today three is truly the magic number...

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Out of Office

I'm sure you've all been wondering what happened to your daily fix of The Misadventures of Miss L. I imagine you've all been crying into your pillows at night and drowning your sorrows in that fifth whisky as you wondering what possible scrapes and mishaps I was currently getting into. Sorry, what? You weren't? You actually enjoyed the silence? Oh. Sorry. You might be disappointed with what's about to come up...

I've been away this weekend in gorgeous, beautiful Ireland. T was working over there and like the tagalong that I am, I decided I'd get in on the fun too. Despite having to work on my accent while over there, I genuinely saw it as a weekend away where I didn't have to worry about trying to make a living. I could have just a few days where I wasn't constantly scanning casting calls and churning out the same old cover letter. Just a couple of days where I'm not battling with my ego and wondering whether I can really put myself up for a role that calls for the actress to be 'beautiful' and whether I can still genuinely use my stage combat certificate from 8 years ago as proof that I can be trusted with a rapier. But of course, we all know that the world of acting doesn't work like that. When it's quiet, you spend your days constantly checking an inbox that never receives anything other than newsletters that you can't be bothered to unsubscribe from and a phone that only receives calls from people who have accidentally rung you and you're left listening to the swishing of their bag for 10 minutes. But when you're busy and have gots lots of other lovely things you want to be doing, the whole world is after you.

To be fair, most of the weekend was pretty quiet and I was able to spend much of my time drinking Guinness, eating potatoes and wondering just how much I was becoming the tourist stereotype. Most of my weekend was spent feeling very lucky that I was getting to watch some amazing comedy and this was interspersed with a lot of drinking, laughing and marvelling at just how seriously the Irish take Halloween. So I can't really complain. But I will. The problem was that yesterday, in Ireland, it was a bank holiday. And because I'd done such a good job at practicing my bestest Irish accent (I listened to roughly three sentences) I reckoned I deserved an extra day off too. But oh no. Because I work in a country that hates the idea of giving people a day off so they can carve pumpkins and mess around with fake blood, everyone decided that they would all get in touch. Of course, when I say everyone, I actually mean that two people got in touch over the course of 7 hours. But to a resting actress, a couple of audition offers on the same day is about as magical as Paul Daniels fronting a Magic Numbers tribute band.

The first came in the shape of a rehearsed reading. I have no idea what it's about but I saw there was a little bit of money involved so that's all that really matters. The audition was organised for Wednesday so that was great. Hooray, I can get on with my day, safe in the knowledge that I have an audition waiting for me for when I get back. In the afternoon, T and I went for a walk and lo and behold, I get another call asking me if I want to audition for an advert. Of course I do. So, with the wind howling through my hair and the rain lashing my face, I organised a second audition for Wednesday. I was getting good at this. With my head growing at a rate faster than the speed of light, we retreated to a pub where the realisation hit that with filming coming up this week too, I was going to be a very busy Miss L indeed.

So it seems the secret ingredient to getting auditions is to be out of the country as much as possible. If anyone would therefore like to whisk me away so that the casting directors can come chasing up after me, you know what to do...